On the menu: Heston Blumenthal's burgers; Ysabel Regina; Wight Salad Nursery; Grub Club; Balthazar
This week I've been eating... Heston's ultimate cheeseburger
According to Heston Blumenthal, it takes two and a half hours and 17 separate ingredients to make the perfect cheeseburger.
I do not doubt that Heston knows his onions, as it were, and, credit where credit is due, this recipe is positively short compared to his earlier "Blumenburger", which required 32 ingredients and 30 hours. But still...
The thing that takes most of the time, I found when trying his new Waitrose recipe at home was, inconceivably, the cheese. No cheese slice here. Instead, a rarebit-like affair into which goes, amongst other things, yeast and ale. Verdict: a model of sloppiness.
Other good things: the charred gherkin and Heston burger sauce (quite like McDonald's).
Not so good were the Heston Ultimate beef patties, which were anything but. Two hours well spent then? Put it this way, next time I think i'll go to Byron.
A taste of 1978
The first time I came across Ysabel Regina was at a cocktail bar in east London called Nightjar. It was good way to encounter the blend of Spanish brandy and VSOP cognac. Why? Well it meant I tasted it before I saw the bottle, which looks like something out of the back of Paul Raymond's drinks cabinet circa 1978.
Tastewise, it's much more covetable, however. Sweet from the Pedro Ximenez sherry casks it's matured in, but still punchy with its burnt-toffee finish, it's a fine base for cocktails (or for a sweeter post-prandial sip). £49.95, masterofmalt.com
The joy of a good tomato is as impressive as the disappointment of the anaemic waterbombs that populate most fruit'n'veg aisles. They need sun, you see, and there has been no shortage this summer on the Isle of Wight, home to Wight Salad Nursery's award-winning The Tomato Stall.
Its growing range includes the fruits themselves and a dozen or so chutneys, ketchups, juices and salsas. The balsamic vinegar infused with oak-smoked tomatoes is a dressing revelation while the tomato and chillli jam with a hint of ginger has compelled me also to eat dangerous quanitites of cheddar. Thetomatostall.co.uk
Bored with your local curry house? Tired of the high-street trattoria? Looking for something a little more experimental? Then check out Grub Club, your new guide to London's pop-ups, supper clubs and dining experiments. The site allows you to select a price range – dinners start from £8 – and the type of food you fancy (plus any dietary requirements you might have) and then displays the forthcoming events in your area. grubclub.com
Nosh too posh
Some adore it. Others loathe it. Me? I like Keith McNally's London restaurant Balthazar. Aside from anything else, it does some fine bread and Viennoiserie. I accept, though, that some find it a little, well, pompous. So how about a middle road: it now has a concession in Selfridges food hall. Let the croissant eating commence.
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