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Argentine action. Cooking the ‘Tapa de Ancho’ at Gaucho

The Amalfi Coast. Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi

Go buy the book

It’s 3pm in Cafe Caldesi Marylebone and most of the lunchers have gone, replete with pasta and, hopefully, a Grappa, to sustain them through the rest of the working day. The staff have put the music up loud enough to power them through their afternoon tasks and at the back of the room, staring sepulchrally into his coffee, is owner Giancarlo Caldesi. His mobile is buzzing like a Vespa going up a steep hill but he ignores it.

Catching sight of me he jumps up and gives me his usual bear hug of welcome and animates as if a switch has been thrown. He now answers the phone, yells out ‘turn the music down!’ in Italian to the staff, and passes me a copy of his and wife Katie’s new book ‘The Amalfi Coast’. Read more…

Carrara at St James

March 18, 2013 1 comment

Bling-tastic

Dinner, a show and the last train home. It’s the perfect evening for many people but one all too often spoilt by panicky clock watching. Theatres don’t hold curtain up just because your dessert’s been delayed or because the waiter, all over you like a cheap suit when you arrived, is now MIA just as you need the bill – and pronto.

Covent Garden and Shaftesbury Avenue around 7pm are packed with pre-theatre diners wandering about in increasing desperation trying to decide where to eat. Many, if not most, are concerned about delays and will opt for a chain serving steaks or burgers. The food may be boring but it’s worth it for the reassurance of speed.

St James, the first purpose-built theatre complex to open in London for 30 years, has a solution; a brasserie downstairs, a restaurant upstairs and shows for all sorts in the theatre space, or the less formal studio, which was where we were headed for some comedy stylings. But first, let’s look at the food.

The restaurant Carrara at St. James is reached by a marble staircase that’s straight out of a rapper or Russian Mafioso’s wet dreams. It’s marble and it is rather magnificent and opens out into a restaurant that’s bright and modern. Open all day it has proper tables with linen napkins and other fancy things that drive young people mad, but that oldies like me rather appreciate. The menu is ‘Modern European’ which is a catch-all and rather meaningless term; what would Old-Fashioned European be? Spit roasted wild boar?

The point is that like a hotel restaurant, Carrara is obliged to offer something for everyone because their customers could be from anywhere. There’s a Pre and Post Theatre Menu – 2 courses for £15.50, 3 courses for £19.50 – which reads pretty, and a full menu with stalwarts such as steak, pasta, spatchcock poussin, calves liver and fish and chips, as well as slightly more exciting stuff like confit duck leg. Well exciting for many out of town arts lovers anyway.

Of the starters we liked the rabbit terrine, a good and chunky slice that went well with the pickled blackberries, a foraged kind of food and something the rabbit himself may well have eaten ( do rabbits eat fruit? Is it part of their 5 a day?). Also noteworthy was the grilled squid which would have been a bit better with clearer seasoning, salt in particular, but the seared scallop with black pudding is a no fail concept and it didn’t here.

For mains P wimped out on by having a steak, the choice of timid diners everywhere, but it was a good steak cooked properly medium rare as asked for and with chips which weren’t ‘triple cooked’ just properly cooked and served in a cutesy mini frying basket. A bit pricey at £22.50 but worth it.

For me there was a confit duck with cannellini bean cassoulet and an orange reduction. The duck had been decently finished so that the skin was crispy and the meat soft. The beans seemed to be dried ones, soaked and cooked, with a good firmness to the bite that you just don’t get with tinned ones – time saving shortcut though they may be.

Rather too many beans on the plate, but you aren’t obliged to eat them all and too much is better than too little I suppose. The orange reduction worked, a duck a l’orange for the modern world. Nothing noteworthy, nothing to get foodies in a froth, but two dishes professionally done and decent value for money. Desserts maintained the middle of the culinary road; a much better than average sticky toffee pudding managed to deliver the expected sugar rush, but didn’t settle on the stomach a like sack of treacle, and the lemon panna cotta was sharp and cleansing.

The ‘studio space’

And so to the show. I know it’s not my remit to be a comedy critic but I liked the studio space and the stage’s intimacy with the audience.  The compere Carl Hutchinson was truly excellent; the stand up, Tommy Rowson  had good material which he tended to fluff by mistiming.  Main act, Jigsaw, was made up of three people flinging out Radio4/Footlights -ish sketches at high speed, some of which worked and many didn’t, but the two men and one woman didn’t seem to care either way. Ned Sherrin would have lapped it up, but I suspect one of the trio will find himself ejected from the act when the other two get down to some pillow talk.

A short walk from Victoria station, well-priced and well-done food pitched at the right level, plus an eclectic range of shows in an ‘off-Broadway’ style, St James should get audiences in abundance.

My name’s Nick Harman, goodnight.

See more of St James upcoming shows

12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA www.stjamestheatre.co.uk

The Shed, Notting Hill

Traction

If you only read restaurant reviews on blogs you might think restaurants (good ones that is) didn’t exist west of Regent Street. The blog world has ignored the Pet Shop Boys’ advice and determinedly gone east, although if all the people that claim to live in Hoxton actually did live in Hoxton, the place would have to be the size of Moscow.

The Shed in Notting Hill might not appeal to your average Nouveau East Ender – many of the men eating here are wearing sunglasses on top of their heads, while the girls have the Tiggerish happiness of people not worried about paying the rent on their local flat  – mainly because Daddy does that for them.

There’s a sense too that, when not on the ski slopes, weekends in the country figure strongly on the clientele’s agenda, not least because the decor of the Shed has a rustic vibe delivered in tractor loads, and in fact there’s a tractor bonnet hanging over the bar.

This is quite understandable as the brothers behind the Shed, Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin, grew up at Nutbourne Vineyards near Pulborough in West Sussex and have mud flowing through their veins. It’s a design look that could infuriate some people I suppose but which I find rather soothing. The Shed also lives up to its name by giving the vague impression that it might fall down any second, a state of affairs all good sheds tend to have in common.

With spring light warmly treacling in at the windows the Shed has flung open its end doors to a small terrace, so allowing us smokers to stay in touch with tables made from reclaimed wood and, frankly my dear, old scrap. The waitresses are sunny, the menu is a list of what I like to eat and lunch looks a good bet.

It’s like being at Petersham Nurseries in the good old Skye Gyngell days when, looking like a disconsolate horse, she could often be seen peering out of the kitchen hatch. It’s ‘small plates’ here, but before you throw up your hands at this fashion faux pas remember how much you like tapas and the pleasure of not being stuck with three courses. Brother Oliver is the chef here and his CV shows Oxo Tower and Launceston Place, as well as at River Cottage HQ where Hugh F-W, the West Country version of Jamie, reigns supreme. So that’s okay, then.

The plates average around £8 each, and two per person are recommended but we hummed and hahed because I wanted to try them all. First out of the kitchen came Beef and Red Wine sausage with Shed mustard, a simple dish that relied solely on the quality of the sausage and the mustard to make it work, which it did. The sausage was juicy and with a crisp, snappy skin, while the mustard was a sweet grain type and much better than the Moutarde De Meaux it was based on.

Shed life

A hake, chorizo white beans and wild garlic dish, was straight outta Spain. The grizzled, piquant and slightly chewy chorizo was a perfect foil to the firm hake, while creamy white beans, teetering on the edge of falling apart were laced with lovely spiky shreds of fresh chilli. It was a plate of pure honest gustatory pleasure and I wished I’d ordered two as I fought my wingman’s fork off. This sharing plate idea is okay as long as one of you is less keen on a dish than the other, if not things can get ugly.

We didn’t fight over confit chicken, lemon, soy onions and cauliflower couscous because neither of us liked it all that much. It was fine as far as it went and the balances were well judged, but chicken just doesn’t confit as well as duck, the meat is too tender to begin with and it emerges out the far side with less character than a Liberal MP.

Ah but sweetbreads make me smile, I never remember which part of the lamb they’re cut from, all I know is that I love them. Here they came with a pan-induced golden tan, a luxurious silky texture and with the offaly good flavour that’s reminiscent of bacon. Also reminiscent of bacon was the bacon that came with them, proper bacon that the Shed sources itself from the home farm. Sweetbreads soak up surrounding influences like first year students, so on  a bed of luminous, bitter, kale, the British answer to cavolo nero, and some Jerusalem artichoke it was a real pleasure to eat these. The casual, relaxed presentation belying the lively talent of its creation.

A Magnum Vienneta Parfait for dessert was a rather rich slice of pudding perfection; not too heavy but a belt loosener without the guilt trip.

With cooking that has the flavours, charm and simplicity of a Brawn or a Terroir, and a style that makes you smile despite yourself, The Shed has plenty to recommend it to locals. Even scenesters should find it’s well worth pedaling the single geared bike over to Notting Hill for.

122 Palace Gardens Terrace  Notting Hill, London W8 4RT theshed-restaurant.com

The Malt House Fulham

Sign of the times

I remember coming with my uncle, a dedicated football fan, to what’s now the Malt House back in 1972. It was a popular pub pre-match and I sat outside (in those days children were not allowed to run riot in pubs) and while fighting off pederasts, sucked on my Pepsi and munched my cheese and onion crisps while uncle downed a few pints of beer inside. Then preceded by a gust of pub air – a heady blend of best bitter, Embassy Regal and urinal cake – he took me to the game.

Back then area was a lot less posh of course; in fact it was almost a London suburb. Soon afterwards men who went in for rugby shirts as casual dress and wives in publishing, took over and while there are still pockets of poverty around, check out the flammable tracksuits and gangrenous hoop earrings down the Broadway, it’s generally gentrified.

What my uncle would make of the Malt House now is hard to imagine. It is still technically a pub, but it’s not one where you’d hang around the bar pre-match unless on your way to a corporate box. Tables and eating are the real deal here and the chef is a proper restaurant chef, not a burger slinger. Every bit of wood in the place has been painted cream and the niff of Farrow & Ball is still slightly in the air.

Claude Bosi, he of Hibiscus fame and some infamy, has done to this pub what he and brother Cedric did to the Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon, which is to rather throw the baby out with the bathwater design-wise. It seems a shame to swiftly paint over a patina built up over centuries. but then they’re French. All they probably saw was a smelly old pub with a sticky carpet, not years of glorious British history and hooliganism.

Headless chefs?

But what of the food? Chef Marcus McGuinness has come over from Bosi’s 2 star Hibiscus and the menu occupies the ground between fine dining and what we used to call gastro-pub. Thus a bowl of plump, sea-fresh mussels semi-submerged in an oil-slicked broth was delicately flavoured with wild garlic and teensy-tiny pieces of smoked bacon. One mussel was refusing to grin, so I stuck it on the subs bench, but the rest were perfect and the broth a good reboot of a bistro classic.

J’s curried root vegetable soup arrived as mirepoix cubes, before the waiter poured over the soup in fine-dining stylee. This might have been labelled a puree as it was almost thick enough to stand the crusty bread up in. J liked the fact that the spicing was only in the vegetables so that the soup was a contrast in texture and taste and sparkled with bursts of lime set against honey

My main of roast Cornish cod with celeriac and lovage came in another broth, making it rather too similar to my starter. This could have been mentioned on the menu as you can only drink so much broth. That caveat aside the fish was gorgeous – sweet chunks, bone-free, generous in quantity and cooked properly so that it languidly slid apart down its fault lines when prodded. Celeriac cubes brought in the unique flavour of the world’s ugliest root vegetable; you could imagine it threatening Doctor Who, while the lovage, also a celery flavour, added tonal value and specks of colour.

Simple but elegant

Through the serving window I’d earlier watched the disembodied mid-parts of tattooed chefs slice pork belly from a larger piece, presumably sous-vided, and take it off to be finished. It now arrived glistening with crackling and with a puddle of roasting juices and apple puree lapping at its sides.

J’s first attempt at cutting through the crackling resulted in a noise like a rifle shot, closely followed by the sound of pork fat ricocheting off a far wall. He turned it upside down and found it a lot easier to deal with. Plenty of flavour -packed meat from a happy pig and we shared al dente seasonal purple broccoli plus some triple cooked chips, decently crispy but slightly oddly-flavoured.

And so to pud. A malted vanilla ice cream the shape and almost the size of a rugby ball, with ever so on trend salted caramel, for J, and an excellent forced rhubarb Eton mess for me. This was the best mess I’d had for ages, the tart/sweet rhubarb really shining through against gooey- crispy meringue.

Times change and pubs are dying. Conversion into the sort of place the Bosis have created seems the only way to avoid demolition or conversion into flats. J’s set lunch cost £19.50 and my a la carte, around £30, both easy to digest prices for above average cooking that could easily make this a regular haunt for locals. All in all quite a result for Fulham and clearly premier league stuff.

17 Vanston Pl, Fulham, London SW6 1AY www.malthousefulham.co.uk

A bit of fizz at lunchtime -tasting Nino Franco Proseccos at Hawksmoor Air

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

His name is on the bottle- class

The thing that makes Prosecco such a strong contender for lunchtime drinking is, oxymoronically, its lack of strength. At an average ABV of 10% it’s perfectly possible to drink the stuff for hours on end and still not need helping out of the restaurant afterwards. This is a rather good thing as the stairs at Hawksmoor Air are the sort ready to trip up anyone whose vision and depth perception have become impaired,  I actually fell up them when arriving..

Not being a fan of steak or burgers, they’re okay but monoglottal (© AA Gill) I had actually come to meet Primo Franco, patriarch of Nino Franco Spumanti, a Prosecco producer founded in 1919 in Valdobbiadene at the foot of the Prealps in the Venetian region, by his ancestor Antonio.

There was also the big lure of seafood on a menu created by Mitch Tonks, who is to the Guardian and Observer what Mark Hix is to the Independent. The fact is that seafood and Prosecco is a cosy symbiotic relationship, and as Primo had brought with him examples of his product, the best thing to do was tuck in while he talked

First out of the trap was his Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut, served up with Queenie scallops  fried in a light batter and with lashings of tartar sauce, plus scallops on the shell roasted with white port and garlic. The queenies were a trifle over shadowed by the batter, but the scallops on the shell were magnificent. The coral had crisped slightly, which was good, and the main meat was butter soft and drenched in the pungent garlic sauce.

Turning Japanese

Here the Prosecco’s creaminess echoed that of the scallop and notes of apple added a slight astringency to offset the richness.  Primo explained between mouthfuls that since he took over in 1982, he had invested heavily in more modern production techniques and set his sights on a more premium product than the simple country wine it had been. Far greater care was now taken over every aspect of production: from grapes to fermentation and all the way to marketing.

Lobster bites were next and better than I expected, not usually finding lobster all that exciting myself -the shellfish equivalent of fillet steak i.e. pricier than its flavour justifies. A jug of melted butter to pour over was ridiculously luxurious though and it was a very good lobster, even better though was the Brixham crab on toast supported by great gobbets of thick mayonnaise. The only downer here being the occasional tooth-threatening shell fragment that had slipped through the net.The Prosecco up at the oke this time was Vigneto Della Riva di San Floriano 2010 a fruit packed heavy hitter that had the structure and long finish to help the crab scuttle down a treat. The fizz, which lasted a long time in the glass, cleansing the palate like a benign pressure washer.

I’d heard a bit about Hawksmoor’s Turbot, cut into thick strips and grilled over charcoal, and what I’d heard was right. This was an excellent bit of fish, ‘bloody’ excellent as female bloggers like to say. The firm meat of turbot can happily take the intense heat of a grill more usually employed in searing steaks, and the resulting smoke really punched in flavour. Served like this turbot takes on the grandness of monkfish, but for a lot less. Janssons Temptation served alongside didn’t do it for me – it had anchovies instead of pickled sprats – and was more a buzz kill than a temptation.

Dead soldiers

The Triple Cooked chips were overcooked; this mania for triple cooking chips has to stop – it’s no substitute for Properly Cooked. The buttered greens though were just as I like them, barely cooked at all. For this last main Primo brought out his big guns; Grave di Stecca Brut and Primo Franco 2013. I loved the former’s steely dryness that soon mellowed to a smooth aftertaste with peachy overtones while the Primo Franco from the high hillside Glera grapes was a tad too sweet for my taste, a result perhaps of 30 grams per litre residual sugar compared to 10g in the Rustico.

Finally, and with a plum and Bramley apple pie of heart-warming simplicity, came Superiore di Cartizze 2012 a wine with pronounced minerality, in fact Primo pulled some sample stones he’d picked up from the steeply sloped, high altitude vineyard  from his pocket and explained that this hard, slatey material makes up large parts of his terroir.

Prosecco really is much more than Poor Man’s Champagne, not least because of the varieties available. Nino Franco may not be widely available here yet, but as I floated back down the staircase I could only think that when it is, it’s going to be a winner.

Links to importers here do not guarantee that the particular vintage mentioned is available. Hawksmoor Air serves Nino Franco Proseccos.

Clockjack, Soho

February 10, 2013 Leave a comment

14 Denman Street, Soho, London W1D 7HJ www.clockjackoven.com

It’s a wind up

Walk through any French outdoor market and you’ll find someone selling spit-roasted chickens from what looks like a modified fairground ride. These machines cook chooks twenty or thirty at at a time, rotating in a hypnotic synchronised dance as they slowly acquire a deep, golden crispy tan.

Walk through any English ASDA and you’ll see much the same thing; golden chickens with tasty promise. So if French itinerant traders can do it, and the green fleece of ASDA can do it, why can’t Clockjack?

The first thing that made J and I, both of us bird fanciers, twitch was the sight of the cooked  birds suspended in a glass case rather like museum exhibits and with the deathly pallor of a Streatham crackhead – pasty, ill-looking and worth reporting to the police. From across the room you could see the skin had all the crispiness of a wet flannel. We debated leaving there and then but decided that maybe these weren’t  the chickens we’d be eating. God knows what made us think that, blind optimism probably.

Seated at the clearly expensive wooden bar and perched unsteadily on natty stools, we were treated to the sight of a server plucking one of the fowl exhibits from its mausoleum and taking it to bits with poultry shears just inches from our noses. The smell of chicken fat was overpowering, the spectacle unappetising. If it were my restaurant I’d have the chickens dismantled well away from the punters’ gaze and done with noisy theatrical clean blows from a cleaver, not the squelchy sound of shears.

The room could certainly do with some livening up because at lunchtime it was mostly empty. No sounds, no atmosphere just the sight of the Brittany chickens morosely roosting and no doubt wondering what they had done to deserve such a fate. The rotisserie didn’t even have any chickens in it, just naked gas flames wastefully jetting into nothing and warming us globally.

We ate a whole chicken in ten pieces for £17.95 served with a selection of sauces shamelessly squirted into their bowls from plastic bottles behind the bar. Yes it happens in every restaurant, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but why not do it out of the customers’ sight for heaven’s sake?

The chicken skin was, as we guessed it would be, terrible. Greasy, lank and tasteless. Fit only to be peeled off like a soggy condom and as quickly discarded. The unseasoned meat was moist, verging on wet, and tasted of not much at all, not even chicken. The menu boasts that Clockjack’s marinade is a special secret recipe. The secret may possibly be that it’s just tap water.

We gamely ate it anyway; it was lukewarm but it was at least safely cooked through. The sauces were okay if you like synthetic tasting sauces – the chilli sauce was wussy and the Caesar was definitely not fit for an emperor. The chips were decently crispy but they tasted of fish for some reason, perhaps the oil needed changing, or maybe the bloke in charge of the fryer did.

And off we went, having paid £35 for a bird that didn’t fly, some so-so chips and two bottles of beer. For that money we could have done a lot better almost anywhere else in Soho.

This trendy fowl-up may get some innocents flocking in to spend their money, but it shouldn’t get the real bird spotters in a flap. The next time I fancy roast chicken I’ll wait until Sunday and cook my own, or go to ASDA and get one of theirs. At least I know it’ll be roasted right instead of being totally clocked..

Chez Gerard -Bishopsgate

January 16, 2013 Leave a comment

64 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AW www.chezgerard.co.uk

Tres Braz

Many years ago I’d ride the creaky lift at Covent Garden station and my eyes would fall on an advert that never seemed to change. ‘Chez Gerard,’ it said, ‘ best steak-frites this side of Paris.’

I’d never actually eaten steak frites in Paris, so had no idea of the size of the gauntlet being thrown down, but the claim was intriguing.  I meant to go and find out, it sounded tempting enough, but other meals got in the way and so Gerry had to make do without my custom.

And then of course I was too late; the Chez Gerard group was bought in 2011 by a division of Raymond ‘Voila!’  Blanc’s empire, to be rebranded as Brasserie Blancs. However some kind of change of heart has taken place and after a big revamp the restaurant in Bishopsgate is determinedly and proudly a Chez Gerard. Time to check out that steak boast.

It’s very City inside – J and I being the only people in the restaurant not wearing ties. Downstairs is a busy bar while upstairs there’s a la carte on offer. It’s a bit of a climb up there as the lift only takes one person – presumably it was designed by the same people who make the escape pods for Bond villains. Read more…

Flatiron steak, Soho

December 31, 2012 2 comments

17 Beak St, Soho, W1F 9RW flatironsteak.co.uk

Covetable chopper

I’m not the world’s biggest steak fan, it’s what people who don’t normally eat in restaurants, eat in restaurants. It’s my distress purchase in a country pub, because whatever else ‘chef’ may foul up from the freezer you can be fairly confident that he can cook a steak, or its minced equivalent the burger, adequately well.

What I would dearly like to rediscover, like lost innocence, is the steak restaurant of my youth, the Tavern in the Town in Croydon. My 11 year old self loved it in there – the faux Tudor decor, the big steaks with the cross-hatch grill marks, the lavish chips, the frozen peas, the tinned slippery mushrooms and the great big grilled tomato. Oh you may curl your lip in middle class disdain, but it was just great.

Which brings us to Flatiron, Soho where a steak is £10 with salad, if you can call a glass of mache a salad and they do. It comes ready sliced on a board, thus negating the need for the very stealable mini cleaver provided as a knife, and flatiron is a New Yawk cut of meat not all that well known in the UK although apparently called a Butler’s Steak over here.

Cut from the shoulder it’s a bit tougher than your average steak and so Flatiron sous vide it.  Now sous vide is a tricky thing, it’s very useful in professional kitchens as a means of prepping food in advance, but the resulting meat desperately needs to be finished over or under a flame, otherwise it comes out with both the texture and allure of baby food.

Bring your own cushion

I like to wrestle with a steak, shirts off like William Shatner in Star Trek, the hard-won bits are where the flavour is and that’s why onglet is so good. Flatiron’s steak is butter smooth, you could cut it with an airline spork, but they do a pretty good job of getting some texture and caramelisation on the outside, so saving it from being anodyne but it needs a bit more. Of course getting in a Josper or a charcoal grill would be expensive, but a hotter pan would probably do just as well.

The chips are rather good, the tasty crispy bits lurking at the bottom of the tin dog bowl they’re served in indicative of the real deal. The market greens of savoy cabbage steamed and served in another tin bowl are wrong, it’s school dinner cabbage even though it’s not been boiled to death in the approved manner. The steak sauces meanwhile are serviceable.

Seating is at funky tables with fixed wooden disks for seats that you swing your leg over as if mounting a culinary motorbike. There are no single tables only group ones, but then you’d hardly be coming here for a romantic meal would you. Wines come in specimen flasks of various sizes, which is handy, and they’re good enough for steak.

The decor, menu fonts and other style elements borrow magpie-like from the scenester mono glottal restaurants – your Polpos, your Meatliquors, your Pitt Cues, etc. – but pinching other people’s proven ideas isn’t such a bad idea if you’re looking to steer a safe course.

Whether it is a safe course overall is debatable. Nothing wrong with the food at the price, but the same people who ‘bloody loved’ this kind of thing mid 2012 are now turning their butterfly minds to the next fashionable thought. But for non scenesters who just want to eat in a ‘clean, well-lighted place’ and not make a style statement, tweet  or take photos of their food then Flatiron has only a few wrinkles.

Photos-  Paul Winch-Furness.

STK London steakhouse reviewed

December 11, 2012 Leave a comment

How do you like your steak? I don’t mean rare, medium or ruined, I mean what kind of ambience do you want?  The red brick university educated, job in the media, parents in the shires, style of Hawksmoor, or the school of hard knocks, what bloody parents, making a fortune at the bank, style of STK?

Suits you sir?

STK is certainly not going to delight fans of the former that’s for sure. It’s loud, it’s a bit brash, it says ‘shut your mouth and look at my Breitling’. Its location in the new ME by Melia Hotel at the Aldwych end of the Strand puts it just outside touristy Covent Garden but within reach of lawyers and City types from further east.

Perversely I like it almost as soon as we walk in. It’s not the kind of place the wife and I normally frequent, it’s black and cream and chrome and glossy and it’s all rather exciting and we feel that we’re in a different world, one where people don’t fret over gas bills or the cost of car repairs. The DJ, yes there is one, is playing 80s music and while punk was actually the soundtrack to our late teens, 80s music was the soundtrack to our early twenties, a time when we had our first jobs, every night was party night and nothing seemed impossible. Not even wearing white towelling socks. Read more…