When my wife and I were in Dubai, we were treated to a gourmet experience at the Table 9 restaurant. Table 9 is run by 2 young chefs who used to work for the (in)famous chef Gordon Ramsay. It’s a very pleasant restaurant, not at all pretentious, and the service is excellent, but it is the intensity of the flavours in the food that stands out. I had the taster menu and swapped the veal for scallops, plum and seaweed, which sounds an odd mixture, but the scallops were done to perfection and came on a bed of fine seaweed, on a base of intense plum sauce. While the scallops were excellent, for me the key highlights were the lobster dish – lobster, coconut and mango (see 1st photo – sent to me by Table 9) . I talked to Nick Alvis, one of the chefs after the meal and he agreed to send me a photo and a description of a couple of the dishes. The lobster dish is “Lobster marinated in chip shop curry sauce. Coated in roasted coconut with fresh mango and coconut cream puree.” All I can say is that they must have found a fabulous chip shop. The flavours in this dish hit you one after the other. An excellent culinary and artistic touch is the mango – what you think might be pasta in the photo. The other highlight for me was the lamb – “Lamb, smoked aubergine, scratchings, tomato: Smoked aubergine + raisin puree, plum tomato chutney (vinegar, sugar, shallots), large leaf spinach, lamb belly scratchings and lamb dressing (roasting juices, vinaigrette, lamb fat and lamb stock) – a range of mouth watering tastes all in one dish. This is a treat and a fairly expensive i.e. one to save up for.
Back home and from 31 degrees and wall to wall sunshine in Dubai, back to 2 degrees and a biting NE wind and snow. I took my wife Val up the hills for her morning run – slightly more sheltered up the hills. Snow here in the morning melted but a few inches up the hills (see 2nd photo), so a muddy and snowy run (see photo 3). Too cold for me to go on my bike, so I went to the gym. I do this only in desperation as I find the gym very confining and even with downloaded Guardian short stories and Thinking Allowed to distract me, it’s always a long slog.
Back at the house, with camera still in hand, I photographed some of the small daffodils which are now out in my garden (see photo 4). There’s poem I like by Alicia Ostriker called “Daffodils” and she writes ” I’m photographing the yellow daffodils/ With their outstretched arms and ruffled cups”. Daffodils always remind me of open mouthed choirboys with ruffs on their necks. They always have their heads slightly bowed, and appear to me to be diffident flowers, not wishing to be showy, despite their obvious beauty.