The past week I set foot in more restaurants than I normally do over several months, but as things do, loads happened in my life in a short space of time, leaving me in a slightly dejected mood tonight. Of course I have stuff that needs doing, but I’m sure you know the feeling of when you’ll put things off and procrastinate because all you want to do is go back there in mind and spirit.
It all started on Sunday when I met Werner for late lunch at St John Bread & Wine, one of my favourite East London Sunday hang-outs. Clearly on this particular Sunday the lady that served us wasn’t really into it, and we sat around for quite a while with our sad/hungry faces on waiting for bread and wine. Eventually I thought I’d chew my arm off and flagged down some other server who helped us. I would have thought that the service would be quite good as Mr Henderson himself was dining. Eating was the standard brown crabmeat on toast, ham & green bean salad with duck egg and a steaming but unappealing fennel & Berkswell gratin. A super highlight was the blood cake with prunes and pancetta. I love making blood cake myself and this version was inspirational.
Off Simon and I cycled to Hyde Park for a staff party, and several Caipirinhas and some drama later, everyone was sizing up the buffet at brazilian restaurant Rodizio Rico. For £22.50, you help yourself to all the brazilian side dishes you can eat, and then servers come to the table and carve off every conceivable piece of meat that can be barbecued – on top of everything on your plate. Know when you eat so much you can’t actually drink? Well that’s the deal here. Feijoada with fufu, bean and pickled vegetable salads and particularly the roast rump were ridiculously good. It’s all about no-fuss eating.
My folks landed on Monday, and insisted on having a bite at Vinoteca, as well as a bottle of something inspiring that they had’nt tried before. The Hungarian Chardonnay (unoaked) got the thumbs-up from my mom, who according to my dad, has been a bit of an ABC all of the 30 years they’ve been together. Mission accomplished I say.
Tuesday lunch saw me and my mom at the bar at Salt Yard, and we had such good tapas that she prematurely called it her favourite meal in the big smoke. Can’t believe I’ve never been before – if I could afford it I would park myself at the bar weekly. Tuesday dinner (oh yes, still going), our party sampled the steak tartare, oysters, octopus and artichoke salad and smoked salmon at Quo Vadis. Mains were rumps with bearnaise sauce that they have a bit of a name for by now, duck breast and my confit monkfish. All perfectly executed if not a bit boring. Or something. I expected something more exciting from QV but I suspect I was getting jaded by this point. I was delighted to see rum baba on the menu, and got Simon to order it, being the only one with room for dessert. General consensus at the table was the question on whether there was a difference between the baba and a soggy doughnut. I forgive them, they just don’t get it.
Last in the line was Terroirs – a wine bar I’ve been wanting to try for some time now, and even though the decidedly French small plates (clams, smoked eel, remoulade) were delicious, the decor didn’t do it for me. Love the list though, and it’s my top choice in Covent Garden for affordable eating and good wine. I’m taking a break now though. Until Sunday, that is…