Yeah, bitches! (See picture.) Time goes too quickly. How long have I been here already? Almost three months. Give me my time back, please, someone. I grow old, I grow old. (Not into the trousers rolled.) Where have I been eating lately, while the clock has been a-ticking? Here, in no particular order.
Lyle’s, 56 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch. I like the feel of Lyle’s. The older I get, the more clarity I want. I want clean, I want simple. And Lyle’s decor delivers on that. It is an oasis of calm, albeit with terrible acoustics. (There’s something to be said for soft furnishings.) Lyle’s takes all choice away and give us a set menu for the table. I’m fine with that, but for reasons unbeknownst to me, I am now, in my later years, allergic to raw carrots and celery. (Actually, I do know why. It’s a pollen allergy.) Just to be clear, I do not want to be allergic to either of these things. I like raw carrots, particularly with hummus. While I don’t mind being allergic to cats (vile creatures), I do mind being allergic to carrots. (Celery…I’m not so bothered.) Anyhow, Lyle’s is pretty good about my allergy but I misjudge the level of cookedness of the carrots in the broth that starts us out and spend the next 30 minutes hoping that if I die at Lyle’s, someone will take care of my Louis Vuitton bag. I drink a lot of Crozes Hermitage to make things better and only have hazy memories of the rest of my meal. The Verdict: Would go back because I vaguely remember it was nice. But next time, I’m getting an Epi Pen.
Arabica, Borough Market. I want to marry a Lebanese man. Someone find me one. I also want to drink Lebanese beer all the time, but Arabica’s Lebanese beer has been caught up in customs so there is none to be had. I eat a lot of bread — it’s my farewell tour to carbohydrates — and stuff my face with lamb and beef tartare (kibbeh nayeh). It’s all very satisfying. And the loos are clean and tidy. The Verdict: Go now while Arabica is new and fresh. I’m sure it will be a chain soon.
Bentley’s, 11 Swallow Street, Piccadilly: The internet says I need more niacin in my diet. Guess what has niacin?? OYSTERS. So I go to Bentley’s and eat six of the largest oysters I have ever seen. They come from a styrofoam container that our barman has just emptied out in front of me. Classy. He is a slow man. He is a Lean Six Sigma project waiting to happen. He is a nice man, but only capable of handling one task at a time. Low throughput. A Herbie! The Verdict: No because my wine…my wine…it’s right there…I can see it…just give it to me…please? Also, I did not think my chili clam linguine was anything specials.
Camino Blackfriars, 33 Black Friars Lane. St. Paul’s. Two tapas for £6.50 at lunch. And somehow, they’ve given me like 40 pimientos de padron. Now that’s a good value. The Verdict: Cheap and cheerful. Why not?
Jin Kichi, 73 Heath Street, Hampstead. Sometimes I go to Hampstead to get my nails done at California Nails. Even though California Nails is rather dirty. I’ve actually recently decided to stop going there because of how dirty it is. But hey, I still like Jin Kichi. It is super clean and nice and they will barbecue all the quails’ eggs for you. The Verdict: Go for the barbecue.
40 Maltby Street, Maltby Street Market. Maltby Street Market is my new favorite place. (Remember, I’m new here.) I’m kinda obsessed with it. I keep trying to convince all my non-Internet friends to go and they all sort of look at me funny because really, who wants to go to Bermondsey? Well let me tell you, as someone who lived in the general vicinity of Bermondsey between 2004 and 2005 until my landlord kicked me out because of non-payment of rent — TOTALLY NOT MY FAULT — I love Bermondsey. I will go there all the time. In fact, now I kinda want to live there so I can go to Maltby Street Market and 40 Maltby Street all the time and eat all the food and drink all the wine while the rest of you suckers talk about how you don’t go south of the river. Terrific good times. Tomato jelly particularly good which is a big deal coming from me because of my hatred of cold wet tomatoes. The Verdict: Go.
Polpo, Cowcross Street, Smithfield. Ah Polpo. How I want to love you. Because I do love Russell Norman. (One day, I’ll tell you all a good story.) But I had lunch one day at Polpo during my halcyon days of unemployment and the meatballs were flavorless and not hot and the staff were distracted and it was so goddamn boiling inside that I actually had to leave. I’ve never left a restaurant before because it was hot. (In fairness, it was during the heatwave.) The Verdict: Meh. But I am sure I will go ahead. Because it is Russell, after all.
Yo, what else bitches? I’ve got nothing. It’s Sunday. I’m chilling with some Spotify, checking out all the London restaurant blogs, and doing the laundry. Good times.