Beautiful beachside simplicity – a table at Uliassi
Do you have an all-time favourite restaurant? One that consistently delivers incredible food and unbeatable atmosphere, where the staff are charming and the service next to none? How long have you been going there . . . five, ten, maybe even twenty years? Has it evolved with the times and are you still delighted and surprised by each mouthful?
I’m not normally one for definitive favourites, for top tens and number ones, but this review carries a lot of weight for me. It’s been a long time in the making. In fact, it was twenty years ago this summer that my seven year old self first trundled along the Italian seafront towards this restaurant, a much littler loaf than I am now, grumbling at my parents that I was tired and hungry, that I wanted to stop for pizza, and why did we have to walk so far when we didn’t really know where we were heading? Continue reading
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