We spent the 2019 August bank holiday weekend in London. The A1 was slow with delays, accidents and diversions and the drive from Harrogate took over six hours. Stuck in traffic, we ate cheese sandwiches, drank black coffee from a flask and listened to Ashes Cricket Radio 5.
Eating Old Cow
That evening we went to a barbecue in Islington. Alentejo whites, Austrian Zweigelt and Argentinian Malbec, chilled because off the 28 degree heat, were poured and king prawns, lamb chops, sweet corn, green beans, potatoes and red peppers were lovingly cooked and eaten with relish. The pièce de résistance however was a chunk of Galician beef sirloin from a nine-year old cow, dry-aged for 28 days.
For several years, the cool new thing in the London restaurant scene has been ‘old cow’ – dry-aged steaks from 9 to 17 year old retired milk cows from Galicia. After three years of retirement on lush pastures in northern Spain, the meat from them has the desirable marbling and enhanced flavour. This is in contrast to the beef in the UK where cows have to be younger than 30 months old when they are slaughtered.
The chunk of sirloin for the barbecue came from London butchers Turner & George. It spent a short time on the barbecue and was sliced thick. It was exceptional and Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2015 was a worthy partner.
Day At Alexandra Palace
We had a quick lunch – salt beef and cheese sandwiches and coffee at a Cafe called Jam In Jar on Green Lane, and took the bus to Alexandra Palace. The place was packed and the heat was intense.The Park was cooler and on top of the hill and in front of the Palace, there was a fresh breeze and Pimm’s was flowing. There was music from an adult bouncy castle inside the Palace. We sat at wooden tables under canvas drank lovely, cool IPA and ate posh strawberry ice cream.
Raving At Reading Festival
Younger members of the party took the train to Reading for the annual music festival. They came back, late at night, exhausted but elated.
Brunch At The Barge House
We went to the Barge House on Regents Canal in Shoreditch for brunch. The cafe is well known for its ‘Breakfast in Bread’ – individual sourdough boules stuffed with a variety of filling. The place was packed – good thing we had a reservation. We drank ‘Virgin Marys” (fiery tomato juice cocktail with our Vodka) and ate Hot Stuff – bread stuffed with chorizo, hot beans, chili, mushrooms, red peppers and spinach, sprinkled with cheese and topped with a fried free-range egg followed by plenty of black coffee.
A Walk Along Regent Canal
We walked along Regent Canal to Angel after brunch. Revelers Hot Tubs and Canal Boats floated past. It was very hot. We stopped at the Earl of Essex for a cool pint and caught the bus home from Angel.
G&T In The Garden
London Gin with plenty of tonic and ice was sipped in the garden. Lamb chops were grilled and a mushroom stroganoff was made for supper, washed down with chilled red Burgundy and Mancia.