Archive for March, 2007

Sharp Practice at Livebait

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Oh dear, I am going to sound like AA Gill, (although nowhere near as pretentious obviously, or well educated for that matter).

If there is one thing that makes my blood boil in a restaurant it is when they try to get two tips out of me.  We’ve all seen the drill, you get a long bill with a very discreet line at the bottom adding 10% or 12.5% service.  Then you get presented with the Chip and PIN terminal where the waiter invites you to “add a service charge”.

This is what happened to me when I visited Livebait in Manchester.


I’m Saar Confused…

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

I am working my way, manfully, through a case of Wine Society branded wines.  Not all this evening I might add but nonetheless at a steady pace.

After all, it’s necessary to find some solace when Steve McClaren is manager of your national football team.

This wine is a Saar Reisling Von Kesselstat 2004 and to be frank I am as confused about it as the Wine Society is.


How do you Solve a Problem Like Veltliner?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

I haven’t managed to get a ticket to see Connie in the hottest show in town just yet.  Connie Fisher’s prize for winning a BBC talent contest was the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic at the London Palladium.

But I thought I would get in the mood anyway by trying an Austrian wine whose reputation seems to be growing faster than The Sound of Music revenues.

My Grüner Veltliner came from the Wine Society’s “Exhibition” Range.


Cork and Bottle – West End Winner

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Would you pay in advance for a crap meal?

No - I wouldn’t either.  However, the wine bar on review here gets away with it because the meal is actually not crap but mainly because the wine list is fantastic.

I had been to the Cork & Bottle on Cranbourn St, near Leicester Square many many times and enjoyed every occasion…well maybe except for the first time I visited, where I couldn’t work out the MO for getting served!

So, since I had started my blog, and I happened to be in London, I thought I would revisit and see how the wine list compared to the last time I was there.  It hadn’t changed at all – excellent!  (although it’s due a change soon to be fair…. come on Don!)


Martinez Bujanda Rosado – Are you a Pinko?

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Now you may well have tried some Rioja red wine from Bodegas Martinez Bujanda but have you ever tried a rosé?

I have and it’s sublime……….on a warm summer day.


Simply Heathcoates – Simply Awful!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Have you ever seen (Dr???) Gillian McKeith on “You Are What You Eat” on Channel 4 here in the UK?

She is frequently seen picking up a slice of white bread, then screwing it into a disgusting “gob” of snowball proportions and then throwing it across the room.  It makes you think just how bad white bread really is. But this is exactly how Simply Heathcotes (Manchester) served my Yorkshire pudding on Mothers’ Day 2007.  Only it was colder.


Three Acres with the Movers and Shakers

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

I am reminded of the old joke where a farmer’s son asks his dad how much land he will get for his inheritance. The dad kicks his son in the nuts and says “well there’s a couple of achers to start with”.

To get a Friday night reservation at the Three Acres, required several month’s notice. Was it going to be worth the wait or would I be kicked in the nuts?

The Three Acres to which I refer, is a gastro-pub that nestles beneath Emley Moor transmitter in Shelley, 5 miles south of Huddersfield, West Yorks.  Its reputation reaches much wider than the transmitter’s signals, however.


2005 – Worth The Hype?

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Wow – the Wine Society sent me an enticing offer.  “A first taste of 2005!”.  Twelve bottles for a mouthwatering 67 of my English punts.

Now really….  It’s in their interest to big up the supposed best year in Bordeaux for several millennia – well according to the venerable Robert Parker at least.  (Personally I am amazed that an American has any understanding of how to get out of his own state, let alone gain a deep understanding of European culture).  I mean how many of you Europeans has met an American who knows the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?


Asda Malbec post script

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Just a quick post to say that in an earlier post I mentioned that I had found a pure Malbec at Asda for only £3.78 and now I have tried it I can report that my new found love for Asda’s wine buyers has flourished again.

They described the wine as a “delicious glass of smooth juicy pleasure” and for once I agree with the label!


Opposite Ends of The Malbec Value Spectrum

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Everyone who knows me, knows that I think that Malbec is the best thing to come out of Argentina since news of Maradona’s (drug abuse enforced) retirement.

On my last Malbec post, Denis requested a recommendation for a good starter bottle.  This prompted me to think about both ends of the value spectrum.

I have just tasted a superb Malbec from Asda (UK subsidiary of Wal-mart), at time of writing on special offer at just four of our English pounds (I think it’s still less than a fiver at full price!).  The wine is Malbec Reserve, Famatina Valley 2004 which the label says is produced by some outfit called “La Riojana”.  I guess it must be blended from a variety of sources then, but no harm in that if it tastes good.  And my hand of god says it does!