Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase 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. And as a critic 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, September 6, 2021

EO2HO: The sequel

With the various flavours of lockdown now looking like they might just be retreating into history, it's time to get out there and support 'the industry'.

OK, I won't say it again because I fucking hate that term, but it's not rocket surgery: Drink in as many pubs as you can, eat in restaurants, go to cafes and coffee shops and anywhere else you can eat and drink. Revisit old favourites, try new places, and generally enjoy it all while the experience is possible. (Just in case the worst should happen yet again.)

I recently checked out a couple of places that were new to me, and both are well worth visiting if you're ever in the Camden or Tooting areas, or don't mind going to places on the Northern Line!

Eating out to help out - let's do it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Every ABV: 8.5 to 10.5%

And so we reach the fourth (and, for now, final) part of the 'Every ABV' series. I know you're all eager to find out my favourite cask beers at higher strengths, so let's crack right on with it.

8.5% -  Big Smoke The Judge

So many breweries have appeared in Greater London over the past decade that some are often overlooked. The Antelope in Surbiton - former home of Big Smoke brewery - won my 2017-2018 London Pub of the Year award which hopefully went some small way to putting them on the map, even if the name 'Big Smoke' is possibly a tad misleading. Surbiton is a long way from the square mile; Esher even further! And as for the beer, well it's a big, juicy DIPA with plenty of Citra and Simcoe hops, just the way I like 'em.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Every ABV: 6.5 to 8.4%

So, what are we all going to do now that the footie is over and before the Olympics begins? 

We shall do what every good English patriot does: We shall go to the pub and drink beer. 

And from Monday we'll even be able to walk up to the bar to order, and visit the toilet facilities without wearing a mask - in some places at least. I'm looking forward to doing both of these things.

(If you only watched Euro 2020 because you wanted to see what my 'Final Meal' would be and were disappointed when I didn't post one, the truth is that I forsaw the England-Italy final ten years before it happened and came up with Full English Breakfast Linguine in anticipation of the match!)

Anyway, here's the latest part of my 'Every ABV' series, where I move onto the stronger stuff...

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Every ABV: 4.5 to 6.4%

Having rated the best cask beers between 2.5 and 4.4% ABV a few days ago, I shall now move on to the slightly stronger stuff.

Will there be shocks? Will there be surprises? Will there be the opportunity to win a small cash prize? Let's get cracking and find the fuck out...

(No cash prizes.)

 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Every ABV: 2.5 to 4.4%

What with me being a sad beer geek since long before it was even slightly cool, I've been keeping records of the cask beers I've been drinking for over 25 years. That's a whole lot of beer, that is. Over 10,000 different ones. At a whole lot of different strengths too.

Which leads me to an arguably pointless but nevertheless interesting question: What is the best cask beer I've had at every different ABV? 

 

Some cask beer yesterday (photo taken years ago)
It turns out that I've had at least one beer at every ABV from 2.5% up to 10.5% (with one rather frustrating exception!) so why not do a series of posts exploring my favourites and - where I can actually remember the beer in question - why they were so fucking good.

Obviously this list is massively subjective, and less common ABVs will have an advantage over beers that are 4.2 or 4.5, of which I've drunk literally thousands. And it's far from an exact science - beers are allowed some variance a few points either way from the advertised strength, so it might be that all hell broke loose and that 6.9% beer I loved was actually only 6.7%. Oh the humanity.

But I don't really care, and it's potentially all part of the fun anyway. So, here we go, kicking off with the weakest end of the spectrum...

Monday, June 14, 2021

Uber EatShitAndDie

Today I'm going to tell you about Uber Eats, why they totally suck donkey dick, how their offering is a colossal fuck-off swindle, and why I'd rather starve than use their shitting hagfish of a delivery service ever again.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Lockdown Lunches #4: How to make a pasta bake

There's a strong chance that that today will turn out to be the first day with zero COVID-19 deaths in this country, even under the rather spurious criteria that counts anyone who dies of anything within 28 days of a positive test as a victim, even if they drop dead from a sudden heart attack or get crushed by a falling anvil.

A Pasta Bake, during Lockdown
The pubs are open - albeit outdoors - and from next Monday we'll even be able to get a pint inside as God intended. We might even start to get a decent choice of cask beer again, despite my ongoing concerns.

So, it looks like things might finally get back to something approaching normality. And not before time.

My 'Lockdown Lunches' series of recipes never really became a thing, mainly because I couldn't be bothered. But while we're still technically living under a Lockdown of sorts, I thought I'd add to the series.

It's only a little guide to pasta bakes. You quite possibly know how to do this already. But hey, you're getting a recipe out of me for the first time in months so be grateful for it! Or don't be. I don't fucking care. Tosser.