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, April 24, 2014

Drinking beer out of an Easter Egg

Some people might argue that my blog posts are often a little too long; too verbose; too banging-on-about-shit-for-2000-words etc.

So, in a 'fuck that' sort of a vein, this one is just some photos of me drinking beer from an Easter Egg.

Yeah, I know I could posit that this is 'the future' and that brewers could introduce a range of chocolate egg-conditioned ales, but I won't. It's just some wanky photos'n'shit, but quite possibly a world first.

Oh, and the beer was LBC Oyster Stout, at the Tap East


Monday, April 14, 2014

The more-or-less random guide to beer and music pairing

While the rest of you were lazily completing the London Marathon yesterday, I was crossing a far more important finishing line, with a pint of Conwy Surfin' IPA.

Yep, it's the end of another round of Spoons Bingo, and having ticked off the 50 beers on the Wetherlist I can go back to mostly drinking in normal pubs. Yay!

...and that's 50 out of 50!
It has to be said that I wasn't hugely impressed with the ales this time around and there were one or two really strange flavours in the mix. Mauldon's 'Lemon Adder' tasted like cold lemon tea, while I detected more than a hint of instant gravy granules in Nethergate 'Hell Hound'!

And even more bizzarely, Bateman's 'Springtime Oatmeal Biscuit' reminded me of tempura prawns. No, really.

Or maybe there was just something up with my tastebuds that night?

Anyway, while sitting in the Crosse Keys in the City the other evening, working my way through many of these strange beers and listening to 'sum choonz', I suddenly came up with a brilliant idea.

Or, at least, a brilliant-after-eight-pints-of-strangely-flavoured-biannual-festival-ales idea.

Beer and music pairing.

I mean, how fucking cool is that?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's grim up North

OK, when I say, 'GO', I want you to think of the top three great cuisines of the world and name them aloud.

In fact, give me the top five. You ready...?



So, what have we here then? French? Sure. Italian? Indian? Japanese? Did somebody clever say Turkish Cypriot? Maybe even American or Mexican?

But I'm guessing nobody gave much thought to the food of Iceland. And that's reasonable, given that it doesn't have much of a reputation on the global platter, and any crumbs of reputation it does have tend to focus on stereotypes of Scandinavian stodge and manky pickled fish.

It wasn't a topic I'd spent a lot of time thinking about either, but I've just got back from Reykjavik where I was able to enjoy - or perhaps 'endure' might be a better word - some traditional Icelandic food, and add some empirical weight to my affirmation of the stereotype.