Monster Munch

It doesn’t get much bigger than this.’ Ah, famous last words. No sooner had the owners of Cosmo, the pan-Asian chain, launched their 800-seater in Croydon than some bright spark in Bristol thought they could beat it and so lucky Bristolians can now gaze in dribbling awe at the 1000-seater Za Za Bazaar, newly opened and ready to indulge your every dining whimsy. Read full post

Chefs vs Critics

The latest story to do the rounds, if you haven’t already heard, is that of the tweeting chef. Alexis Gauthier, late of the acclaimed Roussillon in London, recently opened his second Soho restaurant, Ducksoup. In a truly weird coincidence, it being a brand new restaurant in the heart of London, two national food critics both booked to have lunch there. On the same day. (What were they thinking?) One was reviewing, one merely having a civilian lunch. Gauthier happened to be in the restaurant too (we sense it’s getting rather crowded), got rather giddy and made the awe-inspiring decision to tweet his opinions on the critics’ behaviour and conversation, ignorant of their individual purposes there. (Equally strangely, neither critic seemed aware of Gauthier’s presence at any point and acknowledged him.) Read full post

Simply The Best?

This time of year heralds many fine noises: jingling bells, carol singers, the slightly panicky gobble of turkeys and the distinct sound of knives being sharpened as the awards season grinds into gear. Up and down the land, sales and PR bods wear their fingerpads to the bone conference-calling favoured and not-so-favoured clients, wooing them with promises of shiny gold statues – or perhaps carrots – to display in reception, testament to their excellence in toilet hygiene or decor aesthetics. But, frankly, does it make a difference to you? Read full post

Taking Away The Takeaway?

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

Fat Chance

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

Steak Out

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

Gastropubs RIP?

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

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