13 Jan 2008

"Step Away From The Buffet"

THE ADVICE, 'All You Can Eat', posed like a challenge, generally provokes little appetite within me. It seems a certain type of value vulture swoons from a long locus, galvanised and increasingly gargantuan, to remorselessly lap the buffet. Such an invitation also brings to mind the regrettably indelibly etched image of plate coveting Jeffrey Archer, unshaven and shell tracksuit clad, leafing through a crumpled Daily Mail at one such restaurant a short but presumably terminated jog from his Grantchester home.
That was three years ago. Yesterday evening, Archer absent, only a couple of hefty folk were ensconced within TAI, Asian eatery, Soho. With thanks to the relatively healthy looking, delicately prepared, vegetarian food, presented without too much evidence of 'tong' overlap, the mixed clientele were on the whole svelte. These included a duo of professional runners at the adjacent table, maintaining the competitive sport of 'volume jousting' eachother.
The sub total of the meal for two including beer came to less than £20. With two laps. Just steer clear of the sesame balls filled with a gel which evoked trodden livestock farm soil.
Following, the nearby labyrinthine cocktail bar, LUPO (LVPO), provided a smart, but very dark haven until a postponed Christmas party took root. Eager bar staff buttoned into incongruous Jerzee-esque branded shirts actually carry LED torches shaped like cats with glowing eyes to help pierce the shadows... I enjoyed a Japanese Iced Tea, successful because it evaporated fast (Finlandia, Bacardi, Plymouth Gin, Cointreau, Angostura and Champagne Devaux (who have links with Australia's Yering Station).
A fortnight ago I finished Gordon Ramsay's 'Playing With Fire' - 'the amazing story of Gordon's journey from sous-chef to superstar...' I have since searched for a way to summarise my feelings towards those pages, crammed with paragraphs of do's and don'ts. But I am still unsure as to his overall philosophy.
FURTHER LINK: Marco Pierre White speaks to Google about 'Devil In The Kitchen'. (M.P.W.'s blood, sweat and tears are described more empathetically than G.R.'s).