Wednesday, 5 March 2008

You Eat What You Are

My entire "raison d'etre" in life, is to discover new and exciting restaurants that put a different slant on the whole eating out experience. Some are better than others. I have even heard rumours of some places outside of London that have ceased churning out prawn cocktail and chicken and chips in a basket, but that I find very hard to swallow - but enough of the basket! (Paronnez moi! Tres silly mood!).
Now every once in a while I come across a restaurant that leaves even a leviathan-like intellect (such as mine) struggling for the right words what I should use. (Note to self - check grammar on previous sentence and remove any wrong bits before sending copy to typist). Hence I was recommended to try out the new eatery near the Groucho Club run by celebrity Channel 4 nutritonist expert Dr Gillian MacLiar. You know the lady I mean - see the picture above as a reminder. She is that odd woman on Channel 4 with a strange propensity for other people's bowel movements, a body like Gollum and a face with all the warmth and charm of Josef Mengele.
I phoned Filly but she texted me back saying she was at something called an Anti Natal Class, though quite what she has against areas of South Africa I have no idea. I toyed with getting hold of Belinda again, but she has been acting somewhat strange since the whole visit to Heston's restaurant. She keeps sending me pink t-shirts through the post and CD's by the Communards, with strange cards attached with notes in saying "thought this would be right up your alley." Therefore, abandoning women, I decided to plunge into Dr MacLiar's lair alone!
The first thing that happens on entering the restaurant is that you have to swear on a Bible that you honestly believe that Doctorates and Degrees from the "University of Possum Swamp Springs, Tennessee" are legal and all above board. We are then all weighed and measured to find our body mass index. Anyone over the Government limit is then subjected to a 25 minute dressing down by a hologram of Dr MacLiar. Next we are each assigned a small tupperware box which we have to crap into. Yes, that is what I said, we have to crap into a tupperwear box. This is then taken to the head chef and nutritionists, who sniff it and poke it about a bit, before coming back to each customer in turn and telling us that our "shit stinks". Now, I am no rocket scientist (just a graduate from Cambridge!), but even I know that whatever else it smells of, crap usually stinks horribly. Finally, Dr MacLiar appears in person for us, goes from table to table haranguing guests, calling them names, handing back their poo, and finally delivering their specially created meal which is apparently exactly their dietary needs at this time. Strangely every single bowl seemed to be the same - full of mung beans, whole grain rice, pearl barley, lettuce and tofu. For this we were charged £347.32 a head. What a hoot! Sadly, the evening ended on a sour note when a chap on a table next to mine, after being shouted at for the 6th time by Dr MacLiar, unfortunately made the mistake of muttering something about Dr MacLiar being a fraud, charlatan and a faeces-obsessed quack. The poor man didn't know what hit him. It was Dr MacLiar's very rich and powerful lawyer husband who whacked a writ on the man before he could snap the lid back on his tupperwear shit box. He was kicked out, but not before they had made him settle his bill.
So, a bizarre place to go, but very much as expected if you have seen the grimacing features of Dr MacLiar on Channel 4. I can only hope the food and toilet facilities at the next eatery I visit will be an improvement!
Any suggestions, please mail me at and we can maybe have lunch together. But bring your own tupperwear box.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Science Friction

He's the man everyone has been talking about in food circles. But enough about me! No, he is the media darling of the kitchen at this very moment and I felt I should go and see him in action. To whom am I referring? Heston Bloomingtwatt of course! The man who has put the cool back into cookery. From his marvellous TV series on BBC4 we have seen him boiling an egg in a particle accelerator, blow-torching some cheese on toast using a hot-air balloon inflator and even making a ham sandwich using only two cubic metres of helium, a chainsaw, four litres of Russian imported vodka and a sausage dog called Wietschge - genius! The picture above shows him making a Pot Noodle using some liquid nitrogen and a balloon whisk from the TV series. He has now opened his own eatery in Westminster called Bloomingtwatt's, and it has become THE place to be seen when dining out.
Filly has been very hard to pin down of late, but I managed to catch up with her this morning by phone. She said she was feeling very sick this morning and couldn't keep anything down. I made a little joke about her being pregnant, but she remained strangely silent. I ventured would she be interested in joining me for a spot of nose-bag at a place called Bloomingtwatt's, but she reckoned with a name like that, I should go on my own. I was a little hurt by her lack of appetite for something new, but decided I would not be down cast, and instead phoned my old University chum, Belinda Massingberd-Blinovic de la Roche, who takes up a whole page in my phone directory with her name alone. She was delighted to hear from me and readily agreed to come and dine with me. Her driving skills are almost as lamentable as Filly's, and one had to suffer the indignity of being driven around in a Audi, of all things.
Bloomingtwatt's is not easy to miss, with large holograms of the owner's face being played over the front walls, depicting him reading out his favourite recipes in binary code. Once inside you are disinfected with spray from powerful showers, then blasted dry by massive warm air jets.
Heston's menu is minimalist and captures the zeitgeist marvellously. Belinda was enormously excited to be here and kept telling me how hungry she was and ready for a good stuffing. I told her with Heston's portions she'd be lucky which didn't seem to please her. Starter was a choice of either a glass of water warmed to just above room temperature using sonic vibrations from an oscilloscope and a tone generator, or two sprigs of celery, one cloned from the other and therefore identical. Each come in at a snip under £50. Main courses were sausage and chips, in which the chips are cut into numbers and then arranged on your plate in complex mathematical equations, or another glass of water this time chilled down to absolute zero using nitrogen and which immediately shatters into a millions pieces when exposed to ambient room temperature. Both main courses are only £175 each and are works of art. Belinda insisted on drinking a chilled Muscat which didn't really compliment any of the dishes, but was nearly £400 a bottle. I tried to point out to her that technically it was a dessert wine only but she commented that it was reaching the parts most wines don't normally reach, whatever that meant. We finally came to the dessert which was Spotted Dick, in which the currents had been placed by laser guided robotic arms to mimic the night sky on the night Heston was conceived, or yet another glass of water, this time apparently just poured out of a tap. These were merely £25 each and a nice treat, as well as a bargain. Belinda leaned across the table and slurred that she hadn't spotted dick for a long time and wondered if I could help her out. I offered her my bowl, but she shook her head and raised her eyes to the heavens.
I had to drive Belinda back to my flat due to her over imbibing the Muscat. She asked if she could stay over, which I reluctantly agreed to. Although I had put her in the spare room she must have been more drunk than I realised as she came into my room, and even my bed on at least three occasions saying that she couldn't wait to get her hands on the main course. Mad girl! The final time I took her back to her room she seemed to thank me for such a jolly evening. Well she mentioned the word gay anyway.
If you would like to show me a good time at a fabulous restaurant then drop me a line to and I'll get the spare room ready for you! Tally ho!