Christmas is here, Best Time of Year!

So another Christmas has come and has almost gone. For the first time in about 10 years we have been in London for Christmas. Despite all of our offspring being in the UK no-one was heading to France.

Actually I have been a bit incapacitated, ( slight problem with a knee ) so I have not even been out and about to enjoy any of the wonderful markets nor the Christmas decorations, only those I could see by being in the back of a Cab. On a little outing, Marylebone Station was suitably adorned, along with a band and a choir! So not all doom and gloom!

Himself and I have decided that for the two of us, no more presents, buying something for the sake of buying something. What do we need? Nothing. Presents are allowed when they are spontaneous and thoughtful, but just not for Christmas. ( for example, himself leapt out to a smart pharmacy today and bought me an electronic zapper/stimulator for the difficult knee). I have to say in a Macabre way, having this thing clicking away is quiet soothing !

I had a friend once, ( sadly since passed away ) whose husband dutifully went to one of the best jewelers in town and presented her each Christmas morning with a wonderful piece of Bling! And the next day , she packed it back up and took it back and got something else, and this went on for years! And what did she give him? Either a cheque or a gift voucher!!! Where did the romance go ??

So not forgetting the wonderful feast that eldest daughter conjured up in her miniscule kitchen and the presents galore under the tree, what did we do? Well the gift to us, was to go out for dinner on Christmas Eve. Himself gave himself the task of finding the right place and of course it being a Sunday and Christmas Eve, the task was harder than he thought it could be! But succeed he did, not only succeed, but excelled!

We went to ANGLER, a  Michelin Star restaurant on the 7th floor of a hotel in the city. It certainly did not feel like a hotel restaurant but felt and looked like a stand alone. From the moment we arrived the service excelled. We were seated at an interior table with armchair type chairs, but at once I felt this would be uncomfortable for me, a little low.  Without, asking, a window table had become free and we were moved there and I was given a cushion, which made things much better. We had looked online and had seen,  a 9 course tasting menu as well as a smaller 6 course. However, when we were given the menus, the smaller one was not listed. Hopefully, we asked about it and immediately someone went to the chef and he created our own mini tasting menu. What Service!!!

Neither of us could fault the service nor  the room was festive but not overly so and the food was perfect. The restaurant specialise in Seafood, well I guess with a name like Angler, why not ? but there are options on the main menu for Carnivores. But we were delighted with what we ate.

Above is the reduced Tasting Menu, the freshly made sourdough bread, with caramalised butter, assorted nibbles and a view of the room.

Above there are three pictures of the crab ravioli, naked, with a light sauce and cut open to reveal some slivers of seaweed. The cod on the lower left was divine, the only fault, the tiny bit of squid was way too small as it was excellent.

The delicious desserts, , Savarin Cream, Gingerbread, dates followed by Banana, salted caramel with Guanaja chocolate. What could be better?

We finished the whole thing off with memories of years gone by. Calvados. of course.

The finale to our Christmas day was playing Pie Face. well some of us did ( not me). Alfie was given this by an uncle ( brother of Alfie’s Mom, who else). I had never seen this before, but using whipped cream from an Aerosol, it is spread on a plate thing, a bit like being in the STocks in former times. Dial the wrong number and watch out, you will get hit in the face, with a load of Cream!! Well Done Alfie!IMG_0402

Pantomime Time! Go to the Kings Head Pub!

This has nothing to do with food, but with Pantomime fun! An absolute gem!

We often go to the Kings Head Pub on Upper Street Islington, for us it is a relatively easy to get to, the lovely number 30 bus! They put on shows and operas to such a great standard I often wonder why bother with the Royal Opera House! These are all professional singers and actors and perform to such a high standard, that why are they here and not in the ROH! I’m glad they are here!

We saw today King Tut, a Pyramid Panto! It is the craziest, wackiest Panto in town! Yes, pantos are formulaic, as my eldest grandson told me, that men play girls the ugly sisters are men, the leading boy is always a girl etc etc! Well fast forward to King Tut and this formula goes straight out of the window!

The setting, the theatre is a fairly small space behind the Pub , with maybe maximum 100 seats depending on the configuration as sometimes it is set ” in the round”. Today I would have said that it was about the 100 mark and the performance was for young kids. The place was packed,with mums and dads, grandpas, grandmas, kids and grandkids in fact over packed as we were all asked to shove up a bit to make room for a few more.

There were only 5 performers and two hidden musicians, Lord Conniving ( in theory Lord Carnavon), who was the

Bad Guy, where we all booed and booed, Carter, the archaeologist, Emily the love interest, King Tut as a 9 year old who doubled up as a young Egyptian , her Dad, who doubled up as Clive the Camel and as Bruce Forsyth! Yes we had a game show as well, and Brucey was there, with contestants pre chosen ( not that they knew) from the audience! We all shouted and screamed the answers. And on top of that we had a singing competition, between the sides of the room, ours belonged to Clive, who had been reincarnated ( he had been poisoned by the evil Conniving) the other side belonged to the evil Conniving! Oh what a hoot it all was. It lasted for two hours and our two did not have a hint of a sleepy eye, in fact at the interval they had ice creams, a choice of 11, yes, Eleven different flavours!

So all I can say is ” Google ” Kings Head Theatre and see for yourself what is on and do go and see them ! Just and amazing professional performance!