Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Upper Glas

I never got to Glas in Borough Market. I also rarely ate at Lola's, despite it being within hopping distance of my flat. I thought it kind of serendipitous that Glas then opened on the old Lola's site. They're in their first week of business, so are offering 50% off the food bill, which was a very pleasant surprise at the end of last night's very pleasant meal with the lovely Alan Dinlion.

I love the room and the Scandi makeover has make it even cuter. I can't imagine anything nicer than sitting in the window seat, watching the tossers of Foxtons out-quiff one another and the children of Islington happy-slapping to their hearts content. OK, so nice room, shame about the vista.

The menu is split into hot and cold dishes, and our waitress suggested we have three cold and two hot. Having never eaten Swedish food before (I'm assuming the Ikea canteen doesn't count) we were guided by our waitress. So we sat back and waited, and waited, for our herring three ways, toast Pelle Jansen and smoken reindeer to arrive. OK, so the kitchen might need a little while to bed in.

It was well worth the wait though and we had some very good caraway studded hard bread with butter to keep us company. I'm very new to herring, having spent most of my life believing (for no good reason) that I wouldn't like it. So I got a bit excited to try three new presentations in one night. My favourite was a slightly changed version of a dish from the old Glas, with vodka and citrus, being smooth, creamy, fishy and citrusy all at once, although the matjes, cured over sandalwood, was also intoxicating. The toast Pelle Jansen, think venison carpaccio on toast, with a beautiful raw egg to smear over, is not for the faint-hearted, but the meat was sweet and gamey and too good to miss. Reindeer with wild mushroom pannacotta was less successful, which was a shame because the reindeer meat is a real treat, but the pannacotta left us wondering what was in it and what was going on. Reminded me a bit of that vegetarian pate you can get from Holland and Barratt.

Mains were utterly unnecessary after those delights. But we had a half bottle of wine left and we'd ordered, so we soldiered on. The vegetarian spatzle was proof that a life without meat is merely a joyless existence and, like most things, would have benefited from a couple of rashers of bacon. Meatballs with mash and lingenberries is a treat of a wintery dish, but is just meatballs and mash at the end of the day. OK, so the cold dishes, on last night's showing, are nicer than the mains.

I loved Glas. I loved the waitresses, the wee willie winkie candle on our table, the herring and the meat. It's charming, cute and probably the most genuinely different offering in London at the moment.

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