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Lamb used to feel like the most infuriatingly middle-class band in existence: a Portishead for people who were scared of the dark, a proto-Dido to provide ambience at dinner parties.

Sheesh, Ye Olde King’s Head, High Road, Chigwell, Essex

It's hard to convey the giggly astonishment that sweeps over you when you walk into Lord Sugar's Essex gastropub. Despite its arch name, the pub is authentically old – starting life in 1547, it's one of ye oldeste pubbes in Englande, and was the original of the Maypole Inn in Dickens's Barnaby Rudge – and is a huge, mock-Tudor-monochrome barn of considerable beauty, overlooking Chigwell School.

Loin of lamb with asparagus and lovage

Serves 4

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Stuffed bitter melon

Serves 4-5

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Ingredients to serve 5

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Josh T Pearson, The Slaughtered Lamb, London

Josh T Pearson has had his time in the wilderness. Ten years ago his band Lift to Experience released their only album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, a seriously meant work about the apocalypse and humanity's last stand in the band's home state, Texas. The terrorist massacres of 11 September that year seemed part of its portents to Pearson. And when this mutton-chopped and bearded trio played, they did so with the heavy, wracked power of a possessed U2. But the band members' lives seemed cursed, and Pearson threw the stardom that loomed away as if it was a snake. He has since wandered Texas, Paris and Berlin. This son of a Southern preacher, who once spoke in tongues, offered lonely glimpses of heaven and hell at rare solo gigs. Albums of songs were discarded as a devoted cult grew. A new LP, Last of the Country Gentlemen, is, to amazement, released next month.

Around the world in 80 dishes No. 45: Mutton and swede pie

Ingredients to serve 4-6

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