It may be part of my work, but it is also a huge pleasure to be constantly visiting new restaurants, bars and hotels. In London, especially, there is not a week that goes by without a hospitality establishment swinging its doors open for the first time, full of hope and belief that they are going to enhance the lives of Londoners and make a few pounds.
Most of the time, I am absolutely delighted with the new offering that grace this great city. However, sometimes it can be the smallest thing - or what may be perceived as a small thing - can knock me off my celebratory course.
I may be a born-again Londoner but my northern heritage means that I love fish, chips and mushy peas. I love it and I know where to go to get the best! Fortnum and Mason is a great purveyor of this typically British delicacy for several years, as has Bonnie Gull in Fitzrovia. For quality fish and chips on the go, head to Fishers on Fulham High street. However, there is a recent trend that really has me puzzled. It’s the peas. Serving the mushy peas in a tiny ramekin that’s meant to be used for red sauce or some other condiment seems to be ‘of the moment’. I really do not understand this thinking. Mushy peas are an important part of this meal – it’s definitely neither a condiment nor an afterthought. It’s not the side serving of cress or crescent of crisps that shares the plate with an egg sandwich...Mushy peas are important.
From a cost savings point of view, for a highly pressured owner or kitchen manager, I could understand a smaller portion of fish or even a few less chips, but a condiment-sized ramekin of mushy peas does not stack up.
You might think from reading above that I am a little too passionate about my paltry portion of mushy peas, but that’s nothing compared to my total frustration when it comes to glassware for wine. I must reiterate at this point that 95% of the time, when visiting London’s restaurants, I am happy - actually very happy - but the other 5% can be put down to one thing…. RED WINE SERVED IN TUMBLERS.
One of life’s greatest pleasures is a decent red served in an elegant large wine glass with a long, thin stem with a wide bowl that closes slightly at the top - not a glass that was made to serve water to school children. For me, it’s simply not right. I don’t expect a venue to carry 7 or 8 different wine glasses for different wine varieties, but I do expect not to have to drink wine out of water glasses.
I am sorry about my little rants. I spend the vast majority of my time praising, celebrating and promoting lifestyle businesses - we are blessed in London with so many - but some things are just not right!!
If you love a bar or restaurant that has lovely wine glasses or have a soft spot for a restaurant that respects mushy peas, then nominate them for a London Lifestyle Award: