Yet another reason to make a visit to The Langham Hotel: London’s biggest gingerbread house is on display in the Palm Court to amuse guests taking tea. If you’ve got small children to whom the scale will be even more impressive, this is definitely a detour worth making from Oxford Street or Regent Street if you’re visiting the lights or doing Christmas shopping. The Londonist has a terrific pic. We particularly like the macaroon roofing tiles and the icing sugar trailing ivy. We chatted earlier this week about the exciting new restaurant, Roux at The Landau at The Langham Hotel. The hotel is doing its best to lure you in for a visit. We say go ahead and be lured. Whether you’re going for tea or a meal, you will be glad you were.
We don’t know if it’s true or not, but there is a rumour afoot that Julian Assange, the wikileaker, used The Frontline Club as his main hangout during the last few weeks while the world awaited the outcome of the various legal actions pending against him. We begin our description on the toptable website of the restaurant as ‘a welcome haven’. Guess we got that spot on. But what we don’t understand is, how can a club that is literally rammed with journos every day of the week manage to keep shtum on the location of the world’s second most wanted man?
Headed for Mexico, Oaxaca in particular? Then you won’t want to miss the Noche de Rabanos on 23 December. It translates as ‘Night of Radishes’ and it’s a huge deal there. There will be an enormous display of radish sculptures in the form of saints, regular people and animals in front of the Government Palace. Then everyone eats bunuelos, a sweet pastry that’s sold from a shop by the cathedral, and breaks the dish their bunuelo was served on to foretell their future for the year to come. The last time we were in Oaxaca, we had our wallet stolen, but we’d consider going back just for this. And if you’re feeling culturally superior, then all we can say is, hey, we roll cheeses.
Quotes of Note
‘Believe it or not, Americans eat seventy-five acres of pizza a day.’
‘Green bell peppers have twice the vitamin C as oranges and red and yellow bell peppers have four times as much.’
‘When helicopters were snatching people from the grounds of the American embassy compound during the panic of the final Vietcong push into Saigon, I was sitting in front of the television set shouting, ‘Get the chefs! Get the chefs!’ (Calvin Trillin)
We discovered a website, foodreference.com, and there went an hour and a half when we should have been doing more Christmas shopping. Sorry, mum. It’s got Food Trivia sections and Food Quotes sections and a Who’s Who and recipes and we don’t know what all. Absolutely absorbing. Did you know that there are 49 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne? Neither did we before we found foodreference.
We especially like the alphabetical sorting of the Food Quotes section, particularly ‘Ice to Italians’, ‘Mackerel to Millionaires’, ‘Pot au Feu to Purgatory’, yes we’ve had that culinary disaster too, and ‘Baby to Bed’. There’s a short story lurking in that list.
Hot Holiday Viewing
The sixth annual British Curry Awards took place in November, a massive and glittering event at the Grosvenor House ballroom with Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, and superchef Heston Blumenthal, and the winners are listed below. But if you are so devoted that you’d like to see the entire spectacle – you know who you are – you’ll find the award ceremony broadcast on Christmas Day on Star Plus so set your digibox now.
Huge congratulations to these superb restaurants who distinguished themselves from among more than 3500 entrants. Well done. We can’t wait to visit each and every one of you and offer our heartiest best wishes in person.
The regional winners were:
Ashoka Johnstone, Johnstone (Best in Scotland)
The Spice Cube, Newcastle (Best in the North East)
The Millennium Saagar, Douglas, Isle of Man (Best in the North West)
Lasan, Birmingham (Best in the Midlands)
Rajpoot, Bath (Best in the South West)
Aziz, Oxford (Best in the South East)
Bengal Dynasty, Shotton, Flintshire (Best in Wales)
Brilliant, Southall (Best in London Suburbs)
Bombay Brasserie, London SW7 (Best in London Central & City)
In addition Mem Saab, Leicester, was named Best Newcomer and Brighton’s Chilli Pickle the Most Innovative restaurant.