diamond geezer

 Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 2008      X stone 7
Sept 2008(X-1) stone 7
March 2009(X-2) stone 13
Sept 2009(X-2) stone 11
March 2010(X-2) stone 9
diet update: It's two years since my doctor jabbed me in the arm, crunched some numbers and told me that my cholesterol levels were too high. I embarked upon his puritanical low-fat diet, cutting out excess stodge and living off only permitted foodstuffs. No crisps, no pie, no pizza, no chocolate, but plenty of oily fish and un-sauced chicken. It may have been grim, but blimey it worked. Then after two months I eased off a bit and started reintroducing some of the previously banned foods, and I've been gradually easing off ever since. Now I eat crisps, and I sometimes do pie, and I've even been known to gobble down a Creme Egg because I can. But my weight's still well under control, now almost two stone (and two waist sizes) lower than before, which is a bit of a result.

Fine dining therefore remains an option, which is good when BestMate is intent on taking you out for a special birthday meal. Last year he dragged me, willingly, up the OXO Tower. This year he promised another surprise venue, though slightly cheaper, with the instruction to meet at the top of Brick Lane. I waited at the precise spot where Tower Hamlets council have decided not to build a headscarf-shaped metal arch, and rejoiced at their retreat. I wondered whether our surprise destination was the legendary Beigel Bake, or perhaps the Swedish Grille nextdoor, But no, it turned out that we were starting with cocktails at Verge. Very leather sofa, very Shoreditch.

I think that wearing a pullover was a mistake. It was smart casual enough, but everybody else in the joint had come wearing something pointedly different. A shirt would have worked better, or more likely one of those jackety hoody sleevy top things that Shoreditch Man slips on effortlessly before leaving the flat in the evening. I have no such innate sartorial zeitgeist, let alone a trendy flat cap and facial fuzz, so I felt somewhat ill-dressed. Nobody commented.

We sampled a diverse range of alcoholic beverages deftly assembled by the bar staff. I plumped first for a Daquiri, not out of any prior knowledge but because the ingredients sounded nice, which they were. The Verge's Marguerita proved sharp and zingy, and therefore earned the BestMate ThumbsUp. And then there was something dark and rummy whose name I forget - I think it was Something Treacle - plus a hot Pimms-based drink that slipped down a treat. It struck me that one single cocktail here cost more than four beers had cost at a Wetherspoons the night before, but I guess the Wetherspoons didn't have a hip trendy DJ to support. We moved on.

I'm not a fan of curry, so remained a little uneasy as we walked down Brick Lane. Almost every other doorway contained an earnest bloke with a curry house to flog ("you guys eating?" "two free beers" "best curry in town"), and their chorus grew increasingly wearisome by about the twentieth request. I suspect these men are similarly insistent with folk who've only just walked out of the restaurant nextdoor, and whose bellies are already rammed with tikka and naan.

Please imagine that
there's a photograph of
the Whitechapel Gallery
in this space

But our destination wasn't on Brick Lane, it was down at the very bottom on Whitechapel High Street. The recently refurbished Whitechapel Gallery isn't solely a display space for art, oh no, it also houses a highbrow Dining Room. There are only enough tables for about 40 crammed-in covers, but the miniature space is laid out throughout with understated style. Coats off, my ill-advised jumper again exposed, and we were led to the table in the window.

I always scan menus with apprehension, especially when the number of options per course is a limited four. But the Whitechapel's intriguing "seasonal British" concoctions appealed even to my limited palate, wrenching me happily out of my comfort zone, and I ordered with confidence. I didn't even need my usual fallback of "having the soup". Instead I opted for the quail, which was a first, and learned a little too late that the special crunchy taste was a small bone I shouldn't have eaten.

Our waitress beamed and cajoled us throughout the meal, even managing to get us to change seats so that she could seat a larger party (without jumpers) in our prime window location. Wine flowed, and my main course of duck breast duly arrived. Moist and tender it was, on a bed of tasty creamed lentils (can you believe it, I just used "lentils" in the same sentence as "tasty"). We never saw our chef, although I assume it was the lauded Maria beavering away in the kitchen doing special things with thyme mash and chard.

I could have wolfed down every single item on the dessert menu, but plumped eventually for the hot chocolate pudding over the treacle tart or fruit crumble. Like I said, I've eased up a bit on the diet since 2008. Hence a night out at the Whitechapel Gallery hit the spot perfectly (and hit BestMate's wallet, though it would have been inappropriate to ask by how much). And yes, I have put on weight since dining there at the weekend. But birthday treats only come round once a year, dammit, and I'm sure I'll have worked off my E1 bellyful before too long.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards