ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Monday, August 3, 2020

BV London Pub of the Year 2019-20 - a special award

The past few months have seen the pub and brewing industry hit spectacularly hard. It's almost spitefully trivial to even be thinking about a best pub competition at this time.

But my London Pub of the Year award has been going for quite a few years now, and it feels right to do something this year, for continuity and because no virus can stop me recognising a fucking good pub when I see one!

Can you tell where it is yet?
The award 'year' runs from July to June, which means that most of the serious decision-making inevitably takes place during the months of March, April, May and June... when of course everything was locked down tighter than a locksmiths chastity belt.

Therefore a full and fair contest just wouldn't be possible. However, a few weeks ago I came to a couple of decisions.

  1. Assuming everything gets back to normal, the competition will make a full return for the year 20-21, and will include the five finalists from last year, plus a further five pubs. It will be open to all e.g. the five long-listed non-finalists from last year will not be excluded.
  2. A 'special award' will be given out for 2019-2020, to a pub that went the extra mile during lockdown.

And that special award goes to...

Monday, July 27, 2020

Eating out for the first time since lockdown!

Yesterday I had my first proper meal out since #LOCKDOWN® , the only thing that had previously come close being a Wetherbreakfast the previous weekend.

I know you're all desperate to learn where I went, what I ate and what it was like. So here goes:

Monday, July 6, 2020

It's back...

So, I went to the pub on Saturday. Actually I went to three.

I broke my lockdown with a few at two-time London Pub of the Year The Hope, then checked out the newly refurbished bar at the Cryer Theatre, before finishing up at Wallington's Wetherspoons.

I drank several pints over the course of the afternoon, the sky didn't cave in, nobody died, and I'm fairly confident that nobody is going to die as a result of my actions. I don't think I actually came within a metre of another human being, without there being a giant plastic shield between us.

So, the pub is back. Sort of.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

What next for the pub?

So, it's official. We have a date.

July 4. Independence Day. The day everything goes back to normal and we can all go to the pub again...

Well, maybe. If your definition of 'back to normal' includes a bunch of rules and conditions that will, at best, make things different from how they used to be, and in a worst case scenario could sap all the enjoyment out of going for a pint.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Lockdown Lunches #3: Chicken & Chorizo Fusilli

Happy May 19 everybody!

Yes, it's still May. Yes, it's still 2020. I know, I know. Time has slowed down to the pace of a snail that has been told by Dr. Limax to take things easy.

C&C Fusilli
But, happily, I've come up with tonnes of new recipes during Lockdown, as well as tweaking and refining a great many more from my extensive back catalogue.

(Well, the pubs aren't open and I've not had all that much else to be getting on with, so where better to spend my time than in the kitchen?)

What with me being the kind of person I am'n'shit, I've no idea if I'll get round to sharing absolutely all these delicious dishes with you chaps, but here's another one to be getting on with.

I hope you like it. I hope you'll try it, and I hope you're keeping safe during these difficult times.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Lockdown Lunches #2: 24 Hour Carnitas

My birthday last week was the first one for 20 years in which I haven't been to the pub.

And even in 2000 I did manage a quick birthday pint with my Sports coverage colleagues in the BBC Club at Television Centre, where I was working at the time.

I used to commute there every day - imagine that! On buses and tubes! To work in a big, doughnutty building with hundreds of people!

Anyway, as promised, here a few further thoughts on Lockdown and this whole COVID-19 thing. Some of these opinions will be controversial. If you can't handle that, skip straight to the Carnitas recipe, or fuck off back to your videos of kittens or whatever you're doing to pass the time.

So, this rather peculiar, locked-down birthday reminded me of how much I miss going to the pub. Going to the pub to socialise and drink cask beer is one of my things. Like going to church to sing in the choir, going to football matches to support the mighty CCFC, going to gigs to complain that the band isn't as good as they used to be, and so on.

All gone from my life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Lockdown Lunches #1: Ratatouille

These really are the strangest of times, aren't they?

What have you been up to lately? Been anywhere interesting? I'm guessing not. We're in #LOCKDOWN and it sucks.

The highlight of my day now is updating my COVID-19 spreadsheet, deciding I can't be bothered to Zoom various people, and putting off learning to play the trumpet for a further day.