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, June 27, 2016

Lost Breweries: B is for Brew Wharf

London's thriving beer scene of the last decade has seen a few casualties and suffered some collateral damage. Some might argue that the biggest loss was Young's merger with Charles Wells and subsequent move to Bedford.

I didn't care much about that. What I did care about was the loss of Brew Wharf, a brewpub that pretty much kick-started a revolution in my view.

And so, I give you this obituary I penned a while back - reproduced from the April/May 2015 edition of London Drinker - which summed up my thoughts at the time.

Since I wrote it, I've learned that the brewing equipment is now with Breakwater brewery in Dover, and some of the same people seem to be involved too, which may be cause for optimism even though they're taking a long while to get up and runni
ng. The Brew Wharf bar itself hardly ever seems to be open these days, however...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lost Breweries: A is for Ash Vine

I've been regularly drinking beer for about 25 years now, which probably makes me just about qualified to reminisce about breweries that have slipped from our horizons.

It's easy to forget that this even happens, given that we've been reaping a seemingly endless harvest of new breweries for many years now. But some, indeed many, breweries go beer-belly-up for various reasons, so this is the first in a series of posts where I look back wistfully - or in this case, not - at a few of them. Starting with West Country micro Ash Vine.

And if you're sitting there thinking 'Ash Vine... Hmm.. were their beers as boring as I remember?' then you're pretty much on the same wavelength as me! And if the name draws a blank, it's probably further proof of the singularly unmemorable nature of their beers. Their many, many all-very-similar beers...