Posts Tagged ‘Islington’

Uncle Vanya at Hope Theatre

May 8, 2019

The curse of Sport v Art struck again last night as once more I missed out on one of the matches of the century in favour of spending an evening at the theatre. However, Uncle Vanya at the Hope Theatre was such an excellent production that I have no regrets whatsoever about missing Liverpool’s romping victory over the smug Catalans.

The adaptation, by Brendan Murray, skilfully strips away a couple of characters in order to deliver a sleek 80 minute version that loses none of the brittle tragicomedy of Chekhov’s original. This allows director James Stone to give us a very intimate view of the relationships between the characters in the small space above the Hope & Anchor on Upper Street.

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The set is minimal but filled with telling detail – I especially liked the map of Africa. In our group we disagreed about which performers we thought were the strongest but all agreed that they were excellent. I especially liked Adrian Wheeler’s Vanya, he delivered a performance which by turns (and often at the same time) brought out the comedy, bitterness and stoicism of a character with whom it was all too easy for me to empathise!

I heartily recommend this show.

#theatre #London

 

Resto 11 La Petite Auberge, Islington

April 25, 2019

Our go to pre-Almeida place is usually Radici but this week we fancied a change. La Petite Auberge is only marginally more distant from the theatre and at six on a Tuesday there was plenty of room inside, and given the state of traffic on Upper Street a pavement table wasn’t especially alluring.

The room is French-themed without being over the top, while on the sound side we had a mega-mix of mostly not-so-obvious chansons.

The menu is old fashioned bistrot fare. A good thing.  I didn’t see any need to look beyond the specials and took an artichoke salad up front with a pan-fried trout to follow. The salad had a good balance of flavour while the trout was excellent – skilfully filletted and done to perfection with plenty of buttery sauce.

This was neighbourhood restaurant cooking of a standard that you don’t find in Paris so much these days unless you know where to look. With a house white to wash it down we were set up for an excellent night of Chekhov.

8/10

To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap …

Resto 24 Dear Pizza, Highbury

August 5, 2018

Another meal, another pizza. But this time the Italian vibe started earlier in the day with a visit to the Estorick. If you don’t know the Estorick you should familiarise yourself soonest. A perfect museum to visit if you have a spare hour in north London, it has a small but perfectly formed collection of 20th Century Italian art with temporary exhibitions that are of an exceptionally high standard in terms of curation and novelty.

At the moment they have two exhibs, so even more reason to go than ever. On the ground floor the rooms are given over to original artwork for Campari, ranging from the late nineteenth century to the 1990 World Cup (my favourite piece – a football themed jigsaw which put me in mind of not just Toto Schillaci but also Georges Perec).

Early Campari ads. Thirsty again.

Futurists working at the command of fascist era booze mongers turns out to be a match made in heaven for the visual arts. And having been subjected to around 29 images of Campari it was difficult to resist a cocktail in the gallery’s very peaceful garden. (Service 10/10, we didn’t eat.)

I was less keen on the neo-futurists’ interventions in the permanent galleries. Their anti-capitalist rhetoric was a bit one note for me, though entertaining in parts. Irony ladled on irony can be very wearing, especially when funded by the Arts Council. But I’d still recommend it for its variety of approach (music, video, sculpture).

And so to dinner. A shortish stroll to Dear Pizza who lured us in with their promise of a garden. Strictly speaking I’d say it was a yard. But an awning-covered yard on a hot day is rather pleasant. The cooking was higher quality than I was expecting – octopus arrived with a very good sauce. The pizza was excellent (can you get bad pizza any more? Oh yes, p***a h*t), as was the service.

What a great day, and spent in our own manor with no need to get the tube.

8/10

#Food #London

To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap

Resto 10 Radici, Islington

March 21, 2018

In Islington for a production of Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke at the Almeida we were looking for something quick before showtime. The bar at the A being packed Radici directly opposite the theatre seemed a good option.

Radici does Italian and while the modern/modernist room doesn’t scream italia the bambina they’ve employed to bowl around in a charming fashion certainly gave the place a homely feel.

We were in a hurry but we were also starving so couldn’t avoid ordering a couple of cichetti to warm up. The test of an Italian for me is often the state of their calamari. Radici’s was excellent, putting to shame the filthy greasy stuff served up at Prezzo. This calamari was of the tentacular variety with fluffy batter and a mean (in a good way) squid ink mayonnaise. I wanted them all to myself. As I did also the aubergine, smoky and luscious, that was on the other plate. Unfortunately marital bliss doesn’t usually ride on the back of one side of the deal scoffing all the grub so I grudgingly moderated my intake.

A main of pizza was a good choice for the hungry and the pizza was too big for me to consume in the time available. Zucchini fritti were as good as the calamari, being straw-choppped and light as a feather. Booze of a Trebbiano variety likewise had to be wolfed down as showtime approached but being delicious I was happy to do that thing.

We were in unison in thinking that we must go back as soon as we can to eat at leisure and check out the desserts. With excellent service (especially the waiter giving us a reminder that we would have to leave soon at just the right time) Radici works very well.

8/10

#Food #London

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

Review #79 Bibigo, Islington

September 21, 2016

After a very long day of walking and meeting people I was absolutely ravenous on arriving at Bibigo. It was a rare outing in Islington, which to my thinking is neither local enough to pop out to or in town enough to be worth a night out to itself. Which just shows that however clever I think I am in reality I’m as stupid as I’ve always been. We had an excellent evening.

Bibigo, a Korean (I seem to have been doing a lot of Korean lately) is in the new-ish development between Angel and Sadler’s Wells, within sneering distance of Jamie’s ‘Italian’.* It’s a big, high-ceilinged room with a view one way to the chefs working over their grills and the other way out onto the High Street. The music was gratifyingly discreet, a rare thing for this kind of place.

It’s a pretty long menu with small plates, grilled stuff and then stews and bowls of things to peruse. We went for three small plates of battered cuttlefish, a salad and red chicken, followed (we thought) by mains of Tong-Dak and Bossam (chicken and pork to the layman). In fact, everything came pretty much at the same time which necessitated a fair amount of tessellation at the table. It would have been wise to have been forewarned and we could have done a couple of rounds of orders.

However, the food was excellent. The cuttlefish (which I haven’t had before) was perfectly cooked in its crispy batter, the red chicken was hot and spicy and the salad was tasty. And they were substantial. With the mains on top we struggled manfully to finish everything as it was all yum. With plenty of wine for under £30 a bottle and very good service Bibigo makes for a very civilised evening out that won’t break the bank.

Afterwards we dropped in by chance to Angel Comedy at the Queen’s Head in Packington Street and caught five great acts. How serendipitous.

8/10

To see where else I’ve eaten in 2016 go to the GoogleMap here

*If there was any real justice in the world Jamie would be arraigned before the International Criminal Court at the Hague for crimes against national culture. He’s a disgrace to Essex.


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