Having lunch with the boys.
Thanh's girlfriend is in town. So we're talking about how some girls only go out with a guy for his money. (No real link there, just giving him grief).
So told him to test her by pretending he got sacked, lost all his money and decided to become a teacher (a noble profession, but pays shite). Then I said, "So why is she with you?".
Stunned mullet face. Then he asked me, "Why is Lana with you? She's hot and you're...".
I responded, "12 inches man."
Harshad replied, "Don't you mean 42 inches around the waist?"
Thank you, I'll be here all night.
It's winter. It's cold. Pubs in London are designed to keep in the heat. So no air in, no air out.
The problem with no smoking now, is you can smell the farts.
Get a couple of beers into a bloke, his guts relax. And man, they stink.
There's been a few times lately where fights have almost broken out over the stinkier ones. The only problem is pining it down on a culprit.
Never thought I'd say this, but pubs need scented candles.
She had to beat up a 15 year old boy to get it, but she got it.
I went to watch.
I had major schadenfreude laughing at the people who failed, which yeah, it's bad karma for me. But seriously, you're almost getting your black belt, you're meant to be able to beat the shit out of most people, and you start crying 'cos you don't get a belt? Nah, that was funny.
Plus I was stuck there for 5 hours, and Lana's thing only goes for 5 minutes. (Okay I did take my EEE PC and was watching Two and a Half men for most of it, but hey, I still got to whinge).
So went to check out Monkey Journey to The West last night.
It's basically a circus/opera thing. Now I was a big fan of "Monkey" on the ABC as a kid, so knew the back story.
First some background, as this probably judges my review a little.
I don't get Cirque de Soleil. I just don't get it. Give me some acts without the bullshit pretend story in between. I like that. I just don't get the point in having a stupid half arsed story.
Now onto the production.
It was at the O2, but not in the O2. You had to walk all the way through the O2 to a tent in the back. A tent.
On your tickets they tried to sell you to come early for the "Monkey Experience". This was a rort. All they wanted you to do was sit in the over priced tent restaurant and eat there. We didn't eat there. There was no "experience".
The seats were crap. For £60 I had less space than when you catch the tube. And the height was screwed to jam more people in, so if you had anyone average height in front of you, you were screwed.
The acoustics were crap. Live orchestra which was cool, but the sound system sucked. Because it's in a damn tent. And whoever was mixing, sucked badly.
The acts were okay, some of the blending between the live action and animation was fantastic. But let down by unpolished performance. In half a dozen places they missed their cues.
And it was in Mandarin. Yes, I know that's "authentic", but you built the show in the UK, why bother with that? Especially when the subtitles were to the side of the stage, meaning to read what the hell was going on, you missed half the show. In opera it's fine, you're not there for the "action", for the music, so you can look away. But here, it was plain stupid.
And the acts were average. Not highly skilled. Few good acrobats in the mix, but nothing jaw dropping amazing. And the costumes were amusing rather than great.
There was some great humour throughout though, and a sense of style. It just wasn't anywhere near polished enough yet, in either the act or venue for me to recommended it. But as I said I did enjoy the mix of live/animation. Just had a lot more potential to be great.
Been planning a visit to The Fat Duck (or as Lana likes to call it, "The Fat Fuck") for a while.
For those that don't know, 3 michelin star place, voted best restaurant in England by the food snobs, and 2nd in the world (1st in the world a couple of years ago). One of the pioneer's of molecular gastronomy.
Took about 3 days to get through to make a reservation....2 months in advance for a tuesday.
Rounded up 6 guys (Wheels, Paul, Ian G, Thanh and Rob), and of we trekked to check it out.
As usual, like herding cats to get everyone there, but we managed it, with 45 minutes to spare. So time for a quick pint in the pub opposite the road. Place is out in Bray, which is a village near Maidenhead, which is around 45 minutes by train out of London.
The tasting menu is £125. The wine matching is either £95 or £165. We had a big debate about whether to go the £95 or £165, but after we got there, bugger it, we all went for the £165 wine.
A fairly cool thing is they give you a copy of the menu with the matching wines. I will have to say the first wine was gorgeous, the rest were good, but never came close to the first, which was dissapointing. Also the sommelier was cool, and a few nudges when he was pouring for a little more, worked (yes we are so damn classy).
Following is the menu, then I'll go into some blather about a few things.
Nitro-poached green tea and lime mousse
Orange and beetroot jelly
Oyster, passion fruit jelly, lavender pommery grain mustard ice cream, red cabbage gazpacho
jelly of quail, langoustine cream, parfait of foi gras
oak moss and truffle toast
1990 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Auslesse, St. Urbans hof, Mosel, Germany
2005 Meusault, clos des corvees de citeaux, lucien le moine, burgandy. (France)
Roast foie gras "Benzaldehyde" almond fluid gel, cherry and chomomile
2004 pinot gris, rotleibel de rorschwihr, rolly gasmann, alsace. (France)
Sound of the sea
Sake Shiboritate, Hyogo, Tatsuma-Honke (Japan)
Salmon Poached in Liquorice Gel
2001 Quinta Da Leda, Casa Ferreirinha, Douro (Portugal)
Ballontine on Anjour Pigeon
2003 Bolgheri Sassicai, Tentuta San Guido, Tuscany (Italy)
Hot and Iced Tea
Mrs Marshall's Margaret Cornet
Pine Sherbet Fountain
Mango and Douglass Fir Puree
2005 Breganze Torcolato, Maculan, Veneto (Italy)
Nitro-Scrambled Egg And Bacon Ice cream
200 Tokaji Aszu, 6 Puttonyos, Oremus (Hungary)
First some general stuff, then we'll talk about the food.
Service was great. Friendly, attentive and fun. Took the piss out of us as well, when were stuffing around, which was great (for example, Paul decided to check if the sand was edible in the Sounds of the sea. So the waiter kept asking him if the next course was sand flavoured).
Heard the place was small, but we had a table out of the way. Which was good, since our conversation covered, "Do you think it would feel different from the giver if you were shagging a girls butt vs a guys butt?", the how would we surive the zombie apocolypse, and other topics, that I probably shouldn't mention.
The other guests weren't stuffy at all, which was damn cool for a 3 michelin place. Nice buzz around. Okay, I was also the only person in the restaurant in a t-shirt, but that's a seperate matter. And I wouldn't let them take my jacket either, but hey.
One table did have a bunch of 16-17 year old guys on it. So we were taking the piss out of them being silver spooners(as there was no fucking way at that age I'd have been able to afford something like this), and were planning to roll them for their shirts and shoes. But then Thanh had a convo with one of them in the queue for the toilets, turned out to be a nice bloke, and we decided we'd let them keep their shoes. Yeah, we're jealous class snobs.
I'll go through some highlights of the meal, rather than specifics.
The snail porrige was amazingly good.
This was the oak moss dish.
They poured some liquid nitrogen in, which also set off some great smells.
Rather tempted to reach behind me, and hit the whiskeys.
Sounds of the sea came out with an ipod, that played sea sounds while you ate it. Sounds gimmicky, but actually did seem to make it more sea tasting.
And it came out on a plate with sand under it (which Paul investigated with his bread knife)
And the famous egg and bacon ice-cream. Candied bacon, with icecream that tastes of bacon. Damn good and bizarre.
And finally the cash. For some reason most of us rather than putting it on the card, decided to pay in cash. Yeah, we're classy.
Just a picture of wheels being a pimp.
And finally the bill. Yes, there were just 6 of us. Came to £350 each (Thanh was £180 as he didn't have wine). Yep, you're reading right, £1908. The service charge(tip) of £212 or £35 each is more than I normally pay for a meal
Managed to get the last train back to London with about 4 minutes to spare.
Overall, it was great, but more of a once off experience. For the tasting menu. The huge pain it takes to trek out there, and get a reservation (you basically have to speed dial from 10am, and forget about a friday/sat booking), means I prob won't check out the a la carte, but I'm very tempted to.
For the tasting, once off, I wouldn't do the tasting again (though I might drag my parents/lana along for the experience). It does slot into number 3 of the best meals I've ever had though.
In case you're curious, my top 4 in order are - Tetsuya's (Sydney) Japanese, Nagaya (Dusseldorf) Japanese, Fat Duck (Bray) Mollecular Gastronomy, and the first 3 times I went to Gaucho's (London) Steak. Gaucho's has gone to hell though, think they've got a new supplier, which is no-where close to how good they were before. Don't really have a firm fifth I'd put in that list either.
And in the food snob steaks, got the chef's table booked at Claridges in January. And Lana's taking me to Royal Hospital Road (Gordon Ramsay's restaurant) for my birthday then as well.
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