Sunday, February 24, 2008

Brit's back!

I don't mean Britney, but British cuisine!

But first of all, before I embark into my foodie talks again, apologies for the long absence, life has been topsy turvy with the work madness, settling in a new place, and flying around the globe ... Yet, I haven't forgot the blog of course, and my love for food (despite New Year resolutions to lose weight, go to gym blah blah), so I'm starting to fire the first of my series of backdated posts!

And the topic of the day is British food. And why, I hear some of you all say, of ALL topics, huh? Seems like British cuisine had acquired some sort of negative connotations over the years, one being not really having an identity of its own, plain flavors, unimaginative, boring, etc? I beg to differ and please give me a chance to suss it out before you all ignore me, because I started out having the same stereotypical views too!

French cuisine is commonly used as an unfair comparison with English food but they are fundamentally different in principle. British dishes are on the whole simpler, in the ingredients and presentation sense, more down to earth and approachable (to recreate) to normal (non chef) people like us, I suppose.

No identity? Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, Sunday Roasts seem like foolproof dishes? They may seem plain but extracting their maximum potential is definitely no mean feat. It's probably easy to make average versions of these dishes that no one thought it could taste better, but the type of sausage/potatoes, the fish batter, and the gravy content and methods all matter in making these dishes taste just a notch higher.

Come to think about it, the pub culture in UK is actually unique and not found in any of her European counterpart. With the recent rise of British celebrity chefs and the nation's increased exposure to international cuisine, British food has been redeeming itself well with some good gastropubs mushrooming in the cities and regional towns. Not only that, more attention has been paid to this recent phenomenon with gastropub rankings like these appearing in newspapers and magazines.

I recently went to a good one in West London, near Baron's Court Tube Station, right next to the Queen's Tennis Club. There's nothing like having Sunday brunch in a good ol' fashion pub in England! The quirky oldies music, soccer channels on TV and the warm couch next to the fireplace ... The Curtains Up Pub definitely fits this rustic description where you can soak up all the culture and British atmosphere :) Interestingly, it also has a theatre within its premises, perfect for the pre theatre meals or after show drinks!

These are what we'd tried on a Sunday pilgrimage : a bit of everything :P I had the mixed platter consisting of good British sausages, roast potato wedges, Thai prawns and chicken goujons.

Beer battered fish and chips in various angles ... Fresh haddock and a beer infused crispy batter is all you need! Definitely one of my favorite pubs in London :)

The Curtains Up Pub
28A Comeragh Rd, London, London, W14 9HR