A rather unappealing and geeky habit of mine is buying the latest good food guides, reading them cover to cover and marking venues according to how much I want to try them out. It all started out quite casually with my marking a venue of interest with a small asterisk, but I soon had so many asterisks that they became meaningless and I had to invest in a more rigorous marking system:
- A star with a circle around – absolutely must go, life depends on it
- A star – may self harm if miss out
- An asterisks – yes but no but
- A dot – not going to lose any sleep over it
- Nothing – does this really have any place in the guide?
I now apply this to all my guides, although to save some face I should say that I have only got as far as reading and marking the North and Central London parts of the Which? Good Food Guide 2010 (it covers the whole of the UK, I am not that sad!) and the corresponding chapters in the Michelin London Restaurants and Hotels 2010.
This is the first year that I have bought the Michelin, always having assumed them to err on the side of pretentious and pricey, so I was pleasantly surprised to see so many entries for gastropubs. One such pub is The Drapers Arms, a recommendation corroborated by the Good Food Guide and further substantiated by a star with a circle round in both books (consistent starring and circling on different occasions with no memory of having done so equals extra credibility).
So it was that when my Mum and I found ourselves at the end of a very long line for a table at Ottolenghi, we said a collective “blow this” and headed to The Drapers.