Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review - Kalamari

Before I started this blog, I wrote some drafts and asked the two people (let's call them A and B) who knew me best (hence no fear of judgement) to read over them. Just over a month ago, two separate but interlinked arguments resulted in me not speaking to either of them anymore. Now, harsh as it may sound, I'm not regretful at not speaking to most of the people I'm not speaking to anymore. We haven't been friends in the true sense of the word for over three years. Taking the tone even harsher, I don't (and probably won't) miss B since he had become something of a gangrenous limb who was only hard to cut off because he was there at the right place at the right time several years ago when some other part of my life was going to hell. However, I have definitely started missing A a lot. A is the person who I could tell everything ever to, however embarrassing or uncharitable or awkward it might be. He is also the person who gave the soundest advice and had a knack for knowing how things would turn out. It also helps that we would never in a million years be romantically involved. Most importantly, he delivers criticism incredibly kindly. And he's very well read. All qualities you'd find in someone who could help you on your way to becoming a failed novelist. Then I started thinking about how he said he's left me his extensive library in his will and then I started worrying that he was dead and how would I know if he was and how regretful I would feel if that happened while we were still not speaking. Rationally, I know our friendship is not defined by our last conversation but that is not how it would feel. Unfortunately, picking up where we left off is not merely a matter of swallowing pride; it's prevented by the fact that he is crucially linked to lots of things I would like to stay far, far away from. These were all the thoughts swimming around when I went to London. I was deliberating just manning up and dropping him an email and convincing myself that it wouldn't be as bad as I imagined. However, after the material buying, I met a friend who is not at all intrinsically connected with lots of crap (but is tangentially so, kind of) and I still felt a bit prickly over lunch. And that brings (not very smoothly) me to the food. We were at Kalamari on Chiswick High Road. We'd been walking for what felt like hours (we were very hungry and any place we both agreed on was shut or shutting.) So we settled on this Greek place and our hopes were high. Mainly because my companion kept saying she had a feeling we were going to find somewhere REALLY good.
First came the olives and carrots. The carrots had definitely been out for some time. The olives were far too heavily marinated. The bread was soft and warm and we asked for hummus to go with it. The hummus was amongst the best I've tasted with a lovely undertone of lemon.
Mains: veal steak with a cream sauce and fries and beef stifado. I would have expected from the hummus that they'd be good at using lemon. Unfortunately not, the stifado sauce was far too acidic and also strangely dry. The flavour had permeated through to the tender beef so I ended up leaving half of it despite the enjoyable texture. The carrots and green beans within the sauce provided brief respite from the hideous sauce. Where the stifado sauce was too tangy, the mushroom sauce was far, far too creamy. The 'asparagus' were courgettes (and not very well cooked ones at that) and the veal was not tender enough. On top of all this, they pissed me off by already adding service to the bill and charging us for the bread (which we had not requested) which meant that the total came to almost £20 each for one course and only one soft drink. Unimpressed.

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