Interesting to see how changes in communications can alter one’s habits. I have lived in London for much of my life and in Forest Hill in leafy South London since 1974. During all of that time I have spent little time in East London. Certainly over the last 30 years my visits there have been pretty rare.
Like many areas of London Forest Hill is multi-cultural with people from different origins and races. However, unlike the East End, it was never a part of London where people settled when they first arrived in the UK. In contrast the East End has been the part of London that throughout history that has accommodated successive waves of new settlers, who in time gradually fan out across London and the UK making way for the next arrivals.
Taking the East London Line to Shadwell transports you into an area where the dominant culture is from the Indian sub-continent. It also takes you to the very popular Lahore Kebab House (http://www.lahore-kebabhouse.com/). Apart from serving very good food for a very reasonable price, you can make your own drink so we took along a bottle of 2009 Anjou from Jacques Beaujeau’s Château la Varière. I’m pleased to report that this softly and richly fruited Anjou stood up well to our selection of strongly spiced dishes.
Photo by Ian Kerridge
It was on the way to Shadwell that we read about the new Facebook group called Subversively move Tony Blair's memoirs to the crime section in book shops (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=150746811621277&ref=mf). Worth joining – it was set up at the end of last week and now has over 6500 members and growing fairly rapidly.
Go further up the line and you come to Dalston Junction, where there is a strong Turkish community. Here we have enjoyed a couple of meals over the past few days. Last Thursday we went to the Mangal Ocakbasi (www.mangal1.com) restaurant, which is very popular and buzzy. You can also bring your own wine, so we took the 2009 Clos de Chaumont, Saumur-Champigny, Domaine de la Perruche, which is also owned by Jacques Beaujeau. I have to say that this was a disappointment with thin fruit and rasping acidity. Possibly the bottle wasn’t good, although it wasn’t corked but on Sunday night we tried the straight 2009 Saumur-Champigny from Perruche and this was very much better, although not as good as the 2009 Anjou from Varière.
Saturday night we were back in Dalston Junction. This time we tried Istanbul Iskembecisi (www.istanbuliskembecisi.com/). This was quite quiet in contrast to Mangal Ocakbasi but we probably had a better meal here. The Albanian liver that we had as one of our meze was particularly good and my shish kebab tender and flavoursome. There is a licence here so we chose a bottle of 2009 Yahut from Kavaklidere (http://www.kavaklidere.com/products.aspx) made from a blend of Öküzgözü, Boğazkere and Carignan, which was attractively soft and easy drinking and matched our food well.
We half expected to see Michel there, continuing his exploration of Carignan but he has either already visited or will doubtless be on his way sometime in the future.
Outside the restaurant in Dalston – fresh roses from Ecuador!