Friday, 29 January 2016

Review - Mary's

I learnt some great new acronyms from a pal recently: IDGAF, IRDGAF, IDRGAF. The I stands for I and the D stands for don't. With some imagination, you can work out what the other letters stand for. And that's about where I'm at right now, but that sounds negative when it's really not: the perverse thing about not GAF is that it gets confused with confidence whereas when you try really hard and stress out always, people react poorly and it never feels like you've tried hard enough. So it was all going dandily and I was enjoying being one of those people where you're like 'what I don't get how you could just not have done this thing that we all heard you say you'd do!' and getting what I want more of the time. When I had this dawning realisation that I really don't need be less self sacrificing and actually this has maybe pushed me over into wanker territory. Striking the balance between NGAF and not being a wanker is tricky and I'm definitely not doing it well at the moment. Which (Sex and the City style poorly written segue) got me to thinking about which of these behaviours and character traits have been acquired in the last six months or whether I've always had them but they've been suppressed due to low (or often high) level stress and depression. As an example, I haven't cooked much recently and haven't had people over for dinner. Even worse, when doing group meals, I've just been an unashamed wanker about it and offered to bring wine rather than put any effort in. But I always recognised myself as someone who cooks often but maybe that was just one of the ways in which I got all listy and organised as reaction to stress and uncertainty. Ditto wanting little oasises (what is the plural of oasis?) of home time in my weekends rather than just semi-backpacking around London. So how am I going to bring this back to what I ate? I was doing my schlepping from this cafe, Mary's, to see my parents and was so tired that I felt necessary to get a cab in the full daylight with full transport and my mother was all like 'YOUR EYES YOUR HAIR WHAT IS GOING ON STABILITY BUY A HOUSE' and my reaction was IRDGAF
I recommended Mary's to someone and their first question was 'is it trendy greasy spoon or regular?' and it is definitely not trendy in d├ęcor (and has a really scuzzy toilet) but the food is SO on point. I had eggs, bubble, hash brown, mushrooms and beans and toast. Oh my god that toast - fuck that butter was so melty and glossy and tasted so rich. The mushrooms were just done and garlicky and fried not watery. The bubble and squeak was fluffy and light and all the enclosed cabbage had retained its colour. The eggs had notably delicious yolks. I think actually the best breakfast in London - and no annoying yuppy frills aimed at people like me.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Review - FM Mangal

What is the phenomenon called when you become aware of something e.g. a new word and then you can't help but notice it everywhere and it feels that it has coincidentally become more prevalent but really it's probably just that you're noticing more? YES, INTERNET? Anyway, I feel that a lot at the moment and I can't tell if it's because there are certain things that are actually coming up more amongst people I know, if I'm just noticing them more or if they're all trending so it's a mix of both and it is virtually indistinguishable which is chicken and which is egg. Anyway, the clearest example of this is I Love Dick. Is it that it is resonating because:
a) I have felt more myself than ever before for a variety of reasons and therefore it feels like it speaks to me
b) It is in the spirit of the current Lena / soul baring / oversharing feminist art thing that's on point right now
c) That a lot of my female friends who in broad terms are in the same niche in terms of age, education and experience are going through similar times which could either be a function of age or could be a function of events that have taken place recently or (most likely) because we are at the age where those events are likely to happen
d) I have this blog and happened last week to write about being way open (before I read I Love Dick and knew it was about)
e) All of the above
Anyway, basically it feels like the book that I was meant to write except that actually that's an annoying thing to say because people who are 'meant to write' just write and also I'm not a genius and can't really vocalise ideas that well as she does. Sigh. (Side note: there's a good passage in ILD where she points out and is aware of the coincidences.)
'After having spent a few hours in the salon reading 'I Love Dick' and getting the best haircut she's ever had, all of which added to the air of charm and coincidence, Ari went to a popular Turkish restaurant to meet her friends.'
OK so firstly, props to the bread. It's worth going here to eat just the (free) bread. It tastes so smokey and juicy that there is no way that bread is vegetarian and makes the back of your tongue salivate in a way that is clearly triggering meat craving. Which is great, because we had meat upcoming: the lamb mixed grill. It all homogenises into one iron rich mess with fresh vegetables and I can't really distinguish far beyond that but it was good and nothing was too chewy or not chewy enough. Also, hot mezze platter had different selections of cheese and salt rich treats. But really, just go for the bread. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Review - Verdi, The Morgan Arms, Indo

Fuck, I just read back on a draft of a blog I wrote ages ago and just got an acute sense of 'your narrative voice is so annoying'. I was recently telling someone about my blog and considering whether that was a good call or not given that I'm trying to exhibit best self and, while best self is still authentic self, the ratio of 'highly functioning, got shit together, is fun' to 'it must be exhausting to maintain this (crazy) internal monologue' is definitely higher than usual. (Anyway, that ship has now sailed and actually I don't think they know my last name and if they do, whatever.) Anyway, this chain of thought got me onto candour and how frank it is appropriate to be in a public forum. Honesty has previously got me into trouble but I think still, on balance, if you can't be honest on a digital diary that you write mostly for yourself, when can you? So here's a round up of three local places I've been recently which it's taken so long to post because I didn't know how honest to be.

Verdi, or, 'the best couples to hang out with are the ones that are happy and also don't make you feel like a third wheel' 

The starter was of these doughy pillows which I don't know the name of surrounded by salty cheese and curative my fresh ham. The prawn risotto was an unappetisingly pink colour which misrepresented how delicious it was . (As in, it was delicious.) The tiramisu was worth maintaining a separate pudding stomach for.

The Morgan Arms, or, 'is it a bad idea to go for dinner with your ex boyfriend? Categorically, unmitigatedly yes'

This was the best roast dinner I've had in London: the pork belly was so infused with flavour through the crackling and the flesh that anyone who doesn't believe in the positive effects of a marinade is a mug. The Morgan Arms mash made me feel sad that BLT has shut down due to gentrified rents because I would really just eat mash with gravy and vegetables the whole time if it still existed.

Indo, or, 'fuck I was so worried that I would have my first real experience of death that day and also conflicted because I had fun evening plans and didn't know how to process the mix of sad that friend might die and excited about fun date'. (Addendum: friend didn't die, so grateful and thankful to God that I don't believe in.) 

I was unconvinced by how good at food this mainly drinky place would be but hey! Solid pizza. Hand made base I think with pleasingly slightly burnt but crisp edges. Underdone topping but that's OK. Well done. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

Review - Kopapa

THE WORST DAY OF THE YEAR IS OVER. It only gets better from here! (It was the third of January, FYI.) Two days after New Year's Day and one day before work, I woke up having slept intermittently as I'd had the worst nightmare I've ever had (think Titus Andronicus, Lavinia) feeling the sort of sad and empty that you forget happens even when you've got your shit together as I'd like to think I usually do. Someone recently (annoyingly) mentioned that I like doing things and distracting myself, kind of like I'm a cat who somehow manages to roll their own ball of wool out without them noticing. My ball of wool on New Year weekend was a baptismal walk and high ceilings and brunch and other activities which feel carefully crafted and won't end in e.g. throwing up outside your flat because you ate beer and oranges all New Year's Day. Anyway, turns out that you can be as grown up and structured as you like but sometimes, you're just going to feel sad. And that's cool as long as you can see through the trees or some similar cliche. Still, the trees probably obscured my enjoyment of Kopapa somewhat.
The Turkish eggs have been raved about to me by someone whose recommendations I usually trust but they just weren't doing it for me. I enjoyed the chilli oil and the texture of the bread and yes, the eggs were poached in that delicate, unachievable way. But too much yoghurt. It just got this clag behind my tongue and I didn't find it pleasant to eat. And there was something sour about the after taste of the yoghurt which resonated with the after taste of the coffee. Anyway, I'll give it another go because the food was fine, just not what I had expected. And the service was the closest I've seen to perfect in London bar Clove Club. And obviously there are better ways to experience something than when you feel like you're manacled to a Dementor.