Friday, 24 April 2015

A quick one about Edinburgh

As part of my campaign to promote Edinburgh over Durham to my brother, I decided to take the radical step of inviting him up to the Explorer's house and see the city in all its glory. A side effect is that he also saw me and the Explorer together which has never, ever happened before. There was also a fair amount of boozing which neither me nor my brother has seen the other one do. So, how did that pan out? Well, firstly, I got their names confused quite a bit whenever I was doing my cajoling someone for being an idiot / irritating me voice. This happens even when they're not in the same expanse of space and only got worse. (It's also obviously hilarious for everyone else and indicates that I should stop telling the Explorer / anyone off.) But names and irritation aside, it was a fairly chill weekend. Well done all of us! 
It started with a burrito at Pinto Mexican - far superior to Chilango's / similar because of the breadth of choice. Particularly of note is the rub on both the slow roasted and steaky beef. I also had haggis with my breakfast the next morning at The Pantry. It was by far the nicest example of haggis I've tried - firmer in texture and less peppery. The other elements of the build your own breakfast included a tattie scone and vegetable hash - all conspiring together to trump the American inspired waffles of which London seems so fond. Last of all, we ended up in Henderson's in St John's. 
Great location - all crypty but still light and with lovely little paintings everywhere. I'm surprised it wasn't more full. I was full (ha, ha) after the vegetarian EXTRAVAGANZA that we ordered. Bean burgers, bean taco, a spinach cheese fill thing and an array of colourful salads. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Review - Morito, City Social

What does it mean to be a bar snack? It can mean crisps or tapas or even unlimited portions of northern Italian pasta. For me, it means not throwing up or getting a cab on a Thursday. Hooray! Also it really poses the question of what a restaurant is and why it's different. It's not the number or expectation of courses. It's often not even the formality of the setting. It's definitely not the relative merit of the drink over the food. Anyway, I've tired of writing this and Mile End tube approaches - it doesn't matter what it is but I'm glad the concept exists. Now let's talk about what I ate at Morito and City Social.
Morito is my current favourite restaurant (bar?) in London. We went on a whim to celebrate the Explorer's biggest work win to date. First point - it doesn't let you book but doesn't expect you to queue aimlessly, instead very reasonable tells you when you have an opportunity to sit at a table to call your own and eat. Mmm. The tortilla with sprouting broccoli and wild garlic is one of the best things I've ever eaten. It's so impressive that the broccoli retains bite while the potatoes are gooey and the whole omelette a beautiful balance between wet and firm. Oh baby. The lamb on aubergine was so sweet and tender and shredded! The cauliflower griddled amongst the chicken was pretty and toasty and went well with the harissa tang of the chicken. The salt cod croquettes lived up to their name (in that they were salty, fishy croquettes) and the little chorizo on toast that we got to shut the Explorer up was just slightly moistened by tomato. I'm basically saying it was all great. Better (even if in a very different way) to City Social the next night. 
City Social was more about good service and the wonderful view. Everything had a little bit of theatre to it and we didn't have to ask for water or refill our own wine even once. The goat's cheese churros were inspired and the honey with them made them feel like a dessert. The ploughman's was a meal for two in itself - romesco cauliflower pickle to go with the soft, delicious cheddar. A cute little black pudding scotch egg, creamy inside and crisp outside. It went well with the sweet, tart apple and raisin chutney. My favourite was probably the salt beef - it came dressed and potted. Then came the main! The shrimp roll I ordered for main was somewhat outdone by the ploughman affair as I can barely remember what it tasted like and can't remember it anyway. The chicken fared better - just a lovely, rich bit of roasted chicken with some cute accoutrements.  

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Delicious Grand Cayman

Hey, I've skipped no meals and had no hangovers! The wonders of a Caribbean holiday. The flip side of this is that the jeans I wore out had to be left unbuttoned for the return journey but frankly, give a shit. Other handy stats that summarise how relaxed and wonderful and great I feel: 0 urges to listen to weirdly upbeat but depressing lame Sia songs, 10 nails and toes immaculately painted and buffed to within an inch of their life, still unchipped, 0 incidents of me missing dates with the Explorer and / or coming home and saying 'it's quiet time now please leave me alone'. So relaxed. So luxurious. It's pretty great. 

So what did we eat? Fish tacos from the appropriately titled Sunset House while watching this bloody great sunset. Wonderfully flaky, moist fish fry sandwiches from Rum Point defying my rule of thinking fish and bacon is weird together. The last beach shack we went to was Duke's - the jambalaya was spicy and packed with moist seafood but much too salty. The jerk wasn't the best but nothing to complain about.
Plus, it was competing with Seymour's jerk pork that comes straight from a barrel! Unsurprisingly, the loveliest, spiciest, fruitiest jerk I've had. Curry goat I had alongside the fluffiest paratha from Singh's Roti Shop. 
On the other end of the fanciness spectrum, we had coconut shrimp at Royal Palm's - a little underwhelming but the freshness of the mango salsa means I still feel positive. And my last meal we had at Catch and, serendipitously, it was by far the nicest. A huge plate of seafood spaghetti full of fresh white fish, prawns, mussels, lobster, everything in a garlicky tomato sauce which would have been just wonderful to soak in bread - had the waitress not inadvertently tipped it onto the Explorer's white shirt instead.