Posts from 30th May 2004

30
May 04

whose Spanish cuisine rules London?

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 477 views

whose Spanish cuisine rules London?

Last year Vicky and I visited Moro, often touted as being one of the best restaurants in London for Iberian cuisine and had a fantastic meal with terrible service (see the archives for a report – around August last year) Anyway, last night we were lucky enough to visit a new contender – Fino. Fino is situated just off London’s restaurant strip mall that is Charlotte street, an unassuming entrance leads you underground into a very very pleasant space. A small cocktail bar off to the right, and more steps down to the dining room, tables are nicely spaced (although we reckoned that only one table would give you a really good amount of privacy. Anyway, the food, at Moro we ate traditionally – starter, main, dessert. At Fino we decided to go with the gourmet tapas selection – plenty of small dishes coming as they are ready. In order they were…..

Pamb Tomaquet (not sure of all their spellings to be honest)
Lovely sourdough bread, rubbed with garlic and then a tomato is squashed on – a hearty way to start a meal (and a good work-out for the teeth too)

Selection of Carcuterie
Great chorizo, some salami style sausage and some slices of meltingly good Jamon

Pimientos de Padron
Small peppers (they offer a lottery style thrill in that one in ten are supposed to be firey hot – the rest sweet and mild)chargrilled into softness with plenty of flaky salt sprinkled on – good stuff

Langoustines
These were simply split in half and grilled – very sweet and succulent with a lightly smoky flavour

Clams
Served in a light broth that was enriched with small pieces of ham and onion/garlic – these were sweet and tasty, really really fresh

Crispfried squid
Simple squid rings (and tentacles) in a light batter – all the better for extra salt and a good squeeze of lemon

This we thought was it, and felt slight;y gipped as we were still hungry, but our plates were cleared and so we thought about pudding, but all of a sudden the stars of the meal appeared:

Chorizo with tomato
An unlikely star but wow, it wasn’t because it was the best chorizo I’ve tasted (which it was – sweet and spicy withought getting too sickly as these things can)it was the tomatoes – one bite and I was transferred to my old next door neighbours greenhouse which was full of tomato plants – they were soft, juicy and so flavourful – a real woonder. These and the chorizo combined to make one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten all year.

Veal loin (well we think it was veal – very lightly flavoured and the only thing else it could have been is pork – but it was pink in the middle…)
A lovely bit of meat – slightly pink in the middle and with a crust that had plenty of pimenton in it – thus it was sweet, smoky and intensley savoutry all at the same time.

We had just enough room left for dessert now, and were glad we did – some fresh fried doughnuts with vanilla ice-cream were a gron up kids treat, while the santiago tart, laden with almonds and dried fruit was like having Christmas in the summertime. Capped off with a ridiculously strong Poire William and a great armagnac we left full and satisfied.

The bill wasn’t cheap (bulked out by a very good white Rioja) at over a ton, but the question to be asked is “would I go again?”

I’d go there every day for weeks if I could.

A note on some new songs I heard this weekend:

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A note on some new songs I heard this weekend:

Phixx – Wild Boys: It really is last-chance saloon stuff for these guys, I quite liked the naffness of Love Revolution, which I think barely made the top ten. Now, you can’t really go wrong when you cover Duran Duran, which very little deviation fron the original bar a teeny bit of scratching and each of them singing in turns. I predict they will go top three with this one! Haven’t seen the video, but I’d be very surprised if it is any different from the original. Simon et al will be happy with royalties.

Seether feat Amy Lee – Broken Wings: The enduring legacy of grunge it would seem is the continued use of the Vedder/Cornell gravel ‘laying on the emotion with a trowel’ voice. And, employing the first lady of metal will mean that this is a hit, even though it sounds like every other gravel voiced post-grunge song ever (read as, I kinda like it)

KITTEN’S GAME

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KITTEN’S GAME

“I think I’m playing a different game from the others” sez current reason-to-watch-BB Kitten. I don’t know what the game is though and I don’t think she does either, but based on last night’s show she’s winning it.

Kitten is annoying and her rule-breaking is childish – “let’s have a mini revolution” she says, why?, just ‘cos! – but what’s interesting isn’t her, it’s the way the others react. Some ignore her; some are nice or indulgent or reason with her; others turn on her immediately and vehemently.

Kitten is at first sight a troll (she may even be a plant; I don’t think so though). Like online trolls her m.o. is to enter a community with no intention of obeying its customs and bylaws. But unlike most trolls she isn’t out to attack or offend the other community members. Her rebellions pose the question – whether she means them to or not – ‘what is Big Brother about?’ If it’s about 12 people interacting in a closed environment, what she’s doing is harmless. If it’s more about the tasks and rituals and arbitrary rules, what she’s doing is dangerous. The reactions of the other housemates tell you which side they’re on – business school student Vanessa, for instance, leaping within half a second on the chance to punish the rule-breaker.

Channel Four’s whole pre-publicity this year (and last year and the year before) focussed on the latter ‘point’ of BB – the housemates were going to have to jump through particularly nasty and demeaning hoops. So the most interesting thing about last night’s show was Davina’s performance. She either actually detests Kitten or gives a very good impression of it. Before the ad break, when it became clear that K. was the one who would lose her suitcase, she gloated to camera about how badly she’d take it. As it was she took it well and nonchalantly, so Davina cut back to the studio and started rifling through Kitten’s suitcase – raising eyebrows at the “rather feminine” shoes, laughing at the photographs of home (“it’s a man…in a dress”). Suddenly and quickly she stopped and they cut back to the house – I’m sure I wasn’t alone in imagining the horrified producer shouting in Davina’s headpiece, “Christ, don’t you realise how awful this is making you look?”. Too late, though: Davina was implicated, playing Kitten’s game as much as the other 11 housemates, and losing round one.

(I think I found the whole thing particularly fascinating cos I saw myself in it. I have an addiction to arbitrary rules systems – as an RPG Games master in my teens or a message board moderator in my 20s. I think the rules I’ve made are generally quite good or harmless ones but I do know how easy it is to get attached to them, and lash out when people break them. Big Brother made for sobering watching from that viewpoint.)

GIRLS ALOUD – “The Show”

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GIRLS ALOUD – “The Show”

There’s an MP3 of this floating around taken from the radio with Chris Moyles talking over it. You should find it EVEN DESPITE the Chris Moyles element because this is a magnificent single. It’s the pinnacle of pop’s electro-flirtation and the next natural step, taking its cue from Freeez’ “I.O.U.”, Hi-NRG, The Flirts, Bronski Beat, blah blah, you get the picture, big joyful robodisco, so nice to have it back.

(The lyrics are perfect evocative nonsense as usual. After 5 listens I’m still not sure what “The Show” is – what show? whose show? Maybe this is their “The Reflex” – total pop-dominating confidence manifested as ambiguity.)

The great thing about GA is how lovingly it’s all done. There’s something about the group that seems to have really caught the songwriters’ and stylists’ imagination – so that they save their best stuff for this rag-tag reality TV mob. Girls Aloud could so easily have played it wrong – gone for the Spicey ‘we’ gang angle; instead they seem happy to be a vehicle for the records and so even though there’s always something ‘Girls Aloud-y’ about the songs it’s never self-conscious. With the Sugababes (and I love the Sugababes) you get the feeling there’s a definite brief given to songwriters – “moody, a bit urban”; same with Kylie and Rachel Stevens and all the rest of them. But with Girls Aloud the brief is just “OK, no fannying about, just modern Rolls-Royce pop please”. And I love it.