Thursday, 22 January 2009

eating around soho

mum was in london for seven days. only a foodie will understand my frustration that seven days in london isn't enough when there are so many places to dine at and so many cafes's to drink coffee at. so aside from our usual suspects i made sure that i added some things to our gastronomic adventures that even i hadn't done before. thursday evening turned out to be a real melange with three up notes and one down.
there was coffee at the london review of books – it was very rushed because it was near closing time but i wasn't going to let go of a monmouth opportunity. and that too with elegant biscuits. 
there is a veggie in london blog post that is a work in progress that prompted a visit to beatroot and although i liked the food it was nothing much to write home about. somewhere in between mum had her first visit to princi [the first one sans food and the second one with cannocini all on the same night].
i took mum to fernandez and wells the wine bar on lexington street. i'd only been here once before and really wanted to return and this time try not just the wine but the bar menu too. so with our red wine came cuttlefish marinated in its own ink and olive oil and served with a crusty white bread. fernandez and wells isn't for the faint hearted. carcasses of cured meat hang in the window and give the place a pungent smell of cured meat. add to this the strong cheeses stacked neatly one on top of the other behind the counter. the bar itself is tiny and almost always packed like a can of sardines. but somehow the wooden walls and the smallness of the space contain the decibels and allow for a comfortable flow of conversation. after a comfortable couple of hours and mother and daughter catching up we both decided to brave the london cold. moments later, we found ourselves at the doorstep of princi in a bid to add a sweet note to the end of our night out.
mum had her heart set on the pear and almond crostata but i personally wanted her to try the cannoncini which i know to be really scrumptious. this however required a fair bit of coaxing and i discovered several bites into her dessert and a second order later that her reservations arose out of bad experiences with american executions of the said dessert. in true american style cannoncini had been appropriated and jazzed up to give birth to the american cannoncini. mum ended up liking it so much we had to go for seconds. along with this i ordered a hot chocolate which was meant to be a sample experience as a good hot chocolate is hard to find. i have to say princi's hot chocolate was like velvet with a strong sweet chocolate flavour [it is made with valrhona drinking chocolate]. the only thing i can fault it for is that it isn't very thick but other than that it tasted very good.