Joe Jackson, Parsnips and Holy Smoke

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Things we have learnt since we last wrote to you….

No caffeine, no protein, no booze or nicotine, remember everything gives you cancer

Joe Jackson was very much playing the oracle when he wrote those lines all the way back in 1982.

The WHO have finally finished their research into process meats and have decreed that the days of hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, black pudding and barbecuing need to be put behind us – they just need to find a problem with seafood and tomatoes to put the writing firmly on the wall for the Mediterranean. Or do we all need to use more olive oil and drink a glass of red wine every day to stave off these illnesses – I think I already know the answer to that.

Anyway, if you want to get the full picture, go to and look up The complete list of things that give you cancer (according to epidemiologists), within which you will find such diverse carcinogens as bracken, dairy products, fruit, not having a twin, railway sleepers and a particular favourite of ours, Vatican Radio Masts.

Vegetables also give us cancer, apparently.

This meant that we read the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall article on the BBC website regarding food waste with a great sense of relief.   Fortunately for us all, tonnes and tonnes of these dangerous vegetable things are thrown away each week because they are the wrong shape, are too big/small or are just not straight enough.  He quotes a figure of 20 tonnes of parsnips a week being dumped at just one Norfolk farm for not conforming to supermarket restrictions.  We both definitely feel like we’ve dodged a bullet here and sincerely hope that plenty more of these dangerous vegetable killers are kept out of our reach.

Phew, time for something safe to eat…

Holy Smoke

Obviously, having read all the guidelines and scare stories above, the most sensible place to find sustenance and safety would be a restaurant that specialises in smoked food.

For those of you who haven’t been, Holy Smoke is the new restaurant on Leopold Road that took Wimbledon (and Trip Advisor, for what it’s worth) by storm when they opened in February this year. Cameron, the affable, flip-flop sporting, South African owner has created a masterpiece local dining experience with a definite hint of smoke about it.

We went on Tuesday night and thoroughly recommend it – if nothing else the smoked French fries alone are worth the visit!

There’s more to Northumberland than Moors and Pete Doherty and Robson Green…

There’s Gin now, too! One of our longest serving customers, previously of a parish near here, upped sticks a few years ago for the wilds of the North.  As often happens when the winters are cold, long and dark, thoughts quickly turn to hard spirit.  However our friend , being of an entrepreneurial bent, decided to take it a step further and create his own Gin using the local available botanicals – particularly Juniper, Bog Myrtle and Douglas Fir.

It sounded interesting to us, he was like an extremely excitable cocker spaniel about it, and so we thought we’d give it a taste.

It’s fab, very pretty, delicious and, according to Victoria Moore in The Telegraph, is “utterly brilliant and original martini gin – maybe the best I’ve ever had.”

It’ll be here on Monday costing £38, plus we have an open bottle here to taste, should you wish to try it before then.

It’s definitely worth it.

And finally, some gentle musings…

Imagine how good a Scotland v Argentina semi final could have been?

Imagine how much you could have won if you’d put a fiver on Sunderland to beat Newcastle 3-0 at the weekend? (answer: roughly 1100 quid, according to one of our customers…)

Imagine being able to go to a private viewing of Spectre at the Bulgari Hotel, courtesy of Bollinger – lucky Wayne…

Imagine what Ontañon Gran Reserva Rioja 2005 (£25.99) tastes like – no need, it’s on tasting today and tomorrow…

Imagine how pink-tickled we would be if you voted for us in the Time Out #lovelondonawards…

Imagine what the world would be like without a bacon sarnie and a barbecued sausage…

Let’s be careful out there!

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