food: The Ivy Bar (now known as Distill)

November 24, 2012

update 14/12/2012: now known as Distill (probably a name change brought on by this lot)


This is my favourite restaurant in Glasgow!

Tonight D and I went along, and shared a beef burger and Felafel burger, they were both absolutely fantastic!  I’m not sure what spiced up the beef burger but every mouthful was a delight.  The burgers were served with chips and side salad but really just saying that doesn’t do it justice.  The chips were hand cut and perfectly fried, salty and not the slightest bit greasy or overdone.  The ‘side salad’ was an exciting mix of leaves, beet, peas, etc.  and just enough to add to the disk and not overpower it.  While the burgers were more than adequate we decided to try a pudding simply for the sake of completeness and went for sticky toffy pudding – this was the best sticky toffee pudding I have ever tasted perhaps with the exception of the Downe’s Sticky Toffy pudding that I must try again just to make sure :-)

I do think the Ivy doesn’t have the most welcoming entrance (from Argyle Street) , with big heavy dark doors, and once in at first it appears to be a bar.  But as you move through to the back (or come in the other door from Kelvingrove Street) the small restaurant areas is very comfortable with dark lighting and chill/funky music at a decent level but not distractingly loud.

All that aside, the reason I discovered this place was a recommendation from the guys at The Good Spirit Company because this bar boasts around 100 different Rums and has staff who know what they are talking about when it comes to Rum!

Tonight, I started with a Cuban classic cocktail “El Presidente” (made with Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, which is a fantastic rum on its own!).  At the end of the meal I asked for some advice on another rum to have, had a short conversation for the waiter to figure out what I have tried and enjoyed, then he brought three bottles over to discuss and choose from. I was very very pleased with the Foursquare 66 I ended up with – straight to the top of my wish list of Rums to buy!

movie: Skyfall

November 17, 2012

The name’s Bond, James Bond.  He doesn’t order his cocktail “shaken, not stirred” but instead we see it mixed and he says “Perfect”.  We meed a new Q, Moneypenny, even a new Mi6 HQ but the old things are still there – even a return for the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger.  Skyfall is an excellent Bond Movie!  But it is also an excellent movie that could easily stand on its own and well worth catching on the big screen!

(from here on there-be-spoilers) 

The story itself is a different track with what I thought was a focus on the characters – what made Bond ‘Bond’, and how M ticked, etc. I really liked the hints at a back story behind the relationship between M and Bond.  The hints at being an outdated dinosaur in a modern world where old-school spies weren’t needed was well handled in particular by bringing in a new young Q.

I really can’t think of a thing to fault this film.  There are some big plot holes and impossibilities  (e.g. during a fight on top of a train someone finds a short length of chain to fight with – surely that would have fallen off with the vibration of a train moving and wouldn’t just be sitting there, don’t JCBs need keys to operate, and so on…) but to some extent it is a ‘cartoon’ world so we forgive these things.

I couldn’t help falling into the trap of ticking of the Bond-isms that just have to be included to make it a bond movie – big opening sequence [tick], cinematic silhouetted title sequence with massive theme song [tick], Q-branch gadgets [tick-ish], manic bad guy and henchmen [tick], bond-girls [tick, tick, tick], M [tick], union jacks [tick], cars [TICK – The DB5 is back!!!], product placement [tick].

favourite quotes:

  • James Bond: A radio and a gun. Not exactly Christmas, is it?
    Q: You weren’t expecting an exploding pen, were you?

favourite part of the movie

  • really massive spoiler, don’t read until you’ve seen it:
    The most memorable thing from watching bond movies when I was young, probably because it was in more than one film is the scene that goes …  hat flung onto hat stand in M’s outer office… flirt with Miss Moneypenny, through padded leather door to M’s office, everything is wood paneled, ‘old-school and establishment.  The last scene in Skyfall re-created this set, as we discover who Moneypenny is and Bond officially meets the new M.  I totally loved that scene!

On top of everything Skyfall has to offer, there is even a poster simply designed to pose beside…

gig: The Idiot Bastard Band

November 13, 2012

a great night in the Fruitmarket with The Idiot Bastard Band… Neil Innes, Ade Edmondson, Phill Jupitus and Rowland Rivron.  OK, admit it you probably haven’t heard of them but you might have heard of some of the members.

The best way to describe it is four talented musicians who are better known for their comedy and who have either found or written comedy songs they enjoy then go on a tour to enjoy themselves and share the fun with the audience.  There is a feeling wanting to have a good time on stage and share that with the audience.

Slick and show-biz they are not, relaxed and fun they certainly are.  There’s a lot of counting in or ‘do I start this one’ but that all adds to the chat and banter – I kind of hope they don’t get slick.

‘S Early in the Morning – Idiot Bastard Band

Book: Lee Child “A Wanted Man”

November 4, 2012

I would never get tired of reading about ex-military investigator Jack Reacher as he wanders around the landscape of America.   In this, the 17th Lee Child book featuring this character, Jack is simply trying to hitch a lift by the side of the road – a task that isn’t helped by his massive physical stature and a freshly broken nose.  He does manage to get a lift, after some time figures out that all is not well with the three other occupants of this car.

Meanwhile we hear about a murder, the initial moves to investigate and the roadblocks set up to catch the suspects.  Roadblocks that are looking for a specific number of people in a car, a number of people that of course can be changed by picking up a hitchhiker.  It has to be said that the pace or number of twists in this book isn’t as much as in previous books.  I wouldn’t say it is the best Jack Reacher story, but I don’t agree with some of the negative reviews about just how bad it is.

There isn’t as much action as I would like and even the final attack on the bad guys just doesn’t seem as well constructed as Lee Child can do.  I also thought it interesting that Child didn’t hold back on details of Jack Reacher’s stature (traditionally in the books a hulk of a man) given that the first movie outing for this character to be released next month will see Tom Cruse controversially playing Jack Reacher.