Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Bill Blunt's Dining Recommendations

Thanks to Daddypapersurfer, I discover I have been 'tagged' to tell my loyal readership about '5 Places Near To Me Where It's Good To Eat'.

Of course, this brings into question the whole issue of what is meant by 'near to me'. I am not an insular man by nature. The world, to me, is not a whelk, but more a delicious oyster to be savoured and relished.

I err towards the thoughts expressed by that great newspaper columnist George Ade, of the Chicago Record, who once said "A friend who is near and dear may in time become as useless as a relative".

So, my search for the top five places I like to eat has involved me casting my net a little more widely than Oldham.

In no particular order, I must mention:

I first discovered this little gem about ten years ago, whilst hosting a party of European visitors to our capital, and a visit to London is now rarely complete unless I drop in to eat here. In the area around Covent Garden and the Strand, there have always been many tourist traps ready to entice the unwary. Finding Salieri's was, therefore, a delight. Its modest interior is decorated with a wide variety of stage memorabilia, including photographs of West End stars past and present, puppets and masks, and the menu presents a fine selection of varied, European cuisine. Situated on the Strand, opposite the Savoy Hotel, the staff here have (usually) been particularly friendly and welcoming, the food of a high quality and the price not (too) gasp-inducing.

Nando's Restaurants

As anyone knows me will attest, I am a sucker for getting my hands around a plump thigh. If the thigh happens to be a chicken, and it is served in a ravishingly hot peri-peri sauce, then so much the better. This chain of fast-food eateries offers fresh, high-quality food (for which read almost exclusively chicken) at a very reasonable price. In my travels I have greased my fingers in perhaps 8 or 9 different branches of Nandos, and the food is always consistently good. There is bound to be one near you and I can only heartily recommend a visit if you have not already been.

The Ox
This is a miniature gastropub of the finest order. Located not far from the Castlefield area of Manchester, you can be assured of good food, superbly quaffable ales and the usual eclectic mix of customers that only a Manchester public house can provide. Handy for the museums, with a nearby metro station ready to whisk you away to whichever hotel you may happen to be staying in, The Ox will satisfy and leave you ready to return again and again. Take an umbrella.

Whitburn Lodge
This is a pub. It has none of the fancy frippery of those awful gastropubs you find in places like Manchester. It's honest, down to earth and knows what it does best - and that is serve beer and good, home-cooked food. There isn't even a terrifically good choice of beer, but it is blessed with some of the friendliest bar staff you'll find anywhere in the country. It's located just five minutes walk from a rocky coastline and about ten minutes drive north of Sunderland. Neither Mrs Blunt nor I would describe it as the homeliest establishment we've frequented, but one taste of their home-made mince and dumplings and you'll be coming back to the Whitburn Lodge for more.

Jaen Parador
The town of Jaen isn't one of the prettiest you'll ever visit in Spain, but a trip there will unveil the wondrous beauty of its parador, perched high above the town itself and offering stunning views across the olive groves of the district. The menu (in common with most of the Spanish paradors) offers local and regional delicacies not easily forgotten. Their 'Taste of Jaen' menu serves up something like twelve individual dishes all on one huge plate, so you would make a mistake if you ordered one each (unless you were accompanied by Mrs Blunt), who is a great rectifier of mistakes. Of course, it's invidious to choose one particular parador as there are so many that are attractive, but Jaen was one of the first I visited, so it holds special memories for me. I certainly learned a thing or two about Mrs Blunt's appetite during our stay there, and that's one memory that (try as I might) I have never been able to erase.

I understand that I now get the pleasure of inviting five other bloggers to share their views on the same subject (and that they in turn can invite five more when they have completed the task, so that, in time, the entire blogosphere will have had to list their top 5 eateries near to where they live).

Here's my list of taggees (and if any have already done this, my apologies in advance):

Julian Syngen-Smythe
70sTeen (and we are looking for a suitably '70's theme here)
Crofty, whose recent visit to Amsterdam may have led him to discover one or two decent places to scoff.


70s teen said...

I have done your bidding Mr B

How come I have never bumped into you at the Ox ???

Julian Syngen-Smythe said...

I shall try and wrap my head - and my mouth - around this eatery-based meme, Mr. Blunt.

Thank you for the tag!

- Julian.

Daddy Papersurfer said...

Sorry about the tag Mr B - you've come up trumps though.

Crofty said...

Ahhghh! I've just this second posted a post (what else would you do with it?) about eating in Amsterdam. I will hoy back to my blog and do your bidding about places to eat in and around Oldham. I'll shoehorn it in before Whit Friday.

Bill Blunt said...

Excellent news, 70s teen. And a great choice of eateries.

Not to worry, dp: thanks for the memeries.

Crofty: in your own time, my friend. These memes can become a little like work if you're not careful.

julian: we must do lunch again sometime soon.

Andrew Goulding Articles said...

Mr. Blunt:


Tagged by Archie Archive, these are my 5 favorite dining holes.