This week I've been eating... Sashimi
Chrysan, the "Japanese" restaurant wedged between the fleshpots of Shoreditch and the City of London, has one of the most peaceful dining rooms I've ever been in, all low lights and half-pulled Japanese blinds. Indeed, only the repeated malfunction of the stereo, which emitted a noise not unlike that of a cruise ship coming into port kept me from settling in for the long haul. Well, that and the menu.
It is an unusual one, you see, Japanese, but with a French accent. I must admit, I dodged the challenge, and had a plate of sashimi instead. Six mini bowls, containing 12 dexterously-sliced pieces. There was salmon with a wasabi jelly, yellowtail with a dab of horseradish, tuna with a soy concoction, prawn with ponzu jelly, and a stunning bit of octopus. Only the sea bass with, er, sun-dried tomato and parmesan struck a bum note. But then five out of six ain't bad at all.
It's not just Frieze art week that is nearly upon us. There's another of the year's many and assorted "weeks" about to begin, one in which even more alcohol will be consumed, nicer alcohol, too. I speak, of course, of London Cocktail Week, which will run between 8 and 14 October. Just order a wristband (£4 in advance; £10 on the day) and you get access to a plethora of pop-up bars, make-your-own masterclasses and a £4 cocktail menu in various bars around London's Seven Dials and beyond.
It has always struck me as peculiar that chefs, during the "My Life in Food" interview, say they like to read cookbooks in bed. I think it odd to learn how to make a fricassee while swathed in a quilt. Or at least I did, until last night, when I spent the evening in the company of Fergus Henderson's "Nose to Tail Eating", a weighty compendium of all his best recipes. Now I understand. How to resist Fergus on how to eat "radishes at their peak", his advice as to the composition of a Bicylcette or the clear-sighted wisdom – "a perfect recipe steadies and uplifts"?
I love scotch eggs. And I feel that had Keats had the opportunity to try its contemporary incarnation, with its rich, oozing golden centre, he would surely have eulogised that, rather than a boring old nectarine. Alas, the pleasure of the soft-boiled scotch egg had largely been confined to the more adventurous gastropubs – but now, hurray, you will be able to buy a golden-crumbed version, sloppy-centred one in Marks and Spencer.
Soups you, sir
Keep the cold at bay with David Oliver's game soups. There are various venison and partridge soups on offer, but the best is the pheasant mulligatawny, with Berkshire bird, lots of spices and a nice dollop of rice at the bottom which renders your chunky loaf quite redundant.