Speaking of seafood shacks, can it really be almost a whole year since our visit to The Company Shed on Mersea Island? Alas, it can. What a lovely day that was. Sunshine, beach huts, pictureskew cottages, house boats and bloody brilliant seafood:
The Company Shed is the kind of place that sticks to the basics - no faffing about, which means if you want side orders or anything that's not actual seafood, then you can bring your own. And it was ace. I ordered one of everything off the (extensive) menu which meant we struggled to finish it all but hey, I got over excited. And it's not like I can pop in very often.
Mersea Island and the Company Shed made me want to up sticks and move to Essex. If I did I'd quite like to live here:
It's a Saturday morning. Me and Him have the ENTIRE WEEKEND OFF. This is unusual. It requires something a bit special and that can only mean one thing: a jaunt into the wilds of Scotland in our beloved campervan. We've had a look at the weather forecast and the safest (ie driest) option within a 100 mile radius is on the east coast - East Lothian to be precise.
Himself heads off to retrieve Bridget the campervan from exile in her lock-up while I race around gathering the necessary for a night under the stars. Disposable BBQ - check. Box of matches - check. Worry about the actual food later - check. And we're off!
It's 6.30pm and a suitably deserted beach has been located. Actual food has been purchased. The wine has been opened, the BBQ has been lit and the fish is marinading. Ok, so there's no green stuff but we're slumming it. If you can call scallops in their shells slumming it. Ha!
So, it's the next morning and we are in North Berwick looking for somewhere do our morning ablutions (wild camping has it's drawbacks. I think you know what I'm saying). Coming out of the public loos on the harbour we spot what could be the ideal place for an al fresco lunch in a couple of hours' time:
It's the Lobster Shack! Now, I am quite a fan of this sort of thing. The food is usually significantly fresher and cheaper than in an equivalent restaurant. There's an amazing seafood shack beside the ferry terminal in Oban which everyone that way inclined should visit. I might have mentioned that before.
Anyway, after a walk of mammoth proprtions along the beach we are ready for lunch and head back to the Shack:
Langoustine, sea bass, crab, fishcakes...hmmm, what will I have? Lobster and chips? Yes please! Yummeroo.
When this picture was taken I had just demolished another half lobster which the very nice man gave us for free because we had to wait an enormous 15 minutes for our food. Result!
All in all, that was a good weekend.
I think Bruadar on Partickbridge Street might be my new favourite watering hole, with its endless burger menu (FIVE veggie options!!) and impressively huge range of 'craft' ales. Cheap wine too - hurrah!
Naturally I favour the halloumi burger with roasted red pepper. Yumminess of the highest order.
Note the red cabbage coleslaw. I wonder if I am alone in really despising coleslaw with every fibre of my being...where did it come from? Why is it here? Particularly heinous when referred to on the menu as 'slaw'. It's really not necessary people, please stop it.
My greatest fear when travelling on our Great British Railways (besides having to use the toilet, obviously) is that I am trapped within smelling distance of someone devouring a coleslaw-laden sandwich from M&S. And I'm not even sure coleslaw smells. Maybe it's the power of suggestion. Shudder.
I am in my flat. I have just had fried potatoes for lunch. That is the homemade equivalent of chips. This is not getting my vow of healthy compartmentalised lunches off to a good start (more on that later). Gads. I'm going to have to have a cup of tea and a biscuit while I think about what just happened.
So - back to the wonder of London food-based experiences. Sorry to go on about it but I just need to make mention of Crystal Palace Park Cafe. I really think people ought to know about this. You can keep your Savoy Grill. Get it up ye The Ivy. This is what I'm talking about.
Eight words which apply to the Crystal Palace Park Cafe:
HEALTHY LUNCH FIVE POUNDS HALLOUMI MEZZE TOTALLY ACE
Kind of in that order. Here's pictorial evidence:
Himself was beside himself with excitement. Ok, so his excited face is quite low-key, but he actually felt moved to go up to the wifey at the counter and say the words: "That was the best lunch I have ever had." I am not paraphrasing. Our work colleagues will attest to the fact that even Himself's packed lunches are pretty spectacular, so this was quite a momentous moment. Unfortunately the woman didn't seem to speak English but hey, I think she got the gist.
All this and a statue of Guy the Gorilla to ponder on while you're eating.
I recently discovered that 'Song For Guy' by Elton John was not written about Guy the Gorilla. Great. That's another long-held belief blown out the water.
Oh Londinium, how I love you so. It's a shame that a week's rent in London pretty much equals a month's rent in Glasgow. Ah well. Six monthly visits will have to do until G&T get that loft converted. Manny services in exchange for free accomodation. Ha!
Anyway, I have been moved to post my first blog in OVER A YEAR (again) due to some really rather pleasant eating experiences whilst in The Big Smoke:
Congratulations to Westow House...
Turns out that G&T's new next door 'hood' Crystal Palace is teeming with cool gastropubs (I hate that word) and it was rather a chore having to choose between them for our slap-up 3-course-with-liquers-if-we-have-time-to-squeeze-them-in-before-the-babysitter-misses-her-last-train-dinner.
I know - life's a beeyatch.
After much mulling over of online menus we plumped for Westow because, quite frankly, you can take the girl out of Motherwell but you can't take Motherwell out of the girl. Which means I'm a bit of a skinflint when it comes to spending money, even when it's someone else's. It also means I get excited about half-price tattie scones.
So. Westow House is CHEAP! In a good way. By London standards it's fairly miraculous. As vulgar as it is I feel I can't stop myself going into the gory details: we are talking change from £120 quid. For a 3 course meal for four people with booze. And we had oysters! I think they may have undercharged us somewhere...
P.S. we didn't have time for liqueurs before the babysitter had to catch her train. Plus, I don't think they do them.
Just a quick 'shout out' to a couple of neighbourhood cafes for their yummy breakfasty/brunchy type loveliness: Hyndland Cafe (the clue to its whereabouts is in the name) for perfect smoked salmon and scambled egg bagels. Also, the Brooklyn Cafe (it's not actually in Brooklyn, it's in Shawlands!) for a very nice all day breakfast which includes a rather sumptuous fruit pudding. Yum.