A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category

The whisky squad

Posted by Alan on January 12, 2011

Talisker 20

Talisker 20

Last week we were lucky enough to have tickets to Whisky Squad #10, ‘Wee Speyside Beauties’. A last minute change of venue saw us in the historic venue of the cellar at Berry Bros & Rudd, Wine Merchants in St James.  The shop itself is Grade I listed, not just the frontage – the entire shop! Downstairs are the cellars – some of the 6 acres are still working cellars but some have been converted to rooms for entertaining. The format of the event was simple enough – 4 whiskies (all Berry’s own Speysides) plus a small taster of a new spirit versus and aged one, ending in a competition that brought the Talisker to the table.

As I’m still not really able to verbalise my thoughts on tastes (i.e. the Jilly Goolden/Oz Clarke thing), you’re best off reading Billy’s booze blog.

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Pint potts

Posted by Alan on January 4, 2011

Pint potts, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

One of my adventures over the Christmas break was a pub “crawl” across the Pennines. I say crawl, well, all of the bars (bar one) were on railway stations so it wasn’t the most exercise filled crawl you could choose.

There’s more coming via East London Drinker, but as I was sorting the pictures I noticed this – in the West Riding at Dewsbury, the clock was made by a company called ‘Pint Potts’. How apt!

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Living on the edge

Posted by Alan on November 21, 2010

Last night we were out celebrating Emerson getting a little bit older. As I’d been out in town playing with the SLR (+fixed prime lens), I still had it with me resulting in some more unusual photos from a night out.

This is Emerson with a Pearfect Martini.

Some of the other photos in the set are by Emerson and Roosh.

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Norfolk Holiday – Day 5 – Norwich

Posted by Alan on October 10, 2010

 

Ready for home

Ready for home

 

With a 4pm train from Norwich to London we were really not in a rush.  A final full breakfast and a gentle roll down to the station put us on the 1046 out of Sheringham.  A much posher train than before –  we could even use our first class tickets! (Yes, I know. The cuts are going to suck.) The cycle stowage area was a bit strange – quite well secured, though you’d struggle to fit a really large framed bike in there and it was probably also the wheelchair space. Still, we retired to the reclining seats of first class and hoped our bikes would still be there when we got off.

 


Well secured

Well secured

 

Thankfully they were.  Arriving into Norwich around 12pm gave us a little time to explore.  Norwich seems to be quite a strange place, some cycling infrastructure but a lot of signs making sure you knew not to cycle on the pavement.  Pretty soon we got bored of being routed on the ring road, found the town square and locked up.  On Pottergate, we found a coffee shop where we picked up the middle bit of the Grauniad with an article featuring ‘the gods of science’. Next stop, The Belgian Monk for some lunch.  We had a go at al fresco dining until the weather rolled in – still the beer was excellent.

 


Beer fit for gods

Beer, fit for gods

 

From here we headed back towards the station ready for early boarding (still no reservations!) encountering some cycle rage.   Still, we made it back safely.  Getting back into London, the railway line skirts the edge of the Olympics site – an unexpected stop allowed a few photos from afar – the work is coming along nicely. It won’t be long before everything is finished – I hope!

 


Olympic Stadium

Olympic stadium

 

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Cafe Culture on the North Circular

Posted by Alan on September 8, 2010

Ace Cafe, London

Ace Cafe, London

I’ve been intrigued by the Ace Cafe since I saw it on some London documentary TV show. Probably ‘Suggs survivors’ or something like that.  It’s plonked on the north bank of the North Circular (A406 to true petrolheads) in Stonebridge and sandwiched between two industrial estates.  Every time we head back to Manchester we pass on the train and have many a time planned to get down there.

Last Sunday we had Ruth’s family round and her dad, Ian, is into trial bikes so we figured it would be a good trip.  Even in my current state of ‘man-flu’d up pathetic uselessness. So we set off around the North Circular towards the West. I forgot how awful London traffic can be – very glad that I was not driving!

Cup of tea

Tea! - Solves all known problems...

It is after all, a cafe.  Standard fayre of tea/coffee/breakfasts etc were seen.  Tea was enjoyed outside watching a series of bikers come and go.

Inside the Ace Cafe

Inside the Ace Cafe

As we left they were gearing up for a car meet. Looked like a gathering of chav-mobiles to me (sorry – I don’t know any better!) so we cleared off out of the way.  Wouldn’t mind going back sometime to grab some food and to see a (classic) meet in context.

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York

Posted by Alan on August 27, 2010

Old City of York

Old City of York

Yesterday I went for an epic trip to York to meet up with Rodge who I haven’t seen since he got married earlier this year.  (Well its not like you can really talk on a wedding day!).

We strolled round the city centre, found a greasy spoon (Jorvik Cafe) for lunch before finding the York brewery. After a successful piss up in a brewery…we wandered round the walls for a bit finding a couple more pubs to try out before I had to head back on the train around 7pm. (More on the pubs over at East London Drinker in due course!)

It was a long day out but well worth it.

Brewery visit: Success!

Brewery visit: Success!

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Austerity in the canteen

Posted by Alan on July 19, 2010

A selection of austere offering's in the office canteen

Austerity in the canteen

Recently the caterers changed at work.  Those of you who know me in real life will know that I do not appreciated salad*.  So as you can imagine I was ‘well happy’ when the canteen decided to cut down on the potato fillings (the only real hot food on offer) by filling the pots with an inch of wilted greens.

I understand we’re ‘all in this recession together’. There’s a perfectly good salad bar out of shot – put the greens in there and make them opt in. If less cheese really will save the world, make the cheese pots smaller or just have an inch of air!

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Pie Mash and/or Eels

Posted by Alan on June 15, 2010

Yesterday I had the day off to do a bit of cycling, exploring and photographing pubs for the local branch of CAMRA. Sadly the good weather I set off in quickly turned overcast so I’m not sure how useful many of the photographs will be – though at least one pub in Leytonstone appeared to be being demolished as I passed by!

More on the pubs will appear at my other blog, East London Drinker.

However… it did mean that I was in in the right place to sample the ‘Noted Eel and Pie House’ on Leytonstone High Road. Sadly they had run out of eels (damn!! – not) but I could get myself a pie and mash.

Noted Eel and Pie House, Leytonstone

Noted Eel and Pie House, Leytonstone

The menu is fantastically simple. You can have Pie, Mash, Pie & Mash, Eels & Mash or Eels. Ask nicely and you can have a cold soft drink to wash it down with. They also sold frozen pies for anyone wanting to recreate the experience at home. Décor within the restaurant is simple too – a mixture of chairs and benches arranged around stainless steel tables.

Simplicity is good. The pie was good – I even liked the liquor this time (perhaps I am being southern-ised after all?)

If you’re in Leytonstone between 11 and 3 this place is well worth a visit.

The Noted Eel and Pie House, Leytonstone

Noted Eel and Pie House

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The Meatwagon

Posted by Alan on May 21, 2010

As is the norm for these days, I am late. It’s just one of those things that the City does to you I think. There always something else more important / broken / … that is a great excuse! Last Thursday (13 May) saw me trek to both ‘The Meatwagon’ and the East London & City pub crawl. The meatwagon is essentially a burger van – but with a difference. You have to follow them via their website ( http://www.themeatwagon.co.uk ) and they make the burgers themselves.

The Meatwagon, parked up in Herne Hill

The Meatwagon, parked up in the garden of the Florence, Herne Hill

It’s certainly better quality than the burger van I once briefly worked in (a story for the pub…!) and everything did have a real home made feel to it. That said it’s probably not something I’d indulge in too frequently – A couple of my workmates Jon & Adam have been raving about it for weeks now and I think I’d let my expectations get a little high. But hey – if it rocks up near you do give it a go.

That night the Meatwagon was being hosted by the Florence, Herne Hill.

The Florence public house, Herne Hill

The Florence

The Florence is a brew pub and I did get to sample two of their beers trying a half of the Beaver and a half of the Weasel. There seems to be a burgeoning brew-pub scene in London now which can only be good news. Fed and watered, it was time to head off and catch up with the younger CAMRA people out in London Bridge…

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Whisky in the Attic

Posted by Alan on May 16, 2010

Last Tuesday I went to a whisky tasting with Billy and Chris. Luckily Billy has written up the whisky element here so I don’t have to 🙂

The attic is in the pan peninsula tower, on South Quay. Right at the top. So there are some great views.

Central London Skyline from the Docklands

Central London from Docklands

We’d all won a competition by Chivas Regal for a free tasting event featuring their whisky. On the day the Chivas Regal 12 (the regular one) had been mixed up with Glenlivet 12 (nice) but that wasn’t really a big deal.

Part of the evening was of course a sales pitch – we leant about the origins of the Chivas brand (2 of the Chivas brothers started a shop in Aberdeen for the rich) and of blended whisky (a shortage of Cognac). All of this sampled from the 48th storey.

The Attic Bar, South Quay

The Attic Bar

The Docklands towers at dusk

Dusk on Docklands

I couldn’t pick a single favourite – but the Strathisla 18 and Chivas Regal 18 were both exceedingly nice… shame the former is mostly employed in the production of the latter and isn’t really sold anywhere.

Nightfall at Canary Wharf

Nightfall at Canary Wharf

The millennium dome at night

The millennium dome at night

And so with a miniature Chivas 18 and some chocolates to take home, we were dispatched into the night…

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