Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rangers fans in Manchester; no surprise

The appalling behaviour of Rangers fans in my home town of Manchester came as no surprise. They came to Barcelona last autumn, in much smaller numbers, and proceeded to drink, piss and vomit in every corner of the city.  

Here they are in action in Manchester:

Nice eh? As a result of this, United's homecoming parade with the Premiership title, and possibly the Champions' League title, has been cancelled. Meanwhile Rangers, possibly the dullest team in the world, go home to win a few more Mickey Mouse Scottish titles.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Is this the best menu del dia in the world?

The local Time Out’s latest issue (the cover price is back to €1 which sounds like it is not doing too well) has a cover story on the city’s best menu del dias – the three course fixed lunch menus that you can find all over the city for €10-20.

 The  menu del dia was an invention of the Franco era, designed to keep the workers near the factory at lunchtime rather than go home to eat and siesta with the wife. No longer compulsory, they are still an attractive way for a restaurant to bring  in lunch time custom and use up last’s leftovers.

 They missed the best one. On Friday, Sarah and I went to Alkimia, the one-Michelin starred restaurant near the Sagrada Familia, and one of the vanguard of new Catalan cooking, where they have just introduced a €32 menu del dia. By the time they’d added on the cover charge, wine and VAT, it was a grand total of €85, or £34 a head. I imagine there are plenty of similar restaurants around the world where you can’t get a main course for £34. If it was designed to face up to the recession now gripping Spain, it seems to be working. The restaurant was near full by 2.30pm.

Nor was it yesterday’s leftovers. The starters were a shot glass of tomato consomm√© with croutons (a nice play on pan con tomate) and a beautifully textured jellied foie, granola and apple. 

There were three main courses, each with a choice; artichoke salad or marinated salmon, a poached egg in broth or chicken ravioli, then braised lamb or cod. All exquisitely prepared, presented and served, as were the desserts and petit fours, particularly the skewered ball of vanilla ice cream covered in white chocolate.

 It would take a brave person to tackle either the €54 menu (three starters/five mains/two desserts) or even the €68 12-course special, but hopefully I will get a chance to try.