I can’t figure exactly why, but there is something brooding about Mizuwari (pictured) the Japanese whisky tory (den to you and me) on Old Compton Street. It’s a bit Heathcliffy, if you know what I mean. Maybe because it’s lamp-lit with dark Japanese wood jacketing the walls, or maybe it is the bartender cutting the ice for your drink with tools which would alarm a Spanish Inquisitor. Anyway, it’s an atmosphere I can hunker down in.
Parked like a submarine under Bincho Yakitori, the Japanese grill restaurant, its name translates as “mixed with water”. Which is exactly what most of the cocktails are. Prefer it straight? Suntory - Japan’s oldest whisky distillery (90 this year) – have their Hibiki, Hakushu and Yamazaki on the shelf. If you’re really serious, though, you can do as the Japanese do – buy your own bottle and have it kept behind the bar waiting for your return. bincho.co.uk/whisky-joint
Ramsay off the menu
So Gordon Ramsay has fallen off his perch at Claridge’s hotel after 12 years with his name above the door, even if his body was frequently elsewhere. From 30 June a new chef will be installed. Why should we care? Well, getting Claridge’s pushed Ramsay into the stratosphere – and changed the way we cooked and ate too. His successor can expect the same. New Yorker Danny Meyer has been touted but my fingers are firmly crossed for Simon Rogan.
Chances are the fact that we are two weeks into Lent hasn’t really dented your consciousness. Six weeks of culinary asceticism in this weather seeming like the thin end of the wedge. One thing most of us might give up, though, is trips to the big supermarkets. Which is what the Mancunian campaigners behind Local4Lent are encouraging us to do. It’s unlikely the movement will bring Tesco a-tumbling but it might give the vegman a fillip. More here: http://localforlent.blogspot.co.uk/