"It's not much but it's ours"

Saturday, March 11, 2006


I can't remember the last time I really had chance to enjoy London on a Saturday. In the last few weeks, I have been away on business, sitting in an airport or working at a trade fair.

Today, I had absolutely nothing planned. Blissful to say the least. So, after the usual 6.30am session with my trainer, I showered and shaved and headed "up West" and spent a very happy morning mooching around town with no pressure to be anywhere or do anything.

First stop, Selfridges Food Hall. It may seem strange to say this about one of the world's great department stores, but the food hall here is one of the great London secrets. Every tourist knows to go to Harrods food hall and, while that is great theatre, it is not a patch on that nestled at the back of the only decent store on the increasingly tawdry Oxford St. Here, you have some of the best middle eastern snacks in London, a sublime deli counter, superlative butchers and fishmongers, exemplary Chinese and Indian take out and a host of other offerings ( best of all recently is the new gelato counter ) While it is not cheap, nor somewhere to do a weekly shop, it is the perfect place to mosey for the evening snackage

I left there half an hour later lighter by £30 but happily weighed down with Kibbe, Labneh,Bourek, Kofta, Scotch Eggs, Kabanos, Pork pies, Game pies and a few other things. Roll on supper.

By this time, it was approaching Noon and I suddenly developed a serious Sushi jones. By the time it hit full force, I was in The Vintage Magazine shop on Brewer St ( looking at back issues of Empire and NOT, I repeat NOT looking at old issues of Hustler from the 70's I deny that completely ) and within striking distance of two of the Kaiten Sushi places on that interesting rd.

Sushi is yet another cuisine in which I can hardly claim to have any expertise. But, in recent years, I have really developed a taste for it and, on more than one occasion, have serious cravings for it. Although I have had sushi many times, I can trace my increasing passion for it back to a meal in NYC a mere three years or so ago when a friend, Abby, took me to Jewel Bakko where we sat at the bar and had Omakase. It was, until a more recent experience of Omakase at Yasuda in the same city, the best I had ever experienced and,although I am no longer in touch, I shall always be grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to see how extraordinary sushi can be.

Well, Kulu Kulu is certainly not at that level and, if truth be told, not that expertly made. But, the place is cheap and cheerful, the fish fresh and it does not cost the $150 a head it does to sit at Yasuda's station. I arrived almost exactly as the sign was flipped from "closed" to "open" and took a seat at the belt. Usual schtick and I helped myself to some wasabi, ginger and soy and some tea from the self serve station as I waited for the first offerings of the day to come trundling by.

This place gets packed to the gunwhales during the evening and there is a 45 minute limit for each visitor. On a Saturday lunchtime at noon, things were a lot more leisurely and I munched happily on some pickles and five plates of assorted Maki and Nigri. Just the job. I tottered over to the counter carrying my plates of many colours and they relieved me both of them and of £13.20. About fair.

A short stroll home in time to catch the second half of Chelsea Vs Spurs with my feet up, a large mug of tea, the winter sunshine streaming in through my window and a copy of Runner's World in hand as I ponder on my place in this year's NYC marathon. Life seldom gets better. I really must do it more often.
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