Samuel Muston: On the Menu
The Shed; Wahaca; Alain Passard; Toblerone
This week I've been eating... Alexander leaves
At the fabulous Notting Hill haunt, The Shed, I spied an enigma in their "daily loosener", the Wild Alexander. Comprised simply of gin, lemon, tonic and alexander leaves, it was such a distinctive and refreshing take on a classic G & T that I was curious about the mysterious alexander. The edible plant, with its celery-like quality, has been somewhat forgotten, which is a shame as its appearance also really added something to one of the small sharing plates (that's how they do things at the Shed), Kohlrabi carpaccio, lemon, Quickes goat's cheese and alexander leaves. In keeping with the restaurant's commitment to locally sourced, seasonal produce and desire to inject a bit of their rural lifestyle into west London, the leaves had been freshly foraged in Dorset. Go for the unusual ingredients on offer. And the divine Laverstock mozzarella coated in veal and sesame seeds. The Shed, theshed-restaurant.com
Get the bug at Wahaca
On Monday I read about the Israeli chef Moshe Basson encouraging his countrymen to eat their way through the country's current plague of locusts. A long-time proponent of the arthropods, he recommends locust risotto. Now insect-eating comes a little closer to home.The Southbank outpost of Wahaca, Thomasina Miers' Mexican restaurant chain serves fried grasshopper.A pre-theatre nibble confirms that they taste quite smokey, and heavily seasoned with lemon, despite a sea of molten cheese on top. Future of eating? Or plain old PR stunt? Only time will tell. £3.95, wahaca.co.uk
Getting an email telling me that Alain Passard, the three-Michelin-starred Parisian chef at L'Arpège, whose vegetarian cookbooks are such wonders of imagination and chic, is to make a range of bins was a sad moment for me this week. Like when Iggy pop started doing those Swiftcover adverts. Still, the mailout assures us that the range of "limited edition" Zipp pedal bins are "visual translations of his [Alain's] passion for cooking". One wonders if Iggy used that one too – third-party, fire and theft insurance being the "translation of his passion for music". €300, vipp.com
It's the daddy of
How much is too much? It's a question that dogs all us gluttons. But not one that much bothers the makers of Toblerone, seemingly, who have just created an 80cm tall, 4.5kg bar. It may have the same 12 peaks as the pocket-sized version but is roughly 450-times bigger. Ostensibly released as a fathers' day gift exclusively through Selfridges, its up to you decide whether your dad needs that much sugar in his life. £89.99, Selfridges.com
The announcement that Tesco has bought the Giraffe chain of restaurants makes them seem even more like a warped foodie version of Nye Bevan's vision of the NHS, feeding us "from cradle to the grave". They already have the ubiquitous stores and stakes in Harris + Hoole coffee shops and Euphorium bakery. Whatever's next?
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