Saturday, 22 March 2008
Tate Modern Restaurant
Swallow the blue pill and you emerge in a dungeon serving offal, greasy meat and portions so large you feel like you're in Las Vegas.
Choose the red pill and you're whisked off to a penthouse with a view like St Peter gets from his gates, serving delicate, feminine food in a venue steeped in culture.
We went to Tate Modern's private view of their Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia exhibition. Our general feeling was that the three of them were essentially very witty, artistic commentators on the world of art and culture. They could almost be seen as the grand fathers of post-modernism. It's an exhibition full of clever parodies, knowing pastiches and inspired cultural commentary. We pottered upstairs to the buzzing restaurant to chat about all the ideas we'd had on our way round.
We had cured salmon and smoked duck for starter. The duck came with a chicory salad with a bitter orange dressing. It made for a dish full of clashing contrasts. Sweet, smokey duck punched in the face by the bitter salad... in a pleasing way.
Cowie's salmon was delicious. Cured in a lime dressing it was delicately balanced and as feminine as starters come. Tom Ilic's manly offal this was not! These starters oozed artistic, feline charm. Not the kind of food you want when you've just come back from rugby training. More the kind of grub you want to look at, inhale and not get fat! I swear you could eat these dishes all day and lose weight!
I had a Dover sole with a gorgeous caper butter sauce. the flesh teased away from the bone like only sole does. Soft, delicate and buttery, it was the perfect follow up to my bitter sweet duck. Cowie had an attractive piece of trout in a thin vegetable broth. Cowie was in heaven. It's the kind of meal that girls like Cowie crave. Light, interesting, attractive and well balanced. You get home not weighed down with the hefty fare you get at places like the Anchor and Hope and Tom Ilic.
The blue pill or the red pill... there's a time and a place for both.