Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book review: THE LOST SYMBOL (Dan Brown)

Robert Langdon, the Harvard professor whose impressive cognitive abilities was put through their paces in Angels and Demons and then The Da Vinci Code, finds himself at the centre of another mystery. This time, it involves the kidnapping of his close friend, Peter Solomon, a renowned member of the Freemasons. Along with Peter’s scientist sister Katherine, Langdon must piece together the fragmented clues to get Solomon’s abductor the information he strives, if he wishes to see his friend alive again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

She played the fiddle in an Irish band, but she fell in love with an Englishman.

Given that romance is my favourite genre, it goes without saying that I've seen my fair share of love scenes in movies. There’s an unofficial hierarchy when it comes to how strict the BBFC, IFCO and MPAA are when it comes to lovemaking at 12A/PG-13, and it goes (from least strict to strictest): BBFC < IFCO < MPAA.

For example, the sex scenes in The Light between Oceans, Brooklyn and My Cousin Rachel received the 12A equivalent in all three films boards. About 80% of PG-13-rated sex scenes do fall in that Venn diagram intersection of BBFC, IFCO and MPAA rating sameness.
Saoirse Ronan shines in Brooklyn. She's also in the music video of Ed Sheeran's 'Galway Girl' a song I currently have stuck in my head!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Restaurant review: ZELMAN MEATS (Soho)

If you like steak, but don't want to commit to 400g of just one type, and in doing so, restricting your choice to a rump which may or may not be cooked to your ideal condition, Zelman meats could well be the solution to your quagmire.

At Zelman Meats, there are four core beef steaks you can order (Smoked Short Rib, Chateaubriand, Sliced Picanha, “Dirty” Sirloin Steak). The former two are priced by weight, and the latter is priced in conventional restaurant manner, at £32 for 400g. The minimum order per table per given type of meat is 200g, but if you go with a friend, you can order a joint amount of 200g of several types of steaks, and share everything, so there's variety in your meal!

Also pictured above are Black Truffle and Parmesan Chips, which were a bit pricey at £8, but the conflation of truffle, chips and cheese is hard to argue with.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Restaurant review: DISHOOM (Shoreditch)

Dishoom’s reputation precedes itself. Due to great word of mouth, the Shoreditch venue, as with the Covent Garden venue, which I have also been to, doesn’t allow bookings unless the party is of six people or more. If you’re in a party of five people or less, you have to queue on the door, with the length of the queues ranging from half an hour to an indefinite period of time.

The menu claims these prawns are 'succulent'. They tasted dry to me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Bar review: GORDON'S WINE BAR (Embankment)

My first impression of Gordon's Wine Bar, handily located equidistant between Charing Cross and Embankment tube stations, was that it was a bit dingy. No doubt regular punters at this bar would find the shabbiness endearing, but the peeling paint and decaying wood, in combination with a rather ominous smell, didn't scream 'welcome!' to me.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Pub review: THE PIG AND BUTCHER (Angel)

To get a table on a Sunday at The Pig and Butcher, you have to make your reservation some days in advance. It's quite rare for a gastropub to be fully booked up, but when I visited this venue, that's exactly how it was.

The Sunday menu offers several roasts, some available for the single diner, and others only available as part of a two-person package. On our visit, my friend and I had the beef roast to share. The roasts came with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, creamed leeks and vegetables.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Restaurant review: TRULLO (Islington)

Situated very close to Highbury and Islington overground station is Trullo, a rustic, understated, yet very welcoming Italian restaurant.

Trullo has a reputation for its friendly staff, and indeed, the people who waited on us were absolutely lovely, helpfully giving tips whilst making sure we were fully stocked with regards to water. After completing one of our dishes (the pasta one), I asked to keep the plate on the table to polish off the sauce using bread, which they seemed perfectly cool with. I dig that; at a poncier place such plebbish behaviour might have earnt me and eye roll from the waiters.

For starter, we shared the mozzarella dish, pictured below:

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Restaurant review: BARRAFINA (Covent Garden)

On my birthday (18th April), I ventured out of my cheap and cheerful and/or Groupon-bought dining comfort zone and celebrated in style with an altogether more upmarket dinner at Barrafina.

The restaurant specialises in Spanish tapas, and after the nightmare that was Salvador and Amanda with all their short-cut taking, I was naturally, a little hesitant.

I needn't have worried; Barrafina has restored my faith in Spanish tapas in London.

Here are some pictures: