You are what you eat & drink

Posts tagged “restaurants

Ten of the world’s weirdest restaurants

A new Moscow restaurant staffed entirely by sets of twins is an odd concept, but that’s nothing compared to some of the bizarre eateries in other parts of the world. Dinner on the loo, anyone?

Would you order this dish? Magic Restroom restaurant, Los Angeles. Photograph: Elizabeth Daniels. This photo originally appeared in eater.com

The idea of sitting on a toilet in public is the stuff of nightmares but that hasn’t stopped the Magic Restroom making loos the focus of its new themed restaurant in LA. In fact toilet-themed restaurants are nothing new – Taiwans’ Modern Toilet where chocolate ice-cream is served in toilet-shaped dishes is well-documented. Inspired by its success Magic Restroom owner YoYo Li has introduced toilets as seats and a mix of Asian and western food – like zha jiang mian, named “constipation” on the menu, braised pork over rice, (“smells-like-poop”), and sundaes (choose from chocolate “black poop” or the vanilla-strawberry sundae “bloody number two”) served, of course, in miniature toilet bowls. Revolting and distrubing in equal measure. Freud would have a field day.
Isabel Choat

Read about the other nine

Read about the other nine

 


British pizza

…from bone marrow to Thai curry

Boundary-pushing pizzerias are serving toppings that would make a Neapolitan swoon – and not in a good way. But some of them are delicious. Would you order a doner kebab pizza?

Lamb doner kebab pizza from Artisan.

In Naples, there are militants who insist that there are only three truly authentic varieties of pizza: marinara, margherita and margherita extra, with buffalo mozzarella. Across wider Italy, the list of acceptable pizza toppings is tightly circumscribed. It’s a decent bet, therefore, that Italians will hate the coming trend in Britain’s pizzerias.

From Homeslice’s oxtail and bone marrow pizzas to the Welsh lamb and mint pesto slice at Baravin in Aberystwyth, a new wave of restaurants is slipping the shackles of Italian orthodoxy and getting creative with toppings. In Manchester, at Artisan, you can even order a lamb doner kebab pizza. Yes, really.

More remarkably, unlike their Hawaiian and peking duck predecessors, some of these experimental creations actually work. Dressed with a soy glaze, Homeslice’s mushroom, ricotta and pumpkin seed slice cleverly balances savoury depth, freshness and a nutty textural variety. “I’m not Italian, and I’ve never felt confined by the traditional toppings,” says the New Zealand chef and co-owner, Ryan Jessup. “I didn’t want any kind of gimmick, I just wanted to put flavours together that worked, using traditional processes and quality ingredients.”

America’s irreverent approach to “pie” was a key inspiration for Pizza East and Voodoo Ray’s gently innovative gourmet pizzas, both in London. The latter sells a savoy cabbage and bacon slice, which anglicises the cult brussels sprouts and pancetta pizza sold at Motorino in New York. Using local ingredients is a hallmark of these new, upstart British pizzerias.

For others, getting creative just seems to be a natural progression. As a nation, we’ve finally got to grips with the basics of real pizza (proper 00-flour doughs; wood-fired ovens); the next stage is to put our stamp on it. At Pizzaface in Brighton, which tops its pizzas with lamb proscuitto, smoked tuna and chipotle chillies, or the Crate Brewery in London, which serves a laksa chicken pizza, the approach is pretty radical. Lardo, also in London, represents a quieter shift to more sophisticated Italian ingredients (porchetta, lardo itself), which are unheard of as pizza toppings in Italy.

“We’re obsessed by food and we love playing around,” says Lisa Richards, co-owner of Great British Pizza Co in Margate, whose recent specials have included a Parma ham and nectarine pizza, and a take on Turkish lahmacun, topped with minced lamb, parsley and lemon juice. “And,” she adds, “our specials always sell out.”

As a co-owner of Pleb, a Lewes street food operation that serves authentic Roman pizza, Joe Lutrario doesn’t particularly like this trend. He and his business partner still argue over whether to use onions or not, never mind braised lamb: “It’s semantics, but at that point it probably stops being Italian pizza. Capers, olives and anchovies go really well with mozzarella and tomatoes and, in my opinion, there are probably only another 10 ingredients that do. We’re pretty conservative.”

However, in his other life as a senior reporter at Restaurant magazine, Lutrario predicts that “British” pizza could well take off: “Possibly at the expense of established places, such as Pizza Express. Local ingredients, local beers, pizza – it just works as a business model. Pizza is high-margin, relatively easy to knock out, and it doesn’t encourage people to stay for long.”

At Artisan, on a wood-fired pizza menu that also includes a (pretty awful) Thai curry number and a (pretty awesome) shaved potato and chorizo pizza topped with game crisps, the doner kebab is its biggest seller. It is a novelty dish, but a surprisingly effective one. After all, what is pizza but a flatbread? This is just an open doner kebab.

Artisan’s executive chef, John Branagan, actually wanted to call these pizzas flatbreads, but watched Jamie Oliver fail to communicate his topped British flatbreads concept at Union Jacks. “We were too chicken,” he says. “It’s been done before and people have reverted to using the word pizza.” Think of these new-wave pizzas as flatbreads, however (at Artisan, generally the ingredients aren’t cooked on the pizza, but added after), and it all begins to make more sense.

Branagan likes to retain a pizza look by including some sort of tomato sauce, but he plays around with it to make it suitable. For example, the pulled pork pizza uses a BBQ sauce. On certain Homeslice pizzas, Jessup has dispensed with tomato sauce altogether, using beurre blanc on his mackerel pizza and a kind of creamed corn soup on his corn and chorizo. Get over the necessity to start every pizza/flatbread with a tomato sauce, and suddenly the potential variations are endless. “The base is just a carrier,” says Branagan.

Not that Italians will be persuaded. “My father-in-law is Italian, a retired chef,” says Branagan, “and he would pass out [at this].”

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Satireday on Fizz

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Is it OK to photograph your food?

Some restaurants have banned diners taking photographs of their dishes, while others are offering food photography workshops. Do you snap your supper, or is it the height of bad manners?

‘A blurry picture of scrambled eggs on toast … I can almost hear Rudolf Clausius turning in his grave.’ Photograph: Trevor Baker

At the start of 2013 the debate on whether it’s OK to take photographs of your food in restaurants seemed to swing towards a definite “no”. In New York some smaller establishments, such as Momofuku Ko, have banned photography. An article on Esquire’s blog provided a stern list of reasons why pausing for a photo shoot before eating is not OK, the most surreal being that it’s an affront to the laws of thermodynamics (because it makes your food get cold), the most sensible being that your photos will probably be rubbish anyway.

However, in Alicante in Spain, the restaurant group Grupo Gourmet, which owns the much-praised Taberna del Gourmet and Monastrell restaurants, has started running a “Fotografia para foodies” course on the basis that, if people are going to take pictures, they might as well do it properly. Chef-patron María José San Román says that the worst thing about bloggers taking pictures in her restaurants is that, if they don’t do a good job, or if they do it after eating half the food, the result looks terrible.

Read more

Read more

 


Saturday Satire

What would you name your restaurant?

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Source: Man Certified


Ithaa Restaurant, Indian Ocean

No, it’s not a typo, the Ithaa (translation: pearl) is totally underwater and can comfortably seat 14 diners in a transparent acrylic bubble that allows you to have a 270° panoramic view of the ocean life all around you.

Offshore from Rangalifinolhu island in the Maldives, this expensive and exclusive dining experience is located by a tunnel from the shoreline Conrad Maldives that leads you down five metres below sea level.  Since the expected lifespan of this restaurant is only 20 years, make sure you visit before it starts to leak!

You want to see more strange restaurants… try here


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