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 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:
Oh well oh well oh well… It has certainly been a while Ladies & Germs! Sorry about the long wait but lately I’ve been whirling around like a spinning top (as we say where I come from) and super busy with my band Arrows of Time! Now I finally have some time to type random stuff so let me tell you a couple of stories about places, food, music, boobies, terrible hangovers and mud…
I’ve been to NOLA with my girlfriend Lucy and what an incredible part of the planet that is..
The music, the people, the “heart-attack-friendly” food, the history, the architecture.. Everything was top notch from the very first moment we arrived, when our transfer bus from Louis Armstrong airport ended up in a ‘Second Line’ Parade for the funeral of “Trumpet Black” Travis Hill (we obviously jumped out and joined it) until the last day spent with an incredible Couchsurfer host called Tim.
As usual I won’t tell you what happened day by day, second by second, but I’ll list a top 3 with some nice pics you can look at.. I also get bored when there’s too much to read and no pictures so here we go:
Second Line Parade, which is a pretty cool way that people from the Big Easy use to celebrate good or bad things. On this occasion it was the funeral of 28 year old Travis Hill, died while touring with his band in Japan. People were literally crying meanwhile playing instruments on the street and it all ended up in Treme at Travis’s grandma’s house. Words just can’t explain…
Hot 8 Brass Band at The Howlin’ Wolf: Oh man… These guys can surely give you some Sexual Healing!
THE FOOD! Which is what this blog is all about… I mean, look at those pictures!!
Everyone knows that a trip to the USA it’s not a proper one until you hit the road and even if the weather forecast was suggesting to STAY AT HOME we decided to stop listening to the experts, rented a shitty car and we drove to Austin.
Jesus, Joseph and Mary! These paranoid American weather experts were Goddamned right! What a disaster!! Rain and wind and huge splashes from huge trucks and traffic jams and rain and thunderstorms and wind! Thankfully, we found the legendary Billy’s Boudin balls on our way there and, after stuffing our faces with their succulent deep fried products, what in reality was the arrival of the Four Knights of the Apocalypse seemed to us like a little bit of rain.
I’m glad we went to Austin, even if just for one day; it’s a vibrant and lively city, with a lot of cool bars, all sort of food trucks, young people and a brilliant music scene. It’s pretty damn hot over there but, even if it’s Texas, life is pretty slow and everyone seems to enjoy whatever things they’re doing. Plus there’s the big fella Colorado River cutting right through the middle of it and there’s no hard day at work that a canoe ride (and a couple of good local beers) can’t beat.
Vapors of Morphine at The Continental club: Mark Sandman’s tragic death on stage in Rome back in 1999 brought years and years of radio silence from the Low Rock trio.. Now the two surviving members Dana Colley and Jerome Dupree teamed up with Jeremy Lyons to play Morphine’s songs and they happened to be playing 3 nights in a row in Austin when I was there! YES! If you know what I’m talking about you’ll surely get the excitement, if not, start your education with this incredibly ‘Buena’ song..
La Barbecue food truck: Cheap, big, tasty, U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E!! See below..
Driving back to The Big Easy wasn’t a mission this time, our last night there was pretty chilled, thanks to an unbelievable dude from Seattle called Tim Brockman who let us Couchsurf at his beautiful “work” Victorian villa and on the way back to Europe we stopped for an entire afternoon in NYC.
The big Apple is always a pretty cool place for an afternoon stop-over. After a stroll around Central Park and an “healthy” lunch at 5 Napkin Burger on the Upper West side with a couple of friends, we jumped on a bus that took us all the way down to the Hook & Ladder 8 fire station, better known as the Ghostbusters building.
Now onto ‘Mud, mud, glorious mud’..
The reason why I mentioned it previously is because I’ve been to two British music festivals recently and mud showed up eventually but certainly wasn’t the main actor.
Isle of Wight was great: I played in the tiny Hey Joe stage with my band and, for the first time in my music experience, got a little taste of the “being-a-rock-star” cake. No groupies were harmed in the process and quite frankly the only real groupie was Will’s dad, who cooked us breakfast in the comfort of a warm country house not once but twice.
Blur, Fleetwood Mac, Pharrell Williams (see below) and Jethro Tull upon my favourites. Gutted I missed Kool & the Gang, which apparently were unbelievable!
Glastonbury was even greater and in all fairness it’s probably the best party I’ve ever been! Where else in the world you’ll see Patty Smith joined on stage by the Dalai Lama and a group of thousands hangover/high/emotional fellows singing him Happy Birthday?!? Unfortunately I missed that but watching it on YouTube three days after the festival was over gave me the chills and made me cry a little bit (a lot more than a little bit actually). And don’t get me started about The Fat White Family followed by The Church in Hell-Shangri-La at 5am, or Lionel Richie bringing some California sun at the Pyramid stage, or the Rabbit Hole club at The Park, Jungle and Mark Ronson at The Other Stage etc. etc. etc. God! What a fiesta! If you’re curious click here for some official pics divided by day.
I’m exhausted now. I need some sleep. And I need to stop drinking for at least a year. But ACDC are playing in Wembley this weekend so I reckon all these plan for good and healthy behaviours have to wait.
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!
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 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…
I heard good stuff about this place even before they opened! Well, that’s probably not quite true, but if you like salt beef and pastrami you will love Monty’s.
Typically, if you decided to start a blog, you have to remember to take pictures of the food before you start to eat it… however, when the waiter put in front of my face the Reuben Special (a RIDICULOUS pastrami and salt beef sandwich on toasted rye with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, sauerkraut plus pickle and coleslaw on the side) I just couldn’t do it.
Thankfully my mate (and fellow blogger) arrived a bit late so, on top of the 25 minutes he had to wait for his sandwich, he had to wait 3 more for me to take pictures (I know that 3 minutes are normally gone in the blink of an eye, but tell that to a hungry+angry man – he obviously wasn’t in the best mood about it).
My girlfriend opted for another pretty big sandwich with an “impossible-to-pronounce” name, the ‘Meshuggener’: salt beef, pastrami, liver, non-toasted rye bread and no cheese. This was also really good and packed full of meat, but I love my cheese so I reckon the winner for me is definitely the ‘Reuben Special’.
The location of Monty’s is perfect – it’s right in the middle of the superb Maltby Street Ropewalk Market (a 10 minute walk from London Bridge station) and its incredible food stands (the pulled pork burgers looked unreal! I’ll be returning to try one or two of those bad boys).
The staff were super friendly, the service was really good as was the value for money (less than a tenner each for a proper “Jewish feast” on rye + soft drinks).
As my good friend Cozza would say: “Mate, this place is the Proper Tits!!” … And I really can’t find better words to describe it!
Gigs&Tips: Monty’s deli and the Ropewalk market could be the right meeting point if you’re going on later to a gig at the O2 arena on a Saturday night: Couple of sandwiches, easy going atmosphere, a couple of little places where to get cheap drinks and, when you’re good to go, you can either walk to Bermondsey station and get the Jubilee line or, if you’re too pissed, share a cab.
I’ll leave you with some lunchtime funky grooves..
If you spend a night in a sweaty mosh pit at a hardcore punk show you have to bare in mind that the next day in the office will suck big fucking time! And those suicidal tendencies I’m having this morning are not because of the bruises all over my body…. It’s all caused by the fact that punk rock and hardcore punk shows are making me feel so ALIVE, bringing back beautiful memories of my early 20’s, when music wasn’t as mainstream as today and everything related to it was more romantic.
No Spotify, no YouTube, sometimes not even the Internet. Just Compact Discs and Cassettes. I still possess the glorious one that introduced me to this world: Straight Ahead by Pennywise on side A and Ballads from the Revolution by Good Riddance on side B.
Also going to gigs was much more fun: you firstly had to find the money, then a car, then a friend keen to drive until Milano, Genova or Torino, then a little shop to buy beers and then, most difficult part, the venue!
I think we reached the bottom of the barrel when we got lost on our way to Fat Wreck Tour in 2003. When we got there the gig was over, the fans have left and the only people in the venue were the barman of a deserted bar and some Mad Caddies and Lawrence Arms members playing dices. They obviously laughed at us, but just before the sadness in our faces was about to turn into tears, they invited us to their table and we spent the entire night up to no good with our new friends.
Time to leave Memory Lane now and start talking about these Fucked Up Canadians and the immense gig they played yesterday.
Damian Abraham and co. had the brilliant idea to start the show with Echo Boomer, the opening track of their new album Glass Boys (Matador Records) followed by Queen of Hearts. I’m not complaining about that, it was the best start they could have possibly done, but I’m not exaggerating in saying that the floor almost collapsed.
The rest of the night was all about mosh pit, sweat, crowd surfing, beers and great songs like Black Albino Bones, The Other Side, Led by Hand, Sun Glass and Paper the House.
I need to mention as well the fact that the singer Damian was never on stage! That dude can’t stay away from the action and from the love of his fans to a point that he spent the entire time in the middle of us, hugging everyone and smiling like a little child when people were kissing his bald head.
I also managed to give him a big hug when the concert was over and you can really tell there’s nothing fake in that incredible human being!!
Great night, Great show, Great bunch of Fucked Up people!
Bibs&Tips: The Kings Cross Honest Burgers branch is literally 45 seconds walking distance (Angel direction) from La Scala… and we all know how good their burgers are!