Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2013

Sardines and feisty women

You can’t come to the Algarve and not have sardines, sprinkled with sea salt and grilled until the skin is crisp. So I did. At Taberna do Pescador in Albufeira. And they were good. Not outstanding.Not memorable. Not as delicious as the photo promises. They were on the dry side so I think they were cooked for a bit too long. But they were still good. Tasty.

It’s out of season on the Algarve but the terraces of two restaurants that front Praia dos Pescadores at Albufeira were a clamour of tourists, mostly British, waving their arms in the air and singing along to the jolly bing-bong of a brass band performing on the raised promenade. I guess that meant they were enjoying themselves. I hate that kind of enforced entertainment, particularly when I’m trying to eat, so we forged through the throng and the excitable waiters trying to reel in more lunch victims and did a U-ey back to the Taberna where the waiters outnumbered us three to one and we chowed down on good bread, sardine spread and…

Reading the menu. Paying the price.

Shortly after the Midland Bank transferred me to their offshore offices in the Channel Islands, in April 1978, the company’s external auditor, Mr Wu, invited me out for dinner along with a posse of his favourites from the banking department. 
I think the invitation was made more for my decorative qualities than my contribution to due process during the yearly audit: I’d only been there for less than 2 months. But I was 20 and in awe of the promise of sophistication offered by  Jersey’s restaurants, in comparison to South Wales, so despite feeling out of my depth I went along, hoping I’d say the right thing at the right time. I hadn’t given a thought to what I might eat. 
Until then, apart from a couple of Italian restaurants (complete with straw covered Chianti bottles), my dining out experience had been limited to Berni Inns, a chain of restaurants first launched in the UK by the Welsh-Italian Berni brothers in the late 1950s: a reliable choice of Gammon, Steak or Plaice with peas and …

Fancy a Gurkha? Or a George?

I had a day-out yesterday, not a shopping/special event/friends kind of day out, more of a welly-booted farmer's day out: we latched the trailer onto the old Peugeot and set off for Godstone, heading clockwise on the M25. When I say old, I mean old: 120,000 miles on the clock, one of the doors has a nail jammed into the hinge so it doesn't fall off, and the front seats are bucket style through decades of slumped arses, rather than by design. The doors don't lock either but that's hardly a concern.
We were picking up a second-hand 1,000 litre water tank for the farm and stopped in Godstone for lunch at what we thought was a pub but turned out to be a Nepalese and Indian restaurant, Lal Akash, that had held onto one of the former pub bars, complete with stool-perching beer-drinking locals. In the bar you could have pizza and chicken nuggets and chips; in the restaurant there were a range of Nepalese specialities and the usual Indian restaurant fare. 
And that's where I…