A change of chef is not necessarily bad news. This week Lucy Crabb arrives at the Leaping Hare Cafe, Wyken Vineyards, Stanton, Suffolk (01359-250287) from the Conran stable, where she was one of the head chefs of the Blueprint Cafe at the Design Museum in Butler's Wharf, south-east London. Few chefs have better pedigrees: her cooking at the Blueprint helped win it a Michelin red "M". Her training grounds include the Walnut Tree in Gwent and Bibendum in London. The move to the country from one of London's most stylish perches has a simple rationale: if you can't bring the freshest of food to London cooks, then take the cooks to the foodstuffs. Vegetarian meals. Children, pets welcome. Open Thur, Fri and Sun 10am-6pm; dinner Fri only, 7pm-9pm. About pounds 20. Reservations advisable for Fri dinner and Sun lunch. Access, Visa, Switch, Delta.
The Vegetarian Society and the Meat and Livestock Commission continue to vie with one another as to which can more thoroughly insult our intelligence. The VS is launching a new ad campaign featuring what it calls the "real facts" about meat. "Even if you think you like meat," begins one ad, "it's quite possible you don't." The image is a rear end of a bull. The same ad goes on to inform us that "disgusting" ingredients such as tongue might be employed. Disgusting according to whom? Certainly not the great European chefs and charcutiers, whose tail-to-snout ingenuity is a matter of artful husbandry rather than vile chicanery. Real facts, indeed.
As for those great minds at the Meat and Livestock Commission, they have responded with a campaign called "Pork and Rosemary". This features a reasonably fit-looking woman called Rosemary Conley in a pink-and-black aerobics outfit, and recipes for low-fat pork dishes. The absurd "Meat for Love" ad campaign was also their doing. For good sense, go to a good butcher. Order humanely reared, unadulterated meat by post from Heal Farm, Kings Nympton, Umberleigh, Devon (0176-9574341), or Swaddles Green Farm, Hare Lane, Buckland St Mary, Chard, Somerset (01460-234387).
Water on the brain
Good old Egon Ronay was at it again last week, this time railing against restaurants that charge customers for recycled bottles of filtered water, which may bear labels such as "Pure British Water". This may sound a wheeze (the total mark-up may approach 1,000 per cent), but Mr Ronay's demand that restaurateurs provide free water is a bit eccentric. Privatised water companies do not provide it to restaurants for free, or even cheaply. To bolster their product, the Water Services Association of England and Wales has retained a public relations consultant. And so press releases now flutter in bearing useless statistics, such as: at home the British drink an average of eight litres of bottled water a year; the Spanish, 63; the French, 108; the Italians, 129.
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