Tallest building in Europe opens in London

6 07 2012

Standing at 1,016ft the Shard in London is officially the tallest building in Europe.

 

After 3 years of construction and more than 12 years of planning and design the “vertical city” was the site of a fantastic laser light show to mark its opening.

The Shard was first conceived by entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and Italian architect Renzo Piano, with funding for the project coming from the Qatari royal family.

Earlier the governor of Qatar Central Bank, Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, said the Shard marked the Arab state’s “belief and commitment to London both today and in the future”.

“It is a symbol of Qatar’s belief and commitment to London both today and in the future,” he said. “We have a long heritage and continued commitment to invest and build in the UK for the long term and The Shard highlights this close relationship.”

All that to one side it is actually kind of cool to have something like this in London. I am just sad enough to make a point of buying the new Guinness Book of Records each year and love all the little stats and facts like who is fattest or what is tallest.

The fact that it will cost a modest 25 quid for a view from the top just shows the enterprising view which my home city takes towards tourists and their hard-earned cash and once again makes me proud to be a Londoner 😉

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Happy St Totteringham’s Day

14 05 2012

So we did it… far, far later in the year than I would have liked but you know what they say, better late than never.

A 3-2 win against the “Baggies” yesterday saw us snatch third place therefore guaranteeing us Champions League football again next year.

Perhaps more importantly, well for me at least, a win yesterday means that T*ttenham finish fourth….

Now excuse my ignorance here but I am fairly sure that 4th is below 3rd in the table. What’s that? It is you say.

Well in that case allow me to wish you a very happy St Totteringham’s Day.

Well I am so glad to see that the much talked of “Power Shift” in North London is still in effect and that Spurs best team in living memory has done oh so well.

Except they didn’t…Hahahahahahahahaha. Let this be a lesson to all of you fans of the chicken on a basketball lads; premature gloating,boasting and a chip on the shoulder that McCains would be proud of get you precisely nothing.

All of a sudden I am hoping that Chelski play a blinder in the Champions League final and give Bayern an absolute thumping. Not because I like Chelsea, really I don’t, but just to ensure that you mugs get everything you deserve in the form of some nice Thursday night football.





The World’s End – Camden

9 05 2012

Here be Demons

I have never really understood why but an awful lot of people rave on and on and on about The World’s End as if it were the be all and end all of pubs.

Well it isn’t.

I honestly wonder if they are venturing through some portal into another dimension as in reality the WE is a tedious, boring, overly large tourist trap that plays annoying trendy music at pretty much any hour of the day or night.

However there is one distinction that I have to highlight. The World’s End is now the official recipient of my very own “Shittiest Beer Ever” award.

Three of us hung around this giant turd of a pub long enough to have 2 pints each as we had dinner reservations just round the corner and couldn’t be arsed to walk any further.

We each ordered a different pint and they were all absolute crud. Now I should take a moment to clarify here, we aren’t talking some rare amber nectar brewed by silent monks in the hinterlands of Nepal. No, we had Guinness, Old Speckled Hen and London Pride, not exactly the hardest beers to keep correctly.

The pints we received ran the whole gamut of foul… from an oily, dirty sheen on the ‘Hen to a slightly fishy taste and smell from the Guinness.

In summary: stay well away.

0.25/5





Man vs Phaal

17 08 2011

When I have a spare moment I quite like watching the television show Man vs Food with hyperactive glutton Adam Richman.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show Adam travels the length and breadth of the US taking on various food challenges, most of the time these challenges are focused on Adam eating ridiculously large servings within a set period of time. These episodes are all very well and good but my favourites have been the episodes which feature some slightly spicier adversaries.

One such episode featured Adam taking on the phaal challenge at the Brick Lane Curry house in Manhattan.

I was intrigued to see this episode for a number of reasons; firstly I love Indian cuisine, I would possibly go so far as to say it is my favourite food, added to that a good phaal has to be one of my favourite dishes and I have eaten so many of them that I have lost count. Some were better than others but they all have one thing in common, they are all pretty damn hot!

Secondly I was intrigued to get a look at the food being served by the Brick Lane Curry House  seeing as I grew up within spitting distance of the actual Brick Lane in East London and have eaten my way along the entire length of it over the past 20 years or so.

Well I watched it and I laughed and laughed and laughed some more, whilst I am sure that it IS a very hot curry I am completely not convinced that it requires quite the hullabaloo that seems to surround it.

Enjoy…





Banks UCB – Ultimate Curry Beer

28 06 2011

 

Here is a bit of an oddity that I turned up on draft at the Coppermill in Walthamstow last time that I was back home.

As the sharp eyed amongst you may have spotted UCB stands for Ultimate Curry Beer and it has been brewed specifically to accompany said food stuff, now as anyone who has set foot in the Coppermill will know there isn’t really food on offer in the pub, pickled egg anyone, as such I was drinking this with my usual accompaniment of more pints.

I have heard from a few people that UCB really isn’t a beer to be drunk by itself and whilst I don’t completely agree with them I can see their point, it has a very strong, very hoppy flavour and may not be to everyone’s tastes, however with a good spicy curry it would work perfectly.

Personally I like strong tasting beers and actually enjoyed this as a nice pint for a relaxed afternoon session, the 5.3% ABV is easy going enough that you could sink more than a few pints with ease yet strong enough that know you still know youare having a beer.

In terms of appearance UCB is a rich, golden brown with a fairly thick creamy head not unlike a pint of stout or dare I mention it… Caffreys – Shudder. The head lasts well for the duration of the pint with a fair amount of lacing.

In terms of taste and aroma the hopping comes through very clearly along with some strong citrus and a little floral hint, as mentioned previously the hopping IS strong but in a refreshing way.

All in all a pretty good pint and worth a try IF you happen to come across it, if you are lucky enough to come across it at the same time as a good hot curry then you are in for a real treat.

3.6/5





1,300 pubs closed in the UK last year.

16 03 2011

According to the latest figures from the British Beer and Pub Association there were 1,300 pubs in the UK that shut their doors for the final time last year.

The number of pub closures has fallen from 40 a week in 2009 to 25 a week now, with the rate of losses highest in London and north-west England.

The BBPA have stated that these pub closures have resulted in the loss of over 13,000 jobs nationwide.

BBPA  chief executive Brigid Simmonds had this to say:”The closure of 25 pubs every week is bad news for the economy, as the sector plays such a vital role. It’s also a blow for local communities, with pubs often acting as the hub of local life.

“With the right policies, this vital part of our tourism and hospitality sector could be creating new jobs, and helping to bring Britain out of recession.

“If we really do have a pub-friendly Government as the Prime Minister says, the time to act is now – with a freeze in beer duty in the Budget.”

So there we have it folks loss of pubs, loss of choice and loss of livelihoods. Pub closures are a bad thing at anytime but to see this many jobs lost in the midst of one of the worst recessions ever is even worse. Fair enough the rate at which pubs are shutting has slowed but we are still on a slippery slope.

If you are concerend about the closure of British pubs and the loss of jobs then please lobby your local MP or contact CAMRA to see how you can help.





White Horse – Black Horse Porter

30 12 2010

Black Horse Porter is a seasonal beer from the White Horse brewery (see what they did there…) from Stanford-in-the-Vale in Oxfordshire.

I have encountered a couple of their beers before and had found them to be well above average, in particular Volund’s Hammer and Wayland Smithy.

I came across this beer on cask at the Argyll Arms at Oxford Circus and after looking at the tasting notes – great idea everywhere should do it – I decided to give it a spin.

In terms of looks this is exactly what a porter should be, so dark it’s nearly black with a good firm white head that stays well for the duration of the pint.

You get the expected aroma of chocolate malt along with a rich biscuity note and some very light fruit.

The taste of this porter is superb, rich roasted malts give real depth and body to the beer whilst there is a nice hint of dark fruits which add a little tartness without making the beer in anyway fruity or overly sweet. There is a long dry finish and a really surprising kick of hops which really makes this porter sing.

I found this porter to a be a real treat, it was warming and full bodied with a great depth of flavour to it and the liberal use of Kentish hops really made it stand out.

4.7/5








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