October 16th, 2009


Pierre Koffmann at Selfridges

Le Tante Claire used to be a three-Michelin-star restaurant located on the site which now houses Gordon Ramsey's eponymous restaurant. It's been closed since 2002. In honor of this week's first London Restaurant Week, Pierre Koffmann, the chef behind that long-closed restaurant, brought it back to life for one week three weeks only on the rooftop of Selfridges, with the assistance of many of the now-famous chefs who also worked there back then. It's a pop-up restaurant, a current trend of temporary restaurants which coordinates well with the trend for underground restaurants.

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It was a very good meal, even with the eventual dullness of the desserts, and the service was excellent. The superb sauces were, consistently, the best part of each dish. It was advertised as a reunion tour, but it's intriguing to think of it as an exercise in culinary history too, seeing how much further British cuisine was progressed in the past seven years, when it had already come so far. I have the identity of another chef down and have sampled one of his signature dishes; I'll know what people are talking about when they mention him or it; so it was educational as well.

Lastly, J is leaving us soon. She's lived in this country for several years, but is moving on. It was good to have appreciative company for the meal, for one of the final few times I'll see her while she's still based in London.
Nextian - Name that Fruit!

A literary commonality

As some of you know, I started a new weblog last month, called One Peppercorn. It's about the language of food, and is an excuse for me to pursue the meanings and uses of interesting food words as I encounter them in novels, histories, menus, manuscripts, conversation, and in the news. It's something I've been thinking of starting for years; C. and the stew project finally made it happen.

I don't intend to post about it often here, but did think it worth sharing today's revelation (a revelation to me as much as to anyone else, I suspect): what More's Utopia has in common with the Just William* books.

* None of which I've read.

In unrelated news, my home state has, for the second time, sent me an unsolicited ballot for a forthcoming election. I am delighted to be a part of democracy so conveniently.

Also, let me recommend to you the Retail Alphabet Game. (Americans stand more of a chance of getting most right than do people from elsewhere, but it's still worth a look, I think, if you're from elsewhere.)