Television Centre may have closed for business, but the BBC’s only live music showcase of any prominence will live on in Maidstone, of all places. This eight-week long, 42nd (!) series starts with another simultaneously eclectic and conservative line-up.
Featured acts including a revived Suede (back with their first album in more than decade), hotly tipped soul Brummie Laura Mvula, Irish R&B whippersnappers the Strypes and the ever-wonderful Cat Power. As with recent runs, this truncated live version will be followed by a fuller-length recording on Fridays, for all those who can’t get enough boogie woogie piano in their lives.
May The Fifteenth
Of all the ‘destination’ diners in the locality, Abbeville Kitchen is the least known. That’s a pity, because the Med-leaning cooking is terrific, but the venue suffers from an ailment common to restaurants in mainland Spain (where such things don’t matter): unexceptional design. There’s a mismatch of styles, with junk-shop dark-wood chairs and a hodge-podge of tables against a backdrop of smart, coral-hued weave, papered on to the walls. It’s as if someone got halfway through, then changed tack. Look past these shortcomings, though, to the open kitchen, which sends out generously portioned dishes with thrilling, bold flavours. On our visit, meaty yet tender pieces of cuttlefish sat over a full-flavoured, cumin-studded tomato and parsley sauce, with a blob of garlicky aïoli for good measure. No less satisfying was a dish of enormous hunks of salt beef on a mound of rustic green lentils, with a zingy salsa verde and pieces of sharp-and-sweet mustard fruits (think glacé cherries and candied orange pieces with a biting mustard end-note). A vegetarian choice was equally accomplished, featuring soft strips of smoked aubergine served with roasted red peppers, chickpeas, fresh goat’s cheese and a dollop of tangy romesco (red pepper and nut sauce). The passionate staff were so sweet and eager, we wanted to put them in our pockets to take home.
Venue says: “Every Tuesday we are knocking 50% off all of our main list wines – a chance to get your week off to a good start with our wine list!”