On the menu: Hoi Polloi's crab salad; Waitrose steak; champagne at the Shard; Ferran Adria
This week I've been eating... crab salad with melba toast
Pablo Flack and David Waddington's new restaurant is Hoi Polloi, which anyone who studied Greek, or can use Google Translate, will tell you means "the many" – which, in this case, is somewhat misleading, as the chances of "the many" getting a table here are so slim that they could appear in "Vogue".
This is a very fine restaurant and a very buzzy one at that – so peak-time tables are a little hard to come by, to say the least. Get through the doors, though, and you find rich reward. Aside from having one of the most beautiful dining rooms in town, Hoi Polloi also has some cracking food. Take the crab salad with Melba toast, for instance. The crab, which is plump and meaty, tastes as if it only recently scuttled from the sea, while the silky dressing and radishes add a zingy top note. This is sensitive cooking at its very best. hoi-polloi.co.uk
Waitrose is like one giant meaty playground at the moment. First the steak: the sirloin, rump and minute steaks are all from a Hereford herd. The taste is superb and the texture giving. The best you'll find in a supermarket. If only the rest would follow suit; that month of hanging allows the enzymes to go to work and the water to evaporate, giving you meat of superlative flavour. Pair it with the bone marrow they started selling this week and you're in bovine heaven. Bone marrow, £3.32; steak from £18.99/kg
Shard at it...
Do you like champagne? Do you like London's Shard skyscraper? If, like me, you answer YES, you might want to check out the Laurent-Perrier gourmet odyssey which takes place in and around the country's tallest building tomorrow. There will be champagne in the atrium, champagne and a starter in Hutong, main course (and, yes, more champagne) in Aqua and then afternoon tea and a glass more in the atrium. £125, Londonrestaurant festival.com/tickets/
Before the ascendancy of Rene Redzepi and Noma, anyone who could wield a chef's knife aspired to be Ferran Adria. His restaurant, el Bulli in Spain, was at the vanguard of what became known as molecular gastronomy – freeze drying, culinary foams, water baths. Alas, it closed in 2013. Since then he's busied himself with a culinary academy and various exhibitions but also these Cuisine Easy Kits. They contain the tools (and I use the word advisedly) and the ingredients to "alter the molecular structure of your food". Seldom have I had so much fun with a slotted spoon. £79.95, harveynichols.com
On a recent work trip to Walt Disney World I made a culinary discovery (yes, really). We ordered the avocado margarita as a bit of a joke. But we fell for the mix of tequila, triple sec and blended avocado pear with its raspberry salt rim. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "saving your calories for the booze"
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