Friday, 30 December 2011

Review of the Year – Top 10 Restaurants 2011

I can’t go near The Guardian at the moment without happening upon a review of the year gone by in politics, music or movies. Even The Telegraph jumped in on the action with its heroes and villains and sports images of the year, and when The Independent added its portfolio of 2011 in pictures, I figured I might as well add my top ten restaurants of 2011.  
10. Pizza East Shoreditch on a Monday. This is probably my most controversial choice of the year. However, upon making my list and checking it twice I spent a decent amount of time thinking about my favourite restaurants of the year in London and Pizza East kept on surfacing its pretty green head. On a Monday night there’s 50% off should you have the Pizza East key ring so this selection is based on that premise. The large restaurant is packed on a Monday night, I’m assuming in large part due to the 50% off offer and every song that comes on is a tune. It feels like Saturday night. We usually get there around 9pm having visited the Aubin cinema nearby. Best on the menu is the prosecco (£16.50 a bottle), followed by the lamb meatballs (£2.50) and obviously pizza – spicy sausage and broccoli is a favourite (£6.50). The lemon pot (£2.50) is good also for dessert but really there’s no need for it. Give it a miss. Get your PE key ring, make a booking, rock up on a Monday, and eat the night away to some great music.
9. Spuntino. I sent the website link of Spuntino to a friend inviting her for food at Spuntino midweek one evening during the year. Her response was something to the effect that she had never seen a more pretentious website in her life. Essentially the website gives a limited amount of information; and by limited I mean the name, address and opening times. No telephone number and no reservations. In an era of multiple communications methods, I find it refreshing to just have to turn up somewhere. Remember back in the day when we said we were going to meet someone at a certain location at a certain time, and you had to show up otherwise the person was hanging around like a spare tool? Spuntino reminds me of those times when you went to where you were meant to be. Now I have trouble keeping up when I text someone to receive a facebook message back, but missed the skype call before spotting the tweet, listening to the voice message before sending an email to reconfirm that I’ve confirmed that we’re going to meet. It’s tiring, and I’m a luddite so peel it back and keep it simple. This is what has happened at Spuntino, and it works. Get there early is my advice because queuing is never fun in any circumstance. Sit at the counter, order the lamb and pickled cucumber slider followed by the steak with egg. Eat the popcorn while you wait and chat with the pierced and tattooed lads and ladies as they prepare the drinks. And above all, enjoy yourself.  
8. Breakfast at the Wolseley. It probably doesn’t need any additional plug from me, but for breakfast in a beautifully ornate building, it’s quite spectacular. Above all, I still lust after the pastries made on site, in particular the cannelé bordelaise and amandine pain sucré. I do still wonder about that almond croissant.
7. Bocca di Lupo. Now I like to avoid tourists in the same way as I like to avoid Tuberculosis. In particular I like to avoid places where tourists congregate with their come rob me eyes and their lazy walk that says I’m on holidays. In London and the world over it’s as though shite restaurateurs are attracted by the smell of this most unsuspecting of prey and set out to take their cash from them whilst filling them with terrible food. Soho is one of these locations. Amidst the crap however, a number of jewels exist, Spuntino being one. Bocca di Lupo is another diamond in the rough, an excellent Italian restaurant in the heart of Soho offering wonderful cold cuts, pasta dishes and stews. An evening out there is as enjoyable as an evening watching Mark Rylance in Jerusalem.    
6. Yum Buns. When I think about an individual piece of food that is perfect in its essence, it’s hard to think past the delicious slow roasted belly pork in steamed buns with hoi sin, cucumbers and spring onions that are sold at Netil Market, and which made a welcome appearance at the Long Table in December.
5. Nopi. Three visits in the year, each as good as the previous. The breakfast/brunch merits its position in my top 10. In particular the borlotti bean stew with chorizo and fried egg; the rice, coconut milk, banana and mango; and the carrot, ginger and apple juice really excel. That and the visit to the toilets. Excellent work by Yotam Ottolenghi.
4. Hawksmoor, Spitalfields. On the edge of the city and down the road from Liverpool Street, this venue has got to be pretty special when it’s strongly frequented by b(w)ankers. Yet, I love the place, primarily due to the quality of food on offer, and in no small measure due to the bar staff. On each of the three times I ate there in 2011, I concluded that their steak is the best I’ve eaten in London. It’s not cheap – a fillet is £32 of 300g, but you pay for quality. The steak should be enjoyed with a sweet potato which is baked and served with salt crystals. The sweet potato sounds simple but no matter how often I try (twice), I cannot replicate it at home. The English lettuce and herb salad is also something to write home about. Should you wish to avoid the bankers, sit at the bar; the bar service will be more enjoyable and intelligent, and unlike bankers, they’ll know what they’re talking about.
3. Zucca. Great Italian food, served at affordable prices, in a beautiful and minimalistic designed building. The restaurant was an instant success upon its opening back in 2010 and I have visited there on average once every 3 months. I have a list of things I like about the place. In terms of aesthetics, I like the white simple design ensuring that the White Cube gallery fits in the Bermondsey neighbourhood. I like the sommelier who recommends excellent Italian wine. I love the plate of bread and focaccio that is served once you sit down with olive oil. The focaccio in particular is oily, with a crunchy exterior and salty taste. It is excellent and is made on the premises. Both the starters and main courses are extremely elegant in their simplicity and incredibly tasty. I tend to opt for the fish choices and they have never failed me. In terms of affordability, I don’t know of any restaurant in London to compare in terms of both food quality and price.
2. Bentleys Oyster Bar & Grill. What can I say; this place would be my number 1 if I could afford to dine there all the time. However, as I can’t it takes the very reputable second spot in my top ten. The problem with a place like Bentleys is that its reputation precedes it, and any letdown will impact the judgement of the punter and by punter, I mean me. Suffice to say my experience was without blemish and the same was said for the other 4 at the table.
Having lodged at my cousins house for what was meant to be an initial 2 weeks and what turned into 3 months, and with my belongings at a friend’s place while contracts were exchanged and finalised on my own home, I decided to take the good Samaritans to Bentleys by way of thank you for putting (me) up with me rent free for a prolonged period of time. So, in January I made an appointment for 5 at Bentleys on Swallow Street and excitedly arrived on a Saturday night to imbibe champagne, indulge in fish and devour dessert. The table roundly agreed these people deserve a medal for the amount of happiness their comestibles bring to those who indulge. The service was immaculate, the food divine, and the drink heavenly. Richard Corrigan I salute you, a fine son to emerge from Leinster.
1. Jose Pizarro. And so to the top spot, and I cheat only slightly. For the finest Spanish tapas and Spanish restaurant travel no further than SE1 Bermondsey Street where you will locate the recently opened Pizarro’s sit-down restaurant and further down the street Jose’s tiny tapas bar now well established since June. Jose Pizarro and his wonderful team surely deserve the accolade for the best new restaurant of 2011.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Roast Borough Market

Sunday roast is certainly a topic that warrants serious deliberation, and in the time I have lived in London, Roast at Borough Market has been suggested as a good venue for Sunday roast by a number of people. I had yet to eat in the restaurant, however I had enjoyed the Saturday roast at the market in a bun; the pork belly is particularly good, although the bread they use is terrible. 
I finally made it on a Sunday in December to the actual Roast restaurant and as we enter the restaurant the view of St. Paul’s in the near distance is striking. It’s a lovely sight. I order the pheasant and bacon pie for my starter followed by the beef for my main course. The waiter informs me that the pheasant and bacon pie has run out, however that this has been replaced with a pressed game plate. It seems like a sensible option so I choose this instead. It arrives on a plate with cranberry sauce and two thin slices of toast. The game is indeed pressed. I was worried that it may be more a pate but it’s not, bits of game are distinguishable in the mix, a mix that included duck and pheasant. There was even some pistachio in there and the game was encased in ham. It was excellent.
My friend selected the deep fried whitebait which was simply served with tartar sauce and lemon in a metal basket. The first one or two were quite tasty, but quickly the salty flavour was far too overpowering rendering it inedible.
When my main course of roast sirloin of Welsh black beef arrived it was accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, English mustard and gravy. On the side came roast potatoes, red cabbage and carrots. The cut of beef was certainly of high quality cooked more medium than the rare I had requested. The quality of the cut itself was excellent.
The Yorkshire pudding was ok at a push, but nothing great, very dry and lacking in taste. The roast potatoes were mediocre at best. I assume they were parboiled, before being fried in goose fat and then roasted in the oven. However, I really discerned no real flavour from them and they were certainly substandard to my own roast potatoes, and I unfortunately am no Richard Corrigan in the kitchen. The vegetables too were just ok, the carrots the best of the bunch. The red cabbage, usually a personal favourite was overcooked.
My companion opted for the halibut as the initial salmon selection was unavailable. It was served on a bed of sliced courgettes. It was simple but enjoyable, however far substandard to similar fish dishes I have eaten 10 minutes down the road at Zucca on Bermondsey Street. It was certainly ok, but considering the price, it did not offer value for money.
Getting onto the price, the 2 course set menu was £28 per person and having added on a £42 bottle of pinot noir which was very nice, coffee and service, the bill came in at around £120. Setting aside the drinks, the food alone totalled £56 for two courses before service, which is quite a lot of money. The food was nice, but it wasn’t fantastic and certainly not worth that amount. In terms of food, highlights were the pressed game, and the cut of beef which proved their worth. Question marks remain about the vegetables, potatoes, and fish. Perhaps we were paying for the very nice view. 
Roast on Urbanspoon


It is possibly wrong to start a food review by writing about the toilets. It’s probably even worse to commence putting proverbial pen to paper when said review concerns Nopi the brainchild of Yotam Ottolenghi. Surely then I should dive head first into the food review element of what is, well, in essence, a food review. However, I strongly feel it would be remiss of me not to start with the funky toilets with their panelled mirrors giving the impression of never ending angular mirrored reflections. Should one be vainglorious enough, ahem, then there’s much to love about these toilets once, you’ve actually located the actual toilet in the midst of this mind trick. Otherwise it could get slightly messy.

But, it’s not for the toilets that I’m visiting. It’s my third visit to Nopi since it opened on Warwick Street early in 2011, nestled behind the mayhem of Regents Street providing respite for weary legs on a Sunday at brunch. It already seems to feel like a London institution and is a welcome addition to the Ottolenghi family of restaurants. I’ve visited 3 times since its opening and have yet to be disappointed. I’ve always made it on time for the breakfast menu which is served until a leisurely 12pm, ideal for a Sunday. I have also benefitted therefore from the far more affordable menu of gastronomic delights before it shifts to the lunch and dinner menus which are quite a lot more expensive.
My imagination is quite limited given that the first time I visited Nopi I plumped for the borlotti bean stew served with chorizo and fried Italian egg on bread. The first time I tasted it, it was delectable, and the fear of selecting something not quite as amazing has always made me return to my conservative choice upon each subsequent visit. I know this is wrong and I’m dealing with this issue, but I’m like an addict in need of my fix. Once again, I get my hit.
My friend decides on the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with focaccia. It’s served with greens. I think I detect mint in there and she believes there to be nettle, I can’t be sure, my knowledge of nettle is limited. It’s enjoyable.
To wean myself off the borlotti stew, we decide to try a sharing plate of the rice, coconut milk, banana and mango. It only serves to add to my list of latest addictions. It is quite simply divine. The rice is black and some coconut milk is poured over it with chopped bananas and mangos. It’s presented with syrup and milk, but really there is no make the additions as it is sweet enough. Potentially then, my addiction to the borlotti bean stew has been fixed, just to be replaced by the black rice.
The breakfast/brunch must be enjoyed with a carrot, ginger and apple juice. The juice is served in its exact proportions and is delicious. To round of the morning I have a tea and my friend a coffee. The tea is served in a transparent glass cup with a metal tea handle attached from the bottom. At one stage the handle manages to come a cropper from the cup and I’m not really sure why. A nimble reaction ensures that disaster is averted. The bill comes to around £43 including tip and an optional £1 provision for a homeless charity.
It’s a winner, pretty much like everything Ottolenghi touches or associates with – including for that matter his cookbook which is the easiest cookbook I have followed and led to me creating the best chocolate fudge cake known to man and tasted as good as anything I’ve ingested at Ottolenghi’s Islington restaurant. I include the picture of one of my finest ever Ottolenghi creations just because I want to. Happy days.
NOPI on Urbanspoon

Buen Provecho

On my last visit to Lower Marsh I stopped for falafel despite being tempted by the Mexican flag and the tacos from Buen Provencho. On this occasion, we decide to try the tacos, 2 tacos for £5 or 3 for £6. We just make it on time and are the last two customers of the day before the food sells out. I choose cochinita pibil (or something like that, my Spanish isn’t the best; then again my English is nothing to write home about). It’s pork marinated in orange. Deciding to be adventurous as I do like to live on the edge, for my second taco I choose the pollo en salsa verde, which is simply enough chicken in green salsa. Feel free to contact me for Spanish translation anytime. My friend also chooses the pork as her first choice and the entomatado which is beef in a green tomato sauce for her second choice.
As we wait to be served, we strike up conversation with the very friendly host including the news that the good folk at have become Timeout’s people of the year. It’s always a good sign when the person serving you enjoys their job, it is that special ingredient that just adds to the food especially when the conditions are near Frozen Planet like outside. I’m expecting to see polar bears emerge from beneath the snow at any moment but I realise that they’re busy giving birth at a Dutch zoo as Attenborough narrates. Just like Frozen Planet this post has fictitious elements to it, mainly the lack of snow but it was definitely cold.
The tacos are served to us with refried beans, and then we add our own salsa dips, tomato and guacamole. The general consensus is that the pork taco is the best, better than the chicken and also better than the beef. It does get messy which is not a good look as we try to eat in public without the benefit of napkins. Silly error when eating tacos, but it’s a tasty filling mess.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Seed, Exmouth Market

I was an early convert to the street food movement upon arrival in London some three and a half years ago. It wasn’t difficult to be converted when Exmouth Market was just up the road from me making it easy to pop out for lunch. Exmouth Market is surely one of the best locations in London comprising some of the best and most diverse quality food environments on offer, both of the indoor and outdoor variety. Just think about it, walk up Emouth Market from the Farringdon Road side and consider the options at your feet. On your right, you’ll happen upon Spinach and Agushi – great for outdoor Ghanaian food and who have a wide presence at a number of London markets including Portobello. On your left you’ll locate Caravan, home to what my sources tell me is some of the best coffee in London (not forgetting Prufrock or Coleman’s).
Continue along Exmouth Market and in terms of quality restaurants you have Moro, Morito (Moro’s tapas bar), and Medcalf to choose from. Outdoors, the best options include Thai, Bangla, Indian, or Mexican. On this occasion, it’s none of these I visit. Instead, I halt my step half way up the market at Seed, the vegetarian salad bar. The real world is manic and deadlines abound so I need a healthy dose of vitamins to keep me on my toes. For winter, Seed, offer a tub of mixed salad for £4, or a combination of hot and cold vegetarian food for £4.50. I need to warm the cockles of my cold cold heart and select the combo option.
A mountain of vegetables descends into the tub. This includes sweet potato, chickpeas, peas and green leaves which are combined into a soup like nourishing fill. This fills the bottom of the tub, to which is then added the cold salad of lentils, cabbage, beetroot, carrots, greens, olives, peppers and cucumbers. To finish off the salad a large dollop of hummus is spooned on top before the tub is sealed, cash exchanged and I head off on my merry way, lunch in hand to enjoy my colourful composition of goodness.
I retire to Spa Fields to enjoy my lunch. It’s difficult to define a particular favourite from the combination as each on their own is very tasty. I do have a particular affinity with the pickled white cabbage which is finally sliced, a first cousin of the sauerkraut (the cabbage that is, not the person). The black olives too add a distinct flavour to the mixture, and I can’t finish off without mentioning the al dente carrots which are seasoned with salt. What makes the meal however really is the combination of so many different vegetables each with their own distinctive taste and flavour.
Spa Fields in the summer at lunchtime is full of folk enjoying some summer sun whilst enjoying something to eat. Today, I have the park to myself save for a solitary other willing to brave the sharp cold. In this empty cold space, the park has a relaxing and calming influence, and it’s hard to imagine that a Bone House and Graveyard once stood at this site from the 1780s when over 80,000 internments took place over 50 years. Having enjoyed lunch it’s back to the impending deadlines.

Pizarro's, Bermondsey Street

I cannot imagine how great the feeling must be when you decide to open a restaurant and at the soft opening launch 60 people are waiting to get in. That’s the scene that greeted the opening of Pizarro’s on Bermondsey Street on the eve of the first Friday of December. I get there on the Saturday for lunch. The doors open at 12 and having visited Maltby Street that morning we have half an hour to kill before the soft opening so head up to the market at Bermondsey Square. When we return at 12, there is a queue of 25 people before us waiting in anticipation for the doors to be opened. They are swiftly opened on the nose of 12 and we head in to the beautiful building where the smell of freshly sanded wood mixed with aromas from the open plan kitchen greets us.
As we await our table we start with a bottle of cava and take a look at the surroundings. The design is delightful in its detail. It’s not just the tiles or the wooden ceiling; it’s the newspaper holder; it’s the coat racks; it's the Aesop products in the toilets; it’s the different type of soft lighting; it’s the various seating arrangements - whether you want to sit at the bar and watch the chefs in action, enjoy the people spotting of those who traverse Bermondsey street, sit together at a large group table where you get to know your neighbours, or in one of the booths for a smaller party. The layout brings people together no matter how big or small the party number but simultaneously manages to maintain privacy.
Bread and radishes are brought to us as we sip our cava. Now, I’ve always been of the opinion that the likes of radishes and celery pave the road to purgatory – mundane and boring type vegetables. However, here at Pizarro’s the radishes have olive oil added along with pepper, and when combined with the bread from St. John’s, they somehow work.
We are seated by the window looking out onto Bermondsey Street. Having perused the menu, we commence with some ham croquetas. They are excellent. I’d go so far as to say the best croquetas I’ve enjoyed.
We follow with lamb with lentils. Now I have had a challenging relationship with lamb. When I was younger we used to slaughter our own lamb, which was then frozen and throughout winter we used to have different variations of it pretty much every day for dinner. This did not lead to an altogether loving relationship with lamb, and it’s only in the past 5 years that I’ve started eating it again. Now it’s one of my favourite pieces of meat. The lamb at Pizarro’s ensures that this relatively recently found love continues. It’s tender and cooked to medium, presented with lentils and radicchio. The radicchio does not leave a bitter taste as it can do when prepared poorly. It’s a tasty dish. It is much larger than a tapas type dish and could be served as a main course, but we share.
We next opt for the gambas and ham with chilli and garlic. The prawns are fat and juicy, both the taste of the chilli and garlic are prevalent when biting into them, a great combination. I have never had prawns and Serrano ham together on the same plate before, but once again Pizarro’s strikes the correct balance.  
We get two deserts because it's winter and everyone knows you need extra calories in winter to stave off the cold. It's a medical fact. The chocolate toast with caramel ice-cream seems like an interesting choice from the menu. To be fair it would be difficult to mess up serving a dessert which comprises of chocolate and ice-cream and caramel on the one dish. However, this dessert is quite spectacular. The caramel ice-cream is served with some salt like crumbs’ whilst the chocolate is neither mousse nor ganache nor ice-cream. It has a firm texture to it.  I’ll demonstrate my ignorance by saying; I’m not really sure what it was. What I do know however, is that it was bloody well good and served on a thin piece of toast which was hard as a rock.
We opted for rice pudding with clementine’s as our other dessert. It’s difficult to compare rice pudding when there is chocolate and caramel vying for attention on the other plate. I make an effort however for the sake of the team. The rice pudding itself was enjoyable, however I found the clementine’s to be overpowering the subtlety of the rice pudding.
A third friend joins our company, and upon sitting down informs us that we look like the cats that got the cream. There’s probably a modicum of truth in that assertion. My friends finish with a coffee. Pizarro’s get their beans down the road from Monmouth. The only comment I receive from them on the quality is ‘mmmnnnn, good coffee’. I didn’t feel the need to enquire further. As it was the soft opening, there was 50% off our bill which should have come to £80. We pay £40.

For me Pizarro’s is not just about the food which is, as denoted above of the highest standard. It’s about the warmth of the restaurant determined by the welcome of the staff and management. Throughout our visit, Pizarro comes out from behind his busy workplace to welcome friends who visit to support the venture with big hugs and kisses. The happiness is palpable and good will ever present. All in all it’s a warm uplifting experience.
But, then again, when you think about it, Pizarro’s is just the most recent addition in a long line of Spanish international influence – Columbus,  Cervantes, the Spanish Armada,  la quinta brigada, Xavi Alono…Jose Pizarro. I wish it to go from strength to strength as it is about to become my newest local. It is after all, the best Spanish restaurant in London.  
Pizarro  on Urbanspoon

Friday, 2 December 2011

Brindisa, London Bridge

I have spent more than one evening at Brindisa by London Bridge in my day. Even when I haven’t dined in the restaurant, I have availed of the grilled smoked chorizo at Borough Market on a Saturday. It’s important to get there before or after the mass of tourists to enjoy the chorizo in a bun drizzled with olive oil, and dressed with rocket and piquillo pepper. It’s on the menu at the restaurant also and is a must.
I have arrived at Brindisa at times in a state of inebriation; at other times I have left Brindisa intoxicated. But I have yet to leave without enjoying my evening both in terms of food and company. Brindisa does not take bookings and usually there is a wait. This in part explains some of the alcohol induced frivolity that occurs when dining there. Quite often there is a one hour wait and this then involves popping over to the Southwark Tavern or down to the Market Porter for a beverage (or two) before heading back for some carbohydrates to soak up the five a day from one of the aforementioned taverns.
The tapas at Brindisa are quite big, more a ration than tapas. Having already ordered the grilled smoked chorizo, we continue our order with a tortilla de chorizo. This as you might expect is a potato, chorizo and pepper omelette. It is tasty but cold. Perhaps they forget to heat it, but it usually arrives warm to the table.
Next up is the pan de coca, a traditional catalan flatbread with tomato. It’s the first time I’ve had it and it’s quite enjoyable. The tomato is spread on the toasted flatbread, drizzled with oil and garnished. 
I avoid the patatas brava o alioli as they are usually a letdown, less patatas bravas, and more cubed, fried potatoes lacking in taste. They’re nothing special at Brindisa. I don’t know why as the majority of the food is very good. It’s really the only non-galactico on a menu of greats which unlike Real Madrid usually live up to the expectations of them. We next try the gambas al ajillo. The chilli and garlic taste is prevalent and the quality of the gambas is high. Indeed whoever sources the ingredients at Brindisa deserves a pat on the back.
The croquetas de jamon are made from cured Iberian ham and are very good. I tend to feel like Goldilocks in my pursuit of good croquetas. They can be either too creamy or the potatoes too floury. Brindisa croquetas strike the right balance.
Although we don’t order it on this occasion, the charcuteria selection at Brindisa is excellent and the restaurant is renowned for it as is the Brindisa shop also to be found at Borough Market.
We wash the food down with the help of a 2010 bottle of Juan Gil, Monastrell, Jumilla. For three, the bill totals £65.   
One of the best things about Brindisa is that despite the enduring popularity of the restaurant, standards remain high. Possibly the people there are aware that the same pat on the back is only 6 inches from a kick in the arse and strive to maintain decent quality. The presentation of the food is simple in its elegance and the punters respond with their returned custom. There’s plenty of hustle, and throw in a dollop of bustle – and that’s just the staff. It’s great, plenty of personality as you’d expect from a Spanish restaurant. It’s in the heart of London, and at this stage, we’re spoilt for choice with the quality of Spanish restaurants in this town.
Tapas Brindisa on Urbanspoon

Vegetarian Falafel, Lower Marsh

For Friday lunch, I walk up and down the Lower Marsh market near Waterloo in search of a suitable outdoor dining experience. The aptly named vegetarian falafel stall catches my eye and it is to here I return. It’s the stall closest to the Old Vic and having never eaten here before my decision is reinforced by the people awaiting service from the two friendly gentlemen at the stall. I can only assume that some of these people are return custom from locals who work in the area.

On the menu is a falafel wrap. Simple, to the point, limited options. A medium or large size is on offer, the medium at £3, the large £4. My friend is losing patience with the queue and contemplates jumping into Greggs. Thankfully, common sense prevails and our friendship remains intact. The wrap is prepared, first spreading hummus over it. This is followed by a chilli paste and then a host of pickled vegetables and salad including tomatoes and roasted aubergine. Finally, the falafel is added to the mix before some yoghurt is drizzled on top and the package is wrapped.   

We head across to the near empty park to enjoy. The falafel is excellent. It has a green hue to it and the chick peas are tasty and well spiced. The falafel ratio to vegetable/pickles/hummus and chilli is well proportioned.  At £3 it is difficult to beat in terms of value. I have happy memories of falafel. My most enduring memory is enjoying it at a falafel stall by the East Gate just outside the entrance to the Old City in Jerusalem. It cost a dollar for a similar type wrap. Each time I have good falafel ever since, I think of that falafel stall outside the Old City. It is the best to be found in the Middle East, despite facing hefty competition from Syria and Lebanon. I to this day have conversations with friends with whom I was on that trip with. We returned each day to hand over our dollar for another wrap. Should you happen to end up in Jerusalem, do swing by. It’s been the bones of 7 years since I was there, but I imagine it still remains. I can’t think of anything that could have happened in the interim period in Jerusalem. It’s a quiet enough spot.
With happy recollections, it’s back to some form of attempted intellectual endeavour, heading indoors to warm up my freezing fingers.