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Simon Majumdar

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  1. Fascinating thread All of this should be prefaced ( as many have ) with the fact that we have not had any lab reports on Dempsey nor do we know the situation that faced him with his cancer treatment, so it may be too early to blame this whole sad incident on a drug frenzy Drugs are prevalent in all areas of society, not just kitchens as people have pointed out. The question is should they be anymore tolerated there than in the wider society? The argument of many seems to be that Kitchens are such high pressure environments where people work long hours for little reward that it can be tolerated if not acceptable as long as it is kept under control and does not affect the work of the person concerned or indeed of others My views, I am afraid are a little more reactionary. In this instance, GR is 100% right. It is his kitchen and his rep. He, like any other employer can have any level of tolerance they see fit. If , as Tony points out very lucidly, they choose to turn a blind eye, then they have to face any possible consequences for injuries in the work place that come as a result of their negligence. In many workplaces now, drug tests are common place and zero tolerance policies are strongly executed not just because of the poor performance of those operating on drugs or suffering from the after effects of a binge but also because of the detrimental effects of drugs on those who work with users. people have the same views on booze. I have the odd days of coming into the office the morning after the night before, but a) I never let it interfere with my work b) I never take out my sore head on those who work with me or for me. Dealing with the drug problem ( and it is a problem despite some of the stoner talk we have had on the thread ) is both prevention and cure. Ramsay's treament of those who turn up positive in the tests will be an interesting thing. From my point of view I would offer different levels of sanction for various grades of drug, from cautions and warnings ( both written and verbal ) for pot etc to summary dismissal for hard drugs. that being said, the dismissal should also come with the offer of a rehab programme and the chance to regain the employent. I would rather have someone with 60% of the talent of a stoner working for me if they were reliable that a hugely talented addict who was only in the office 3 days a week because they were off chasing the dragon S
  2. Aint that the truth If chefs are insecure bastards, writers are insecure bastards squared. How many times I have had to take the midnight call from a malt addled spliffed up writer who has lost "my muse, man" does not bear thinking about. Tony B, you do a bit of both these days I am told ( writing and cooking that is, not the other stuff ) what does that make you? Now back to The Dan and "my louise" S
  3. And me for The Walworth Road Cafe during my college days Fry up consisting of Eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, mushrooms, fried bread, tomatoes, beans and chips & a mug of tea- yours for £2.95 Abiding memory that the whole plate seemed to have a sort of blackish tint from frying everything in the same pan The also had the teaspoons chained to each table as " some f**ker keeps nicking them" happy days S
  4. Whoever wrote their copy wants shooting S
  5. Perhaps it is worth a try. But, I have to say I find The Sutton Arms the best value for money in that part of town, so I usually end up there S
  6. Ah yes, it rarely gets more romantic than dining alfresco just off the Farringdon rd what is it like living in your world M? S
  7. It's on Theberton St, about 100 yds from Upper St (far enough to avoid the madding crowds). Heading up Upper St from the Angel, about half-way to Highbury & Islington, left before Oddbins and then it's on the left just past my hairdresser. Used to be a rather more pretentious Italian called Maremma, which I never visited. Thanks Now know exactly where it is. Will give it a try S
  8. The best calfs liver I have had in London is at Vasco & Piero's pavillion on Poland St cooked quickly over sage leaves No muss no fuss and it does not cost an arm and a leg S
  9. Where is this on Upper St? can't Place it I live/work around there, so it might be worth a try S
  10. I used to like SOS but the recent ( or not so recent as I have not been for a year ) price hikes in the top floor bit have taken it from overpriced to " you are fucking kidding aren't you?" Not many places are worth £30 for steak and chips even if you do know that the steak came from a cow with a proveneance that would make it third in line to the throne The rest of SOS is to be avoided. The crowd on the bottom floor is full of pasty faced oiks up from the city having a cheap lager before they have to bugger off back to the burbs and the middle bit has a huge hole in the floor just so you can hear the aforementioned crowd, good thinking. Still it is packed to the gunwhales every time I walk past it, so Torode is obviously raking it in S
  11. To quote someone much better than I If you do not go to calcutta, you do not go to India S
  12. true but of a type and one can soon become fed up of sourdough S
  13. Errant nonsense as one who travels regularly between London and the US, I can say with hand on heart that the quality of bread available in London both in restaurants and from retail is in every way the superior to that on offer in NY or elswhere in the US. I have just returned from LA and found the bread on offer there to be risible. Of course there are huge numbers of crappy loaves for those who want them ( be it Mother's pride in London or Wonder Loaf in the US ) but I can think of at least 8 quality bakeries within striking distance of my office S P.S - I can't believe that Tony is still going on about rancid beef fat.
  14. Just a thought from LA Does Tarka like his/her curries a little otter S
  15. A fun evening and, as Sam says, ridiculously cheap We had 8 lamb chops 7 pieces of tandoori chicken 2 orders of mutton tikka 2 orders chicken tikka 8 shammi kebabs Bhuna gosht Dahl 2 roti 1 paratha 1 naan All was excellent with the exception of the second order of Lamb chops which were very dry For £less than £12 a head, that's not bad We also got through 4 bottles of wine ( three spanish reds and a NZ SB ) a couple of pints and a few brandys All in all a good night, even if it was in the company of the Friars S
  16. is there a shooting your self through the roof of the mouth emoticon? S
  17. When Jay was kind enough to take me and my estimable brother out to supper the other day at the Angel Mangal, the alternate choice was Chintamani. I can only say for Jay's sake, i am glad he made the choice he did or The Observer would be short a critic and, in years to come, a teenage child would not be able to poke fun at the threadbare Blue Harbour jeans of their father. Let me get this out of the way. Chintamani is horrible. Not disappointing, not suffering from teething problems, but vile, disgusting and worthy of being shut down for its crimes against dining out. This is the identikit restaurant from hell. It is my ex-wife, SARS and Manchester Utd rolled into one. It is the Jar Jar Binks of restaurants, you keep saying to yourself "what the hell were they thinking?" The restaurant can't even be on the proper bit of Jermyn St, nestling as it does in the little bit that butts off the Haymarket. After walking up and down past Wiltons a couple of times ( how I wish we had gone there instead ) we finally crossed the road and found it. At 7.30pm the place was empty but it fillled to close to capapcity ( about 120 covers ) by the time we left. We sat in the small bar area and had a perfectly agreeable glass of champagne and looked at the room. They have gone full pelt for the MOMO schtick with drapes, cushions and gorgeous staff, dark lighting etc etc, but somehow they seem to have got it all wrong. On the way to the bathroom I came across half a dozen statues that I am pretty sure were replicas of the Terracotta Warriors, er? And this seems to sum up the whole place The menu is fairly long and interesting with a selection of mezze ( pretty pricy from £5-7.50 ) a selection of Lahmacun and pide ( c£5) and about 8 main courses ( ( hugely expensive at £18-22 a pop ) Pillow breads and olives were brought to the table. Neither were very good and we later found we had been charged £3 for them We started with three mezze Lamachun ( £5)- small ( and I mean small) discs with minced lamb on them. not disgusting but not much better Crispy Pork Belly with dates(£6) - not crispy, not any good Duck Borek(£5) - this was one of those dishes that will live in the memory for a long time but for all the wrong reasons. A horrible car crash of a dish. it was in effect duck mush spring roll in balsamic vinegar and every bit as nasty as that sounds. I feel sick writing about it Our main courses were Leg of lamb with honey dates(£18!!!) - two tiny peices of half decent slow cooked lamb with bad rice and gloop ( I have not a fricking clue what this was ) Harrissa infused Cod(£18) - grim cod with a bizarre red colour from the harissa but no discernable taste. Served with mash with whole lentils through it........ both were bad enough for me to consider going to slap the "chef" to drink we had the aforementioned champagne, two glasses of chardonnay ( £3.50 ) and a decent bottle of Valdemore Rioja reserva 2000 (£26 ) the rest of the wine list was obscenely priced I would talk about service but there wasn't any. Were were not served, we were processed. i have had better service at a Motorway service station. Good looking they may have been, anygood they were certainly not. Bill including service £118 and I begrudge every sodding penny of it So, two meals in the week, both awful, but this was worse than Benares, so much worse. It goes right up there in the pantheon of places that suck and is grappling with Gordon Ramsay's at Claridges as the worst rip off in London 1/10 - they had a guy who held the door open Oh, and they had a very interesting take on the napkin test. The waiteress picked up my napkin from the floor, and placed it back on the lap of my date who already had one across her lap.
  18. but what does she know? too bloody right m can't stand her, know nothing old bag S
  19. never thought you were being snides, sweets. each to their own. on last night's showing at least you and your date wont have any trouble getting a table
  20. BENARES It’s a good job Circeplum is going to be indoors tonight watching Celtic get thrashed as it is probably not safe for her to be on the streets after sending me to this travesty of a place. To be fair it is not her fault at all, I wanted to try Benares since it opened about a month ago and last night persuaded KikuJ to join me in a jaunt to Berkley Square . We managed to do a full circumnavigation of the square before we found the entrance to the restaurant and K had it exactly right when he remarked that the lobby was like the entrance to a very chic boutique hotel. Our coats were taken by a very pleasant young scandanavian girl and we were shown upstairs to the main restaurant A huge amount of money has obviously been spent on designing the room, but quite what they had in mind, I am not sure. The bar area looks like the United Airlines Red Carpet Club without the free nuts and the dining room has the most hideous white tiles arrangement on the walls. Quite off putting. The restaurant must have room for about 100 covers. I think there were about 10 people in during the whole time we were there and given the food, I am not sure they are ever going to get much busier than this. They don’t deserve to. The menu is the worst kind of hybrid ersatz Indian mish mash imaginable. The reason offered for this on the menu is that Benares is a city that attracts people from all over India and so they have food from all over India. Er?? I am pretty certain that their food was brought in direct from planet crappy. Things started OK with some well made papads served with decent chutneys made with those well known Indian ingredients Kumquats and Goosberries. We shared three starters. ( all at c£4-6 ) Kekdae Ki Chat ( to all intents and purposes a crab timbale ) which was not bad. Shammi Kebab ( lamb patties ) which had the right texture but were woefully bland Murg Masala ( chicken breast and livers ) which lacked any significant flavour. The Raita which came with these was thick and creamy and actually quite good. We then shared three main courses ( all at c£10-12 ) Achari Gosht ( Lamb curry ) Desi Tandoori murg ( actually they used guinea fowl not chicken ) Jhinga Tawa Masal ( prawn curry ) With a Makhni dal and a Lachna Paratha This is where the meal really plumbed the depths. This is not good Indian food. It was not even a close approximation of good Indian food, hell it was not even a good approximation of Indian food. It was curry house food. The sauces were dreadful mass prepared rubbish and the main ingredients had been thrown in at the last moment in the time honoured method of every post pub curry house in history. The lamb particularly was a disgrace chunks of tough meat grey in the middle. The tandoori guinea fowl was better but dry as hell and the prawn dish, while having a good number of large prawns was tooth rottingly sweet. The dal was made with the right black lentils but not milk as it should be and was no where near buttery enough. The bread was pretty risible too This is the sort of food that makes people think that Indian food is not a cuisine worthy of serious merit and if they ate this, they would be right. The wine list is hideously over priced and not well matched to the food. In the end we ordered a South African Cab Sav for £24. ( to you at Waitrose - £4.99 tops ) We did not bother with desserts so finished with some mint tea ( they could at least ace that part of the meal ) The service throughout was efficient if charmless. Bill for two inc service was £96 which for this part of town is pretty good but for this kind of meal is about £70 too much I am not one of those people who think that Indian food cannot be given the high end treatment. But at Benares they had patently spent enormous sums of money shoehorning an Indian restaurant into a generic international style without any reference to the quality of the food One to avoid Oh, and they failed the napkin test. 3/10 ( for papads, raita and crab)
  21. They do a Sunday Brunch which looked quite interesting. I have a menu at home and can post tomorrow S
  22. can I just publicly take back my declaration at the last EG meal. Charlene is not a fat old know nothing trout Thank you S
  23. Quite so on both counts LML S
  24. Not offering an objective review. Just an opinion S
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