Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Sorry for not being in touch lately – been hanging out and about in Nice.  Here’s my photo to prove it!


After a long, hot and frustrating trudge west along the Promenade des Anglais checking out various beachside establishments we descended on the Blue Beach Bar & Restaurant and were more than pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome.  Although our waiter resembled Peter Stringfellow‘s simple cousin he was adequately dressed (thank God) and brought us our reasonably priced, reasonably tasty food and wine in reasonable time: amazing, and in stark contrast to Lido Plage.  For me, the filets de rouget (red mullet) au thym:


et pour lui, les tagliatelles au basilic (do you really need a translation?), toothsome albeit tepid, which was actually ok on such a warm afternoon:


plus, of course, the de rigeur bottle of Côtes de Provence rosé.  All at not-so-shocking-after-all prices, at least for the Côte d’Azur….

… and that old devil Nicolas Sarkozy lurking in the underground area only added to the charm of the afternoon.

sarkozyBlue Beach bar & restaurant, 31 Promenade des Anglais, Nice 06000 – opposite the Negresco



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Sunday afternoon in Tunbridge Wells – where to go for a lunchtime drink that’s both within walking distance of the town centre, yet comfortably removed from its urban hum and traffic drum?  Btw, that’s a stroll in nice shoes, not a heavy-booted hike up hill and down dale.

Dim memories of a bar set into a cave on the Common, somewhere over there… off we plodded, Dorothy and her cowardly lion.  Amid the winding paths, rolling lawns and bracken forests we were relieved to find the Mount Edgcumbe Hotel snuggled at the end of a short gravel drive.  Although it must have changed hands a-plenty over the years and the complimentary bar snacks of yore seem to have vanished, to my delight its gingerbread granny’s house-in-the-forest enchantment lives on.

Popular rather than heaving is just my kind of place, and an outdoor table in the sunshine the Maraschino in my Manhattan: not that I ordered one mind – it’s not that kind of a place.  No; my tipple was a glass of Chenin Blanc, a varietal I order with a ripple of anticipation but tend to drink with a shudder of disappointment.  I don’t want to give up on CB by the glass – Lord knows it’s more interesting than PG – but this South African’s spiteful skinniness reminded me of an encounter in M&S last Thursday (this is not just a checkout girl, this is a nasty bitch looking for a scrap):  more for masochists than oenophiles.  Ok, I exaggerate; the wine wasn’t that bad, even if the checkout girl was.  By contrast T lucked out by puckering up to a pleasingly passion-fruity Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.  I can’t be too judmental of the Mount Edgcumbe’s wine list anyway because here beer is the star – Harvey’s Best Sussex Bitter AND Peroni on tap, no less – but beer just ain’t my thing.

Ah well, although I wasn’t quite enjoying my wine the bowl of bar menu Nachos (homemade salsa with a nose-wrinkling drop-kick of cumin – isn’t salsa supposed to be refreshing?) helped wash it down and I passed the beautiful autumn afternoon enjoying my view of both the Common’s sandstone outcroppings and at closer range, the undulating human landscape …


Mount Edgcumbe Hotel

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one fine day

With hot sunny weather forecast for Saturday all other plans went on hold so we could seize the chance to soak up every available ray of sunshine on the deck of our new penthouse apartment.  Thanks to the frankly not great British summer it was our first opportunity to bask under an open blue sky since moving in at the beginning of August, so in holiday mood I hauled out the deep fryer from deep storage and tossed in a shoal of whitebait for a nautical treat.

Resurrecting my darling porcelain fish platter was sheer delight, and as it received the rustling cascade of tiny crisp fishes I think I may even have seen it crack a smile: or was it the combination of French rosé and UV rays going to my head?  I think not.

Deep-fried Whitebait

454g frozen whitebait
200ml milk
4 TBS plain flour
1 tsp paprika pimentón
4 litres oil for deep frying

Defrost the whitebait in a bowl, with the milk poured over, overnight in the fridge. Drain well and discard the milk.   Heat the oil to 190C.  Mix together the flour and pimentón in a large bowl and toss in the whitebait. Shake the bowl about to coat the fish then transfer them to a colander and gently shake off excess flour. 

Tip the whitebait into the fryer basket, lower carefully into the oil and fry for two to three minutes.  They’re done when they float so keep a close eye and don’t cook them any longer than necessary.  Served with lemon quarters and green tabasco: briny heaven on a fish plate.


This bottle of Domaine Grand Milord organic rosé was a perfect accompaniment, made from 10% Syrah and 90% Caladoc.  It’s not every day I come across a grape variety I’d never heard of: a quick google reveals that Caladoc is a disease-resistant hybrid of Grenache and Cot, both respectable southern French varieties, and being deep coloured and with ageing potential a tasty choice for making into rosé: and organic to boot: cin cin!

Domaine Grand Milord organic rosé

Marks and Spencer  £5.99

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