On The Menu: Tay Do's spicy squid; Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen; Bloom London Dry Gin; Byron; Tio Pepe Diners' toothpaste
This week I've been eating... Spicy squid
I had squid twice this week. Once in Tuscany by the sea and once at a BYOB Vietnamese on London's Kingsland Road. Sacrilege it may be to say, but the second one won out by a country mile, my Italian squid having spent a little too long on the barbecue and without the consoling companionship of a bit of seasoning.
At Tay Do, they know their way around a bit of squid. It's deep-fried it in an airy egg-white-heavy mix until it looks like a little cloud, shrouded in a bubbly creamy batter and accompanied by some deseeded red chilli and fried spring onions. The result is a dish rich in umami and with a slight saltiness giving way to the throat-tickling heat of the chilli. It's a dexterous thing to cook squid until it is at the peak of it tenderness like this. Have we not all suffered at the hands of shoe-leather-tough squid at some juncture? Now if only we can get the Tay Do chefs out to Tuscany for a week or so… taydo.co.uk
Ceviche, the Peruvian joint opened by Martin Morales, kicked off the trend for South American food when it opened early in 2012. Its raw fish with a pang of chilli and a limey kick wowed some of us in the restaurant. And now, thanks to Morales' new book, 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen', we'll all soon be able to recreate the little mounds of wonder at home. Out in two weeks, the book has the dual attraction for me of having 100 cool recipes and – maybe a niche consideration – a cool textured front cover that makes it look like a wall of tiles. £12.99, Wiedenfeld & Nicholson
Gin and tonic goes well with what? Well lime, usually, cucumber sometimes, of course, but how about strawberry? Yes, that's been my discovery of the week. Bloom Gin goes well with a bit of lightly crushed strawberry. Apparently this is a "known known" – the botanicals in the gin playing well with the strawberries – but still news to me. News to which I would have remained oblivious if it wasn't for the bizarre and quite lovely "Pick Your Own Strawberries" pop-up it hosted this week. Go, try it – it just might become the taste of the summer. £28.30, waitrose.com
Rapidly expanding burger joint Byron has long been an advocate of well-brewed drops. Its current menu features delights from the Kernel and Camden Town breweries. Byron has now teamed up with Camden Town Brewery for its new, own-branded lager which comes in pleasing 330ml cans (and is also on draft in some Byrons). An unfiltered lager with a hint of spice, it's a fine refreshing supplement to a handful of ground beef.
In bad taste?
Tio Pepe has longed pushed its sherry as the perfect palate cleanser. Its clean, dry flavour apparently has a special way of massaging leaden palates back to life. But I'm not quite sold on its "Tio Pepe Diners' toothpaste", which I came across this week, a mid-meal brush of the teeth being less appealing than, say, a sorbet.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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