As a child I saw absolutely zero merit in any dessert than didn’t contain chocolate, and was baffled by anyone who would be so crazy as to order anything fruit-based. The insanity! How times have changed, and after a decade or so of ‘progression’ (depending how you look at the evolution of my palate towards an obsession with oysters and offal), I have arrived at a point where desserts are best containing fruit (rhubarb), some kind of acidity (the lemon juice) and contrasting textures of crunch, coolness (ice) and creamy smoothness (in this case, meringue).
Either I’m suffering from a bout of Baader-Meinhof or artisanal tinned fish (no, not the John West variety) is having its moment. Case in point, in the space of 10 days, Nuno Mendes’ new Spitalfields market wine bar and restaurant Taberna do Mercado opened with a section exploring the gastronomic potential of oily conserves of the ocean variety. Days later in Lisbon, I spot pretty little branded tins all over the place and the Rough Guide is imploring me to visit a tin-tastic shop tucked away in Alfama exclusively selling these conserves. Then fast forward to the following thursday at trendy natural wine bar Septime La Cave in Paris, they peeled back the silver lid of a tin of sardines, presented it on a white plate with a wedge of lemon, then chucked us a basket of bread and a fork for scooping up said sardines and soaking up the lovely Mosse.