I had planned this post Saturday night. Honest. Not exactly like this, but more or less. I am not copying you or jumping on your rolling bandwagon. Cross my heart.
Did you know I have another blog? Bet you didn't. It isn't open and was started way before this one. This one started on 26/11/2007 and the other one started on 21/2/2007. It inspired Tandleman's Beer Blog, but is really just a personal diary, not about beer. Why am I telling you this? Well here is an extract from a couple of weeks ago:
"The weekend was good, though it did start off with a long lecture from E about how, as we aren't getting any younger, there has arisen an urgent need to visit expensive restaurants. I haven't felt this need, though mortality is always at the back of my mind. So unreceptive was I, that it took quite a lot of time to knock the idea into my head to an extent that allowed me to go to bed - albeit at half past bloody two. I am not saying an excess of wine afflicted E, but in the morning, it somehow seemed less important to her."
Nonetheless the idea wasn't completely abandoned. Thus it was we booked one of London's top Indian restaurants, Cafe Spice Namaste. It is rather convenient for our flat and falls into E's definition (albeit at the bottom end of her expectations.) We have been before, but were vaguely disappointed and it was some time ago, so we duly reported, had highs and not so highs and left full up, but feeling perhaps it lacks the precision of cooking, particularly in spicing and sauces, that is so important in Indian food and that you will get in say, Mother India's Cafe in Glasgow. But this isn't about the grub.
Of course before choosing a tasting menu so we'd get the full gamut of the kitchen, we wondered what to drink. There was quite an extensive wine list, but wine doesn't really go with curry in my view. The beer list was one in number. Cobra - in big or small bottles. I remarked to E at the time, that while Cobra was perfectly decent (though pretty neutral in taste) that an IPA would have been nice, or maybe a wheat beer of some sort would have been worth a go, to complement what was a pretty diverse set of flavours. Alas no, it was Cobra or nothing. This is where we come back to Boak and Bailey. They've said what I wanted to about the subject in generic terms. In this actual example, Cafe Spice Namaste has a menu that is very well put together, diverse and thoughtful and clearly chosen with care. The beer list though was a cliché. A single cliché at that.
This isn't a go at this particular restaurant. They are doing what most do, as B&B point out. But is that really good enough? I don't eat out in "proper" restaurants all that much and when I do, I'd like a decent choice of beer. Please.
Many years ago in Edinburgh I enjoyed a beautiful bottle of Deuchar's IPA in a Leith Curry House. That would be a contender. Or White Shield, or a Schneider Weisse.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
If you wish to email me you can do so by using this address: tandleman[at]yahoo.co.uk
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