Of course, don't get me wrong - that does NOT by ANY means translate as the young nibblescribbler wasting away, not putting a morsel past her lips. Ha! With all this snow around??! You must be kidding! A girl needs comfort food in times like these!
So let me break down my various noteworthy foodventures over the last month or so. This is blatant cheating, but at the moment I steadfastly refuse to post an individual account of each, you'll have to make do with these scraplets. I figure I can make my own rules here. You can't get to me to tell me off, I'm safe the other side of the screen!
- Benares - posh indian restaurant to be found on glitzy Berkeley Square near Nobu, yet another poncy restaurant I've an eye to try (only if treated by a bigger wallet than I). The 2nd time I've been to Benares, and it didn't disappoint, as chef Atul Kochhar pleased the eye and the palate (and, unusually, the wallet, with a special credit crunch meal deal) with beautifully presented dishes packed full of indian flavour. I cracked into Tandoor cooked Salmon fillets with spiced Gazpacho salsa, a delightful dry roasted chunk of salmon, lent juiciness by its accompanying sauce, followed by Pan Fried King Fish steaks with Chilli-Garlic Mash and Nilgiri Sauce. I found this slightly unremarkable, exactly as you'd have expected it, with the mash and sauce combining to rather cloying effect. Still, I forgave the meal this when what, frankly, to me was the piece de resistance. Our, by now, bosom buddy waiter (I make a habit of befriending the waiters because a) from past waitressing experience I know how snooty customers can be and b) it makes them much better disposed to treating you nice), appeared in a flash, and carefully placed a tiny flat black glass dish in front of each of the three of us. Into the shallow indentation of each dish, he poured a few drops of water from a jug. Also on his tray I noticed three small, flat round white pellets, which I presumed were the sort of crazy amuse-bouche you tend to get in this type of restaurant. But. EVEN BETTER!! He dropped each into the water and POFF!, as if by magic they were suddenly ten times their height: a little warm hand towel ready for use. Honestly, the guy couldn't have had a better audience than me for this little trick. My eyes were like saucers, my little hands were clapping and I was giggling with glee. I would honestly have paid the entire price of the meal JUST to see this little trick!
- Hm, well, then I've already told you about Tayyabs, my favourite Indian restaurant tucked away in East London ...
- Charitable soul that I am, that same London-bound week I decided to give Cha Cha Moon, subject of damning scorn from a previous post, another try (mainly through the oft-encountered London dilemma of 'not being able to get home to eat' and 'required dirt cheap prices due to impending poverty') and found it to be in better sorts once again, fully-trained staff in place. Sadly, though, prices look like they'll never again be back to their previously outrageous, and note-worthy economy status.
- I was then treated to a handful of home-cooked Sicilian meal (I will elaborate on this in due course, I promise) - examples such as Squid Ink Pasta with Botarga, Steamed Lemon Sole accompanied by spinach and sultanas, and Ricotta Ravioli with Pistachio Sauce.
- Reciprocally and nationally obliged to demonstrate that, whilst not quite on a par with Italian cooking, English food can sometimes be pretty darn great I cheated, and brought Il huomo home to be cooked for by...my mum. Well, without a kitchen, I'm restricted and, I know I'm slightly biased, but she does cook the best meals in the land. No pressure then mum, but English National Food Heritage (and Pride) lies squarely on your shoulders. She rose admirably to the occasion, producing a (not-so-English, admittedly, yet completely delicious) chickpea soup, followed by a stellar rendition of Roast Chicken, accompanied by crisped, golden roast potatoes and parsnips cooked in goose fat (divine), steamed cabbage that hovered perfectly between al dente and feather-soft, carrots and a steaming, tasty golden gravy. Nowt more English than that! This was followed by diva-esque puffs of beautiful baked apples oozing with a caramelly butter sauce and sultanas/raisins, poured over with cream. All guests left the table replete to play a fierce game of Cluedo, the resultant competitiveness no doubt fruitsugar-fuelled. No sooner had the main meal commenced digestion, than a round of English tea was brought out; crumpets dripped with butter and lemon curd, and home-made scones groaned with their generous load of raspberry jam and clotted cream. Cholesterol? What's that?!