Fay Maschler: What landed on my plate this week

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  • On a one-night staycation in Chichester to see South Pacific at the Chichester Festival Theatre we have early supper in The Brasserie on the ground floor of the Minerva Theatre. Catered by a company called Caper & Berry, I am impressed by the food and the jollity of service. Salad of Serrano ham with chargrilled artichokes, Manchego cheese and home-dried tomatoes in a basil dressing is a carefully balanced assembly. ‘Our Eton Mess’ – their Eton Mess with added blueberries – is not really an improvement on the original concept; the meringue could have been squidgier. But Some Enchanted Evening is the apposite soundtrack for the whole event. When Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque are reconciled, a tear creeps down my cheek. cft.org.uk

  • After staying the night at The Chichester Harbour hotel where a full English – but with lamentable coffee – is part of the price, I am keen to go to Pallant House Gallery to see Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, the special exhibition in place until 24 October 2021. Here among the one of the best collections in the land of British painters from 1900 onwards, there is evocation of the shapes and objects that inspired Nicolson’s still lives and other compositions. As well as great pleasure it gives me an idea of how to re-arrange the studio of my own darling artist, the late Reg Gadney. Hurrying to catch the train back to Victoria, we nip into Marks & Spencer to buy cheese and ham sandwiches and for me a tin of gin and tonic. Unlike Diane Abbott, I don’t make the papers. pallant.org.uk marksandspencer.com

  • Nostimo is the Greek word for delicious. It could not be used in the context of the documentary The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, which I see at The Dochouse at Curzon Bloomsbury. The story of Björn Andrésen who played the part of Tadzio in Visconti’s Death in Venice and went on to become a sad, vulnerable older man is innately depressing and badly, insensitively handled. I fall asleep but wake up for a large ouzo at Nostimo in Brunswick Square behind the cinema where cheery, solicitous staff administer a long menu with gyros – the vertical spit of lamb, pork or chicken – at its heart. We share the pork, which comes with oregano dusted chips, pitta bread, salad and tzatziki and could easily feed more than two. Generosity, so tragically missing from Andrésen’s life, abounds. nostimo.london

  • Who could play Johann Sebastian Bach better than Simon Russell Beale? Absolutely no-one. Apart from helpfully looking the part, he is just the most consummate actor, as able to inhabit cantankerous when that is required as to demonstrate fleet-of-foot when a little jig is called for. And of course much more. Bach & Sons written by Nina Raine and directed by Nicholas Hytner which has re-opened The Bridge theatre – let joy be unconfined – has perhaps too many themes to encompass them all completely satisfactorily but I urge you to go before it comes down on 12th September. Oh, did I mention the music? Round the corner is Gunpowder Tower Bridge restaurant from the accomplished husband and wife team of Harneet and Devina Baweja where the sharing dish I invariably order is the delicious Chindian-style Pork ribs with tamarind kachumber.


  • Mangal 2 on Stoke Newington Road is known for its 27-year family-run history, following on from Mangal 1, the first Turkish ocakbasi (grill) restaurant in London, the acerbic twitter account of Ferhat Dirik, who with his brother Sertaç runs it and the almost guaranteed presence of Gilbert and George who liked to eat there most evenings. Lockdown has brought changes to Mangal 2 as it has to so many other establishments. Sertaç has returned from Copenhagen where he seems to have done some interesting eating out, the BYO policy has been replaced by a natural wine list, the Anatolian cooking on a shorter menu is more evolved, Gilbert and George have stopped coming. I go with my friend Scott Collins. We particularly like brown crab sarma with a langoustine emulsion, mushroom manti dumplings and ray wing with Isot pepper butter. mangal2.com


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