Taking a quick glance at our high streets and corner shops, it would seem the British love affair with foreign food was eternal; where would we be without our curry on a Friday night or a Chinese with friends? However, according to Harden’s, the restaurant guide, “Britain is definitely starting to fall out of love with ethnic cuisines.” They go on to qualify this amazing statement by saying we are apparently no longer prepared to pay a lot of money for non-British food: indeed, the recession has meant we simply want more and more expensive comfort food. Read full post
Ok it’s official. We are all too fat and the Government are going to do something about it right now. Put down your Bacon & Egg Mcmuffin and your caramel latte and pin your overweight ears back: You all have to cut your calories by 100 per day or into the Tank of Shame – to be placed somewhere really central – you will go until you are the weight they think you should be. That’ll teach you.
Or at least that’s what we think they’re saying. Andrew Lansley, the current Health Secretary, has decreed that as a nation, we have to lose 5 billion calories, although no time limit was given on this, so don’t anyone go mad and try to lose someone else’s quota; there may yet be weigh-ins and reprisals. They may even bring the dreaded ‘fat tax’ in… Read full post
It is with interest – and not a little gourmand dribbling – that we note the herd of specialist steak houses mo(o)ving across the UK. Not non-descript, tourist-driven joints either. No, these are the real deal. Any chef who’s worth his mustard is sharpening his Sabatier on a sirloin.
The list is long and plentiful: Gaucho Grill, Black & Blue, Goodman Steakhouse and Hawksmoor in the South through to Wildfire and Prime Cuts in Scotland; they’re all focused on serving up the big and the beautiful of the beef world. Of course, the latest in this long and distinguished line-up is US super-chef Wolfgang Puck who’s just opened up Cut at 45 Park Lane. He brings us the slightly artery-hardening concept of the Steak Tasting Menu (anyone longing for good old-fashioned à la carte?) – 3 small cuts of beef from across the globe, yours for £48. Otherwise take your pick from corn-fed, grass-fed, beer-massaged; Chile, New Zealand, Australia, England, USA… – all starting at around £30 a steak. Talk about cow with (globe)trotters. In fact, it seems the whole world loves a cow. Read full post
And so it came to pass that the gastropub, that once-mighty bringer of semi-decent pub grub throughout the land, was no more. Or so The Good Food Guide says. It claims that the term is no longer relevant; once used to distinguish pubs serving food from pubs serving crisps and pork scratchings, now the gastropub label is actually deriding that which it once elevated.
The concept of the gastropub arrived on the foodie scene with the launch of The Eagle in East London in the mid-1990s. Suddenly their casual, Med-inspired dishes served alongside elevated pub booze became, quite literally, the talk of the town and the pub was reinvented. Boozers, to differentiate, were for old men; everyone, darling, was eating out in gastropubs – they were cheaper, more ‘real’ and often offered more eclectic choice and quality than many restaurants. Read full post
What would you say qualifies anyone to open a restaurant? Indeed, what more should you need other than that great if-all-else-fails standby, passion, as well as money (lots of) and a personable manner? It probably helps if you’ve got a bit of a name in the industry and a hopefully good reputation. You might, if you’re being really thorough, have a ‘concept’ that you feel the world is missing out on and a fabulous set of contacts that should furnish you with excellent front- and back-of-house.
So what can we make of the recent spate of footballers who, having decided their talents lie in directions other than kicking a ball from one end of a bit of grass to the other, have decided to ‘explore other options’ and make their (partial) living in the hospitality industry? What is it about restaurants that make professional sportsmen believe that if they can make it there, they can, so to speak, make it anywhere? Read full post
We’re bang in the middle of sleepy summer and you’re probably dying to get out there and soak up those rays (ha!) so this time we’re making it snappy and bringing you a round-up of watercooler news and gossip:
Obviously the sight of our cities burning has not been a cause for celebration, but it has prompted a good-news impulse from restaurants offering ‘post-riot’ promotions to encourage you back on to the streets and through their doors. So far Leon and Giraffe are on board – keep your eyes peeled for more and support (what’s left of) your high street. Read full post
And so, with a final mind-blowing, palate-boggling, eye-watering 49-course fanfare, el Bulli is no more. To some, this is no less a culinary disaster than a high street peppered only with Harvesters and not a scrap to eat; to others, it sounds as a blessed return to the safe harbour of ‘un-mucked-about grub’.
There were – and numbers are vague – between one and two million panting, salivating diners on the waiting list in the six months before closure; that’s a lot of disappointment spread in a world already teetering on crisis. Apparently, you had a 0.08% chance of ever scoring a table – those aren’t odds, just humiliation in prospect. And yet, despite demand, Ferran Adrià made the decision to close his foodie Mecca because, finally, he might have run out of ideas. And energy – although he and his 70 staff only open the restaurant for six months of the year, the work behind the scenes goes on year-round, 15-hour days churning out experiment after experiment. No wonder he’s exhausted. Read full post