Saturday, July 28, 2007

Modern art on a plate

D and I had come up with a cunning plan. Instead of doing the cultural thing yesterday we'd been lured astray with the finest afternoon tea and lots of elegant shopping. So today we'd entice MC to join with promises of no shopping, some culture and a slapup meal and of course the day with us two. What more could a man desire?

We started off at Blind Light the Antony Gormley exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. And there were some amazing sculptures to admire. I know many have said he’s too self-absorbed but when so many of his works have his own naked form incorporated in the piece, it is a fair conclusion. We spent a pleasant few hours exploring and counting Antony Gormley effigies dotted around the concrete London skyline. Despite repeated attempts I don't think we managed to find them all. After staring wistfully at an installation entitled Mother’s Pride made from hundreds of loaves of bread our stomachs told us it was time to leave and seek our own bread, as they're not too keen if you nibble the art!
We headed for the Tate Modern, this would provide us with additional cultural sustenance and more needed bodily sustenance. We went straight for the restaurant at the top of the former power station and waited impatiently for it to reopen for dinner. D and I wiled away the required half an hour by drinking pretty green flowery tea in equally pretty pink flowery teacups. And MC had cider (he told me to write that!)

Eventually we secured a table, not with the magnificent views we’d hoped but it was getting to the stage where food was way more important than a fabulous view and anyway we’d been able to admire it already whilst sipping our respective teas and cider.

As you would expect from the Tate Modern, the space is open, sleek and modern with vibrant artworks on the wall and we were pleased to see some quirkier options on the menu. One of the swirly pieces I was particularly interested in had been commissioned in memoriam of a deceased art lover; I was most intrigued by this. Rather more dramatic than a park bench somewhere, I feel. Maybe I will have to consider such a thing for my last will and testament, though I don’t think an art gallery is as appropriate for me as say a restaurant. Perhaps I could have some sort of sculpture made out of forks placed strategically in one of my favourite restaurants, hmm food for thought!

But back to our food, and were we hungry? I started with Potted Cornish devilled crab with sourdough toast, D relished the Ox tongue with dandelion salad and beetroot and MC the Leeks vinaigrette with soft Burford egg, black olives and capers.

It's such a pleasure to be able to take photos of our dishes and still be able to see them when I look at them the next day. Maybe the answer to my continued frustrations with gloomily lit restaurants is to only eat during the day, and hopefully bright days at that!

For some reason in my my still heightened state of hunger I forgot to note down our main but if I recall I had a lamb chop with perfect carrots that looked like they'd been wrested from Bugs Bunny.

MC had the Ham hock with smashed up broad beans and D pondered the fish and chips from the Newlyn day boats in Cornwall but I think settled on the Halibut instead.

And before we hit the art again we finished off our meal with a platter of British Farmhouse cheeses with oat biscuits and gooseberry jelly for MC and D and I predictably had a Chocolate plate for two to share.

I think the Tate Modern's food is appropriately clean looking, accomplished and tasty. We were so exceptionally hungry so possibly would have eaten anything but instead we ate well. A modern pair of forks for the Tate Modern restaurant.

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