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…
Hello, Hello, Hello!
Today I’ve got the inspiration! Today it won’t be another “I’ll write some stuff tomorrow” kind of day! Today is (after three long months!) B&G day!!!
How’s everybody doing? I hope you’re enjoying this stunning British Summertime as much as I do… #KillMeNow
But let’s not complain about the weather (as it is just the effing weather) – Let me tell you instead what happened in the B&G world since we last spoke:
B&G suffered the Brexit quite a lot. We are very offended and we’re now thinking on leaving the London HQ to move somewhere else. Siberia maybe. Or the Mali desert. Once the decision is made, we will let you know!
B&G appeared to both Isle of Wight and Glastonbury festivals!
B&G had the pleasure to shake hands with Henry Rollins from Black Flag and Tim Commerford from RATM.
B&G won’t be B&G without food in abundance; eating like there’s no tomorrow and there’s no today is our motto, so we’ll surely talk a little bit about what appeared in the menu during these three months of silence.
Let’s start from the political side of things…
Really? Do you really want that? Come on guys… Just look at these two pricks up here! Are words really needed? All is f+++ed up at the moment and me writing about Brexit & ignorance attached to it won’t certainly change things.
What about some music stuff? We all love music! And Glastonbury! And being very excited to tell people we’ve been there and how great it was! And how we’re looking forward to get tickets for next year (even before the damn thing has started)! And to bitch about how cool is this and how awesome is that all over Facebook just to make jealous who couldn’t get a ticket and to piss well off who could not give a flying F++K about Glasto!
I’m still shocked about the quantify of mud and how many times I got stuck into it to realise if I enjoyed the Worthy Farm experience this year or if I simply didn’t have the best of times. I loved the music though, as you normally do when some great bands are involved – Here’s my top 3:
1. LCD Soundsystem
2. Kurt Vile
3. PJ Harvey
I don’t have a top 3 for the Isle of Wight festival – Although I was amazed by YAK at the Jack Daniels stage and I was VERY impressed by Richard Ashcroft and his band rocking the main stage on the Saturday afternoon (just before The Who, which I found so bloody boring). I also played with my band for the second year in a row – We went out as a duo this time, we had a blast and, just to make the whole thing unforgettable, we had a tent full of people watching us!!
And what to say about Iggy Pop and his Post Pop Depression tour? Wow! I’m still speechless! Just to give you an idea: Take Iggy’s never-ending energy > add to it the quality/music intelligence/coolness of Josh Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen and Dean Fertita from QOTSA > ask Matt Sweeney to play some grooves on the bass guitar and Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys to smash it on drums > place everything inside a packed Royal Albert Hall for a couple of hours and… KABOOOOM! THE U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E SHOW is served!
Even a slightly crippled Henry Rollins (which I’ve met briefly before the show) danced during the entire set!
Last but not least: Tim Commerford from Rage Against The Machine and his new side project Wakrat – They’re a powerful trio with some great bass lines combined perfectly with some serious drumming and some loud and distorted guitar riffs! Zack de la Rocha on vocals would make a huge difference, but I’ll have to say Tim is actually a pretty good singer!
That’s it for now B&G friends/amici/amigos/amis. We love you all so much! Just to give you an idea we love you as much as we love food… And, even if in this post we mainly talked about music, you know we do love food a lot… And we also love A LOT of food (obviously)! We believe these are some pretty good reasons to keep following us here on WordPress and on Instagram, where you’ll be able to see in more details where and how our diet keeps constantly failing.
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 haven’t being a great food photographer recently but, as far as I know, food is mainly made to be eaten and the fact that I’m still quite chubby (and lovely, of course!) kinda tells ya that I failed one more time with my diet plans!
Anyways… I’ve visited some great food spots recently and these three are definitely worth a mention on B&G:
Kokeb (Ethiopian – London, N7 8XF): It was my first experience with Ethiopian cuisine and GOD it was good! The portions were big, the food was tasty, made with fresh ingredients and made to be eaten with your hands. On top of that, the lovely lady that owns the place doesn’t just makes the orders for her guests, but also allows them to get fresh beers from the bar whenever they’re thirsty. 10/10 to this tiny ghetto gem!
Nenno (Italian – London, N1 9DU): Sardinian restaurant with huge pizzas and great seafood! The manager told me that the food selection is changing in winter and that dishes like wild boar stew and lamb cooked in the wooden oven will be added to the menu. 8/10 and worth another try, Fo Shizzle!
Andy’s Taverna (Greek – London, NW1 0AG): Walking distance from where I live, this Greek restaurant operates in Camden Town since quite a long time and it never disappointed me! Favourite dishes: Kleftiko, Moussakà and Loukaniko. 8/10 every time I visited.
What I really want to talk about (and what’s keeping me really busy at the moment) is my band, which is called Arrows of Time. We’ve recorded a new EP down in sunny Italy this summer, done a pretty badass photo-shoot (courtesy of Tim Charles – see below) and played two shows at the Indigo O2 (2500 capacity) supporting Level 42 just last weekend.
We also have a new video coming out soon and this is the teaser:
If you’d like to receive a signed copy of our upcoming 2nd EP please get in touch via Facebook or Twitter! You just need to tell us how much you love Bibs & Gigs and how cool you think AoT songs are. Simple as that!
Also, if you’re around London, these are our next shows:
We have all been there at some point: One of your favourite bands have just announced that they will be playing a show in London in a couple of months and tickets will be available online the following morning at 9am… You get very excited, you let all your friends know, you set up the alarm ridiculously early and for once you rock up at the office on time…
You prepared everything: The card number is copied and ready to be pasted in the appropriate box, you already had 5 coffees and that makes you look like you’ve been out all night on the booze, you open the webpage 5 minutes earlier feeling really clever compared to all the other idiots that are surely still sleeping, and then… and then something goes wrong…
.. The page is really slow and when it comes back to life it tells that you are number 875 in the queue. You refresh, and refresh, and swear in all the possible languages against all the Saints from above, then you refresh again, then a “little” punch hits either the desk or the laptop, you refresh one more time… And then it’s over… Sold Out in less than 3 minutes!
And that’s what happened to me when I tried to get tickets for Death From Above 1979 at the Electric Ballroom..
The goddamned tickets disappeared within 5 minutes of appearing online.. Huge disappointment and hundreds of thousands of unkind words towards all of the Last Supper attendees.
Luckily my friend Cozza is a living legend and somehow he managed to get me a 20 bucks ticket a couple of hours before gig, completely erasing my plans for a quiet and cozy Monday night at home.
A lot of beers were involved, before, during and after the show, so I don’t remember a lot of details. All I know is that the wall of sound that these 2 fellas from Canada created was like a punch in the face! What an epic gig, and what a tremendous atmosphere!
Right On Frankenstein!, Virgins and Cheap Talk (my 3 favourite tracks from their monumental latest release The Physical World) played at the very beginning of the show not just gave a strong shake to all the souls filling the Ballroom, but also made me and my friends going crazy with the bar orders..
I’m not saying that it was a bad idea, but unfortunately the whole “drinking-like-idiots-shenanigans” made me forget about the rest of the show. As said, it was a great fucking gig, and sometimes when you’re having fun, details are not really necessary.
Not even the time to recover from a terrible two day hangover and Brant Bjork played The Garage just outside Highbury and Islington station.
Impossible not to drink a couple of lagers when BB was on stage, but this time me and Cozza behaved like if we were invited for a 5pm tea at Buckingham Palace, and no crazy shit happened before/during/after the show.
Even if he’s a drummer by nature (Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Vista Chino) it didn’t surprise me seeing him being such a great front-man.
Both guitar riffs and vocals have that touch of desert sound that makes you want to be at the wheel of a really old Chevrolet El Camino, driving without destination through the Sky Valley.
The good thing about The Garage is that it never gets really full and you can easily wander around the venue without getting crazy (I remember being able to walk from the bar to the toilet in less than 20 seconds during a Franz Ferdinand gig).
Not much sing-along on my side, as I concentrating more on the music and on that type of “being stoned” kinda feeling created by the four dudes on stage. They played for 90 minutes more or less, without a single dull or boring moments.
If you are into Low Desert Punk you’ll love this song..
Next gigs on the diary:
Friday 14th November – Truckfighters @ the O2 Academy in Islington
Sunday 16th November – Tinariwen @ the Roundhouse
Wednesday 19th November – Jack White @ the O2 Arena
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!!
I have to admit that coming back to London after 3 weeks in the Philippines (click here if you missed the last post about my adventures over there) wasn’t too bad..
And that joy about returning was not caused by the clouds over Heathrow Airport when we landed, neither by the pile of bullshit that I got on Monday morning at the office; it all came from 2 sexy tickets that I won for Beck at the iTunes Festival!!
I’ve fucking loved Beck since the tender age of 16. His ways of experimenting through music are simply marvellous and you never know what to expect in his next album. On top of that he’s a really good guitar player, he’s got a great voice and on stage he’s a crazy motherfucker.
I didn’t take many pictures during the show, not just because I hate iPhones and tablets at gigs, but also because it was one of the best live performances I’ve seen in ages and I didn’t want to miss a single second of it, at a point of almost peeing my pants on more than one occasion…
As you can see from the above setlist, Beck and his impeccable musician fellas played all the hits (when they came back and ‘Sexx Laws‘ started the crowd went nuts!), ending up the show with the classic ‘Where It’s At’, made even more awesome by the addition of ‘Miss You’ (Rolling Stones) and ‘Do Ya Think I’m sexy (Rod Stewart) snippets.
I’ve also applied for Elbow and Gregory Porter but I wasn’t blessed by the Lord (or by Steve Jobs) for those ones, and that was unfortunate and disappointing.
What about you B&G lovers? Any lucky iTunes festival stories or will you need to wait for next year’s “apply to win” shenanigans?
Bibs&Tips: Next time you go to an event around that area make sure you stop at Thanh Binh for some dinner before the show. It’s one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in London and it’s located in front of the Camden Stables Market main doors, 5 minutes walking from the Roundhouse.
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…
Lido in Chinatown is not just a paradise for Dim Sum and Noodle lovers, but it also has that type of chilled out environment I normally look for when trying to get rid of terrible hangovers.
Since the day my flatmate Alban talked to me about this place it became my favourite within the area of Chinatown: Good food, friendly staff, reasonable prices.
A couple of times I tried following Time Out’s advice about some other good restaurants around there and not only was I disappointed, I was also absolutely pissed off about the shit food, the bad service received and the fact that I still follow suggestions from these “We-know-everything-everywhere” hipsters!
Yesterday at lunch time I was around Shaftesbury Avenue for work, so I decided to go there on my own, as my colleague is on that period of the year where if you drink, eat, sneeze or fart before the sunset you’ll be cursed by for the rest of your life.
Trying to be on a diet is depressing for a million of reasons, the good thing though is that I didn’t go crazy when ordering the food as I normally do when going there with friends for Dim Sum on Sunday lunch time.
I “just” got a portion of really tasty Malaysian style Ho-Fun Noodles (Ho-Fun are the wide, flat, rice noodles, the Chinese version of Italian Tagliatelle) and a delicious Crab+Seafood (3 dumplings in total) Dim Sum.
Needless to say that this time a doggy bag wasn’t necessary…
As mentioned before, if you spent the all Saturday night up to no good, Lido Restaurant will be the right place to spend your Sunday lunch. Order a can of Coke and get messy with their wide choice of Dim Sum platters, you surely won’t regret it!
Gigs&Tips: Up the pints people! It’s Friday, it’s sunny, the storm is over and The Black Keys just announced a UK tour coming this March..