The Barbican centre - a City cultural mecca and architectural mess - has always been a bit crap for food. I can’t see why this should be the case, but like Tube overcrowding and the inevitability of death, it’s something one comes to accept.
However, the times they are a-changin' – as nobody who has ever played at the Barbican would say – and the tired old Waterside restaurant, with its overtones of French service station cum staff canteen, has been revamped into a ‘food hall’.
Simple, healthy, involving, unusual, spicy, comforting, cheap, quick.
No, NOT a bread/beansprout/fondue/offal/jalapeno/carrot drivethru order. But bibimbap, Korea's national dish and real bit of alright.
There are few great gelaterias in London - and it's one of senseless situations that can make the sensitive soul very sad and a bit angry. I'm not going to listen to all your arguments about 'oh, but that's cause it's cold here' - because we actually eat ice cream quite a lot, and there's no reason why it should mostly be BAD ice cream.
What that makes Tokyo Diner stand out (apart from the small matter of great, cheap food) is its fair attitude to both people and fish. On each table are two notices. Notice 1 says that extra rice is available on request, at no extra cost. Notice 2 states that the restaurant does not serve tuna, and explains why (because it's endangered and they can't find a really sustainable source). I LIKE Tokyo Diner.
Then there's the tips. They don't want them. It's not traditional in Japan, so they're not interested. If you tip them, they'll give the money to charity. Amongst the shysters and swindlers of the West End, it's a breath of fresh air.
I just love German food. No, I do. Not more than once a month, obviously - how die Deutsche manage on a solid diet of the stuff is beyond me (solid being the operative word). A shocked acquaintance of mine recently returned from a single week's holiday there some 10lb worse off. Just goes to show.
However, if you're a fan of protein and carbs (and if you're not, this may not be the blog for you …), it's a dream on a stick. Sausages. Dumplings. Enormous cakes, and icing sugar. Dense breads, and braised meats. Even the names impress, like a parade of big-bosomed Wagnerians in battle garb. Kaiserschmarrn. Germknodel. Obazda.
DDD + Mr DDD on Wednesday attended the launch of Shaka Zulu, the multi-million pound South African super-restaurant in Camden's Stables Market - as did HM King Goodwill Zwelithini of Zululand. Read on for a first report on the venture …
Monday: A giant statue is wheeled past our dinner table at nearby Yum Cha