White Peach Bellini (and a Proposal)

italy view

The Tuscan mountainside

I have some news.

Not this Friday gone but the one before, I wrote about our imminent trip to Italy. I posted a picture of one of my favourite views in the world. And I talked about how, while I enjoy new experiences and adventures, there’s something wonderfully comforting about the familiar, returning to somewhere you know and love and going through the tried and tested motions of experiences you’ve lived a thousand times before.

What I failed to mention, or realize at the time, is that it’s perfectly possible to combine the two. Continue reading

The River Café, Hammersmith: Sublime or ridiculous?


Like it or not, we live in a consumer culture. Whether it’s Prada or Primark, foie gras or filet-o-fish, we’re a society that knows the meaning of money and (with some exceptions) we like to spend it. Some more than others. What exactly is it that makes people fork out for a designer dress, an eye-wateringly expensive hair cut,  a £100+ bottle of wine? Is it an assurance of quality that we often seem to accept as going hand-in-hand with a high price tag, the status and sense of self-importance that comes with flashing one’s flexible friend, or are these products actually better, more rare, made from finer products and with more love, care and attention?

Any review of The River Café is going to mention price, so I’m not going to pussy-foot around it. Renowned for its incredible approach to food and fabulous ingredients, this Michelin starred restaurant is also much maligned for its extremely expensive menu. Jay Rayner has described it as peasant food at plutocrat prices, and there seems to be a great divide in the foodie world as to whether it falls into the category of the sublime or the ridiculous. Or as A.A. Gill puts it in his full marks review for The Times, ‘Depending on the delicacy of your own social digestion, the River Caff either fills you with syrupy feelings of excitement, warmth and nameless intellectual superiority, or it makes you want to join a nihilist terror cell’. . . Continue reading