Lebanese food, in the office, at lunchtime

Why order pizza for a takeaway office lunch? I thought, when remitted to get lunch for a team meeting. Everyone does that. I wanted to be more interesting. Lebanese would be way more interesting.

One I had emailed my colleagues the menu, I kept getting orders for sandwiches. This worried me. I would never ever look at a menu with unusual names and flavours and order a sandwich. It was when my boss in passing referred to Lebanese food as spicy that I started to get wind of the fact that I may have misjudged my colleagues interest in unusual foods and made a faux pas. I remembered that this was a man who eats mars bars for breakfast and hates tea and coffee because he doesn’t like hot food in his mouth.

It was wisely pointed out by one colleague who could barely disguise his concern that we would need knives forks and plates, so I figured, I would not back down, I would go the extra mile and bring plastic cutlery at my own expense.

My boss had ordered chicken and rice. It started to make sense to me. I handed over the rice realising that all the rice came with vermicelli and waited to be shouted at for ordering rice with maggots.

I was getting panicky. There was a garlic labneh. I have heard it said that some people hated garlic. This wasn’t really possible was it? Worse, could it be true of the people I had just ordered this meal for? The things you don’t know about those who sit next to you every day.

In fact when I thought about it, how come I know about labneh and vermicelli. That will be Ottolenghi cook book. And while I have come across them many times since, perhaps I have taken this knowledge for granted.

Me, I was on a diet. I ordered smoked aubergine which was delicious but way more oily than I anticipated and I did not need to eat again all day.

Hmm, so what’s baklava? Asked the grad. Baklava is great I said, honey and pistachio and oily puff pastry. She took a bite and pulled a face. I was disappointed until  I clocked that no one wanted to try the baklava. And it would have been wasteful to throw it away so I had to do my bit and keep all of the baklava to my self.

Judging from the clean up, I think I may not have done too badly. The only real left over casualties were labneh and vegetables.

Nice one, said my colleague with the phd, next time we will order from Beruit? I have no idea if this was irony or not.

Reviews of The best places to Eat in Blackheath and Greenwich

It’s high time that this blog made some explicit recommendations. Other than telling you that the staff were sweet, you probably want to know where we had meals that were really great, or err kind of disastrous.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0782.jpg
Now on the coffee shop front (after all, that’s how you know me)

Buenos Ares Cafe. The joy of Buenos Ares is the chilled atmosphere which is quite an achievement in squashed up Greenwich. There are no out and out cake winners, but their approach to savoury platters is fabulous… and usually too much for one person to eat:
http://wp.me/p5fONJ-f7

Peyton and Byrne. I really don’t want this to be my favourite coffee shop, but I have to say its produce is flawlessly excellent with exciting attention to detail. I’ve been here twice. This was my first visit http://wp.me/p5fONJ-hc and this was the visit where I realised how great it really was. http://wp.me/p5fONJ-jr

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0778.jpg

And the Scullery in Blackheath Standard, oh what great coffee, what simple but wonderful cakes. http://wp.me/p5fONJ-gd

On the subject of cake, pretty decent cakes can be found at Rhubarb in Lewisham’s Glass Mill, otherwise known as the Lewisham’s swimming pool. http://wp.me/p5fONJ-eKYes really.

Gail’s Bakery, now I am writing this review with Gail’s having newly opened, and it’s impressive and exciting shop front could just be prejudicing me, but for now, ain’t it great? If the shine wears off, I’ll be sure to update you. http://wp.me/p5fONJ-jJ

And for restaurants

Buenos Ares restaurant. Do you notice a common theme here?
http://wp.me/p5fONJ-v

Bianco 43. Interestingly this review provoked reaction amongst people who have not enjoyed their pizzas, but I have to say I am a fan. I have been there whilst known to be a local food blogger, and also more anonymously, but each time I have had a fantastic time. http://wp.me/p5fONJ-cn

Chapters. Again. I really wanted to hate Chapters.. http://wp.me/p5fONJ-2A

The Hill, at the bottom of the Royal Hill is a real gem. Excellent food, both sweet and savoury.
http://wp.me/p5fONJ-aP

Huge disappointments included Jamie’s Italian http://wp.me/p5fONJ-fP and Cau http://wp.me/p5fONJ-g2 The former in particular should have no excuse. After all, we have particularly enjoyed visits to other Jamie ventures such as Barbecoa in New Change http://wp.me/p5fONJ-2X

I blog (almost) weekly, so make sure you keep up by using the buttons above for a regular email, or RSS feed.

Am I missing anything? Please let me know in the comments boxes below, and I will go and investigate

A Three Course Amuse Bouche

A review of Gravetye Manor, East Sussex
http://www.gravetyemanor.co.uk

I’m figuring that my weekend away in East Sussex counts as a Blackheath blog review. This is because I live in Blackheath and I want to go on weekends away that are an adequately short drive away from Blackheath, and I’m figuring that my Blackheath and Greenwich readers do too.

Gravetye Manor gave us a very warm welcome, potentially because the hotel was quiet, us arriving 10 minutes before the allowed check in time, although throughout our visit all reception/waiting/cleaning staff offered a cheery hello! We were led through perfumed hallways with woodsmoke and Corot-like oil paintings to our room, which was impressive. Much care and attention had been give to the decor of our standard room, a key feature apparently being textures. Bose speakers and a Nespresso machine were nice touches, along with a mini bar of complementary juices, and cantuccini.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0932.jpg
We’d planned a late lunch by one of the open fires but the sun was actually out (despite the time of year) and we wanted to take a look at The Manor’s advertised gardens in the short period of daytime left. The gardens were beautifully cultivated, taking advantage of differing ground levels and took a good hour of exploration including a sitting on garden benches in the autumn sun overlooking a neat but completely unused croquet lawn.

There is a strong slant on garden food in the hotel’s promotional material and we are pretty sure that our eggs and vegetables were sourced from the walled garden, although there were very few vegetables with any of the meals…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0931.jpg
On return to the hotel, lunch from the garden menu was disappointing. We’d aimed to eat very light (in preparation for the evenings meal ahead), and so ordered eggs and smoked salmon, which basically arrived as a soft boiled egg without salt or pepper and a loaf of salmon. This was a little bit of a let down despite being a fan of eggs and there was so much salmon and yet so little flavour (or veg).

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0929.jpg
The cheese as ordered by my husband however was delicious. The size of the portions will take about a year on the cross trainer to remove from my body. And while we had the cheese names listed to us by an eager waiter, it was a bit ‘in one ear and out the other’ as our mouths watered. This was a pity as there was an exceptionally subtle blue cheese and great goats cheese that I will never be able to name for you. We were slightly tricked (haha) into a lunch time wine. I ‘d been holding out for dinner, but was told that their English red wine was light. Why I thought this changed anything about dinner, I don’t know, but It was offered an excuse and I ran with it. Actually it was fabulous. Light and grown up.

There was a bizarre cramped feeling in the living room where we ate lunch, with the main door opening straight onto the only sitting room with an open fire. This was bemusing given there clearly was much more space somewhere in the hotel.

The dinner menu was fantastic.
This is the first three course amuse bouche I have ever eaten:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0928.jpg

However I preferred, the cauliflower and truffle velouté. Very truffley.

Scallops with fennel and vinegar sounded like an unattractively astringent
combination, but arrived very traditionally tasting (and perfectly cooked). Exactly what I ate for mains is a little bit up for debate because it was venison cooked in the way that the hare would have been if they had not run out of hare. With the exception of a small pastry slice (‘the chicory tart’ I assume) which bought an unwanted extra oiliness to the dish, the meal was excellent. The slices of venison being beautifully cooked and tender, and whatever constituted the meat ball delicately spiced.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0926.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0925.jpg

As with all restaurants the waiters offered still or sparkling water. But if you paused, they would then add, or there is the local spring water. The mark up on still and sparkling water was so great that they were hiding their own local speciality. This was beneath them, I think.

We especially asked if we should order side orders, because if the dishes came with enough sides, we might not be able to eat dessert. Terrible! It was advised for my husband’s Brill so we ordered dauphinoise which the waiter said would easily share between 2 dishes. Check out the pretty tiny saucepan in the picture. That’s what was to be shared between two. Fortunately, this wasn’t especially necessary because here meals were perfectly balanced.

The dessert of hazelnut creme brûlée, chestnut canele, walnut crumble and dark chocolate was good, but a little samey by the end which is odd given the effort for diverse flavours.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0924.jpg
We went for coffee and petit fours by the fire. This was the meanest selection of petit fours I have ever seen.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0921.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0923.jpg

So, back to the room. The water pressure and shower were great and there was a heated floor. Woohoo at for heated floors. These should be in planning instructions for the building of everything, even carparks. (Maybe not tube stations).

But hanging a newspaper in a pretty straw sack on the door handle might look sophisticated, but it does wake you up at 6am and what I never ever want at a weekend away is to be woken up at 6am.

Breakfast service lacked a little panache with dirty plates left unremoved, and bizarrely undercooked poached eggs (Gravetye does not honour eggs. I suppose no one is perfect), however it did retain its charm. One area for improvement is the communication of how the breakfast menu works. I am acquainted with the free for all buffet, or the free for all a la carte (yes really) or the choice between continental versus full English options. Here everything was listed out with out any clear guidance on what choice fitted their expectations. This was a pity, as you might have chosen fruit and yogurt, but it turned out that fruit and yogurt were both starters, and you could only chose one. The cooked breakfast was considered the main course which sounded intimidatingly heavy, but was in fact presented with the same elegance as dinner and in similar petite portions. A nice twist was the lambs liver. And frankly, after that, we just asked for a mini pain or raisin and a pot of coffee, which was delivered without a second glance.

Staff, even cleaners, make the effort to be friendly, unlike some hotels we have been to where reception is shall we say point-scoring? Attention to detail and quality is mostly very high. No one ever asked for our room or our name. Or maybe we had been marked down as troublesome customers once we had ordered the spring water.

Car journey from Blackheath: 1.5hours
Room Rates: £250-325 for standard room
Nearby attraction: the Bluebell Railway (that is steam trains!)
http://www.bluebell-railway.com
The Horsted Keynes station is preserved as it may have looked in Victorian age,with the exception of the credit card machine. Unfortunately trains are not too frequent but a bit of an explore will find you a roaring open fire in the waiting room. In the cafe you can buy a sausage roll or a hot chocolate, AND PREPACKED FLAPJACK. I think I have made my thoughts clear. We took the railway to East Grinstead where we found an equal dearth of coffee shops, but did buy Lyonaise sausage from the local marketers recently recommended by hairy bikers. Which was odd. Has anyone else tried this?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8be/37885464/files/2014/12/img_0927.jpg

No Dessert Menu?

A a review of Rare in Greenwich.

Rare cuts a dramatic black presence on the Woolwich road, virtually hemmed in by run down charity shops and takeaways. And to be honest it is nice to see someone trying just here. It is nice to see something clean and looked after. An apparently family run restaurant. The varnished black them continues inside with red cushioning and cheesy music, hmmmm.

IMG_0900.JPG<

I get that I should have ordered steak at this ‘steak and fine dining house’. But I was thinking of you guys and there is only so much to say about steak. I thought that the house special, Latti Family Kleftico, boded well… Except I didn’t know what it was. The menu said it was a dish passed in by the previous owners, so it was a bit reassuring to think that Latti was probably the name of the previous owners rather than the constituents of the dish. However the only information I could ascertain from the staff was that it was made with lots of different things in the sauce, lots of different oxo cubes, like tarragon oxo cubes and herb oxo cubes.

Now I am thinking that they mean stock rather than just many different types of oxo cubes, but you know when someone just isn’t selling it? On top of that I had gathered that this red meat featured, but that there was only one type of red wine that came by the glass. Strange for a steak restaurant. Red snapper it was then, with homemade coleslaw.

The menu demonstrated that Rare were big fans of potato (admittedly following a strong list of grills) with about 9 variations on the spud theme. I am all for restaurants that remember it is nice to enjoy the whole dish, not just the meat in the middle of the plate. We chose chilli and sweet potato and dauphinoise. This clearly worried the waiter, who kept checking that we understood the sweet potato came with chilli.

Waiting for the food led to the tooth pick challenge: resisting the urge not to fiddle despite tiny little wood sticks that had been put next to the candle. Okay, I did set light to the very tip of one, but there was no fire alarm and none of the diners had their dinners ruined. The other challenge was not to stare at everyone else’s TOTALLY ENORMOUS DISHES of lobster and moules.

The lamb stuffed Indian flat bread with curried butter chicken starter arrived wafting coriander and line, but proved a bit greasy, with the word ‘bread’ better having been replaced with the word puff pastry to get the true impression.

IMG_0895-0.JPG

I’m sure the coleslaw was homemade, but it tasted just like the Tesco version. No kidding. I’d ordered thinking that it might be extra chunky or have some whole unground spices. Further pardoning of the chilli in the sweet potato came, with the offer to take it away and re-chop the chilli smaller. I am beginning to suspect some traumatic customer chilli based experience here. I do hope it was not too hot under the collar for all concerned.
br />
IMG_0899.JPG

The snapper was a bit too much butter and garlic sauced. It was a huge meaty fish and it was fun to mix up all the sauces from this, the dauphinoise and the horseradish from my husband’s sirloin.

IMG_0897.JPG
But it had to be said, good quality ingredients aside, I definitely lost out to my husband’s dish, which he describes as perfectly cooked for medium rare (hahaa, sorry I was just thinking of the alternative experience had at the abysmal Cau Restaurant.

IMG_0896.JPG
Rather worryingly, there is not even a dessert menu. On request, we were informed of 2 cheesecakes and chocolate fudge cake. I know that it is trendy to knock menus with lots of words (chips is chips! And diver caught scallops aren’t changed in taste by the scuba training), but some information does make a good dish- like a homemade dish – a bit more tempting. But without a menu… who was to know? We bought ice cream at the Co Op around the corner to take home instead.

Rare
Steak House
113 Trafalgar Rd, London, Royal Greenwich, Greater London SE10 9TS
020 8858 3334

IMG_0898.JPG

Their Cakes are JUST PERFECT

A(nother) review of Peyton and Byrne.

So back to Peyton and Byrne, and I wonder if they need an updated blog review on Blackheath.London because their cakes are JUST PERFECT in every way. ( here was the first review http://wp.me/p5fONJ-hc)

I mean like, Peyton & Byrne’s walnut and coffee cake is the first walnut and coffee cake that I’ve ever eaten and not thought ‘ho hum, should have picked something else’. This is what coffee and walnut cake was always promising to be. It is not too sweet, it has dry sponge, it tastes of coffee not sugar, the cream has a perfect robust consistency, I can’t stop.

I should add, that just as with my last visit, we did eat savoury food too, this time a chicken pie.

Anyway, back to the important stuff. There was the millionaire shortbread. I have a standard with millionaire shortbread, introduced by my mother in law who makes the first edible millionaire shortbread I have ever encountered. That means that it brings the marvellous combination of chocolate, shortbread and caramel without all being far too stodgy. But P&B have taken this to a new level.
Firstly the delicacy in question is round. Frankly, it nearly lost me there. Round says, thinking to much about form over substance.

But then it turns out that the chocolate on top is gooooood chocolate, seemingly high cocoa content and very smooth. But no time to ponder, because that thick caramel is really good too waste time thinking about that chocolate for. Or is it that sweet crumbling base that I should enjoy…? Life’s problems aye?

Oolong tea was lovely too. I may give their lapsang another chance after all.

Their Cakes are JUST PERFECT

A(nother) review of Peyton and Byrne.

So back to Peyton and Byrne, and I wonder if they need an updated blog review on Blackheath.London because their cakes are JUST PERFECT in every way. ( here was the first review http://wp.me/p5fONJ-hc)

I mean like, Peyton & Byrne’s walnut and coffee cake is the first walnut and coffee cake that I’ve ever eaten and not thought ‘ho hum, should have picked something else’. This is what coffee and walnut cake was always promising to be. It is not too sweet, it has dry sponge, it tastes of coffee not sugar, the cream has a perfect robust consistency, I can’t stop.

I should add, that just as with my last visit, we did eat savoury food too, this time a chicken pie.

Anyway, back to the important stuff. There was the millionaire shortbread. I have a standard with millionaire shortbread, introduced by my mother in law who makes the first edible millionaire shortbread I have ever encountered. That means that it brings the marvellous combination of chocolate, shortbread and caramel without all being far too stodgy. But P&B have taken this to a new level.
Firstly the delicacy in question is round. Frankly, it nearly lost me there. Round says, thinking to much about form over substance.

But then it turns out that the chocolate on top is gooooood chocolate, seemingly high cocoa content and very smooth. But no time to ponder, because that thick caramel is really good too waste time thinking about that chocolate for. Or is it that sweet crumbling base that I should enjoy…? Life’s problems aye?

Oolong tea was lovely too. I may give their lapsang another chance after all.

Yes I do want a cobra

A review of eating at the Royal Nepalese, Westcombe Park

Now you might have noticed that I don’t review a lot of takeaways on this blog. This is partially because often by the time I grab a takeaway (rather than cook) I am pretty fed up and not really ready to voice opinion beyond, ‘smells great’, ‘yes I do want a cobra,’ and ‘we should have bought ice cream, shouldn’t we?’. In fact, the only curry I have ever reviewed on here was Everest Inn – and even then I felt out of my depth. The fact is, I eat more cake than curry. Even as I say that, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t happily rebalance the divide.

However I have to say that after a little trawling through the local curry shops, I have landed on a place that I can whole-heartedly recommend Royal Nepalese near Westcombe Park Station.

I have found that it is easy to find a blast your ears out curry; and easy to find an elegantly perfumed curry, but not easy to find one that quite achieves a good kick of hot, whilst being backed up with genuine depth of flavour.

We ordered..Lamb Gorkhali (coriander, mint, green chilli and yogurt) described as ‘hot’ and throughout the meal as ‘that green stuff’. We used it to supplement the other dishes with heat. My favourite flavour in the whole meal.
Vegetable jalfrezi, (ordered for the vegetable part … to justify the cream and butter.)
Royal Mismass Karahi, which despite being described as medium heat, did not compare to the Gorkhali
And well spotted, that was 3 dishes between 2 people. This didn’t prevent us ordering naan and basmati rice. Sometimes I am a bit cynical about naan, that it is just extra stodgy, but this naan was excellent, strangely dry and reminiscent of a good pastry.
Service was quick and smart. I watched stuff on iplayer at the same time as eating. I should have bought ice cream, though.

As an aside, if you love curry as much as me, but also prefer to cook, or watch the waistline, I can totally recommend Jamie Oliver’s curry paste recipes, that I normally fry up if I have left over coriander and freeze to be mixed up quickly with whatever I fancy later down the line. They are not quite Royal Nepalese, but they are certainly enjoyable.

Just because I don’t like his Italian, doesn’t mean that I dont’t have anything nice to say about him. I’m a balanced blogger, me.

http://www.royalnepalese.com
2-4 station crescent
Blackheath, London
SE3 7EQ
tel:(0208)269 0505/ (0208)269 0553
email:info@royalnepalese.com

Thirty versions of tea implies GOOD things

A review of Peyton and Byrne, Greenwich SE10

Peyton and Bryne is one of those places you have to come back to. It’s just got too much to choose from. You feel like a kid in a sweetie shop (do kids say they feel like grown ups in a coffee shop?) too much choice of pastry, so much light and air (set off by large retro wallpaper and wood). This is the fusion version of the coffee shop: English French, pastry, cupcake, scone, bar.

IMG_0355.JPG

Hence opening a large space in Greenwich centre is progress for us grow ups, as most of the other Peyton’s and Byrnes appear to be in galleries and museums. Oh, you thought I was interested in Monet, no darling, I’m not really cultured, I just haven’t sampled all the p&b tarts yet. We start can going for country walks again when I’ve reached the stawberry and balsamic, but not if they extend the range, mind.

IMG_0357.JPG
Weaker points were the plastic cutlery, requiring plastic wrestling on the delicacy in question.

Here’s what we eventually settled on:

IMG_0340.JPG
That thing on the right is apple crumble. This stacking of mostly creamy type constituent and err.. crumble seems to be a French interpretation of English Classic.

I had my reservations about the caramel dark chocolate bomb on the left. The dark chocolate was good, a kind of devil’s food cake sponge and it melted in the mouth. The supposedly oozing caramel hardly oozed though. I think it was too cold, or maybe that was compared to the 30 degree day. Regular readers will know that this constitutes a good review of a chocolate cake by my standards. My only advise would be, don’t eat it on a full stomach

Having advised you of the important food here (cake) I can no go back and tell you that the sausage roll was nice, but lacked a couple of things available elsewhere in Blackheath (Greenwich borough): The pastry is better at Boulangerie Jade, and the sausage is better at Hand Made Food.

IMG_0344.JPG

Tea was a bit wrong here.

IMG_0343.JPG
Yes I am a coffee shop blogger, but i frequently order tea at them. 30 versions of tea implies GOOD things. However it arrives in a small mug, (the more expensive – but pretty- teapots are hardly bigger) and when you’ve ordered Lapsang Souchong it should taste of something. Well actually it should taste warm and smokey, but ‘something’ would have been progress.

I’m not sure if this isn’t about quality control though, since the ever so tempting sounding marmalade dark chocolate (this is a combination I experiment with a lot, more recently in ice cream form) tasted of dark chocolate only, but the elderflower dark chocolate was full of flavour.

You can see I ordered a lot in this trip. It came to a not too bad £18 and included an unreviewed loaf of bread. But really I was just being thorough for the sake of the blog.

IMG_0352-0.JPG

A little off piste, and a long way down the A202- A Review of Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell.

Angels and Gypsies has been catching our eye for a while. It’s the leg of cured calf posed within sight of the door way, and the ambient lighting from the stained glass windows, and the curvy writing above the window that does it. Marketeers take note. For all we know the meat was plastic and it still made us eye the restaurant as a future target…
20140313-155445.jpg

It seemingly did the job for others too: It took at least three attempts over many months to let us through the door.

It starts with an aperitif. I am not much of an aperitif fan, because much as I like the type of drinks that qualify as apertifs, drinking on an empty stomach gives me a head ache and a yawn and puts me off dinner. If I am missing something here, please put yours suggestions in the comment box below (except for you mum, because if I authorise you as a commentator, your use of this forum to send me emails will suddenly become very public. )

20140313-155547.jpg

Having been once enjoyed a recommendation of sherry as a good match for tapas, the menu’s front page full of sherry as an aperitif seemed a very welcome concept… But even better, Angels and Gypsies offered manzanillos which were more local to the food (Jerez) and reportedly full of sea breezes. See breezes, sherry, tapas… Holiday.

We are already on difficult ground here, because it is also wrong ever to go for a Spanish meal and not have sangria. Sangria has been highly sought after on occasion (http://wp.me/p2yXJS-1L) and must not be taken for granted.

20140313-155515.jpg

Here are some pictures of the tapas that ensued.

20140313-155457.jpg

20140313-155427.jpg

20140313-155412.jpg</

And though we managed to pass up on the churros, we did go for our common cliche of Spanish almond tart accompanied by white chocolate rum and raisin cheese cake with macadamia nut crunch. And they were good.

20140313-155609.jpg

http://www.angelsandgypsies.com/angels/location/

Not Missing Anything is an Achievement

A review of Tzigano’s, SE3

Tzigano’s in Blackheath Village ave opened a deli – we know that won’t be bad, don’t we? Indeed it is crowded full of Italian speakers (some of whom actually proved to be English, but living up to the welcoming “Buon journo!” at the door) clutching goods to themselves and looking furtively about to ensure not missing anything.

Not missing anything is an achievement, there is a larder selection at the back, a counter of cheeses, one of savouries, a bread corner with a round bread of about the size of my car wheels and the entire top of all the counters is full of cakes… Mmm… Cakes. It is a pity that sitting at the bar puts your back to the cakes, otherwise you could buy a coffee and cake watch all day.

caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”224″]20140226-134946.jpg The view[/caption]

We felt it appropriate to start with savouries. There is an advantage in preserving a semblance of sanity, after all. And the savouries, once checked out, proved pretty attractive: there was arancini (one observed Italian speaker turned to us and told us in a native south london accent that they were wonderful), there were breads stuffed with all sorts of delights.

Arancini being generally great aside, I wish we had gone for bolognese sauce, not ham and cheese. Yes, gooey comfort eating rice yellowed with what we suspect was saffron – oozing cheese and ham sauce and we also had cheese and ham in the other savoury dish – chorizo and emmental cooked in slightly sweet sesame sprinkled white bread. This crunched into the mouth with delightful unhealthy promise – fulfilled by that flavour that only chorizo can deliver (why is this? why cannot we make heathy versions of chorizo with the same marinade?)

it.

[/caption] id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”300″]20140226-134957.jpg Chorizo Emmental[/caption]

20140226-135008.jpg

Ham and cheese arancini

Next, serious cake decision making skills had to be engaged. Some choice of that vast untapped supply of sugary delights had to be made. In the end we went traditional (for us) Spanish almond tart. We have a history of good Spanish almond tart. This should be as common as chocolate brownies, (but with better consistency in standard quality than achieved by the contentious brownie). We had fig roll which had a serious crunch and an exceptionally gooey garish green macaroon, referred to by the owner as pasticcino- although when i looked this up, it translated as petit fours, so this does not feel very enlightening.

20140226-135024.jpg

Three fabulous delights

We returned home with olive oil bread. Well… If they don’t take cards, and you have to justify a quick dash over to the barclay’s cashpoint, you may as well make the most of it.

20140226-135017.jpg

Italian delights

17 Montpelier Vale, London
020 8852 9226