Over this past year, I’ve asked many of you to give up your time, share insights and guide me through the world of wine as I plunge headfirst into a sea of terminology, age-old processes and colourful characters.
In listening to those collective experiences centred around food and drink and what they mean to you, one almost universal experience is the joy that we get from sitting down with friends and family and the conversations and experiences that ensue.
In some ways, this is me saying thank you for affording me that snapshot into your lives and in others, it’s a chance to share the elements that underpin that joy and serve as talking points as we look to pull up a chair and plonk ourselves down for a bite to eat.
I’ll trial various features in the coming weeks, so please don’t be shy and do share your feedback by simply hitting reply.
Welcome to Table Talk, a weekly take on the sometimes insightful, somewhat inane conversations happening across the land.
Your Favourite Restaurant You’ve Never Been To
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you enjoy visiting great restaurants. As any self-identifying (or unwitting) foodie will attest, there’s nothing we love more than discussing the places we’ve visited, the food we ate and “the vibe” we encountered. Recently, whilst amongst friends and discussing our favourite spots, I bizarrely voiced that The Marksman in Hackney was “my favourite restaurant I’ve never been to.” Reflecting on it, I believe we all have those places - whether it’s somewhere we’ve read about, had described to us or simply passed but never had the chance to pop in - and they occupy an unusually elevated position in our minds.
I’ve always had a soft spot for pubs that do serious food (The Canton Arms in Stockwell springs to mind) and The Marksman seems to do some of the most serious tucker around. But I think it goes beyond the food to the unpretentiousness of the offering and the commitment to doing the simple things extremely well. Jay Rayner hit the nail on the head in his Guardian review when he mused: “Their approach comes down to this: we cooked some stuff; we think you might like it.”
Anyway, enough from me on that front, I’ve never even been there after all… Now it’s over to you, what’s your favourite restaurant that you’ve never been to? Why does it hold such sway with you when you’ve yet to cross the threshold?
Store Cupboard Staples
Whilst certain ingredients come and go based on the latest recipe we’re vainly attempting to follow, there are those that hold pride of place in our cupboards, our kitchens and ultimately, our lives.
Having just opened my own cupboards in search of inspiration, there was one item that was staring back at me, its unrestrained spiciness eyeing me up like a Spaghetti Western gunslinger ready to draw. By now, you’ve probably guessed it - it’s the one, the only TABASCO.