drink , eat , UK

Wig Wam Bam

Photo stolen from the official teepee website

Photo stolen from the official teepee website

“When,” I asked Emma this morning with some anxiety, “Did I become the sort of person who hangs out in a teepee in Hoxton?”

When indeed. The past year has, without a doubt, been one of upheaval and adventure. I moved countries, twice, moved continents in fact – again – leaving most of my belongings in my mother’s attic in Cambodia. I rode horses in paddy fields, stood naked on a balcony on Marina Bay, got a goddaughter, walked a red carpet, hula hooped in a Victorian hall, and danced the blues in a basement while dwarves played pool nearby. It has been a glorious, unfeasible, miraculous year, filled with laughter and joy and the sort of unreasonable, unyielding tackling of fears I must remember to be proud of.

But back to the teepee.

The teepee sits on the roof of the Queen of Hoxton. It is a pop up, and it is called “Wig Wam Bam”, two facts which would be sufficient to make it a thing of pure loathsomeness. But. The teepee is lit by fairy lights and the glowing coals of a cooking pit at the centre of it. Its floor is strewn with wood chips, the seats are sawn off logs, and it smells of bonfire. It is utterly lovely.

wigwambam2 wigwambam1

It is cosiness. The boozy drinks – hot fudge toddies, buttered rum and mulled cider – are a very reasonable £5, and every night there’s a different meal on offer: venison, wild boar sausage, leg of pork. If you hover by the spit, the cooks will offer you tastes of juicy, tender meat dunked in gravy. And if you ask veeeery nicely, you may very well get a giant slab of wood smoked crackling all to yourself.

Bring some friends to the teepee. Laugh, gossip, eat, drink, and be merry, and revel in all that was good and right with 2012.

Where: Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3JX

When: Monday – Saturday, 5-10 pm, until the end of March 2013


Summer notes

Forgive me, Fat Ponies.

It has been a month since my last confession. In my youth, this, the very prime of summer, the blessed month between the fireworks of the 14th of July and the  holiday klaxon of the 15th of August, would have been spent in a fug of carambars, Picsou Magazine, and Fort Boyard, stewing gently on the old leather sofa of our summer house in a slick of sweat. Instead I have been stewing, in the rolling heat, in an animation studio. Since news of the production ran in a few papers today I might as well link to it. The Snowman and the Snowdog! It’s the Snowman! Again! But with a dog. Made of snow. A snow dog.

What can I tell you about summer in London? Yes, there has been the small business of feats of athleticism, buoyant mayors and surreal ceremonies, but apart from a fairly entertaining opening night I took very little notice of the whole thing.

Which leaves me wondering… what exactly have I been doing with my time? I turn to foggy, fuzzy mobile phone pictures to jog my memory, a thing leaky and  broken by long hours of pressing computer keys in the manner of a Chinese virtual gold digging monkey.

Spying on the fox family

They are skinny, belligerent, and have taken up residence in the construction site next to my old flat. I love this picture. If they  ever released an album, this would be their cover.

Drinking cocktails from mason jars

Plus ça change etc.

Again at the damp cocktail bar.

Falling asleep at the theatre

Yes. I am officially 105 years old. I can no longer make it through a civilised evening without nodding off in that jerky commuter fashion, like an overworked Japanese mid level manager. I had to run away during the intermission, my cheeks burning with shame. SHAME, I TELL YOU. Mildly incontinent granny shame.

Eating Afghan food

Fried pastry triangles filled with pumpkin and leek and spiced lamb with lentils and dumpling things smothered in a sauce made of crushed halos topped with unicorn dust. YUM.

A bargainous treat at Ariana 2 in Kilburn, named after Ariana 1, in… Manhattan.

Getting a pho fix

… at this hole in the wall on Upper St.

Their banh mi has the works: roast pork, pâté, and pork floss, but at £5.50 it is exactly 18 times the price of the Phnom Penh version. OUCH.

Next up: flat hunting, something about polo ponies, and the joys of Hackney.

But not now. Granny needs her beauty sleep.


Dear Me,

Remember this? I know you do.

Hold on, let me switch on the lights.

This is the sort of thing people like you dream about. Look at these slices of beef rib. There’s 1.2 kg of meat right there on that plate. Perfectly charred. Succulent. Melt-in-the-mouth.  And the sides! Oh sweet heavens the sides. Garlic parsley cottage fries, shimeji mushrooms, tomato prôvençale, béarnaise AND cabernet sauce, and green salad with walnut dressing. The salad was just for show, something to gently draw across the carpet of meat in the diners’ stomachs.

And remember the soufflé?

You barely had time to take a snap before your friends set upon it like a horde of hungry jackals. Quite some feat, considering they’d just eaten a whole cow. Yeah, “happy birthday”, you, now get out of the way before I spoon you in the face. You did manage to get your hands on some of the pistachio parfait and pistachio sauce, for which I congratulate you, my little friend, for they were truly sublime with the hot chocolate cloud that was the soufflé.

Have I refreshed your memory? Are things starting to come back to you now? The fogs of time are lifting? Oh good. I’m glad I could be of help.

Now let me ask you this, lady. What kind of a moron goes all the way to Bali for her birthday, and hardly eats a bite? You, that’s who, you idiot. I saw you, picking away at your little foie gras terrine like it was going to slap you in the face. “I don’t feel so well”, you whined. “Uuuggggh my stomach is upset”. Loser.

I hope you’re happy with yourself. Now we have to leave Asia without knowing what Métis’ Côte de Boeuf tastes like. Yeah, that dish that was so good that your friends went back the following night. Thanks a freaking lot, dimwit. Last time I take you anywhere.




Website: http://metisbali.com

Opening hours: Lunch from 11 am, dinner from 5pm

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