The guru of Greek food is back with a morning-till-night menu – and he hasn't stopped 'micro-blogging' about it
More, 104 Tooley Street, London SE1, tel: 020 7403 0635
Sunday 14 June 2009
Twitter, 10.41am, 18 May, from Mark Hix of Hix Oyster & Chophouse: "Theodore Kyriakou (once of the Real Greek and Livebait fame) opening a new place – nr London Bridge."
Thank goodness Twitterers are beginning to ignore the original Twitter set-up question of "What are you doing right now?" I don't need to know that Stephen Fry is waiting for a cab. A good Tweet tells you something you didn't know, and I didn't know that Theodore Kyriakou, Paloma Campbell and Beatrice Ferrante were opening More restaurant, near the More London development in Southwark.
The restaurant itself started Tweeting the same day. "44 hours to lift off!!" Then "We are opening in two hours, come on down!" Then "Come and have breakfast, Nutella and banana sandwich... yum." Then "Hot sausage sarnie anyone?"
So, what am I doing right now? Checking out More, of course. Admiring the bright, clean, modern lines, the smart open bar/kitchen, the American diner-style counter, the lippy-red moulded plastic stools and chairs, the poppy-red Guzzini cutlery. Enjoying the slightly old-fashioned feeling of a local neighbourhood caff. Noting that it makes a point of catering for the locals, from coffee through an open hatch to the street early in the morning, to lending you a pot in which to heat your takeaway. Wondering why more places don't do as they do and offer complimentary water, filtered and carbonated on the premises.
Hoping for more Greek influences on the menu apart from the odd dish of marinated olives and pickled radishes (£3) and a very nice, soupy braise of squid, fennel, leeks and white wine (£7.35). Wondering why squid is only good when cooked for three seconds or three hours, but nothing between. Casting my eye down a global-roaming menu from pappardelle with marjoram, duck egg and Parmesan to marinated roast chicken with cannellini bean salad, and crevettes à la plancha. Enjoying every minute of an "Indian Railway Lunch" of crab on toast (£9.10), rich with mayo, chilli and herbs. Loving the Monmouth espresso.
Going back for an early supper up at the bar, of artichoke, courgette, rocket and spinach salad topped with good chunks of creamy, lemony goat's cheese (£6.40). Picking at a dish of crusty, over-cooked duck livers with a rich, spicy avocado mush (£5.80). Drinking a locally produced Meantime beer and checking out the short but sweet, fairly priced wine list, with a dozen or so available by the glass.
Waiting for food. Chatting to the friendly staff. Wondering why Kyriakou says he wants to be hands-on, but is not here for either visit. Watching a young, obviously new chef struggle with the state-of-the-art induction technology, a steep learning curve for anyone who grew up on gas ranges and real grills. Realising the extent of the problem with technology when roast chicken (£13.50) takes an age, yet is under-cooked and alarmingly pink inside. Wondering whether to blame technology or human element with a pretty awful dish of grey mullet, lamb cutlet and waxy overcooked prawns in a lamb and pork stock (£13.75). Thinking grey is an unattractive colour for food.
Thanking heaven for good pastry chefs, when house-made ice-creams of bitter chocolate and strawberry and balsamic (£4) are utterly gorgeous. Eating way too much of a flourless pistachio, almond and lemon cake (£5.50) because it is so moist, light and tangy.
If I had to sum it up within Twitter's requisite 140 characters, I would say: "More is a smart, bright little caff full of chatty people and friendly prices, currently struggling to come to terms with new technology." But then, aren't we all?
Scores: 1-9 stay home and cook, 10-11 needs help, 12 ok, 13 pleasant enough, 14 good, 15 very good, 16 capable of greatness 17 special, can't wait to go back, 18 highly honourable, 19 unique and memorable, 20 as good as it gets
More, 104 Tooley Street, London SE1, tel: 020 7403 0635. 8am-11pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-11pm, Sat; 10am-4pm, Sun. Around £75 for dinner for two, including drinks and service
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