Weekly Letter. The shop front is still as unassuming as ever, and the burgundian sheen maintaining a majestic lustre. Tumblers seemed smaller than I remembered, though the Beaujolais are still as bitterly jammy as I remembered them. Slurp. One of their major features of course, is that daily menu – like a box of chocolates, you know what to expect, but there are always surprises. Hereford steaks, roast chicken, terrines and hearty soups largely unchanged from previous iterations. It feels a little like a lottery, was I going to see samphire or crabs on toast this time around? I didn’t hold my breath, both were missing. Service is still something I admire at GQS. A bunch of cool kids in grey t-shirts and jeans and striped aprons. Serving with an air of maturity, a major laid back attitude, just so cool. GQS exudes a sort of atmosphere that makes one feel like a secret agent. Yeah I’m MI6, my over achieving imagination says. So our waiter was American, dare I say a New Yorker, oh hell I’m hopeless with identifying American accents anyway, he welcomed us and read out the specials. I forgot! GQS specials, I raised my head to the chalk board just outside the kitchen. Shows how long since my last visit. “Today we have mussels on… and crabs on toast”. YES. Winner, get in Kang. Say no
The last time I went to the Tate Modern, I was completely baffled by one of the exhibits. A slab of wood, painted white probably no bigger than 10 x10, jutted out from the similarly pearl white wall. On this wooden plank sat a large jug of what appears to be water. It was placed high enough than I had to stretch my neck. Had my taste in culture been so utterly sucked dry from my now hollow mind after years of watching Simon Cowell produced television shows that I no longer have the capacity to understand modern art? What’s going to happen next? The ground opening up with a large crack perhaps. That visit was well over three years ago, I felt a like a complete arse after the completely unsuccessful visit, modern art was lost to me. It was however a memorable experience, the hum of the old transformers, the heart of the former power plant still apparently beating, the iconic erection of it’s chimney which so strikingly titivates the London skyline; Modern will always be a museum that intrigues and intimidates. At least for me. I had been pining for a revisit primarily because I feel that my appreciation for art has increased by leaps and bounds in the last three years, and am now able to at least recognise artist names. The current collection is interesting,
There was a time when Gordon Ramsay was the darling of the nation, the once protege who displaced his mentor, then the king of British gastronomy, Marco Pierre White. Like his mentor, he has achieved three stars and so much more. I remember my first brush with Gordon Ramsay food, albeit indirectly. It was on a Singapore Airlines flight to London, Gordon as a consultant for the airline’s menu. I remember being impressed then with his credentials, late thirties and already a qualified genius of his craft. And I still respect Gordon Ramsay for what he has achieved. Having attained international fame, he went on to build an empire that employes thousands across his multitude of restaurants around the world (12 UK, 2 Oz, 4 US, 5 Europe, 1 Middle East, 1 Asia, 1 Africa). The mind boggles with the commercial rampage, which I guess has contributed to the critical reception today. He has grown to the point where his stars are not a direct result from the flash of his pan per se, least not in the same way as say Francesco Mazzei is vying for one. One wonders if he still cooks in the kitchens of his restaurants. The man’s reputation has been dented, resulting in reports of massive losses incurred over the last few years, and perhaps most damagingly, Claridge’s losing a star. Ah but at the
It has been at least a year since I last visited Great Queen Street, a restaurant which I frequented in 2008. Still signage-free and firmly offline, the low profile hasn’t kept No.32 from becoming the establishment it is today. Owned by chef/writer Tom Norrington-Davies, he has made 32 a name for its nameless self by serving slick food with a decidedly British feel, revered all around and critically acclaimed, and I love it too. Afterall, I thought their crabs on toast was the very best thing I ate in
Yes I dropped the ball on the Friday review, did anybody miss me? I have a very good excuse though and I’ve been hard at work on producing something a little different. I was given the opportunity to spend a Saturday evening service at Gazette – a neighbourhood French brasserie in Battersea – and they gave me the chance to observe a busy London restaurant at work. It’s about time this restaurant goer stepped behind the stove to watch the action from the other side. A personal project of sorts and a bit of a labour of love, I hope you’ll enjoy this two part series folks. Welcome to the Kitchens of Gazette
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