Best of the Blog

Trying Trinity Again
Restaurants get a blaze of publicity when they open and sometimes another fuss when a chef changes or someone sets a new record for a meal bill or the restaurant bags a prize, but it’s rare for the media to pay attention to established restaurants — no matter how excellent — who are just getting on with it.  A shame, we say.  But blogger TwelvePointFivePercent has made a return trip to the excellent Trinity restaurant in Clapham and found it still sublime.  You toptable diners rate it a dizzying 8.4, well within the top diner rated parameters.  12.5% has been there several times for the ‘ridiculously good value set lunch’ but was a Trinity dinner virgin. Until now.  From the delightfully light amuse-bouche to the clashing of spoons over the shared blueberry soufflé, he adored every mouthful, as well as the wines by the glass, the service and the ambience.  In short, ‘As will by now be very apparent, I just think everything about the place is plain bloody wonderful and can’t (re) recommend it highly enough.’
The thing is, there are so many restaurants like this in London now — Racine, Bocca di Lupo, Hibiscus, One O One, Launceston Place, to name a few — that it serves us well to discount the new-hot-must-try-restaurant hype from time to to and just book into a super spot that, day after day, serves great food in a good space.
The Pits
The estimable Cheese and Biscuits‘s blog has a tagline that quotes Ben Gunn dreaming of cheese, but apparently he has a couple of other dreams on his mind: burgers and BBQ. Over the past few days, Cheese and Biscuits found the fulfilment of his BBQ dream at the Pitt Cue Co foodwagon under the Hungerford Bridge on the south bank.  Now, we generally call your attention to the positive experiences of our bloggers to give you a heads-up on great stuff happening food-wise so you can get a bite of it yourselves, but rarely do we come across a review quite so droolingly happy as this one.

There is enough thought, expertise and painstaking attention to detail gone into every single thing they produce to make the senior management of anywhere else in London foolish enough to claim to serve “authentic” US BBQ break down and weep.

So.  He liked it then!  He was on his own, so could only eat one man’s worth of nosh, but adored everything he ate, including the pickleback, a drink that’s rye whisky with homemade pickle juice.  Wow.   (We blogged about it previously here.)
Then Cheese and Biscuits followed his Pitt Que Wagon experience with a trip to new restaurant The Red Dog Saloon, another BBQ place that was suffering first-week problems that included a broken smoker —- bad luck.  It sounds as if Red Dog would have been his number one BBQ spot in London if only he hadn’t been spoilt forever by the Pitt Que wagon and therein lies the problem.  He wasn’t exactly critical of Red Dog, it’s just that he’s met the BBQ love of his life (so far) and this pretty, charming girl couldn’t quite win his attention.
Ooh La La Linguine
Paul Betts in the Financial Times just tried a new Italian restaurant in Paris called NoLita, so named for the superchic Manhattan neighbourhood that’s North of Little ITAly. And was this restaurant ever stylish, with cash splashed effectively all over the decor, kitchen and wine list by owners Fiat who have made NoLita a drawing card for its new Motor Village at Rond-Point.
But Betts’ article gets really interesting when the maitre d’ hears him complaining about his inability to find really well-cooked pasta in Paris.  Apparently, according to the Italian chap, it’s the water.  Not hard enough.  And the answer is simple: buy a stack of Italian mineral water and cook your pasta in that.  It’s a fun feature and worth a quick read.
The End of Cuisine As We Know It
While we’re in Paris, David Lebovitz has blogged an illustrated piece entitled 10 Goofy Foods You’ll Find in a French Supermarket.  He starts with canned croissants of a type that were available in the US more than forty years ago, but that was only because the American’s weren’t liable to get to France for their proper croissants very often.  When some decent French chains — Au Bon Pain etc — opened their doors, the canned croissants (known as Poppin’ Fresh from Pillsbury) died without an au revoir.  And yet they live! In French supermarchés!  Who knew?
DL’s list makes us want to weep.  This was the nation that taught the world to cook!  Now eating tinned — TINNED — salade nicoise.  Bleurgh.  Bags of cold pancakes, cellophaned pancakes for heaven’s sake, roast chicken flavoured crisps, crisps whose flavour is listed as ‘mystery’ (we’re not making this up) and sliced sandwich bread.  They don’t mention any of this tripe in Larousse Gastronomique, we can vouch for that.
We look at the state of French cinema, French food, the fact that the French are the largest consumers of McDonald’s in Europe and we ask: when did the French stop being … French?  They haven’t even had a good strike lately and we gave them an extra bank holiday to do it in.