Lunch at Delilah’s

2016-07-24 12.37.05-1

Delilah’s is one of my favorite lunch spots right now.  It’s such a glorious space and even if you have to wait for a table there is plenty to occupy yourself with – grazing through the cheese, olives and charcuterie samples on the ground floor.

Doing just that, I once overheard a couple speaking to a member of staff and saying, “We’ve just moved up from London.  We came in here and we thought – Thank God!”  I know exactly what they mean.  In London every neighborhood has it’s Delilah’s but in Nottingham nothing else comes close.

The sheer range and quality of products on display speaks of a magnificent obsession with food somewhere behind the scenes at Delilah’s.

It can be pricey, my salad below was £10.  But it’s all about the quality of the ingredients and you just won’t find this stuff anywhere else in town.

Honey Glazed Chorizo salad with chickpea croutons.

Honey Glazed Chorizo salad with chickpea croutons. rating 8/10 dined at their own expense.

Moving on – George’s

Well summer is finally here and there is no point in moping and griping about Brexit.  Whatever form it takes, it’s on its way and there is no alternative but to make the best of it.  So on a warm evening, in a slightly ironic spirit we went out for some Great British Fish and Chips at George’s on Queen Street.

2016-07-12 21.21.41 HDR

It’s a fabulous building and was packed out on a Tuesday night so we took seats at the bar and made an in-depth study of Gin from their excellent drinks menu until a table became available.

George’s makes all the right noises about quality ingredients and a passion for excelling in their chosen niche and as far as I’m concerned it all rings true.  This was fish and chips as it was meant to be – fresh, simple, unpretentious and wholesome.

George’s is a reminder that the iconic staples of the British repertoire – Fish and Chips, Full English Breakfast, Roast Beef etc. can be truly great dishes when treated with respect.

Classic George's Squid

Classic George’s Squid

After these wonderfully tender and perfectly cooked squid rings my phone’s battery died, exhausted from hunting Pokémon, and I was unable to photograph the main event.  But you’ve all seen haddock and chips before. rating 9/10 dined at their own expense.

Another Country


Looking out over The City from the Olympian heights of our hotel room in The Shard’s Shangri-La, London never felt more like another country.  The complimentary copy of Time Out which was in our room had a front page open letter addressed “Dear World…”


This trip was booked long before Brexit and could never be booked now.  The next time, if ever, that I can afford to come back, things may be very different.  Every single one of the charming, hard-working, bend-over-backwards staff of the Shangri-La that I met was Eastern European.

2016-07-07 16.44.30

Somewhere down there, near the foot of the “walkie-talkie” (aka 20 Fenchurch Street), is the London office of my employer.  I’m on vacation but I wonder what sort of conversations are taking place in that office right now.  The EU’s data protection legislation alone is enough to put me on the dole once we are out.  I can’t pretend to understand the “passporting” arrangements that allow financial institutions to operate across the EU.  But I know that without those arrangements we are screwed.

It’s now clear that the government’s post-Brexit planning is about as thorough as the planning for the aftermath of the Iraq war.  We’re 13 years into the consequences of that and there is no end in sight.

BREXIT plus one week

Dinner at Da Mario, Vécsey utca, Budapest

Dinner at Da Mario, Vécsey utca, Budapest

Dinner last night in Budapest.  A table of lovely, young, hopeful people from every corner of the continent, sharing a meal in a pavement cafe and talking together in the only language they all had in common – English.

The history of Hungary is the usual European, blood-soaked tapestry of a thousand years of conflict, culminating in a tumultuous 20th century.  The Nazis, the holocaust of Hungarian Jewry, then  hyper-inflation, the Communists, the uprising and finally the rebirth of the Hungarian Republic, peace and freedom within the EU.

A week on after Brexit I still feel sick to my stomach over what has happened.  I voted Tory at the last election and am now consumed with anger and hatred towards them.  I will never forgive them for inflicting this catastrophe on our country.  I feel sad for a generation of young British people whose seat at that table has now been taken away.

I’ve spent  the last 15 years travelling between the great cities of Europe on business.  On the whole I found the experience exhilarating.  While living in Nottingham I was a director of a French company based in Paris.  Some of the streets of Milan are as familiar to me as those of Nottingham.

I suppose that makes me one of the out-of-touch, metropolitan elite who have only gained from our membership of the EU.  Certainly I have yet to meet anyone who will admit to voting to leave.  I clearly don’t mix in the same circles as these people.

Kazuo Ishiguro, the most “English” novelist of our time, has articulated exactly what I am thinking in a measured piece in the FT.

I hope that, eventually, I will get over this and start to make the best of our new reality.  But right now, I see only years of pain and division ahead of us.

Great Market Hall, Vámház krt, Budapest

Great Market Hall, Vámház krt, Budapest

Organic farmers' market at Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub, Kazinczy u

Organic farmers’ market at Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub, Kazinczy u



Hedging Brexit

btcSo what’s going on?  If you look at the trading volumes of Bitcoin most of the trades are for completely footling amounts of a few hundred bucks.  But there are a lot of them and they don’t seem to care what price they buy at.  I’d imagine these are the teccy speculators, the students and the Chinese gamblers. Then there are some relatively large trades where half a million dollars pumps the price up dramatically in five minutes.  But $500,000 is nothing to the Winkelevii – the Facebook angels turned Bitcoin evangelists.

This is a pump and dump for sure.  Where to exit?  $1200 is the record high – so how does $1500 sound?

If we Brexit next week Sterling is going to Dollar parity or worse so this is my only hedge, apart from the foreign currency in my wallet.


Bitcoin Bubble?

2016-06-03 16.16.42It’s been a while since any of my investments had a curve that looked like this.  What is behind the current surge in Bitcoin seems a bit of a mystery.  Some say the Chinese have gone mad for Bitcoins, frustrated by the low returns they are getting on cash.  I could well believe it – certainly the last time I visited a casino the Chinese were heavily over-represented amongst the clientele and Bitcoin is certainly a gamble.  Others say that immanent halving in the rewards for Bitcoin miners will cause supply to dry up.

Whatever the reason, a poll of my friends (none of them averse to gambling and all pretty tech savvy) revealed that I am the only Bitcoin owner amongst us.  So can we really call this a bubble yet?

Masala Junction


Mixed Seafood Starter (for two)

This time was pretty quick off the mark – dining at Masala Junction on Mansfield Road before it even opened to the public.  The restaurant is the creation of Naj Aziz, whose previous venue was the multi award-winning Mebsaab on Maid Marion Way.  Naj has been under a two year non-competition clause after selling Mebsaab but is now free to work his magic in Nottingham once more.

Masala Junction is in the old Nat West bank building at the junction of Mansfield and Hucknall Roads.  The building has been beautifully and sympathetically restored and provides an elegant dining space.

In retrospect I should not have been so hasty and should have allowed the restaurant time to get everything bedded in before I visited.  While the mixed seafood starter was excellent, with lovely contrasting marinades and dips, the main courses were not up to the signature standard that we learned to expect at the original Memsaab.  We opted for a vegetarian jalfrezi and a biryani and both were painfully, eye-wateringly chilli hot to a degree which must have been due to an error in the kitchens.  The breads were excellent though and the winelist exceptional.

Having perused Naj’s Twitter feed I almost regret deleting my own Twitter account.  I salute a brother secularist, feminist and lover of science and food and wish him every success with his new venture.  On his track record It would be a foolish man who would bet against him. dined with a 50% food discount courtesy of Masala Junction but that does not make any difference. will be honest in its reviews without fear or favour. rating 7/10

1 2