I had a nice dream a couple of months ago… It was about a cosy place somewhere in London where not just I was surrounded by beautiful potteries and beautiful people, but where I was also being served authentic Chinese food (a lot of food actually) at extremely cheap prices!
I spoke about this dream with my friend Namiko and when she told me that place does actually exist and that is owned and managed by two really good friends of hers I kindly told her to shut the f**k up!
She took me down to Uncle Wrinkle in New Cross that very same night! And since that day I now have faith that sometimes dreams actually do come true!
Kwan and her husband Patrick are specialized in:
Ceramics >> My opinion on Kwan’s potteries (even if I’m not an expert on this subject) is that are designed to make people happy and that they have a perfect combination of beauty and simplicity.
Smiles >> A lot of them! And all free of charge!
Noodles >> Especially the Singapore style vermicelli.
Pork belly >> Yep, you read that right. Pork belly! The best I’ve tried in London by far!
I think I’ve already used too many words… I’ll let the pictures do the talking now!
Uncle Wrinkle is located just outside New Cross Gate station (299 New Cross Rd, London SE14 6AS) – Go and say hi to Kwan & Patrick… I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Music Music Music! I’m going on a massive tour with my band Arrows Of Time starting Oct 3rd and I’m very excited! Some sort of details can be found on the video here below…
I promised to be more present in here, I know. Sailor promises. As usual! And you should know that.
I’m not in the greatest mood as this 2016 so far brought just some shit storms and took away from us people like Bowie, Prince and, last but not least, my good friend Andrea. You surely have read everywhere about the first two so, on the notes of the beautiful Purple Rain, I wanted to let y’all know how great Andy was and how many times his honest smile made me and a lot of his friends feeling at home. You’ll never be forgotten my friend. NEVER. And wherever you are I hope one day I’ll be able to find you and to remind you how shit SSC Napoli is at football.
In terms of food I’m still failing with a proper diet, which is the good news. The bad news, if you’re a B&G old school fan, is that recently I’ve been posting on Instagram instead of writing stuff in this page (sorry Mike Hodge) – But not to worry B&G Amigos, you can still have a look at all the beautiful things I’ve demolished in the past two months by clicking here.
This beauty up here is called Frico and it’s a dish from Friuli-Venezia Giulia (North-East part of Italy) which consists of a wafer of shredded cheese and potatoes heated by baking or frying until crisp. #CrispPorn would be the perfect hashtag to use in this case.
Damiano and his friend Marco started recently this new adventure which goes by the name of Freak Frico and they’re now in the bureaucratic process of moving their stand from The Boiler House in Brick Lane to The Pump in Shoreditch. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for them in order to get this cheesy and crispy orgasmic dish (and their homemade tiramisu) back to the streets of London ASAP!
And now the music bit…
Tuesday 3rd May: Mark Lanegan @ Union Chapel in Islington. The concert left me speechless. I’ve met a good friend of mine at the gig and at one point he looked at me and said “Dude. I’m crying!” – That says it all…
There’s a short video on the B&G Instagram page that is definitely worth checking.
I don’t want to sound bossy but if you don’t know who Lanegan is please cancel whatever you planned for tonight – Go home instead, switch off your phone, light up some candles, pour some good wine and start your journey into planet Mark Lanegan. Be careful though, it can be addictive.
I can’t really complain about how things works here in the UK. I’m in love with the Royals and on the whole the way the country is run, BUT I believe that start bombing here and there will just mess up things even more so I’m not totally proud of the country I’m living in at the moment..
Anyway, I’m not here to talk about that and you, dear B&G lovers, know that very well! I am here to talk about PIZZA and its many healing skills…
Am I the only one thinking that pizza is one of the best things ever invented? Probably not!
Some say it’s an Italian invention, some says it’s Turkish, some others says it’s Egyptian… I really don’t care who gave birth to that orgasmic mix of flavours – All I care about is eating as much pizza as I can and make sure I always get to try the new good pizza meccas in town…
… Like ‘Pizzetta’!
I was invited recently to try some pizzette at their South Kensington branch (Thanks Charles for that) and both me and my sister (100% Italians) were very impressed for the following reasons:
Atmosphere: Great and very Italian! A lovely Christmas tree with Panettone boxes as decorations, a warm smell coming from the combination of coffee/hot pizzas/love/fresh ingredients and a big TV where you can watch both Serie A and Champions League.
Big choices offered even without a menu: Don’t expect to go there and waste your time reading a menu – Time is very important when it comes to pizza eating so just walk in, choose 2/3 slices, order a Peroni or a coke, take a seat, eat!
Lovely staff: Valentina’s smile and kindness will make you forget about pizza for a second or two and that in my opinion kinda says it all.
They also do Italian Aperitivi, with good/cheap Spritz served and some pizza for free, so if you’re bored of the Premier League and watery pints served by grumpy bartenders head down to Pizzetta to see Serie A, drink/eat some good stuff served with a smile and, if you’re in the right mood, learn some proper Italian swearing.
For more info check their website: They have two branches at the moment (Victoria and South Ken) with a third in Mayfair coming soon.
Can’t close a blog post without adding some music stuff…
Thursday 12th November – Gutterdämmerung screening/teaser – Kentish Town Forum
Henry Rollins, Grace Jons, Jesse Hughes, Dave Catching… All together on the same stage for some good loud music and a little teaser of Gutterdämmerung, the loudest silent (not really silent though) movie ever existed, which also features Iggy Pop, Joshua Homme, Slash etc.
That was such a fun and at the same time unusual night, where everyone walked in without knowing what to expect and walked out with a big satisfied smile on the face.
If you’re curious and would like to know more you should take a look at the video here below:
Jesse and Dave were having such a great time on stage and it gives me the chills thinking that the next day they almost lost their lives playing the Bataclan with their band Eagles Of Death Metal…
Have a great Christmas everybody… And watch this space as I might be writing about some family Xmas time cooking real soon…
Spring is coming dear B&G lovers! You happy? Well I hope so… In case you are not I have great news for you: Bibs & Gigs is now on Instagram!! I know I mentioned Facebook in the last poll (thanks for the ones who voted, especially who gave their preference to the Smelly Armpits option) but I’m 100% sure that starting a FB page will make me lazy towards the blog activities.
So stop doing whatever you’re doing (unless you’re having a delicious meal or some great oral sex), open Instagram, find the B&G Marshmallow Man and click follow (or simply click the picture below)!
Talking about food (and not about drugs): I went to Silk Road in Camberwell (click here for their menu) last Sunday after hearing a lot of great things about it.
The food was a bit oily but pretty good (the Double Cooked Pork Slices and the Home Style Aubergines were soooo tasty!) and, since I’ve been in China during my travels, I felt while in there a sort of tradition which I never came across when having dinner in Chinatown.
As me and Lucy were very hungry as usual we also ordered a bunch of ox tripe and lamb skewers, some freshly prepared handmade dumplings and a very big portion of hand-pulled noodles with lamb.
Cheap prices, friendly and quick staff, relaxed atmosphere, generous servings. Will definitely come back!
Gigs&Tips: Going to see Swingin’ Utters tonight at the Pipeline and since I’m around there I may go to have some tacos at Lupita… I’ll let you know how it goes!
Let’s put it this way – being on a diet sucks major d***s (sorry Susan, I know you hate me swearing), and writing about food when fighting against the post-Christmas extra kilos is very counterproductive.
Thankfully two days ago I finally decided to flip the bird to the healthy side of food and here I am back on track B&G lovers, ALL YOURS.
Happy New Year Ladies & Germs! Did you get any cool presents for Christmas? Or did you just get fat like me? Let’s face it though, being chubby and always putting the pub before the gym is way cooler than having a six-pack and being late for the Xmas eve dinner with your grandma because you just couldn’t miss that 5 hours session with your personal trainer. On top of that everyone knows that people with that little bit of extra weight are funnier compared to walking bread-sticks.
Apart from getting fat I also received some lovely wooden tools for “Homemade Gnocchi Making” and an entire day spent with my lovely Nonna Carla preparing tons of gnocchi for the rest of the family, plus getting a bit of her unbelievable cooking skills.
In terms of my great and helpful and ALWAYS amazing recommendations about where to go to stuff your face with quality food, I finally want to introduce you to my local Camden heroes: O Tino in Plender Street (Next to Belushi’s back door).
All I can say about this family run restaurant is that I felt at home from the very first time I stepped through the door!! Elisabete’s smile is one of the most honest, warm and welcoming smiles that you can find in London, Tino is always up for some good Italo-Portuguese jokes and their son (I forgot the name unfortunately) is one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever came across since I’ve lived in this city.
Their signature dish is the Bacalhau (cod), which they cook to perfection in a lot of typical Portuguese ways, but also the Gambas (king prawns) and their selection of meats are extraordinary.
Not surprisingly, my favourite dish is the H-U-G-E rib eye grilled steak – it’s delicious, it comes with fries and salad, it will easily feed 2 people and is just £16! Bargain! If you feel like trying something different go for the Carne de porco a Alentejana (pork medallions and potato cubes with white clams).
On top of all of that they serve cheap Sagres and Super Bock bottled beers and you can always end a meal with a glass of Porto wine! Muito Bom!
I’ve took so many friends over there and not a single time I’ve seen a disappointed face – Just big smiles and food coma situations! Muito Bom X 2!
Before getting into the Gigs&Tips section I need your help with an important decision:
Shall I create a B&G Facebook page or not? Yes to the blog on the Zuckerberg’s social empire means less words, more pictures and me posting directly from a restaurant or from a gig (with the position/location shared). No to that will allow me to concentrate more on the WordPress side of things, with less posts but with much more details compared to the ones I would be adding to FB.
Please vote! I’ll make a decision in the next 3/4 weeks.
Gigs&Tips: Can’t wait to see these guys playing next week (Thursday 12th) at The Dome in Tufnell Park!!!
Eat more food, possibly in new restaurants so I can talk to you about them
Getting on tour with my band (we just recorded a new demo!! For more info click here)
Trying to stay sober at gigs so I can give you better details about them (and we all know this is not going to happen)
Creating a B&G Facebook profile for more foodstuff pictures and less nonsense words
I know that Christmas day is actually next week, and you’re all too busy buying last minute presents on Amazon, but trust me, this post will help you get into the festive spirit without the need to take a walk down Oxford Street.
The Churchill Arms is located in Kensington Church Street, a 5 minute walk from Notting Hill Gate station, and it surely is one of my favourite pubs in West London.
The ambience is cozy and warm, the staff is super friendly, the selection of beers is not bad at all and they have a great Thai restaurant called Spice of Life on their flowery back, serving the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had outside Thailand.
It’s since 2010 that I’m stuffing my face in this place, and I’m pretty much sure I’ve tried all the different things they have in the menu, from the quite filling prawn crackers to the great noodles and curries, both religiously made with fresh ingredients.
If you feel like you’re one of the braves that can handle the spiciness pretty well, then you should order their Pad Kee Mao, a darker type of noodles compared to the other ones, incredibly tasteful and unbelievably hot!
Go there to enjoy some good food and chill out in that Xmas coziness before January comes to take everything away with its disgraceful blues and its freezing temperatures. If you get the pad kee mao let me know how was it without using the word “spicy”.
Gigs&Tips: As I told you not once but twice, I do have a band. We are called Arrows Of Time and our bandcamp page is frequently populated with very cool music. Check it out, and if you like our sound come and see us on January 17th at the Constitution in Camden.
These Mothercluckers are the kings of fried chicken in London! And I’m not saying that just because today I won a free meal through their Friday Instagram competition, but because every time I go visit them I always get quality food at a reasonable price. And the portions are huge, which is always a bonus for a chubby Italiano like me.
As well as producing amazing Mac&Cheese, with the magical addition of jalapenos and courgettes, they’re also a great bunch of people. You’re always welcomed with a warm smile, and, although there are sometimes queues at lunch time, it’s never more than 20-30 minutes from the moment you join, to the glorious moment you get the food in your hands. Definitely worth it!!
Welcome to the Bibs & Gigs Abroad section. If you know me personally or if you just read my blog, surely the point is crystal clear: I’m a passionate eater and a music lover! On top of that I also love to put my ass on airplanes directed to random places around the globe (who doesn’t?!).
My lovely Mamma always told me: “Whatever you do in life make sure you’ll find the time to travel as much as you can”.. God she was right! Being abroad certainly stimulates a lot of incredible feelings. And with going abroad I’m not referring to the All-Inclusive holiday in Sharm El Sheik, with bacon and eggs for breakfast, zero life outside the resort and a pile of shitty pictures of paper cocktails umbrellas or selfies in the swimming pool with your drunk ‘orange skin’ tanned mates.
I’m talking about unbelievable adventures like couchsurfing in Argentina, trekking in Patagonia, having a laugh with the amazing Filipino kids, almost getting arrested in Bangkok, eating a simple but delicious Pho soup from a dirty food stand in the streets of Hanoi, getting naked on the Machu Picchu, paying 20 bucks for a bungee jump in Ecuador.. Making friends from all over the world, being homesick and once you’re back start immediately with arranging the next backpacking mission, because these days abroad were probably the best you’ve had in your entire life.
In 4 simple words: Bibs and Gigs Abroad! Well, more or less…
And what a great country to start with: Philippines!
More than 7000 islands, great sandy beaches, really good food, smiley and friendly people, cheap and always cold San Miguel beers (the Spanish influence is still strong from the booze point of view), tarsiers, whale sharks, bangkas & jeepneys etc.. Philippines is the place to be if you are in a desperate need to unplug completely from the Western world.
I reckon that a good part of its beauty comes from the fact that it’s still a destination off the beaten track, with very few party goers and Gringos.. Apart from Boracay, that we obviously skipped.
Rather than trying to be the new Lonely Planet website, and tell you where to go, what to do and how to do it, I’ll be making a short list of our destinations, with some basic info and some pictures.
Here we go..
Palawan Island: Super clean Puerto Princesa (if you get caught littering you’ll be in deep s**t!), with its classy restaurants and the well-known Underground River and Honda Bay, was the starting point of a really relaxing week.
From there we moved up to an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G resort called Qi Palawan, situated between a pristine beach and a virgin forest, in an undiscovered and unexploited part of North-eastern Palawan.
It was a bit sad leaving Qi but luckily the stunning sunsets of El Nido (our next destination) that followed were the perfect cure for the nostalgic blues, and a strong signal that there’s surely a lot more to come to our trip.
Cebu Island rhymes with Lechon, whale sharks, bumpy bus journeys, Malapascua and Bantayan, good weather, good beaches, good times. Despite being the second most populous Metropolitan area in the Philippines after Metro Manila, Cebu City got a complete different vibe from the messy capital. Walking around is safer, most of the buildings don’t look like they may fall over your head at any point, people are friendlier and you won’t feel like you’ve just eaten a piece of cat after buying some food from a street vendor.
Oslob, a little village 2 hours south of Cebu, is the place to go if you feel brave enough to swim with giant whale sharks. Even if these dudes are completely harmless to humans I can honestly tell you that I was pretty fucking scared at the beginning, especially when one of them swam under our little bangka; once in the water though the fright disappeared completely and the all experience turned in one of the best I’ve ever had in my life!
Malapascua and its super kind inhabitants (I need to mention Mike from Mike&Diose, who made our stay there incredible, even if the weather was a bit rubbish) and Bantayan, with its crystal water and the super talented basketball playing kids were our last stops in Cebu Island.
Bohol and Panglao were in my opinion the best part of the all trip. I absolutely loved the Chocolate Hills, even if we got lost and stuck in the mud with the scooter on the way there, seeing the tarsiers was pretty cool, and chilling by the lovely Alona beach was not as boring as I expected it to be. I eventually got a little tanned even if I spent most of the time sleeping on a hammock in the shade.
Manila was the last stop before flying back to London and apart from the Walled City (aka Intramuros), the Mall Of Asia and some good Chinese restaurants (Dong Bei in particular – See pictures below) there’s not a great deal to explore over there, especially when there are much better places.
If you are planning to go to the Philippines and you need some advice, the first one I’m giving you is: Do not hesitate! Just book your ticket and GO! If you need more help please feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to help.
Filipino Bibs: Prior to this trip when I read that the Filipino word for “Hello” is “Have you eaten?” I almost came in my pants! These guys knows a lot of stuff in terms of food.
There’s a huge variety of fish and it’s always fresh, Lechon (roasted sucking pig) is taken seriously over in Cebu, their Sinigang soups/stews are sensational, Pancit Noodles are always coming in huge portions and proper Italian pizzas and Chinese dumplings can be easily found, especially in the big cities but even off the beaten track.
Which one of the following would you eat right now? If you’re thinking about the 7/11 toasty then you’re definitely reading the wrong blog.
I can’t imagine London without Denmark Street and its incredible vibe… Guitars and drums shops, people like Noel Gallagher, Ronnie Wood and Patrick Stewart (Spock!) hanging around there, the iconic 12 Bar Club, the Alleycat (Regent Sound Studios back in the 60s, where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album), and all the tiny Korean restaurants round the corner.
Unfortunately due to the Cross Rail development starting from January 2015 the all area will be transformed and will definitely lose its greatness. There’s an online petition going on at the moment – I don’t know if it will really help to avoid the inevitable but hopefully it will postpone it a little bit. If you have a second please sign it here.
Last Saturday after band practice at Enterprise Studios (located in a little alley behind the 12 Bar) I had a late lunch at Seoul Bakery with my girlfriend Lucy.
SB is a really small Korean restaurant run by smiley and friendly people, where the ingredients are fresh and the food is made with love.
I ordered a delicious Spicy chicken soup with Udon Noodles, that came with a portion of Kimchi as a side dish, and Lucy got a Bulgogi Bibimbap.
If you’re not familiar with Korean food:
Kimchi is a traditional spicy and sour Korean side dish made of cabbage with a variety of seasonings;
Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with vegetables, seasonings, a fried egg and sliced beef. It is also a funny word that I use a lot when I’m drunk… Don’t ask me why as sometimes I’ve got no idea of what’s happening inside my head;
Bulgogi = grilled marinated beef cooked using Korean traditional grilling techniques;
The only bad thing about this pretty place is that soon it will be gone, as the whole building will become a charming Bus Stop (A big Thank You to the Crossrail pricks for making this happening so quickly). I don’t know if they will reopen in another location but even if they do it surely won’t be the same unfortunately.
If you’re still new to this type of cuisine I reckon a cheap lunch (YES! SB not just is good, it’s also cheap as chips) at Seoul Bakery this weekend could be a great introduction to this new world of magnificent aromas.
Gigs&Tips: I’ll never get bored of telling everyone how fun a night at the 12 Bar Club can be! They have live music 7 days a week, door charge is always under £10, good beers, a pool table, a cool outside area at the back. So hurry up and go get a taste of the Denmark Street madness before it will turn into a Prada store or a Pret a Manger.
Last but not least: These guys are on tonight at the Brixton Academy. It’s sold out but some last minute tickets may be available outside the venue..
Most of you already know a lot of stuff about the Duck & Waffle: in the heart of the City, great place for a date, breathtaking view, super fast lift, amazing food & cocktails, reasonable prices, open 24/7 etc. So I won’t mention any of that as you’ll probably get bored after 2 seconds.
But what I will do is give you a quick summary of my recent lunch experience.
It wasn’t a date, unfortunately, but a convenient business lunch paid by my company. To be honest though, who needs romance when free food is on the table?
I opted for a beer, rather than a cocktail, but by the look of the bar I can tell that they definitely know what they’re doing with the mixers!
Their signature dish, the Duck & Waffle, is delicious, so is the roasted octopus – fresh and cooked to perfection, which is not easy to find in London.
The only disappointment for me was the fillet of Angus beef Carpaccio – way too much Pecorino cheese, as you can see from the picture, and not enough meat.
Also, the menu is a bit too fancy and not clear enough – If it wasn’t for the lovely waiter explaining it to me I’d probably still be there choosing what to eat.
Don’t get me wrong folks, it was a lovely experience, and even if I promised I wouldn’t mention the view, it really will leave you speechless. Get the table in the corner if you can and make sure you book in advance for lunch and dinner.
Gigs&Tips: Next week it will be my flatmate Alban’s birthday and since I love buying gig tickets for friends (despite the fact that he’s never read my blog – what a simpleton!) I’ve booked to go and see The Mad Caddies in November at the O2 Academy in Angel…