Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Reading about blood diamonds, chocolate made by child labour and pesticide-poisoned roses put me in a suitably cheery mood for Valentine's Day, so I thought I would mark it with a brief summary of restaurants that are no more.

Thus Ember on Turmill Street has shut its doors before I ever got round to visiting. It was a trendy-looking bar (all low leather stools and dark lighting), with a trendy-looking menu (cocktails and platters), but somehow just never seemed that tempting compared to, say, the buzz of The Castle pub next door or the relatively new St Germain brasserie a little further up the road. And now, I've missed the opportunity. Ah well.

Another recently spotted demise is the Epicurean Lounge -- a self-styled gourmet pizza joint on Clerkenwell Green. Technically it's still going, according to its website, but it's now only open for private functions. This one I did manage to visit, and was bemused by the fillet steak topped pizza. It was good steak, and good pizza. But I was not convinced that either benefited from the combination, or by the price tag pushing £20. They also used to do lobster pizza...

The third depature is of the all-you-can-eat Covent Garden sushi joint, Gili Gulu. Sure, the rice-to-fish ratio on their maki left a lot to be desired. But it was still raw fish and you could eat as much as you liked (cue plate-stacking competitons from the lads). Still, I've discovered a new and nicer venue that offers a similar deal, Hi Sushi. I liked the one in Soho, but their Camden branch also attracts decent reviews.

PS Perhaps because I eat quite a lot anyway, I've never really felt the need/desire to fork out the you-must-feel-romantic-this-evening-or-else, look-we've-even-thrown-in-some-oysters-and-a-"free"-glass-of-cheap-fizz-in-the-process-of-doubling-our-usual-prices kind of Valentine's meals. Where do other regular eat-outers stand on this??

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