On The Menu: Lomo and goats' cheese sandwiches; Sipsmith's gin; Bubbledogs; Venchi chocolate spread; Original Beans chocolate
This week I've been eating...lomo and goats' cheese sandwiches
I remember the first time I ate cured – rather than, say, boiled or roasted – ham. I was about 11, I was hungry, getting fractious as my mum would say, and at Manchester's Trafford Centre. Stopping, mid shop, in a sandwich shop, the only thing with meat on it was a parma ham number which, my parents said, was made with uncooked ham "so you might not like the texture". I didn't. It was horrible. All slimy, and too flesh-like.
If I wasn't then still in the 1990s version of short trousers, I'd be embarrassed: I hoover up cured meats now. Indeed, my new favourite sandwich has, at its tasty centre, cured Spanish lomo. Folded like delicate parchment over salty chunks of goats' cheese, and smeared with Gail's red pepper aioli, it's half the secret of the overall loveliness. The other half being the bread. It's beautiful: hard and soft in all the right places. It may be the best sandwich I've ever had. £4.50, gailsbread.co.uk
A ginuine sip
I have a soft spot for Sipsmith's distillery. It's about the size of a postage stamp for a start, producing bottles of gin in the low thousands, rather than high hundred thousands. And they are the first copper-pot gin maker to set up in London in about two centuries, and, perhaps, the only one to operate from a lock-up on a residential street in Hammersmith. Plus their gin is very good. As, indeed, is their new Pimm's-esque drink – Summer Cup, which is made from a sunny mix of macerated cucumber, Earl Grey and Lemon Verbena and, of course, gin. Very dry, very nice. £18.99, sipsmith.com
Really hot dog
You can bet Bubbledogs is a restaurant we'll all be hearing a lot about this summer. It not just that when it opens on London's Charlotte Street in July it will have James Knappett (Noma, Roganic, Marcus Wareing) in the kitchen and Sandia Chang (The Berkeley, Per Se, The Ledbury) front of house. But rather that it will serve hotdogs and ... champagne. Will it be a success? Certainly hope so. Is it the start of a new trend for haute drinks and street food? Just maybe – watch this space.
Smooth as silk
There are two schools of thought when it comes to chocolate. You either go high-end – high cocao, fancy additions (William Curley uses seaweed in his creations) – or you go cheap, which means lots of milk, meltiness, and that lovely sugar coating on your tongue. If the latter's your thing, check out the Venchi chocolate and Piedmont hazelnut spread from M&S's international range. Although pretty sophisticated (with price to match) it has a silky, 'spread it on white bread' texture, you're likely to find, thanks to the added olive oil. £6.99, marksandspencer.com
Choc for a chill
When Scott went to the Antarctic he took with him some Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup, describing it as "a most desirous addition to... a polar expedition". Now, though, explorers like something a little more upmarket. As Paul Rose embarks on his trip to Antarctica this week, in his box he's taking several bars of Original Beans chocolate. originalbeans.com
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