The rat's a softie at heart, so couldn't resist a sniff around some of the more creative Valentine's Day marketing. One restaurant that caught the imagination was Sohobased Bocca di Lupo's "What's inside that counts" menu. A beautiful sentiment that's literally borne out on the menu, seeing that it features ox tripe cooked in tomato sauce and bread stuffed with chopped veal lung and spleen. One for the more established relationship, you'd think. For those still a few years off sharing tripe, Atul Kochhar is offering to hide a ring inside a chocolate sphere filled with chocolate mousse and passion fruit granita (pictured above) at London's Kanishka. Perhaps a more palatable dish for courting couples.
Musing in the mews
While nibbling on some rather wonderful homemade ricotta at Tom Aiken's Muse last week, who should I spy lunching across the dining room but two London restaurant heavyweights: Richard Vines, Bloomberg's chief food critic, and former Mandarin Oriental director of restaurants Mark Hastings. Fresh from departing the Hyde Park property's Dinner by Heston and Bar Boulud restaurants earlier this month, the rat tried to sniff out Hastings' next move and wouldn't bet against seeing him again patrolling London's swankiest eateries anytime soon. The pair weren't the only notable recent guests at Aikens' rather lovely new gaff. Word on the street is two critics from the nationals paid a visit last week. I hear that one had their bread basket refilled twice, while the other practically licked her plate. Could a pair of sparkling reviews – more Sexton than Moir – be on the way soon?
Congratulations… would you like a new job?
We all know that recruiting chefs is a bit of a challenge at present. Well according to the rat's sources, one restaurateur eschews the usual jobs boards and takes the unusual approach of entering a member of his team into every chef competition going. When attending the finals to cheer on his competitors, this cunning cook also gets a front row seat to eye up the finest young chefs in the country... and has successfully recruited a few of them.
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