On The Menu: The Corner Room; Black Moth; manly restaurants; Kopi coffee; Joe & Seph's gourmet popcorn
Food news & reviews
Samuel Muston is deputy editor & food editor of The Independent Magazine. He writes a weekly food column – On the Menu – which appears in The Independent on Friday and i on Monday. And also travel and general features. Follow him on Instagram at @smuston
Friday 04 November 2011
This week I've been eating...Iberico pork
That wasn't the only thing I had at the Corner Room, the spin-off of Nuno Mendes' Michelin-starred Viajante in the old Bethnal Green Town Hall. I had pigeon (£13) – red, bloody, exquisite – and a rich potted pork and hare starter (£7). Along with a dark chocolate and peanut-butter ice cream (a sort of deconstructed, overly-complicated Snickers bar that had a bit too much going on). The wine list is gently priced (starting at £22) and interesting. Service was faff-free – with the unwelcome news that they want the table back after 90 minutes delivered with miles of smiles, which was something. The room is more municipal than luxe (unsurprising given the venue). Retro lamps and a carpet moose head are the decorative items of choice. And can we all just take a moment to marvel at the pricing? At lunch, two courses cost £15. Fantastic. Go, tell your friends, but not too many as they don't take booking and I want to go back.
A special brew
Périgords are known as the kings of the truffle, so it seems a bit like lèse-majesté to blend them with alcohol. But that's exactly what Black Moth has done with its British 100 per cent grain vodka. The truffles, which sell for north of £2,000 per kilo, give the triple-filtered and five-times-distilled spirit an earthy – and bordering on oily – flavour. But with such a smooth palate, it doesn't become cloying. Not an everyday drink, perhaps, but an interesting addition to your drinks cabinet nonetheless.£49.99, selfridges.com
Can a restaurant be manly? Esquire magazine certainly thinks so. Its food editor Tom Parker Bowles has zig-zagged the country trying to find the most "red-blooded cooking" around. Topping the list is Michelin-starred St John, with the bone marrow on toast being singled out as particularly manworthy. The Hawksmoor and its bone-in-sirloin also gets a mention. As does Barshu, where the dried chillies form hillocks on the plates. No room for salad on this list then.
Full of beans
We spend £1bn a year on our national coffee habit, but few of us know much about our daily cup of Joe. We're missing a trick as coffee beans' provenance and roasting methods radically alter taste and aroma. Kopi coffee, a monthly to-your-door delivery service that launched last month, is attempting to change that. Choose a bean, pay your £7 fee and a 250g bag (ground or whole) arrives on your doormat mid-month with lots of info about where it was grown and some preparation tips. kopi.co.uk
Top of the pops
Gourmet popcorn usually leaves me cold, but Joe & Seph's new flavours are actually pretty good. The caramel and espresso has a pleasingly strong coffee kick, while the mince-pies flavour is surprisingly rich with lots of fruity flavours and a touch of brandy. Both are air-popped, so pretty easy on the waistline, too. £5.99, firebox.com
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