You Can Make A Difference
The Catty Life, one of our favourite bloggers, writes to say, ‘My hometown is flooded! 🙁 PLEASE HELP!!!’. She’s from Brisbane, her family is still there and she’s gutted at the destruction the floodwaters have wreaked. There’s a link on her blog if you’d like to donate funds to help in the overwhelming cleanup effort when it begins.
We know there have been debates raging in the comments sections of the newspapers along the lines of ‘Australia is a rich country, why should we send them money?’ vs. ‘What a disaster and we’re so far away, all we can do is send money’. Both are completely valid points. But The Catty Life is one of us, part of the toptable community. And she asked.
Triple Rosette Winners — Lucky Thirteen
The AA’s triple rosette winners have been announced and just thirteen of them exist throughout Britain. Congratulations to all because this is a super award for incredibly high standards of cuisine and service. We’ve said it before: we’re in the middle of a golden age of restaurant dining. Carpe diem. That’s toptable talk for: Book Now. There are six London restaurants who have earned or retained three rosettes: The Ritz in Piccadilly, Maze in Mayfair, Roussillon in Belgravia, Koffmann’s in Knightsbridge, Gauthier Soho in Bishops Stortford, no just kidding, it’s in Soho, and Viajante in Bethnal Green, which featured fairly heavily on our Best of the Bloggers posts. Well done! You can see the entire list by clicking on the link.
Racine Makes Another Conquest
Add Greedy Diva to the list of diners who have had the Racine experience: take far too long to get there, finally go and have an absolutely terrific meal, declare Racine a new favourite restaurant. We’ve seen it again and again, but Greedy Diva goes one step further and performs the service of reminding us all that Racine has a ridiculously good value prix fixe menu at just £15 for two courses and £17.50 for three, from opening right up to 7.30 pm. This regional French restaurant is like the ideal neighbourhood restaurants you find, or once found, in Paris, a one-room space that’s packed with regular diners at lunch and again and supper, where the sourcing is impeccable, the room is comfortable and attractive, the pride of place almost tangible and the entire experience one that feeds both body and soul. We urge you to have the Racine experience yourself. Let us know how you get on.
Happy Birthday, Essex Eating
Essex Eating has posted a charming, rambling blog celebrating his second year as a food blogger and in true-to-life fashion, wondering at the road that has led him in one short year from employed IT guy (that’s I.T. as in ‘information technology’, not IT guy, though he is cute) working in London and living in Essex to new cheesemonger living and working in Bristol. He rounds up his adventures in food with bests and worsts in restaurants, dishes, cookbooks and cooking experiences. Corn on the cob with anchovy butter does sound nasty. If you’ve got five minutes as you sip your afternoon tea, take a wander through his post. We particularly like:
Weirdest Google searches that have led to my Blog 2010
Car Sick South Cornwall
Hiring a bodyguard in buenos aires
How do i cook pock cheak
Places in essex that sell fernet branca
Scotch egg heat supermarket
Small petite porn tube
Not a coincidence, we’re sure: we notice that Essex Eating has put Racine on his Must Eat in London list for 2011. We’ve got five quid right here that says he has the full Racine experience as well. Watch this space.
Michel Roux Jr Speaks
Hot Dinners managed to grab a few minutes with chef Michel Roux Jr as he is promoting his new tv series Michel Roux’s Service that started this past Wednesday on BBC 2. (It’s available on iPlayer for another few weeks if you missed it.) We’re so accustomed to these real life drama series that we could almost write the thing ourselves: the candidates start out lippy, clueless and charmless though their energy and youth are attractive, some demonstrate hidden resilience and capabilities, one goes right off the rails, as the backstories are revealed our heartstrings are fully engaged, the final episode goes out and we argue over the watercooler for a week.
But we do think Michel Roux is onto something important here. Again and again on toptable — and in real life — we read or hear that a restaurant experience has been spoiled by surly or incompetent service or worse, even though the food was worth the price of admission. We in Britain are not attracted to service as a career. Doesn’t that sound funny? ‘Service’ and ‘career’ in the same sentence? Yet we love dining out in restaurants and they have become a crucial part of our national life. The kitchens in this country have risen and risen over the past two decades and we are now absolutely at the top of our culinary game as a nation, but the front of house has lagged woefully behind. That’s a vast generalisation of course and is not meant to insult the brigades of expert waiters out there who have been instrumental in their restaurants’ success and brought dining delight to thousands of happy clients.
M Roux Jr knows quite a lot about the whole restaurant business of course, witness Le Gavroche, Roux at Parliament Square and Roux at The Landau, among others, so he is in a brilliant position to change the lives of these young people, but also — possibly — to shift our national attitude a bit on the subject of working as waitstaff. Though his argument might have had a bit more oomph if he had made the programme with longtime supermanager Silvano Giraldin at his side as equal partner in the enterprise, this series looks as if it has the potential to make a real difference. As the winter turns to spring, we’ll watch it unfold.
You Can Make A Difference