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!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spaghetti Louse

I’ve been to Brecon twice in my life, and I’ve been to the Brecon Tandoori twice in my life too.

Because it’s a fantastic restaurant that lures people back to Brecon time after time with its irresistible food? Because it’s so good no trip to the Brecon Beacons would be complete without sampling their delicious curries?

Well, no. It was because it was the only place in town where we could get a bite to eat after about 8 PM. That's small towns for you.

The first time - I think was 13 - was on a camping trip to West Wales with my father and my brother. On the way back we stayed overnight at the Gremlin hotel in Brecon and ate at the Brecon Tandoori.

It was nothing special, and we didn’t particularly feel like eating there again. Ever. 

The following year (or quite possibly later the same year – it was a long time ago) we returned to the area to climb Pen y Fan, staying once again in the Gremlin, where we hoped to catch a glimpse of their famed Billiard Room ghost. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Would 'Salmon rush tea' be the worst pun ever?

I'm not the kind of person who looks at a menu, sees a warm salad and thinks 'Wow! Fuck yeah! Warm salad, baby! No way on God's own earth that I'm going to choose anything other than that bad boy!!!' 

And I'd guess that there aren't many people who are - possibly those on certain diets or who have overdone rich, heavy food over the last few days, but certainly not many people.

You just wouldn't, would you? I mean, it's not something that appeals in the same leapy-outy way that 'beef and ale pie' or 'chocolate gateaux' does, is it?

Nothing fishy about this - apart from the fish, obviously
And salad is supposed to be cold and crispy and juicy'n'shit, for, like, Summer days, right?

But stick with me on this one. Occasionally, just occasionally, you might want to eat something light, something different, something exactly like a warm salad of baby leeks and courgettes with pan-fried salmon in fact.

And you might want to know how to make one too.

Monday, May 6, 2013

You can't overdose on beef, right?

Another day, another great burger...

I'll resist the temptation to make a cheap bus-related pun, but having had my faith in burgers thoroughly restored by Lucky Chip, I've been on something of a beef spree lately.

Like all those dodgy beef products with traces of Horse DNA, I'd probably test positive for beef if I was minced up and flogged on the cannibal market.

But it's a testimony to the great choice of quality burger places we now have in London - something I'd personally longed for for a very, very long time. Probably since my first visit to the USA.

There's Haché, there's MEATliquor, there's Lucky Chip. And there's always somewhere new to get a credible beef fix. For all the horsey furore around bad beef, there's actually never been a better time to eat the good stuff.