Tuesday, 29 September 2009


(Strictly no photos were aloud, so all photographs were secretly taken on mobile phones).

As I sat in the steam room in the Four Seasons Hotel with a glass of cucumber water in my hand, pampering myself before the 81st Academy Awards, I  wondered. What gastronomic delights awaited me?

I was in LA for the first time . A celebrity friend of mine, who I shall leave unnamed, invited me to the biggest showbiz bash on the planet, The Oscars!

On arrival there are police and helicopters circling the Kodak theatre. Crowds of people swarm the streets like hungry animals wanting a bite from the perfect celebrity cuisines . People with homophobic and self promoting placards line up wanting to be seen. Me, I was just hungry and wanted this hell soup to end, so I could get to the main course, The Governors Ball. This is the big dinner after the show. So in we go, like cattle down the blood red carpet, lights blinding you every witch way you go, and oh look there's Danny Glover, is he hungry? When you eventually make it in your surrounded by the hollywood elite, Sean Penn walks past with his crew. Sarah Jessica Parker is being followed by a hired hand so no one steps on her dress. But he's always there holding it off the ground, so in effect he is part of the dress. Good look!

And so it begins The Oscars. The big show. It's all so golden and duty free smelling.

Hugh Jackman appears on stage and proceeds to go ape shit for the next five minutes. This is his opening. Throughout the evening if you get up to go out during the commercial break, and you miss the countdown to get back to the show, they lock all the doors until the next break, and a seat filler will sit in your seat so the show doesn't look dead. This is an out of work panic stricken actor.

I went out to get a glass of water, queued for 20 minutes, only to discover it wasn't a free bar, and damn I had no cash on me. So i'm sure for the first time in Oscar history, I used the public water fountain. People looked at me like I was shitting into a bucket, and shouting "Run Forest Run!' at the top of my voice. I got back to my seat and the show wizzed along. I dribbled, I laughed, I even cried a bit. It was good, bad and a little ugly .

Stage 2 of the mission. The Governors Ball.

We sit down at a very tacky looking table. There's a band playing dinner jazz, free CD style. Kevin Kline and the girl from The Gremlins are sat at the end of the table. One guy complains to himself about the food because he's on a no carb diet. The waiter comes over with an appetizer. A pizza dough with smoke salmon and caviar on top. Not the greatest combination, but the fish eggs and salmon where fine. And if it's good enough for the Gov, it's good enough for me. Whoever he is?!. Then some soup, and some not so good rice with meat was served. So unimpressed by this, I didn't take a photo. Thinking this was the only food going, and knowing that the Vanity Fair party was around the corner, and remembering how drunk I liked to get, down it went.

For desert, a cube of chocolate arrived with a removable lid, and an edible Oscar on top with chocolates inside. I bit the head off the oscar thinking it would be the finest co co in town, but to my surprise it took me right back to the little football chocolates I would get for Crimbo. You know the ones, that tasted like crayon. So, quite full and slightly board, we went for a stroll around the ball. " What is this?" I yelled. "Why did no one mention this?"  We'd found a room full of lavish wonders. There were Oscar cookies, a chocolate fountain with strawberries, chocolate moose, a mountain of shell fish, and two mini hills of sushi. Actually not the most lavish. But after the weird rice and chocolate box combo I'd just had, this was lavish . The cookies were good, the fountain had an interesting flow, especially with the fresh strawberries. The sushi wasn't that good, a bit dry and lonely.

Stage 3 the Vanity Fair party. Now this was a proper celebrity squeeze. Within the space of a five minutes Mickey Rourke left the building, I saw Elton John sulking in the corner, and Ben Stiller was making big joke all over the floor. But lets cut the celebrity chit chat, and get to the food.

Since America and the Worlds economic crisis the good people at Vanity Fair cut down on the freebies. So no pyramid of Ipods, no taps of Channel No 5 running, and certainly no gourmet food.  As I was hob knobbing and making no sense at all, I see a girl sheepishly appear from the crowd holding a soggy box of In and Out burgers. "I'll have one of those please",  "yes sir". The In and Out girls were having the best time, meeting all the celebs and handing out cold burgers with the biggest smiles on their faces. I took a bite and on looking back it has occurred to me, that that burger summed up the hole evening. It looked good but was cold and tasteless and it always looks better in the movies

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6 Therberton Street 

Islington, London

N1 0QX

020 7226 0504


We stumbled upon this curry house walking up Upper St from Angel in the hope of finding an Indian. We first walked past the chain Masala Zone, which I've eaten in before and didn't enjoy. Parveen is very near the cool, old cinema – Screen on the Green.


The Decor was pleasant, low-lit and, in the area we were in, the music was quiet.  However, we were sat right by the door, which was open, causing us to be sat in a draught. The seat wasn't overly comfortable – a standard wooden chair. 


The service was prompt, despite the fact that our waitresses English was pretty poor. After poppadoms, which were good, we were kept waiting for some time for our food – perhaps as long as forty minutes. The food then came sans rice and we had to wait a couple of minutes for the rice to arrive, which was tortuous after waiting for the dishes to arrive.


I ordered a Basil Fawlty (Balti) with chicken, garlic naan and Pilau rice. I enjoyed my meal and the meat was of good quality – not overly hot and stated as being med/hot. We were given hot towels after our meal. But no palette cleanser or mints etc. (Apologies for the poor pic, didn't have my camera – it was better than it looks!)


Pretty standard pricing really – around seven to nine pounds for a main. We were presented with 20% of our bill at the end, in a brick Lane style 'everyone gets a discount'. It was still appreciated though.


The restroom felt a little neglected and a doorway had been left open to view old cans of oil outside. One tap was broken, but it was clean.


Friendly staff, tasty food. A few little things could have been better. Like cloth napkins instead of paper and an ice bucket for the wine. The wait for the meal was also slightly too lengthy. If I was in the area again, I would quite likely go back – although the Spanish Tapas bar just up the road may get my custom next time.

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Eastern Eye

120 Queen St

Newton Abbot, TQ12 2EU, United Kingdom

+44 1626 331155

I'd been to this curry house a couple of times a few years ago and when going back this time found it to have become three times the size it was. This expansion represents how popular this restaurant has become. If you're going on a Saturday, expect it to be very busy and it's essential to book a table.


The Decor feels quite up-market, with large, heavy leather chairs, placed around nicely laid tables, with heavy white table cloths and napkins.


Service was prompt and we had poppadoms and beers to start with – cobra and kingfisher on tap. I ordered the chicken Bhuna, Pilau rice, onion Bhajis and a peshwari naan.


As the starter plates were collected my dad commented on how little mess he'd made in comparison with the rest of us – to which our waiter responded "the more mess you make, the more we think you're enjoying your meal". The waiter was very friendly and attentive and you could have a joke with him.

There were six of us and the food came in good time and all together. Each dish had it's on bowl with a nightlight in it, which is always a nice touch. Good weight (hot) plates and cutlery add a quality feel. We were also presented with a free dish of chicken tandoori to share.

The food is really excellent – medium hotness and perfectly cooked chicken. Everyone in my party was satsfied – with the exception of Kate, saying that she preferred the dish at the Chandi curry house in Berlin.

I couldn't possibly manage a desert as I was so full. We were then presented with hot towels and slices of orange to cleanse the palette. We were then given a round of complimentary shots of Sambucca (with a coffee bean floating in it) and Baileys. The waiter did a neat trick and blew out the flames with a click of the thumb. They came back several times offering more shots for free.

If that gets you warmed up for a night out, I recommend the Jolly Farmer pub in the centre of town – they've got a good selection of ales, table football and an outside area with picnic benches.

This is truly a great curry house, with many awards under their belt, that I like to return to everyone time I'm i the area.

4.2/5 (had to drop it a bit because Kate wasn't wholly satisfied with her Chicken Dupiaza)

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Address: Immanuelkirchstr. 32, 10405 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 440 62 38

Type: Indian

This curry house is just across the road from The Loft hostel, in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin, where my girlfriend and I were staying. It was a warm evening so we sat outside on long picnic-style benches, although the decor inside was perfectly pleasant.

We started with some poppodoms and sauces which came very quickly. The poppodoms had crushed peppers and chilis in them making them the hottest ones I have ever had – the ice cold beer helped to quench this though.

The general atmosphere was good, with several other local (or at least German) couples sat around us enjoying a meal.

I ordered a chicken Rogan Josh, Pilau rice and a garlic naan – Kate had the same. The dishes came already served out onto a plate, rather than in separate dishes – I tend to prefer the latter. However, it was nicely presented and came with a small side-salad garnish, which helped to further quell the heat from the poppadoms. The dish had a very light, clean feel, it wasn't a heavy sauce as one becomes accustomed to in England. It was medium hot. I didn't feel overly full from the meal either. 

There was just one woman working away in the kitchen, the food felt freshly prepared and the meat was tender.

The service was good and our waiter friendly – we started attempting to speak German to our waiter and we quickly established it would be easier for all of us to say everything in English.

We hung around and had another beer afterwards and felt no pressure to leave.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal, it was was of good quality but not outstanding. The lack of hot towels at the end was a disappointment.

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