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NEW WEBSITE – laymytable.com

2 Sep

If you have found your way to my blog by way of http://www.laymytable.wordpress.com then please know that the all new laymytable has been relaunched! Please make your way to laymytable.com to have a look.

Thank you for your support!

 

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Dead Dolls House – Sunday Dinners

25 Mar
After a bit of a hiatus, call it research, I’m back and have lots to say!
Recently I went to Dead Doll’s House, don’t let the name fool you, it isn’t paying homage to a deathly childhood, or any such matter. It’s a very cleverly designed building, with lots of levels and separate rooms, littered with marker pen drawings all over the walls, an example being an entire fireplace complete with mantel piece and all the accessories artistically interpreted. Most of the tables are communal, with mismatching chairs and there’s a wonderful faux-grass roof terrace too, complete in the sense that it’s a perfect sun trap.-1What really inspired me after chatting with the creator, is that it isn’t a set restaurant, it has pop-ups and innovative ideas, like ‘Picnic In The Conservatory’. The offer is to prepay for your meal and then come to a sitting, so there’s no fuss on the day.

The ideas are great, the decor and the lighting are exceptional. A kitsch affair with secret rooms and a vintage cocktail feel. It’s in prime position on Hoxton Square and what they have accomplished in terms of innovation and ideas is formidable.

I therefore had high hopes when I signed up for their ‘Sunday Dinners’. I prepaid £25 for a four course set menu. They use a rotation system, so each Sunday a different meat is used. For the Sunday I attended, it was the beef menu. This particular pop-up is run by Checkon. A company managed by Terry Edwards & George Craig.

sunday dinners menuWe started off with The Cheesy Fingers, described above. It arrived in a small paper box, three large fingers and a little pot of sweet chilli to dip. The bread-crumbed outer layer was well executed, it was light, crispy and not too oily. All in all, very well maintained. The inside was a welcome comfort, and tasted very cheesy. Unfortunately I couldn’t really taste the jalapeno, pale ale or beef dripping, although you could sense there was something more than just cheese inside. It was enjoyable, however there was nothing not to like. It was a simple dish, like cheese sticks, but a little fancier. Comfort food, done well, but not out of this world.

cheesy fingersOnto the next course. This was the ‘Beef Leaves.’ Herefordshire beef, baby gem, chilli, ginger, coriander, cashew, spring onions and horseradish. The presentation was aesthetically pleasing. Filled with bright colours and a promise of an exotic taste, this was the bonus course, so my palate was expecting something of note. Unfortunately, a disappointment. The first thing was that the use of coriander was overbearing and all consuming, just too much to cope with, so much so that the diner to my left had to start picking it out, as it felt like a whole mouthful of coriander with each bite. The consistency of the beef wasn’t pleasant. It was chewy, slimy and if the other flavours were there, they were lost by the Goliath of coriander. My tongue was buzzing after this dish from the herb infusion. With expectations down, we were praying the third course could show signs of improvement.corainder beefThis was supposed to be the pièce de résistance, the main course, the big attraction. Roast sirloin of Herefordshire beef, yorkies, truffled roasties, greens, roast parsnips and gravy. I think I’m most disappointed by this dish as the beauty should have been in its simplicity. A roast is a wonder of comfort and simplicity, but done badly and it can be a mess of overcooked and under seasoned food. Here’s where I felt it went wrong. The beef was too thick, chewy, lacked taste and was presented badly. It felt precooked and reheated as it had a greyish hue to it, not evident with freshly roasted, browned beef. The parsnip (yes only one) was good, but not crispy on the outside. The Yorkshire pudding was a sorry attempt. It was flooded with oil at the bottom and as I took a bite I was essentially having a gulp of cooking oil. An oversight and a poor attempt. The greens, were chopped cabbage, ok but plain and a little bitter. The insult of the whole plate had to be the ‘truffled roasties’. This was worse than a school dinner. The potatoes tasted nothing short of stale. Overcooked, chewy, and for want of a better description, old. The gravy added to the school dinner effect and hammered home that little effort or thought had been put int the recipe, or cooking session and far more into the PR, as the description was far more appetising. A really awful attempt at a roast dinner. When you’re competing with every Tom, Dick and Harry of pubs, you need to pull off something better than that, or at least pull off something. The diners sharing our table had the same view as us, they were the ones that branded this as a haunting reminder of a bad school dinner.

roast beefWith an unsatisfied belly and the promise of a delicious sounding dessert, I felt a little hesitant to say the least. Mousse, hazelnuts, cake, milkshake, raspberry, mint and biscuits. I had wondered how that much would be incorporated into one plate. The presentation was faultless. Well thought out and looked minimalistic, modern and appetising. Once again, it didn’t even come close to the mark, I’m very sorry to say. The best part of it was a quenelle of chocolate mousse, it was adequate, nothing mouth-watering, but just ok. The (dried) raspberry and biscuits, perhaps the hazelnuts too, but I can’t be sure as I couldn’t taste any hazelnut, were crushed in a line and other than a twinge of flavour from the raspberry, it was pretty tasteless. The milkshake, was at room temperature, not chilled, which straight away made it quite off-putting, and it wasn’t sweet enough. It likened to just cocoa powder and milk. The cake seemed like a muted, factory sealed slice, that you can by from any Lidl with a lacklustre gloop on top. The freeze dried mint on top when eaten with anything else was nondescript and so I sampled some on it’s own and it was as if I had squeezed toothpaste into my mouth. An unwelcome end to a disappointing meal.
dessertAccompanying our meal and the best part of the whole experience had to be the cocktails. We chose Amaretto Sours, they were well made and tasted truly wonderful. If this had been a liquid lunch, this review would have been very different and I’m sure the photos a little blurry.
cocktailsI’m a huge fan of the space, the drinks and the ideas, I really am, but when you have the right lingo, the execution on promotion down to a tee, don’t for one second take your eyes off the prize, that being the food. It isn’t good enough, it wasn’t thought through and it didn’t taste good. And what an absolute shame, as in theory it is brilliant. I’ll be back to The Doll’s House, but not for Sunday Dinners.
Rate: 1.5
Dead Doll’s House
35 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN
Follow them on Twitter @DeadDollsHouse @DeadDollsClub

The Dead Dolls Club on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Kurobuta Pop-Up Chelsea

11 Feb

The buzz has finally come over to the west side. Well I never! It’s always ‘Hoxton this’ and ‘Shoreditch that’ and whilst I love those places and all they have to offer, it’s nice to have something that doesn’t take me an hour and a half to get to.

Hearing quite a bit about the Kurobuta pop-up that is currently residing on The King’s Road, soon to be a permanent feature in Marble Arch, I decided to book myself in. It was far more casual on the inside than I had anticipated; temporary looking wooden tables and flyers pinned to the walls, it had a beach-side shack vibe to it. After a chat with the nice, but slightly over familiar waitress, about the menu, which involved her pulling up a chair and sitting next to us to tell us about it, we decided to pick a few plates to share.

First up BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy. You get two buns and it’s at a pricey £13. I was really intrigued about this as I’ve sampled the delights at Momofuku in New York and more recently at Flesh & Buns in London. This style of bun has never been my favourite consistency, but when the meat is cooked to perfection and marinated really well, it makes it into a comfort food of sorts. This didn’t hit the spot for me. I found the meat to be a little too fatty than normal and it was flavourless. I’ve noticed from photos that our dish doesn’t look nearly as marinated as other people’s, it looks very pale, maybe ours missed the dip in the marinade pool? I really liked the chilli and pickled cucumber as that added a burst of spice and texture to the dish. The peanut soy dip was too concentrated and severe, it needed to be a little bit diluted for it to be appreciated.

pork bunsNext was Salmon Gravadlax and Avocado Tartare with Dill Mayo, Rice Crunchies and Fresh Yuzu Zest. This was a small dish, but worth every penny of the £11 it’s priced at. The creamy sauce drenched the finely chopped and full of flavour salmon and it was accompanied by diced avocado, sesame and a nice sharp tang of yuzu. The rice crunchies added a good solid base to the dish and there’s a strong taste of dill, but fortunately for me, I love dill. It was presented beautifully and tasted fantastic. I would order this over and over again. By far the best dish I tried.

salmon tartareAs more of an appetiser, but everything comes out when it’s ready, we chose the Sweet Potato and Soba-Ko Fries with Sauces. The fries were seasoned impeccably, they were chewy and crispy and had a strong, ripe flavour to them. The dish was accompanied by two dips; a green one that I wasn’t a huge fan of and an orange one that was delicious, it was thick and creamy and had an addition of lemon juice that gave it a burst of something extra. This was a simple, grazing dish, I just wish it had come out at the start.

sweet potato friesHaving a hankering for some sushi we opted for Spicy Tuna Maki Rolled in Tempura Crunchies. This one is cut into 6 pieces and is a relatively modest £8.50. The tuna itself was delectable. It was clearly of the best quality and tasted as such. The rice was soft and a touch warm, which I love, I feel it denotes a freshness and high calibre. However, the tempura crunchies ruined it for me. They didn’t have a crunchy consistency in the slightest, more the texture of cake crumbs and the taste was almost sweet, it didn’t contribute anything to the dish, in fact, if anything it just took away from it. This was a hit and miss dish for me.

tuna makiThe final dish, the second best, at £9.50: Tuna Sashimi Pizza with Trufle Ponzu, Red Onions and Green Chillies. A delightful, crispy tortilla base topped with very thin and beautifully flavoured slices of tuna sashimi. A dash of a light, cream sauce drizzled over it and a tonne of colourful tobiko. It was wonderful. I realise I sound like a spoiled brat when I say this, but the tuna pizza at Morimoto in Meatpacking is out of this world. I mean, like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. The most incredible, mouth-watering, innovative and delicious dish and whilst this one was pretty good, it just wasn’t ‘Morimoto good.’

pizzaAfter a good experience here, a couple of lacklustre dishes, but overall really nice, the waitress went and ruined it. She stepped way over the mark and the over familiarity of before was now just a distant memory; she just kicked us out of bed. Let me proceed in telling you the tale:

  • The bill arrived after being told it was coming, not after having requested it, even though we had been there for just under an hour and my reservation told me I was entitled to the seats for an hour and a half.
  • There is no subtotal and ‘service charge’ is bunged in there too. I’d like to point out the lack of the word ‘optional’ here. The service was at 12.5% and was £5.52. The total bill came to £51.52. I always pay service when I feel it is earned, however given that we had been there less than an hour and I wasn’t particularly taken with this waitress’ approach to serving us, I did hesitate slightly. However, I intended to pay it.
  • I popped £1.50 in change on the tray and then we decided to split the rest over two cards (£25 on each).
  • When she came over with the card machine I said, ‘Can we do £25 on each card and the rest is in change?’ This took her a moment to process. She replied ‘So £25 on each and did you say the rest was in cash, where is the rest?’ I replied that the rest was on the tray. At this stage I just wanted her to get on with it, I didn’t even have to put that £1.50 down, it was part of the service and think she had been given more than enough.
  • She then had the nerve to say ‘And the 2p? Where’s the 2p? Did you not have the 2p as you haven’t paid the full amount?’ Well that was a bit of a shock to the system. and she was pretty rude for asking. I replied that I did not have 2p to hand and it can come out of the service. IT’S TWO FRICKING PENCE. I left this one to Aky as I was so riled up by her audacity so he went to speak to the manager.
  • After a bit of a discussion the manager handed him back the £5.50 tip. Too bloody right. It’s just a shame there was a bit of a sour end to an otherwise good meal.

I felt that it was a delicious meal overall, some dishes I’d love to have again, but because of other ‘misses’ I wasn’t blown away and I think I expected a bit more from Nobu alumni.

Rate 3.7

Kurobuta Pop-Up

251 Kings Road, London, SW3 5EL

And coming soon to: 17-20 Kendal Street, London, W2 2AW

http://www.kurobuta-london.com/

Follow them on Twitter @KurobutaLondon
Square Meal

Jackson + Rye

7 Jan

We’ve been over this. Time and time again. The New York movement is upon us. Some of them work, some of them don’t. So, I read a great deal about the opening of Jackson + Rye and wanting to wait until the soft launch had passed and all the Christmas cheer, I held off. It is marketed as a New York brunch establishment. Of course most, if not all, New York brunch restaurants are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner also. This is no exception. But what it really stands for is the brunch. Much like Mogador, Extra Virgin & Cornelia, to name but a few in Manhattan, its strengths lie in that delightful time between breakfast and lunch.frontIn prime position on Wardour Street just passed Old Compton, lies the very thoughtfully designed Jackson + Rye. It looks like an East Village brunch spot, slow-moving ceiling fans and everything. We were greeted immediately and seated by the window. The place was packed, this being the first Sunday of the new year, I was quite surprised.

Having mentioned ‘The Nudge’ when the reservation was made, both me and my guest were given a free cocktail of our choice. You can use this offer until the end of January, as a heads up! I chose the Breakfast Sour – Buffalo Trace, lemon, egg white, apricot preserve, peach bitters. It arrived adorned with giant ice cubes in a no fuss, short tumbler. It was an interesting taste, a heavy tone of whiskey and a sharp bitterness to it. The whiskey hue smoothed this, but all in all it was too strong for me. Perhaps it’s old-fashioned of me, but cocktails that can be had with the first meal of the day shouldn’t be the same as the one you would choose last thing at night.

cocktailWe chose a dish each and one to share. There was just such an abundance of choice, we didn’t want to miss out. I went for the ‘Anglers’ (scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, country-style potatoes, grilled toast). The scrambled eggs were cooked to perfection with a creamy texture involving the yolk not quite hardened. Heavenly. The salmon was of very good quality and thinly sliced. The potatoes looked a little dry, but upon sampling them, they were nothing of the sort. They were seasoned excellently and combined with caramelised onions, a sprinkling of spring onions and a fluffy interior, they really completed the dish. It was not served with grilled toast as mentioned, but thick sliced rye bread. I tried this, but the potatoes gave me the carb infusion needed, so I didn’t feel the bread was really vital to the dish. All in all this was a perfect blend for brunch. anglersNext up was the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. This says it comes with avocado and chipotle mayonnaise. The latter is true but there was no avocado in this burger, but a slaw instead. Served on a soft brioche bun it came open, I presume so you could add the chipotle mayo freely. chickenThe chicken was unbelievable! I know that must sound like an abrupt statement, but the slight crunch of the batter was bliss, followed by, quite possibly, the softest chicken I’ve had since visiting New Orleans. And let me tell you, it’s pretty daring to mention the deep south when talking about fried chicken. The brioche was a great choice and always a favourite when it comes to a chicken burger, it sweetens the dish and the softness of the bread works well when moulding around the awkward shape of the chicken. The slaw counterbalanced the brioche as it gave a splash of savoury to the burger. The chipotle added some spice and the end result was a pretty perfect burger. burger

Accompanying the burger we opted for some shoestring fries. I love the really skinny ones, because you can take a good fingerful all in one go. These were well seasoned, both fluffy and crispy and let’s just say chips off someone else’s plate don’t count towards calorie intake…ahem. friesThe sharing dish was The Buttermilk Pancakes. This was accompanied by ricotta and maple syrup. I haven’t yet tasted pancakes like they do in New York, I’m not sure I ever will, but let me tell you these were very, very good. I mean really delicious. The pancakes were exceptional, warm, fluffy and perfectly cooked. The cream was beyond amazing. It had a slight sourness to it, but this was balanced out by the syrup and the pancake. I wolfed it down so quickly, I could have ordered a second round. Seriously exquisite food. pancakesThis is the sort of place you want to catch up with friends at. A place full of bustle and warmth. The service is really good. Everyone was attentive and helpful and actually looked as though they wanted to be there. The food is cheap and of excellent quality and above all, taste. I will be going back every chance I get. Anything to stop the withdrawal of eating at an actual New York brunch restaurant. Until then…

Jackson + Rye

Rate 4.8

56 Wardour Street, London, W1D 4JG

0207 437 8338

www.jacksonrye.com/
Jackson & Rye on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

The Imperial

25 Nov

I live a stone’s throw from the newly refurbished and re-branded The Imperial and have been watching the transformation over the last few months on my daily commute. It has gone from a pub/bar that had food residencies and an affiliation with The Little Black Gallery, often packed on Chelsea match days, to a sleek overhaul with an über out of reach menu, citing sustainability as its main focus.

The outside looks spectacular. It’s all been painted a minimalistic white, the lighting is dim and cosy and beautiful plants adorn the entrance, giving it an illusion of grandeur. We arrived a little earlier than our reservation and so decided to get a drink at the bar. This was something that proved almost impossible. There are stools all around the curved bar, people eating there already. To the left you are very close to a table, having to apologise for overshadowing someone’s conversation and equally it’s too near the store cupboard and the easiest exit for the barmen. Annoying. To the right it drifts into coffee-making facilities and the main host’s station for the restaurant, so no luck on that front. We ended up having to shout over two people dining at the bar and reach through his empty mussel shell bowl to grab my vodka-soda. A little tiresome and not a good design.

Onto the restaurant. The front was laden with beautiful big wooden tables that were well-lit and garnered a feeling of expense. The tables in the back seemed a little cheap and the walls quite bare – it felt a bit cold. Around the window sills were incredible bouquets of white roses, something that made you feel that people who shop at The White Company dine here, but it baffled me in terms of its focus on sustainability.

To begin with we were given hummus with raw vegetables. A nice touch and a good taste, simple and quite refreshing.

dipFor starters we chose the Salmon Sashimi Salad (salmon sashimi, mouli, avocado, watermelon, soy & ginger) and the Smoked Duck with broccoli, blueberries, chilli & soy. The former looked beautiful; sprinkled with pansy petals the colours were dramatic and bold. There were two pieces of salmon sashimi and two thin slivers of avocado – when this is what had got top billing on the description and considering the size of the dish, one might expect a little more. The flavour was mild, not enough of a kick – sensing they wanted to go for a little Asian fusion, I felt it could have been applied with a little more rigour. The salmon was ok, but didn’t have that buttery melt you get when the fish is just exquisite. The dish’s downfall was the mooli. Whilst I love the taste, it was shaved into long (very long) flat noodle-like pieces. There was way too much of it and it dominated the plate, not in a favourable way. Perhaps shavings, like with parmesan might have been better suited. Needless to say, I didn’t finish the mooli, but I had finished the rest of the dish and the manager showed a great deal of concern at this. She asked, when clearing the dishes, if there was a problem and why I hadn’t finished my dish. As much as I am as bold to say my in-depth reasons in a medium I feel comfortable sharing, perhaps cowardly, it is hard to be put on the spot by the person whose project this is. Feedback during a soft launch could perhaps be obtained in a way that gives them constructive criticism and not in a way that feels like you’re being told off by your teacher at school.

sashimi saladThe smoked duck was the best dish of the night. The thin slivers, artistically arranged, were smoky and had an aromatic sweetness to them. The broccoli was crunchy and seasoned lightly but with a twist of the Orient. The real complement was the blueberries. They seemed as though they had been stewed and turned into a compote of sorts. It added the best flavour to the smoke-filled, soft duck. Definitely the firm favourite.

smoked duckThe main courses arrived. We chose the Trout Fillet with Tomato & Chorizo Haricot Beans & Samphire and 8oz Onglette, Tempura Oyster, Banana Shallot, Hand Cut Chips. The trout was a beautiful, pastel coloured dish. It looked well thought out and was presented accordingly. The trout itself was excellent, it had a good taste to it, quite mild but not overdone. Overall it was appealing enough, but still missed flair. The chorizo and beans was a nice thought but the tomato flavour was at the forefront and I couldn’t taste any chorizo which would have been a good kick to the dish, as the rest was all such mild flavours. The samphire was delicious and buttery and gave a good dose of green to the dish. For a plate with such a mix of ingredients and high-end ones at that, I think, although good, it wasn’t out of this world.

troutThe onglette was slightly dreaded. After our mild telling off we had been asked what we’d ordered for the mains and the manager said that the onglette was too strong for her and it wasn’t her favourite. Uh-oh, that doesn’t bode well…it arrived. A huge portion of a very unattractive looking cut of steak, chopped into several logs accompanied by a deep-fried oyster on top was placed down. The steak was exceedingly strong and considering the look, it gave you a nauseous feeling after a while. The oyster’s batter tasted as though it had been sitting, sweating at the bottom of a pint filled with beer. This was beer battered like something else. In a word…foul. The banana shallot is an acquired taste, that’s for sure, not one I think I will try again, with a beyond mushy consistency it doesn’t add anything to an already unappealing dish. The hand cut chips were of course good, come on, if they’d been bad I think there would be a much bigger problem.

ongletteAfter a wait of just over twenty minutes for our mains to be cleared they finally were, slightly relieved that the quietest waitress had taken them away, so we didn’t have to endure another telling off, the manager then walked over saying that the waitress had just informed her that the onglette hadn’t been finished and again asked if there was some kind of problem. I felt like I was on trial. I was polite, I’m English after all, but being cornered in a place that I can’t escape from, knowing they are the ones serving my food really is not the best forum to highlight the downfalls of the place.

A sucker for punishment we ordered dessert. This was an orange and rosemary bread and butter pudding. It looked appetising enough but consistency wise it was stodgy and had the texture of something undercooked. I couldn’t taste the rosemary, thankfully, but the tart of the orange was not complemented in any way by the creme fraiche, as that was also a little sour. The cream needed to smooth out the tartness and it should have been a light vanilla cream or a cinnamon mascarpone. The dish just wasn’t good in terms of taste and texture.

bread & butterWe asked for the bill from the main waitress who had a very lacklustre attitude and around fifteen minutes later she came over and said ‘Have you got your bill yet?’ I simply said ‘No,’ when in my mind I was saying ‘Well, think about it, we asked you for the bill and you haven’t brought it over, so unless a carrier pigeon has flown over, no, it has not magically appeared here.’ A further five minutes passed and finally it arrived. Needless to say I did not leave a tip as the service left a lot to be desired on all fronts. Training hasn’t evidently been a strong part of the opening.

Overall I felt it was food that sounded all decadent and eloquent but actually it was just a disappointment. It felt like a place for an older generation with slightly dated food and the more modern food not being carried off well enough. They continue with their soft launch providing 50% off all food at lunch and dinner until December 1st if you want to try it for yourself.

Rate: 2

The Imperial

577 Kings Road, London, SW6 2EH

+44 20 7736 6081

http://theimperialarms.com/

Apothic Wine

31 Oct

In the spirit of the cold, dark nights drawing in, acknowledging that the clocks have ticked back and having let go of the last embers of summer, I thought this post would be apt.

Halloween not only unearths the ghosts and ghouls, but also provides us with pumpkin carving. What better than to be creative and carve an eery face and make a wonderful creation. So as not to waste the insides of your pumpkin, I wanted to point you to an earlier post of mine for Spicy Butternut Squash Soup which you can find here. It’s a delicious autumnal recipe that can be used with pumpkin instead of butternut squash if you prefer.

securedownloadTo accompany the dish and drawing on the mystical air that always surrounds Halloween and Bonfire Night, I have been enchanted by a new wine called Apothic Red. It is devilishly branded, intriguing in its deep, red label and tantalises you to ‘Discover Your Dark Side.’

labelThe flavours it presents are a fruity hue of black cherry and blueberries with a sweet enough touch, but this is counterbalanced by the mild chocolate and oak flavours. It’s a wonderfully rich complement to a simple and spicy dish. It is a deliciously unique taste and not only helps you cope with the fast approaching winter blues but also is a real treat. Definitely no tricks here.

bottleTo find out more information visit http://www.apothic.com/ –  it can be found in most supermarkets.

An alternative post – laymytable

8 Aug

laymytable logo

This is somewhat of an alternative feature for laymytable. Aside from the recipes, reviews & tweets on what’s going in and around London and beyond in the world of food, after yesterday’s immense reception to my review of Patty & Bun I felt this needed to be written.

I received an email this morning from one of the waitresses I had described in my review. She wrote to me very eloquently about how my words had been abusive and she considered it a personal attack upon her character. And that what she wore; she clarified this as being ‘a pair of Levi’s shorts and a t-shirt’, was comfortable and bore no relevance to the restaurant review. She apologised for me having a bad experience there and wanted to express that she was a good human being that had a long term boyfriend and certainly had not arrived at work from a one night stand.

I replied.

To paraphrase and give you a brief snippet, this is what I wrote:

‘Thank you for getting in touch with me and for making your points about my review. I will first of all apologise that this has upset you, that was not my intention.

I have worked in the restaurant industry/mystery shopping industry for many years and can often see where things could be improved. It’s interesting to me that you say that what you wore bore no relevance on the restaurant because I feel it is paramount to it. You and your colleagues are running the show and are the face of the place. The clothing I found mildly inappropriate and my writing style attributes to people getting a feel of the place without having been there, whether that be in a humorous way or factual. However the image I was placing upon the readers was one that displayed the attitude of the place, the ambience generated by the all important waitresses and that was one of being slack and what I meant by a relaxed approach to clothing was one that also conveyed the same approach to serving…I have no doubt that you love your job and that you are a decent person, however in terms of defamation of character or cyber bullying – I never named you and I am entitled to an opinion. The words I said about the one night stand are not taken literally, it is merely commenting on movements of fashion and society cultivated by hipster attitudes and the rise of a ‘junk food done well’ age where areas like Brixton/Peckham and street food are becoming more popular than fine dining, perhaps a sign of the recession with vintage being more and more in fashion the toned down look, less the perfectly preened, poker straight hair look of the early noughties. Times are changing and it’s more of an observation of what is considered acceptable in today’s culture. Certainly not a literal probe at your personal life – I had hoped it would be taken with a pinch of salt. Thank you again for your feedback. Annabelle’

This sparked quite a bit of observation in me when replying to her. I find it fascinating that when I look back to before the recession the ‘hot’ places to dine were those that most people had to sell their right kidney for (or left). Sushi was the phenomenon, elitist food that accentuated a class difference and favoured people who watched their weight by eating highly priced food in the tiniest of portions. The celebrity fascination boomed and regular people with blogs wouldn’t have been given the time of day, it was a time of ‘it’ people and a lot of money floating around. Words like ‘vintage’, ‘local’ etc would have been shunned and we were overwhelmed by more and more generic high street chains (we still are) but in the huge change that affected everyone, the recession, and especially over the last two years there has been a revolution.

You would had to have been living under a rock in recent times if you hadn’t noticed the surge of ‘junk food’ eateries popping up all over London and beyond. From hot dogs to burritos, the American’s have invaded and unlike our English ways we have embraced this new, unhealthy glutton. And why not? It’s fun! It was the food we were told we couldn’t have that often, it’s greasy and satisfying and it’s the thing to do right now.

I’m a great supporter of the Street Food phenomenon spreading through London right now, it’s a way for small businesses to thrive and with the influential use of Twitter, Facebook and the like with bloggers effectively being your publicists, it means that the world is their oyster. I understand buying locally, I do myself and I also love to trawl eBay for bargains as affording Topshop and the like is becoming less and less of a reality.

My brother bought a house in Brixton many moons ago and at the time I remember people thinking he was crazy. Well who’s laughing now? I felt Brixton turned a corner for me when I saw a photo of some girls a friend knew who could only be described as Sloaneys and they were speaking of their favourite place in Brixton Village. That just wouldn’t have happened ten years ago, not even five years ago. Less affluent areas of London and foods that were always considered unhealthy and cheaper food are now the cuisine of choice and the place to live. I read that house prices in Hackney had risen 82% in the last three years and with the influx of Rooftop Film Club and Kerb/Street Feast etc areas such as Peckham and Dalston are the ‘it’ places to be. They are generating money in the places that used to be deemed too dangerous a place to go, whilst it’s wonderful that money is being spent on doing up these places it is a fear and a reality that the people that were born and bred in these areas are being pushed out as house prices are rising and the rich are not only settling there but occupying business space too.

I am totally for the change in people’s attitudes to food and clothing, fashion has always been something ever changing, but some things are timeless and that is to value customers, to do your job well, to treat people with courtesy and this is something I’m finding more and more hard to find.

The burger began in poor America because putting meat between two pieces of bread was a cheaper alternative to garnering fresh ingredients that were needed as the necessary accoutrements for a meal, that’s why McDonalds did so well, it’s cheap food and appealing to the masses. It’s therefore ironic to see that public school kids and people that were not brought up on this type of food have now invested their money creating burger bars and their spin on it. It’s a very big shift and it shows how much times have changed since we were kids. Burgers were classed as cheap and a bit of a treat and now they are largely overpriced and you dine out at a place that serves only burgers. I’m sure my grandparents would turn in their graves! I’m not saying I don’t agree with it, I just find it so interesting how it has all changed in such a short time.

The pivotal moment for me was when the waitress told me what she was wearing. Levi’s shorts and a t-shirt. I went to Wireless Festival recently and I thought they must have been handing out vintage Levi’s shorts at the gate because that was the only attire gracing the place. Why mention they are Levi’s? Why not, I guess. I have bought into the hype of a trend and unfortunately that’s what I see this as. Ten years ago the movement was that of skaters, beads adorned my wrists and Vans were the footwear of the moment, never mind if you didn’t own a skateboard or had ever been on one. And now it’s this, again, not judging, but I can only see it as a phase. And in a few years, who knows – goths might be back in, or the preppy look. That’s why I find it so painful when this can’t be taken with a dash of humour because in all honesty it’s hard to take all this so seriously. The proof is that in my description of the waitress in hand I’m sure none of you actually believed she was on a walk of shame, but I painted a picture for you of a very current trend, one that has overhauled Levi’s and the tousled tomboyish look and I know that you know what I was referring to. It’s the attitude that sparks from an un-ironed, unwashed, half dressed look that means I know that those people don’t know what I’m referring to, or realise this is a trend, or realise that what they’re wearing has been done a million times over and that this rehashed fashion is nothing new. It’s the belief that it is that is why the irony of my review cannot be found by the poor souls I wrote this about.

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