#1 Table Talk by Wednesday's Domaine


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.

Whether it’s a few drops in a homemade chili or lashings of it on scrambled eggs, TABASCO has been dialing up the heat across kitchen tables for almost 150 years now. Founded by Edmund McIlhenny in Louisiana back in 1868, the company is still family-owned and run and even has a Royal Warrant, suggesting The Queen is partial to the odd dollop on her food.

I was thinking of writing about the majesty of peanut butter next week, but that’s a very dangerous rabbit hole to go down, so let me know what your store cupboard staples are and we’ll showcase them in all their glory.

What We’re Listening To

Whilst podcasts aren’t great to listen to with friends or family around a table, they do make for fantastic conversation topics. With the latest 007 film currently the talk of the town, Bond’s third outing, Goldfinger, and the first for the iconic Aston Martin DB5, provides the backdrop for The Great James Bond Car Robbery.

Detailing events surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the very car used in the film, which vanished from a Boca Raton aircraft hangar in 1997, this eight-parter provides all manner of interest and intrigue, as well as the promise of a $100,000 reward for locating the stolen motor.

Moving from podcasts to a track that has blown my mind in recent times, it’s a pleasure to wrap up with Umdali by Sibusile Xaba. A tune of subtly epic proportions, I heard it described as “a calming and soothing balm for the precarious times in which we find ourselves” and couldn’t agree more - it’s absolutely beautiful.

Until Next Time

I’ll be back next week and looking to experiment with the format, covering memorable meals, quotes that stick in the mind and much more. That said, those are just my ideas and this is meant to be a representation of those conversations that bind us together alongside food and drink, so please don’t be shy - tell me what you’d like to hear about, what resonates and what doesn’t.

Thank you,