Sunday, October 1, 2017

Patricia Frischer: London Letter Part 1, 2017

Every approximately 18 month, my husband Darwin and I go to London. I report on a combination of food and art, the two great loves of my life after Darwin.

A little table top design of my own making

Part 1

Crystal China was our first meal out. So much fun to see different things on the menu like pigs ears and chicken feet. I forgot how good those prawn crackers are that are all puffed up. We had lamb sliced into tender bits with green onions and a whole dish of gai lan (my favorite green veg) plus salt and pepper tiny spare ribs. I took the leftovers and added rice and some parsley and lemon smoked mackerel two days later and it was pretty fine.

Orange origami at Crystal China

Our first foray out in the car, we went back to a favorite restaurant in Clapham as we wanted to meet with our fellow freeholder and also with our tenant. Newtons has changed hands many time and it not now even called Newtons but I had my 60th birthday there and so have fond memories as the layout has not changed that much. It is now called by its address 33 Abbeville Road. We had scallops with tiny braised beetroot and red currents decorated with the sweetest little pansies. We followed that with a so so duck breast but wonderful mushroom sauce. And so why not have a lemon tart for dessert. Since we split all the dishes and portions are much smaller, we did not have left overs.  

Darwin and I finally went walk about. We found Lidl (pronounced Liddle), a very cheap store that has tried to go a bit up market since I lived here.  They have imported food and a line called Delux so it was fun to shop and find bargains….white anchovies, crusted brie with lodenberries, fresh duck breast (Darwin cooked them with teriyaki and hoisin sauce), red pesto, foccocia with goats cheese and sun kissed tomatoes and the afore mentioned smoked mackerel with lemon and parsley.  Then we walked down to a big Tesco and it was such a trip to see all the African shops with a huge numbers of barber shops.  There were no women on the street at all which was a bit creepy especially as I had on a dress with bare legs. There were masses of men sitting at cafĂ© and in so many barbershops that I lost count. It turns out that these barbershops are really like social clubs, soapboxes, advice bureaus: London’s Afro-Caribbean barbershops are amazing community hubs. I thought they were fronts for some kind of nefarious activity, but it was just a different culture. You can feel you are in a whole different country just walking down a street. Some restaurant menus had no food I recognized at all.  I can’t wait to go back and try some, but maybe during the day.

Figs and Pomegranates

Little gift boxes of wild mushrooms

This is lettuce not wrapping paper

I had to ask a is celeriac 

olive and cheese bread sticks

Just past Tesco, we found the most wonderful sculpture by Peter Logan, the kinetic sculptor. Our first trip to the Borough Market will be one of many this month. We found so many wonderful tempting displays of food but only bought one of these fabulous olive and cheese bread sticks, some lovely Spanish cheese and biscuits, red tapenade which is always a favorite of ours.  We got a glorious packet of very special ham for Peter who has the same birthday as Darwin and so he invited a whole group to EV TAZ restaurant for a meal to celebrate. He told us we are the guests of honor!  And they were all so friendly and kind to include us. A huge about of Turkish food and some lovely wine was consumed. You didn’t actually have to have a piece of jewelry by his brother Andrew to get it, it just seemed that way.

birthday dinner at EV with Peter Logan, I am on the right and Darwin is on the left

Peter Logan kinetic sculpture on Old Kent Road

We made it this first week to see some art…surprise, surprise. And it was a very good start with a fabulous trio of shows at the very impressive White Cube.  For those of you who don’t know this space it is three big white rooms and lots of open hall space and some hidden offices set in a large courtyard off Bermendsey Road. Cerith Wyn Evans had one large neon work which was my favorite. There were three small shiny black circles on one wall  which reflected the light and I am presuming this was on purpose and did give the work a little extra something, but just seeing these lines of light suspended in the space was a joy. 

When you walked in the room of objects by Ann Veronica Jannsens it almost look like they were by different people, but a bit of study and you knew it was all about illusion caused by light reflections and glass. It really pulled you in to look and try to understand how each affect was caused. It was nice to see these first two shows that were purely visual with not a lot of social content.  

This is color changing powder blown onto the floor of the gallery

Danian Ortega was in the largest space and at first impression it was too cerebral for me. But on close inspection each diagram was almost silly phrases laid on complicated diagrams or related to the objects all around. It was hard to know which came first and I rather enjoyed the absurbist.

photo especially for Kaz Maslanka

The saddest part of this report is that all three shows are on for the whole time we are here so we will not be seeing a fresh show at White Cube before we leave. But they are in Frieze this year, so we shall be seeing more.

We discovered the Maltby Market on Rope Walk, also walking distance from us, and it turned out to be a just like a scene from Harry Potter.  A very grey day, in a landscape of council housing, and then you suddening turned the corner of a little alley and it was teaming and steaming with food carts. We choose potatoes with cream, cheese and ham, but the selection was huge. Umbrella and streamers gave it a festive feeling. 

A quiet street in London with wild mushroom growing near a tree trunk. I made this snap on the way back from Maltby Market. 

1 comment:

  1. great read. The food made me hungry. Irony, I saw the figs photo and was eating a fig. The exploded isometric drawing you photo captured (with the red background ) is how I started my art career 45 years ago drawing for a publication house. ha. Time flies! No more drawings like that!