Round Up

So, how have you been? Hot enough for you, etc., ad lib to fade?

It's a good job nobody's hanging on my every word, isn't it? In my (vague) defence, it's all going mad at the moment, with a surprise trip to Dubai and assorted other bits popping up since the last post. All of which means I'm way behind in terms of recent foodie pleasures, so I thought I'd start July with a recap of all of tha
t and then start afresh with today's much anticipated lunch at Tsuru.

So, the day after Planet Hollywood found me in Quilon, the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in St James. I'd been warned to avoid the chef - as accomplished as he is, he likes to talk, apparently - and Mrs L and I successfully negotiated that, although I did spot him holding court at the back of the (cavernous) restaurant, so good tip Mr W.

As for the food... it was good. Indeed, it was very good, as you'd expect of a place with that particualr culinary reward. The best dish was probably the Black Cod which, while it's now a cliche in Japanese dining, hasn't to my knowledge extended that far into other cuisines. Here it performed its leading role in a rich, robust and beautifully pearlescent manner, while the supporting spices worked wonders. All in all though? I preferred Indian Zing. The food had more, well, zing and the service was charming, efficient and informal. Quilon, as befits its upmarket status, was a well-oiled machine but, dare I say, a little too formal and stuffy?

Normal service was quickly resumed the following lunchtime with a Coach & Horses burger (see previous posts) of quite glorious moistness and beefiness. It was rarer than my previous one and all the better for it.

The next day saw me finally put my head around the door of Covent Garden's stalwart Le Cafe Du Jardin - and not for the last time. A very straightforward, obviously French influenced menu but good valus, generously portioned and, despite some slightly soggy fries - go to Mon Plaisir, monsieur le chef, and see how it should be done - a very pleasant lunch, particularly the crayfish risotto and exemplary tarte tatin (pictured).

From there, it was regular home dining (yes, I do that from time to time) until, er, the Virgin lounge at Heathrow and a really rather good burger. Stupidly I'd packed my camera so couldn't get the requisite snap so you'll have to take my word for it. Even the bun - ciabatta, never a good move with a burger, in my 'umble opinion - was well executed. It was certainly a better bet than the inflight food and meant I could even get a little sleep on the plane.

Sort of. Does anyone really sleep on a plane? I think I snatched three hours over the seven hours to Dubai so, along with the rest of the (very friendly) press pack on this wee jaunt, we arrived a little out of it. Happily we had a few hours to kill before lunch so another nap was in order.

The overriding memory of Dubai? The heat. The insane, ludicrous, 43-degrees-from-7am heat. While the entire (slightly odd, very artificial) city is pretty well air conditioned, one step outside could bring a grown man to his knees. And very nearly did several times a day.

The food though was generally very good. As the (British) chef on Bateaux Dubai pointed out, if you get a standard world map and draw a big "X" on it, Dubai is loitering somewhere near the centre of the map, which means his "larder" can spread worldwide. Also, with so many flights to and from Australia stopping in Dubai, the logistics of getting great wines, seafood and meat across are already sorted. Aside from one slightly bland lunch, the eating was of a fine standard. It's a shame, of course, that you have to hunt for the city's / state's original food culture but the Park Hyatt's Arabic-themed lunch was a vibrant, hearty affair...

Even better though was the final meal, at the really rather appealing Al Maha resort. Feasting on Wagyu beef and washing it down with Henschke reds in the astonishing heat of the desert, as the night closed in is a memory that will take a long, long time to fade.

Coming up in part two - later today if I get some paid work sorted in the meantime - the new roast beef sandwich at, yes, predictably, The Coach, elderflower posset and other lovely stuff at the National Dining Rooms, my first experience of Aga cooking and a couple of courses of sustainable fish at Pied A Terre...


Lizzie said…
The heat is pretty unbearable in Dubai, isn't it? My sister lives out in Abu Dhabi and the range of food restaurants serve is astonishing.

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