1 Mar 2008

From Bilge to Bravery

MY COLLEAGUE sent me this picture of unconventional viticulture whilst on his Thailand travels. I am, unfortunately, all to aware of the liquid grief (bilge) from the company in question, Monsoon Valley. See an earlier REVIEW of the wines. Super picture, though.
A little restaurant news: Islington Swedish, Glas has sadly gone (again), leading me to speculate why.
Certainly the menu put on a little financial weight when the Scandinavian establishment was forced, by rental issues, out of its Borough cabin. The new incarnation - 'Upper Glas' - was no straight transplant, representing a move away from Smorgasbord (a sort of Swedish tapas) to a more conventional approach. In my opinion this was the first big mistake. Considering it is (sorry, was) to my knowledge the only ambassador of its culinary genre in London, a mosaic of lots of little dishes encouraged diner bravery. Only three courses, one of them big, left the uninitiated the prospect of being saddled with something too far out, for far too long. The restaurant (with Ikea sponsored furniture) also did the unpleasant thing of charging for incompatible side orders, mandatory service, not to mention bottles of still rosé for £43. Despite bins including groovy Grüner, soon to be trendy dry Furmint and glacial, north Italian Pinot Noir, I think Swedish Aquavits and beers with bite may well have been more engaging collaborators. I am told that the proprietor, Anna Mosesson even took to singing live to tabled clients; a fitting Swan song?
Whilst she has a fabulous presence, singing rather than sorting menu niggles, pricing to inadvertently deflect regulars, and what I am told was a "stressful" atmosphere back of house, were perhaps not indicative of a forward thinking mindset...
For those who wonder what the philosophy is behind those at the Michelin Guide, HERE is an interesting interview with its U.K. and Ireland Editor, Derek Bulmer, shrouded in silhouette...