Another tasty day of FA Cup football beginning with the fourth-round replay between Chelsea and Brentford from Stamford Bridge. This should be a walk in the park for the home team but, with the man Liverpool fans delight in calling ‘Agent Rafa’ at the helm, nothing can be taken for granted.
Then it’s over to ESPN for Leeds United’s visit to Man City. Leeds have made a habit of drawing only the biggest clubs in recent years – they did superbly to see off an underpowered Spurs in the fourth round, but surely a trip to the City of Manchester stadium will prove a bridge too far for Neil Warnock’s men.
Finally, ITV finish the weekend with Huddersfield v Leicester – a glamour tie if ever we saw one. Oh, and Manchester United fans who are worried that they’ve been left out of this TV extravaganza? Your tie with Reading is on tomorrow night. Naturally.
The Black Penny
It was a marketing wheeze that really, really worked. This new café/takeaway in Covent Garden sold every dish for a penny on opening day, and when we went a few days later there were huge queues waiting for tables and (mostly) takeaway. It reminded us of the old drug dealer’s trick to get new clients: ‘the first one’s free’. Addiction to Black Penny may become a recognised medical condition, but it won’t be because of cost – low though that is. When you finally reach the counter, you see dishes that look like those at many another coffee place: soup, sandwiches, salad, quiche, a stew, lots of baked sweet things. But when you finally sit down in the small back dining room, you realise this isn’t the stuff of two-for-a-penny cafés. The quality is high in both sweet and savoury dishes. Salads are a particular strength, with confident seasoning in the dressings and excellent assemblies of sprightly ingredients to carry them. The kitchen has a masterful pasty-maker, as we saw in both a savoury tart and a Pennsylvania-Dutch-style apple pie. They also had a good ceviche on the menu when we were there. Portions are enormous and prices eminently reasonable - £7.50 for a salad box that some people would be happy to share between two, sandwiches just under a fiver. In the food, the only downer was inelegant presentation of salad selections. The separate components were piled together so that their flavours blended in some unappealing ways: ceviche on top of couscous is never a good
Venue says: “In the heart of Covent Garden, serving breakfast, lunch, cakes & coffee from The Roastery Department. Talk to us about private bookings.”