This week I've been eating... at Lardo London
Lardo is, traditionally, the name of a Tuscan salami made by curing strips of pig fat. Lardo London, however, is a restaurant with not one ounce of flab on it. It has a menu as stripped-back as its bare brick walls – and all the better for it.
It serves pizzas (thin-crusted, nicely topped), antipasti (burrata and a pig-load of salami) and a handful of "hot" and "cold" dishes. Nothing overly elaborate, nothing too fancy – well-executed, nicely thought out, Italian dishes, mostly from the north of that country.
When I visited I chose the Saltimbocca, a dish I remember fondly from childhood trips to Italy. Pork (not veal) is used at Lardo, which is swaddled in a blanket of prosciutto with a leaf of sage poking out from under it and served on a bed of unctous potatoes. It is salty, it is rich from the butter and marsala it's cooked in, and it is a bloody triumph.
Lardo, Richmond Road, Hackney, lardo.co.uk
There is a phrase, "jumped the shark", that is much in currency. It is derived from an episode of Happy Days when the writers decided that the Fonz should water ski over a shark, and is now used to denigrate a gimmick taken too far that now seems silly or passé.
That idiom popped into my mind when I saw that Stolichnya is now making a Salted Karamel (sic) vodka.
I mean, I like salted caramel and I'm quite partial to vodka. But together? Well, that is not a happy marriage. It is the Richard Burton and Liz Taylor of drinks – marvellous on their own, unpalatable (possibly volatile) together.
Bake vs cake
It has finally happened. The word "bakes", made much of by the judges on The Great British Bake Off, as in " What a great bake, Paul," has entered the lexicon. How can I be so sure? Well, it features in the title of a cook book by Mary-Anne Boermans which is to be released later in the year – Great British Bakes: Forgotten Treasures for Modern Bakers. It is actually a clever little book which gives recipes for all sorts of yummy things such as chocolate meringue pie and honeycomb gingerbread and the date they were conceived. Why, oh why, though, do they have to use that daft word. Would not "Great British Cakes" do just as well?
£20, Square Peg
The eat elite
Fancy rubbing shoulders with the cheferati? Well, why not join the EatPlayLove2013 chefs for an afternoon of food (and charity) at Goodman's restaurant in London's Canary Wharf on 22 September.
There'll be lots of well-known chefs (including Bruno Loubet, and Simon Rogan), a whole lot of food and even a few bands, all in aid of Manna, the homeless day centre in Bermondsey, and Galvin's Chance.
I can't help smiling at the new bottle Perrier has produced to celebrate 150 years in the water trade. It features Andy Warhol's print of, err, Perrier bottles. "Warhol's creativity and eccentricity are a great fit with Perrier" says Perrier's Gauthier Gay. Hmm, if you say so Gauthier...