Gastropod

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Indy Lifestyle Online
A NEW shopping warehouse, the Cargo Club on Purley Way, Croydon, Surrey, offers its members cut-price consumer goods ranging from microlite aircraft to microwave meals. The Gastropod was amused by a notice in its wines and spirits section, explaining that the licensing laws allow 'retail' quantities of alcohol to be sold on Sundays between midday and 3pm only. If you want to buy alcoholic beverages outside those hours, you must take at least nine litres of wine or spirits, or 21 litres of beer or cider. So you cannot buy a single bottle of wine to wash down the Sunday roast, but you can buy as much booze as your bank balance will allow. Is this what is meant by 'keeping Sunday special'?

THE Gastropod is flattered to be described in the newsletter accompanying the first update of Harden's London Restaurants, 1994, as 'our fiercest critic'. Almost as flattered as the Pod's alter ego, Russell Cronin, must have been to find himself quoted on the back of the guide, having apparently described it, in this newspaper, as 'portable and concise'.

The guide awards grades for food, service and ambience, but the marking range of one to four offers too little scope for differentiation. Thus the widely disparate Peasant ('Grand Edwardian pub converted to a hiply basic Italian'), Caviar House Brasserie ('light and airy shop parlour') and Shillibeers ('a lofty, iron- pillared warehouse') all score two ('good') in all categories.

FULHAM Road Restaurant, London, rapturously reviewed by Emily Green on these pages a fortnight ago, receives a two for food and ambience, and a one ('exceptional') for service. Since Ms Green's review, the restaurant has reduced its set lunch by pounds 1 to pounds 17.50, thereby undercutting its keenest local rival, Aubergine, by a crucial 50p. Aubergine scores a one for food, and a two for service and ambience.

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