Not together obviously, that would be disgusting.
When walking through Chinatown who can fail to be impressed by the roast meats hanging in the windows of the restaurants? Glistening ducks, sticky red char sui and immense crackling covered slabs of belly, even the pallid chickens catch the eye. Whilst many folk stop and stare nowhere near enough people eat these room temperature meats. Tales of them are normally met with 'What? That stuff in the window?' and a look like you're on day release. I'm confident that anyone would love them though, even the plainest eater should love the roast meat and gravy like sauce, it's nearly the nation's favourite Sunday roast on boiled rice. I've introduced the experience to at least ten people in the office, not to mention countless friends, and not one has failed to be converted.
If one looks beneath these roast meats though there's usually a shady underbelly (quite literally) of weird and wonderful animal parts sat on trays. Whilst I'm pretty open minded when it comes to food I've not been able bring myself to indulge, up until last night that is when, mildly inebriated, I popped in to Crispy Duck on Wardour Street and ordered Octopus, Livers and Gizzards noodle soup. I'm no expert but not sure there was any gizzards in there, so wondering if something was lost in translation. What one did get was a mass of different textures: chewing gum chewy pig intestine, the snap of octopus, velvety soft duck liver, squid-like pig stomach and, probably the most challenging of them all, the gelatinous skin and crunchy cartilage of pig ear. It wasn't my favourite but it was certainly an experience, nowhere near as bad as it may sound.
After the meal I went to claim one of my Christmas presents, a whisky tasting organised by Royal Mile Whiskies and given to me by my rather thoughtful girlrfriend. I'm a real newcomer to whisky, not knowing I liked it until 3 months ago, but in that short time I've realised I like the peaty numbers and so was looking forward to this Island Hopping session. The setting was the Bloomsbury Tavern on Shaftesbury Avenue whose leather furniture and wood paneled decor suited the drink. For 2 hours we worked our way around the islands with six whiskies, learning about whisky in general and specifically about the six we were tasting. Did you know bourbon casks in the US, by law, are only allowed to be used once? I didn't but now I know they get used once and then shipped to whisky manufacturers around the world who use them to age their drinks. Some 80% of whisky casks in Scotland have these origins. You live and learn.