Finding a good authentic laksa in London is not easy, but I’d heard good things about this place and with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme I felt it was as good time as time as any to give it a try. What with it being named after the namesake dish I had high expectations. I started with a honey duck bao bun. While the filling was pleasant enough, the bun was a bit hard in places and certainly not the soft pillowy bun one would expect. It was also torn, to be honest if I was the chef I wouldn’t have served it, but they did. Not a great start. For the main dish I of course also ordered a laksa. There was several different options but I went for the classic Singapore-style curry laksa. This dish was better, as one would hope for a restaurant literally named after the dish. Was it the best Laksa I’ve ever had no, not the worst either, pretty average overall though. Also afterwards I had quite a nasty stomach ache, which I’m not certain but may or may not have been from the meal. Either way don’t think I’ll be going back. My search for a decent Laksa in London continues.
The Green Goose is my local ie. the closest pub to where I live. It used to be a really rough old East End boozer called The Lord Cardington. In fact the Pokemon Go stop still has it listed under that name. A few years ago now it was taken over and had a massive much needed refurb. I’ve been quite a lot since then, but this was the first time after lockdown and the first time I’d been for food. I went for dinner there with two of my neighbours Adam and Craig who are in my support bubble. We went as part of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, therefore all the food was half price up to a maximum discount of £10 each. After a few pints of Five Points IPA, we ordered a chateaubriand, which was for two to share and also a rib eye steak. All came with chips, roasted tomato and a little watercress salad. We all ordered our steaks medium rare, they were perfectly cooked and a bargain at just £10 each because of the deal. Really good quality meat as well. They also had a whole lobster on the menu for just £10. With our steaks we had a lovely Argentinian Malbec which perfectly complemented the food. I mean is there much better in life than a perfectly cooked steak and a glass of decent red wine I ask you? Afterwards, though we really didn’t need it, we all ordered the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. It’s one of my favourite desserts ever and this was a decent version. Love this place, good honest pub food done very well.
As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community I’d been wanting to see ‘Everybody’s talking about Jamie’ for ages. It’s based on the brilliant BBC documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’. The musical follows a 16 year old teenager as he overcomes bullies and prejudice to become a fabulous drag queen.
So when my friends David and Simon mentioned they were going to see it I crashed their date night and became their spare wheel. Only joking I did ask if I could join them and they very kindly said it was fine. We had a lovely pre-theatre dinner round the corner from the theatre at Sophie’s Steakhouse in Soho.
I enjoyed the show, but the other boys were less impressed. We all though it wasn’t quite as slick a production as we would expect from a big West End show. Almost seemed quite amateurish in parts. We’re not sure if it was possibly because of a recent change in cast. We all agreed the second half was better than then first. The whole show is camp as tits, really heartwarming and positive so I still enjoyed it. As an extra bonus which I hadn’t realised when booking the tickets, Ru Paul’s Drag Race star, Bianca del Rio, was back starring in the show, so that was nice as I’m a big fan of her. So while we all enjoyed it, me particularly, we feel liked perhaps they needed to slightly concentrate a bit more on finer details of the production.
This year for my Terrence Higgins Trust Supper Club I chose as our restaurant of choice, The Game Bird at the Stafford Hotel. I really like game and I’d read that Jay Rayner, the brilliant Guardian restaurant critic, highly recommend this place.
We met pre-dinner at the hotel bar, it’s quite a small bar so unfortunately there wasn’t any free space for us inside so we ended up sitting outside on the terrace, thankfully it was heated. The outside area at the Stafford is lovely btw, a really quiet pleasant space in what was the old stables back in the day. It’s off the busy St James Street and is a little haven that not many people seem to know about. It’s a wonderful spot for a drink during the summer, can highly recommend it. Unlike all the restaurants I’d been before for The Supper Club we were seated in the main restaurant which is painted in a pleasant if not terribly exciting shades of grey. Sophisticated and elegant, but just a tad boring. I would have preferred to have been in one of their private dining rooms to be honest, though the restaurant was at least quiet.
All the food is all covered in the ticket price, so we ordered a dozen oysters for the table pre-meal. We had six Colchester rocks and six Porthilly rocks. Both were delicious, the Porthilly were larger than the Colchester, but maybe not quite so sweet. I love oysters and don’t get to eat them often and so they were a real treat. For my actually starter I had dressed Devon crab. A classic dish, it was excellent. There were so many good options I struggled to choose, but I knew I wanted something fishy and the crab was the most expensive starter and thankfully I wasn’t paying so wanted to get my money’s worth! Then for mains I ordered the signature game bird that the restaurant is named after, this consisted of roast pigeon, parsnips, cabbage, braised leg and ‘bullshot’. On the specials menu there was a Beef Wellington for two, which was presented and carved at the table. It looked amazing, I was very jealous of my dining companions who ordered it. I’m not a massive mushroom fan though so although I love beef fillet I avoid Wellington because of the mushroom duxelle. For dessert I ordered the sticky toffee pudding soufflé with pecan ice cream. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and sticky toffee pudding is probably one of my very favourite desserts so I was really intrigued to try this. I wasn’t disappointed it was delicious, surprisingly light with just a hint of sticky toffee.
After a weekend stuck in Athens unable to go anywhere by boat because of the wind I finally managed to get a ferry to Milos. To avoid more cancellations I booked a bigger ferry (heavier boats apparently are less subject to the wind apparently than catamarans) however they are also much much slower. The ferry was scheduled as taking a startling nine and half hours to get to Milos, and in fact it ended up taking nearly 11 hours. A good chance to read my book and also watch some TV shows and movies that I’d downloaded on Netflix, but not exactly ideal. I arrived late at night starving, thankfully there was still some restaurants open and I was collecting the keys for my accommodation from a hotel with a 24hr reception. I stayed at a delightful little private room/ house called Katerina Rooms, really close to Milos Town and the port and great value.
Milos is famous for its dramatic volcanic coastline and rock formations. As a former geography grad that sort of nerdy rock thing actually excites me. Its most famous export is the iconic Venus de Milo statue which is now in the Louvre in Paris.
I had a limited amount of time in Milos, so on the excellent advice of my hosts I decided to hire a quad bike to tour the island. I didn’t book in advance so I was lucky to find one available to hire as it seemed a very popular way to explore the island. You can hire scooters as well, but only if you have ridden one before, which I hadn’t. It was really fun bombing around the island on a quad, the wind rushing through was really cooling, though deceptive as I did slightly burn my arms In the sun without realising. Had a lovely time though. There’s next to no public transport on the island so you do really need your own transport to get around. There’s not a great deal of roads so it’s hard to get lost and the hire company gave me a map that was more than enough to easily find my way around. I only had to refer to Google maps once. There’s some really beautiful really stunning beaches and scenery around Milos and I wish I had a bit more time to spend there but unfortunately the wind curtailed my travel plans significantly and I had to get back to Athens to fly back to London. Still a perfect excuse to go back again in the future I suppose.