Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Incidental Science Fiction

Image
Science Fiction is a rich and diverse branch of literature and cinema.
From the days of H.G. Wells and Mary Shelly to the genius of Phillip K Dick, Issac Asimov and Stephen Baxter we have diverse and plentiful bounty of worlds to explore.

When I was a bookseller a long time ago, part of my job was to recommend titles to customers. I'd occasionally try and get them to read something they might not have thought about trying. As I'm an avid sci-fi fan of course I'd point people in that direction. I was told by many customers that the problem with sci-fi was too many spaceships. I even had another bookseller claim, if they put a book with a spaceship on the over face out, it sold. This, frankly annoyed me for many reasons but mostly because it took this broad genre and simplify it to one tiny component.

Whether I then lectured these people on the virtue of sci-fi goes without saying, however I still hear naive comments like this from time to time, usually from people who refus…

10: Gelato: Gela.ti.amo

Image
Gela.ti.amo


This is my last gelato review and I'm happy to end on a high note.
Just when I thought I'd run out of Gelato places, I find a gem hidden away in Hammersmith. Gela.ti.amo is a delight, the staff are wonderful, the shop is cozy and the gelato is excellent.

I got so carried away I went back a week later.

We wondered in in around 7pm and found the place to have a happy influx of people but only a 1 minuet wait. The person who served us let me try about 5 flavours before settling on the three I narrowed it down to. In fact this was the most passionate I'd seen the staff be in all of my visits this summer. I must say the recommendation of pistachio was so good, I can affirm I've never had better in that flavour anywhere! I didn't love the chocolate but it was still very tasty.

The staff were in no rush to push us out so we enjoyed our treats in leisure, had a long natter on comfy seat and enjoyed the entire experience thoroughly. The fact they are 5 mins walk …

9. Gelato: Scoop

Image
Scoop

After a whole summer of eating my way around London it seemed that the time had come to review Scoop. For those who love gelato I'm sure you all know all about this chain. They have been on the scene for years and years and offer gelato cakes and delivery.

I've been saving a visit because I really wanted to see what London had to offer.

Last Friday the ban was lifted and off we went to South Kensington. I of course got carried away and had two flavours, chocolate and strawberry as well as a brownie. Considering a small is £4 (with one choice) and mine was about £5 I think I got the best value for money.

Firstly I must say the brownie was gorgeous! best brownie I've had for months, so rich in fact I had to give some away because I couldn't physically finish it.

The chocolate ice cream was nice and really that is all I can say about it. Nothing stood out and nothing irked me. There was a slight coffee taste to it, which was unexpected but not unwelcome.

The strawbe…

8. Gelato: Gelato Gusto

Image
Gelato Gusto

I was visiting a friend in Brighton and he suggest we give Gelato Gusto, as the sign looked inviting and we happened to be next door, it seemed rude not to pop in and sample their wears.

Now as I am given to do, I may have gotten a little carried away and ordered a waffle along with my gelato (dark chocolate). For £5 I didn't think I would be disappointed. However after a little while a plate appeared with a giant anemic waffle. Sadly the quality of this waffle might have tainted my experience somewhat. Mainly because it wasn't very good.

The chocolate gelato was of a mediocre quality and tasted a little akin to Nesquik. This was pleasant enough and better than some others I'd had, but on the whole nothing special. I did sample some wild berry and this was delightful, a little too sweet for an entire scoop but yummy none the less.

The shop itself is very cramped but there are plenty of tables, the decor is cute and the staff are most pleasant. We still had a fun…

7. Gelato: Joe Delucci's

Image
Joe Delucci's

Last week I headed over to Westfields Stratford to give Joe Delucci's a try. I've seen a few of their parlors before - with the distinctive scooter style stools but never had the inclination to buy. I can't say after this tasting I'll be going back.

I ordered Chocolate and Strawberry and as I dipped in, something struck me.

I'd had this exactly same taste before.

Not the combination or the texture but the exact same taste to the very last morsel. I'm afraid to say this tasted like a perfect replica of Wall Neapolitan soft scoop. I was transported back to being about 8 years old again. While I enjoyed it I can't say I was overly impressed. I can buy a giant tub of Walls for about £1.80 - at £3.50 I was feeling a tad over charged.

My guest wasn't overly enthusiastic about the flavours either. She'd gone for Chocolate and Creme brulee. While the Creme was an improvement on the strawberry, it didn't taste much like what it professed…

6. Gelato: Oddono's

Image
Oddono's


Last week I had the pleasure of sampling Oddono's for the first time. We went to the branch in Bayswater which seems to stay open late. The staff very patient and jovial (I was being very indecisive) but I settled for chocolate and peanut butter.

Given that the prices are so cheap £2.45 for a small - the cheapest we've found so far, I went for a medium because why not have more for my money. I'm happy to report it was scrumptious. This might be a new favorite combination.

The taste was very good, while not my favorite chocolate, the peanut butter was excellent and I'll be back hear again to try more soon. The texture was very good, one of the best I've had and the overall expereince most pleasureable. As this branch is in a shopping centre it doens't have a lot of character but it more than makes up for it in other ways.
There are several branches around London so I certainly suggest a visit is a good idea, my guest also concurred. I completely tas…

5. Gelato: Gelato Mio

Image
Gelato Mio

I got halfway through my waffles and gelato before I remembered to take a picture. We went to the Holland Park branch of Gelato Mio and this time I branched out and got waffles (which were very yummy). The staff are nice, the flavours are plentiful and tasty. If you go towards the end of the day you can be disappointed as the major flavours might have sold out. One sad point is that you can no longer get two different flavours in a small cup, apparently there has been a change in policy which is a real shame.

 However whatever you do choose the taste and texture are excellent. This is my local gelato shop so I’ve tried most of their offerings, today was a dark chocolate and strawberry mix and neither disappointed. My guests were also rather pleased with their choices and I think we all gobbled up so fast I forgot to try more before it was all gone. The seats are comfy and this is great place to meet people and enjoy your dessert.

Be warned on Sunday afternoons there can be …

4. Gelato: La Gelatiera

Image
La Gelatiera

The first time I tried this little place was in the interval for an performance of the Great Gatsby. We had 20 mins and all of it was spent eating the delicious offerings of La Gelatiera. Since then it has won a number of awards, at least all the stickers in the window say so and I would have agreed with them all.

Imagine my disappointment at arriving back this year to find that this lovely little business didn't live up to the hype.

I was able to get two flavours in the small cup, begrudgingly, but two things of note went with this. Firstly the staff seems rather annoyed at being asked for two choices and grumpily served us* and the amount in the cup was about half what all the other Gelato shops in London offer for pretty much the same size and price. The choice of flavours didn't excite me at all but I got the control group - dark chocolate, and settled on amaritti biscuit (there was another ingredient in this but as I couldn't taste it I'm not listing …

3. Gelato: Gelupo

Image
Gelupo

They have a wolf as the logo, this is a good sign.

This is my friend DonkeyB's favorite gelato place so we've eaten here a few times. I normally order a small cup but this time as I was sharing I opted for a large and got to try four flavours. The Banana and honeycomb was the absolute best banana gelato I've EVER had.
Yes better than Italy.

In fact when it comes to tasty this place doesn't really get it wrong.

However there are two things that mark it down. Firstly you can't see any of the offerings before you try them which for me loses an experience point, part of the fun is being delighted by seeming all the yummies before you get to taste them. The second point is that this is one of the most expensive places around. A lesser point of note is that if you eat in the chairs are slippy, especially the stools. All of the this however is secondary to the main point here - everything is delicious.

I should say that my guests think that this is the best gelato …

2. Gelato: Lick

Image
Lick

Last night I went to Lick on Dean Street in Soho. I really wish I hadn't. The shop is pretty tiny so only a few seats but that didn't matter as it was pretty much deserted, I should of taken that as a warning.

The first issue I had is that you are only allowed one flavour for a small cup, not the end of the world but not wonderful either.
So I ordered the obligatory dark chocolate.

I'm a huge chocolate fan, hence this being my control group, the closer to 85% the happier I am. With this in mind I have to state what I was served was not chocolate.
You could barely discern and hint of chocolate.

Essential I had a cup of dark brown stuff that had a watery consistency. In an attempt to find taste I ate about 6 spoons, trying to dig to the centre. Eventually with no satisfaction I give up. It wasn't worth wasting calories or money on. My guest also tried two spoons before declaring it terrible and refusing to eat any more. There was much debate as to whether I should t…

1. Gelato: Amorino & Snowflake

Image
Anyone who knows me has probably been dragged to a gelato place at some point or another and seen me gorge on gallons of deliciousness.

In a brilliant excuse to let me eat more gelato, for the sake of science and public good I'm going to start reviewing each gelato place I visit. Fortunately London has a wonderful number of these establishments so bring on the scoops.

All scores are out of 5 and I'll be evaluating the following: Flavour Texture, Price, Experience and Venue.

Dark chocolate is my control grou,  yummy yummy.
To kick things off a double review of two fantastic places.

Amorino

I visited the Soho branch on Old Compton Street, there are often queues on weekend but don't be put off. The staff might take a little time to get to you but they make up for it in artistry as each cone is made to look like a flower. This is one of the few places that I'll order a cone over a cup, simply for the aesthetic value. Generally I find the cone can detract from the taste.
You…