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!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BV London Pub of the Year 2013-14 - part two

2013-14 was a great year. Easily as good as 1982-83, and possibly even up to the high standards of 1969-70.

Anyway, here's the next batch of PotY contenders as we run down the remaining finalists from last year's competition. (That's 'run down' as in list them in order, not driving at them in a motor vehicle with murderous intent, obviously.)

The first batch have laid down a competitive gauntlet. Now let's check out the rest...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BV London Pub of the Year 2013-14 - part one

So, it's the height of Summer, and that means only one thing.

Well, actually it means quite a few things. Like higher ambient temperatures than during the rest of the year. And flights to the continent becoming more expensive. And schoolchildren hanging around city centres in the daytime because it's the holidays.

But in Ben Viveurland it means this one, specific thing: London Pub of the Year.

The prestige that comes from winning the PotY trophy cannot be understated, of course.

The Ben Viveur Pub of the Year trophy
Last year's winner - no longer with us
Last year a team of professional understaters from the UN spent six weeks attempting to understate the prestige, and all of them went home bitterly frustrated at their abject failure to understate the prestige. One subsequently split from his wife after the feelings of shame failed to go away and began to affect their marriage.

That's how fucking prestigious it is.

It all kicks off today, and, yes, it all feels a little unusual because last year's winner is no longer with us, but we've found a way around that. The scoring system is the same as ever, and personal bias and preference will undoubtedly play a significant role.

Parts one and two will feature the four surviving finalists from last year plus the two natural successors to the Catford Bridge Tavern.

Parts three and four will showcase six fantastic new challengers, and then around a month from now, we'll be announcing the winner and getting the trophy engraved.

Exciting times. And, for one pub, a colossal faceful of prestige is splurging your way. Soon.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Final meal 2014 - Black Forest Churrasco

The super-sharp amongst you will recall that, when Italy faced Spain in the Euro 2012 final, I created an awesome new recipe - Gnocchi Bravas - combining the respective cuisines of the finalists.

The super-curious will now be wondering if I've done something similar for Argentina vs Germany in the World Cup, and the answer is: Yes. Yes, I have.

The super-cautious can probably look away now, as it's a bit, well, left-field. Think of it as an inspired tactical substituion.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Birra alla pompa a Roma

So, Italy turned out to be no better than England at the World Cup. Worse, in fact, if your criteria for judging which team is better is 'results against Costa Rica'.

As I said the other day, nobody hates Italy, though I'm starting to refine that theory slightly on the basis of new information. Specifically:

  1. Rome is fucking brilliant for beer. 
  2. Rome is fucking shit in a lot of other ways.
  3. There is probably nowhere in Italy where the food is bad. 
  4. Not even Rome.
Regular readers will have picked up on the fact that I've never much liked lazy beach holidays - not for me the indignity of sprawling, sunburned, for a fortnight on a beach like some sort of floppity-haired manatee - and as such I've always thought of myself as more of a short city break-type person.

But, having just returned from the Italian capital, I've realised that I don't much like them either.

Allow me to explain.