On The Menu: The Connaught brunch; Lucy's biscuits; M&S pork pie sandwich; Estrella Damm Inedit; Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil's chilli lovers' hamper
This week I've been eating...The Connaught brunch
I'd just flown back from New York when I had this brunch, that odd man of a meal that starts before lunch and often drags on straight through it. And I can say is that it tasted nothing like the ones you get in New York. But then it was probably unlikely to, as this was created by a French chef in a London hotel. The chef being double Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze; the hotel, that grand old lady The Connaught.
This was determinedly upper crust, at £55, but my goodness, you could eat some very fine food.
There was the buffet with its bayonne ham, chorizo-smoked foie gras and fromagerie-size cheese selection, and then the main event: the hot dog. The wonderfully smoky morteau sausage with caramelised onions on soft potato focaccia was so dainty, so un-New York. And did I mention deserts? Made-to-order warm waffles, with cream. Go, spend your Saturday afternoon there. the-connaught.co.uk
Everything is wrong with Lucy's biscuits. They are free of milk, eggs, gluten and all other things fun – and they are also quite delicious. Whatever witchery Dr Lucy – their creator is an American doctor – has employed to make them so crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle and rich in taste, I'd like to know about it. The vegan creations come in four varieties: oatmeal, cinnamon thins, maple bliss and ginger snaps. All of them are good, but the maple version just about wins, as they feel the least virtuous of the lot, while being just that. £3.49, planetorganic.com
Oh Marks and Spencer what are you doing? Usually you're the best of the supermarkets, so good and decent – but then you had to go and create the pork pie sandwich. Why, oh why? Sandwiches and pies are clean different things, we all know that. It's part of the Jubilee range, too, and I for one can't ever recall seeing HM chowing down on Melton Mowbray's finest. One thing, however, that is worthy of the royal gnashers is the new M&S pea and ham salad – that's top notch. £3.49, marksandspencer.com
A better brew
Ferran Adria has been in London this week to attend the World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards ceremony. And while most of us have heard of his stellar Barcelona restaurant, El Bulli, which is now closed, not so many know about the beer he created in conjunction with Estrella. Called Estrella Damm Inedit, it was made specifically to accompany food – Adria believing that most others fail that test – and comes in 750ml bottles designed for sharing. Now you can buy it here. The taste is fresh and yeasty with a touch of spice. £5.19, waitrose.com
If you like your food tongue-tinglingly hot, it's worth checking out Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil's chilli lovers' hamper. The set contains "medium-hot" chilli oil for drizzling, smoked chilli dressing and, continuing the theme, a chilli mayonnaise for dipping chips or crudités in. There's also a non-chilli oil, too, for the less brave. £22, yorkshirehealthoil.co.uk
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