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

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Don't believe I'm taken in by stories I have heard
I just read the Daily News and swear by every word

I’m not a happy man. I’m not a happy man especially when I have to go to the burbs. I don’t mind the countryside. I don’t mind small market towns but the burbs just don’t do it for me. They’re neither one thing o the other. They’re just so dull, with their neat little rows of houses with neat little gardens and neat little lives, it’s truly death by a thousand trouser presses.

My definition of the burbs is any area where the Tube runs overground. So you can imagine my shock yesterday when my misery line train to visit Two Brothers Fish Restaurant suddenly went from under to over. Two Brothers is near Finchley Central Station on Regent’s Park Road and it seemed a reasonable assumption that this was just north of Regent’s Park. In fact it’s north of Brent Cross which is the furthest I’ve ever been in thirty years of living in London. Still, a long journey can be worth it if there’s something nice and tasty at the end.

This journey wasn’t worth it. I have to say my meal at Two Brothers was not one of the better ones in London to date. As the name suggests this outfit does more than F&C, so as I was pretty famished I thought I’d try one of their specials as a starter.
Slightly chewy chunks of Baby Squid came floating in a small pond which tasted like an amalgam of butter, lemon and a lot of garlic. The Squid would have been improved by having a little colour, the sauce was not unpleasant, just odd. The whole was overpriced at six quid something.

I’d fancied trying some Plaice on the bone cooked in Matzo. My late, sometime dining companion Tony Finch used to rave about how good it was when well done. Me, I’m more of a batter man. Plaice wasn’t in season but they had fillets. I sussed that this meant frozen fish and decided to go for the Haddock in batter. Now, I’m going to take some of the responsibility for what happened next (because I’m quite thick, innit) but looking at the picture of my F&C it’s evidently NOT Haddock in batter but instead the dead spit of Plaice in Matzo. All I saw was a plate of Fish and Chips with an odd looking batter covering the fish. I started tucking in. It only dawned on me that they’d served the me wrong dish after I’d wolfed down a fair bit. Doh.

It was terrible anyway – the fish was completely mushy inside and I thought the Matzo coating overcooked (or maybe this is how Matzo comes) – but I really didn’t want to get into the sort of argument where they ask you why you’ve already eaten half of it. I did mention it to the waitress but all she did was blame the kitchen and charge me the Haddock price, which was cheaper…I hope. Another couple had the same problem, but they were a bit more clued up and sent their dishes back straight away.

When meals go wrong (could I sell this title to Cable TV, I wonder) I just want to get the hell out of Dodge. Unfortunately, this was a cue for the service to grind to a halt when my distracted waitress decided to have a serious chinwag with her mates. Eventually, I managed to escape and get a train back to civilisation.

I would have to say that Two Brothers is the perfect suburban restaurant. People of Finchley - knock yourselves out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember eating there some 20 years ago as I Iived just up the road. To say it was unremarkable would be diplomatic. It was truly awful and pricey to boot. So the fact that its still open reinforces my opinion of us as a nation that loves talking food, reading (or buying) food books but consistently failing to recognise mediocre or downright bad food - as was the case with Two Brothers. Wake up little Brits and start getting vocal when you receive plates of yuk. Send it back, make a fuss and get angry. The kitchen staff should smell the indignation!

Monday, August 04, 2008 10:25:00 a.m.  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

My thoughts exactly.

Monday, August 04, 2008 9:55:00 p.m.  
Blogger keefab said...

Matzo needn't be mediocre:

I live near 2Bros but have never had the misfortune of eating there. Thanks for the tip, now one for you: the Turkish round the corner is a diamond in the rough. It's called Izgara and you should try it.

Ocakbasi style: a temple to meat, a good neighbourhood bolt hole.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 1:14:00 a.m.  

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