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

Tuesday, March 14, 2006



Supper tonight with my dear, dear chum, Marina. Restaurant reviewer for The Metro newspaper and consequently, the most influential critic in London ( as she likes to remind me )

A recent column in The Guardian described her as the most mysterious of all the restaurant reviewers. No one knows what she looks like. She is the equivalent of McCaverty the Mystery cat. "For when they cry Marina, Marina is not there"

Me? I have had supper with her innumerable times and each, she has sported a different hair colour and glasses. No wonder they cannot track her down.

Whatever, she remains enormous fun to dine with and has one of the best palates I have ever encountered.

Tonight, we chose a place that, while open since October, has had little ( for that read NO ) coverage. Who knew? The Trading House turned out to be one of those places that, expecting little, you got A LOT. Suffice to say, this is right up there with High Holborn and The Sutton Arms as the most unexpected nice surprises in my years dining out in the fair capital. I intend to return there soon and then often.

I arrived early and seated myself at the bar and ordered a perfect Manhattan. It arrived and was very well made indeed. Slightly dry but not far off point. Marina arrived soon afterwards and went for one of the great abominations in life, a martini made with a Grey Goose vodka. I don't give a rat's knackers what anyone says. A Martini is made with gin. I don't care what you call a cocktail with vodka, but a Martini it aint. Anyway, she enjoyed it, so that's all that counts

We ordered while we drank. The menu shows the sign of a chef who really cares about food and has serious ambitions. Charolais beef, an entrecote aged in house for 35 days, confit of lamb shoulder, Duke of Berkshire rare breed pork etc. A very enticing list,

To begin, I ordered veal brain beignet and Marina, foie gras mousse. Both superb. The beignet were melting and creamy and came with a sharp sauce grebiche. The foie mousse was a huge portion with excellent brioche and an onion marmalade

For main courses, I chose the "Duke of Berkshire" pork with a braised pig cheek, roasted root vegetables and crackling. Marina went for the confit lamb shoulder with rosted lamb cutlets and a raviolo of fleur de maquis (sp?) cheese with rosemary.

Let's just say there was not a trace of food left on the plate after we finished.

With this we drank a bottle of Yearing Pinot from Australia @ £27. It worked rather well

Puddings were a trio of brulee ( coffee, almond and lavender ) and a chocolate fondant. Being a Glaswegian lush, Marina had a sticky with this. I, having to run tomorrow, did not.

Without coffee, the bill ( on Metro, Gawd bless them ) came to £123.

As I waited for M to avail herself of the bathroom, I chatted with the waiter. The restuarant is owned by the chap who owns The Penthouse in Leicester Square. Can't recall the name. The chef, Tim Haig, is a mere 23 years old and used to work for Bruce Poole.

This is a young man with real talent and I recommend anyone who wants to see a chef with real ambition cooking without restriction to try this place soon. It is rare to see a person cooking with this much brio and confidence at any age let alone 23. I suspect, as it was empty tonight bar a blousy scot and a bald asian with a fetching goatee, it wont be around long and he, Tom Haig that is, is going on to far far better things. Remember where you heard that name first.

I will probably be back there tomorrow. It really is that good.

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Anonymous circeplum said...

fetching goatee my arse. that's a fu manchu 'tache if i ever saw one.

blousy scot.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006 9:50:00 am  
Anonymous Sadie said...

Looks and sounds a bit like Dine. (with better food though.)

Saturday, March 18, 2006 1:51:00 am  
Anonymous Gavin said...

From Marina's review:

"My guest, the pickiest man in London...."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 5:20:00 pm  

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