On the Menu: Tramontana Brindisa; Three Little Pigs; Rémy Martin and ginger; Alex James
This week I've been eating... Short pasta with prawns and aioli
Tramontana Brindisa, in east London, is housed in the glass-fronted premises that were once home to the restaurant Saf, that highfalutin monument to all things ascetic and raw (they didn't like cookers at Saf – they preferred a dehydrator; each to their own, I suppose).
It is a little different now, though. Where once there hung abstract pictures of vegetables on the walls, there now hang legs of Iberico de Bellota ham; gone are the cucumber-based cocktails. Instead, there's a four-page wine list.
The food menu is split into cured hams, farmhouse cheese, picoteo (nibbles), cured fish and tapas.
The hams were very fine; the pasta startlingly so. Out it came in a cast-iron skillet, thin slivers of pasta fried with cuttlefish and prawns and topped with a dollop of potent roasted-garlic aioli. Unctuous, yielding – it went down as well as Keats's nectarine. brindisa.com
A rare delight
Rare breed, rare flavour – so runs the tagline on the Three Little Pigs brand of salami and chorizo, and never was a truer word committed to a bit of packaging. It's little wonder the Yorkshire-based maker of air-dried sausage has picked up a constellation of stars at the Great Taste Awards – its Yorkshire chorizo with smoked pimenton is an absolute cracker. The Berkshire Rare Breed pork is hand-trimmed and minced to give a smooth texture, and then seasoned with a healthy kick of paprika. Piggy heaven. £4.75, threelittlepigsonline.co.uk
New-drink discovery of the week: Rémy Martin and ginger. Up until Tuesday, I had not, I must admit, been much of a fan of cognac cocktails, preferring instead to sip my brandy (preferably from a big, swishy glass). But knock me down with a cork if I didn't fall for the cognac-based version of a Moscow Mule. Just pour 50ml of Rémy over ice into a collins glass, top it up with ginger ale and you've summer in a glass.
I like street food; I like it a lot, in fact, but it isn't without its problems. First and foremost, all those trucks which roll into town also tend to roll out again. How to keep track of who is where on what day? Answer: up until this week you couldn't. Now, though, Richard Johnson, who founded the British Street Food Awards, and knows his onions, has created an app which lets you track your favourite purveyors of pulled pork or banh mi wherever they're trading. It works by allowing stallholders to check in at their current location, so you can always get the lunch you want. BritishSt.Food, iTunes
Is there any bit of the foodie landscape immune from the tender embrace of one-time bass strummer Alex James. If he's not banging on about cheese, he's pestering us all to come visit his farm for The Big Feastival and now he's become brand ambassador for Red Tractor food assurance campaign. Enough already, Alex.
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