Food & Drink: Gastropod

AS IF there were not enough purpose-built places to eat, it appears that the success of the Fire Station in Waterloo, south London, has encouraged other restaurants in the capital to open in unlikely locations.

The recently launched Chapel Lafayette serves what they call 'composite Cajun cooking' in a former church hall near Fulham Broadway. Soon to be launched is the Texas Embassy Cantina, located in a former Barclays Bank at Number 1 Cockspur Street, which is just a stone's throw from Nelson's Column.

Of course, the publicity-shy restaurant tycoon Sir Terence Conran is far too modest to take credit for having initiated this trend at Bibendum, which is splendidly installed in the old Michelin Building at Brompton Cross.

But the Gastropod has heard persistent rumours that Conran Restaurants has now acquired the King's Road premises of The Garage. Not dissimilar in style to the Michelin Building, this former garage currently functions as an indoor fashion market, but it seems destined to be transformed soon into a baby version of Bibendum.

FOLLOWING the success of last year's Balti Curry Cookbook, and bearing in mind the perennial popularity of books such as Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's Fit for Life, the Gastropod predicts great things for Linda Banchek's Cooking for Life (Bantam, pounds 8.99).

Subtitled Ayurvedic Recipes For Good Food and Good Health, it offers food of a predominantly Indian flavour that has been devised according to the precepts of a peculiar and intriguing nutritional theory.

Ayurveda is the ancient Asian 'science of life' and healing that has been revived in recent times by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation programme and leader of the Natural Law Party.

A leaflet put about at the time of the European parliamentary elections in June explained that: 'The Natural Law Party will create a disease-free society through the prevention-oriented, natural health-care system of Maharishi Ayur-Veda.'

Ayurvedic cookery is based on the principle that the human body is governed by the same force that orchestrates the universe. Energy is regulated within our bodies by three metabolic qualities or 'doshas' which are modified by the foodstuffs we consume.

Working out one's own body type in order to balance the doshas for optimum health can be perplexing, but Cooking for Life is written in plain American and helps to demystify a subject that will assume vital importance if the Natural Law Party comes to power.

As its manifesto states: 'The first goal will be to eliminate 50 per cent of all disease within three years. The practicality of this goal is substantiated by scientific research'.

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