‘All I have are happy memories,’ says Paul O’Grady doggedly, after an old mucker from his Birkenhead manor observes that ‘not all the women had just mascara darkening their eyes on a Monday’. Lily might be savage, but there’s no room in O’Grady’s rosy trip down memory lane for much more than pride, community and a clean front step.
This is a shame, because he’s well placed as someone who inevitably stood apart from his background by virtue of his sexuality to offer real insight into what defining yourself as working class meant. Still, it’s understandable: deprived of being the engine of industry, the working class wanted to see themselves as the engine of popular culture, so O’Grady oversees a rather odd parade of icons of yesteryear (Cilla, Twiggy, Ken Dodd) to reminisce about when commoners started to shape society. Only Reggie Yates has anything interesting to say, but by the time he shows up, it’s all gone a bit off the boil. Pity.
Snaps & Rye
A bright, clean jewel in the centre of Notting Hill, Danish café-slash-restaurant Snaps + Rye is the true embodiment of that near-untranslatable Scandi philosophy, hygge. Its founders define hygge as a state of being beyond cosyness, “where all your senses are evoked by just feeling good”. And while total sensory satisfaction might sound like a pretty high bar for such a humble space, which by day serves open sandwiches and pastries, Snaps + Rye raises it. Sensory nirvana begins with the service. I’m ushered into the simple, well-lit room by a waiter so genuinely welcoming I mistake her for the owner. She talks us through the four-course evening set menu (available Thursday-Saturday) with the kind of passion and knowledge that’s infectious. The cuisine here is Danish but the chef, Tania Steytler, is Cornish. The result is food that’s creative but beautifully understated. Steytler was previously head chef at Gloucestershire fish specialist Severn & Wye Smokery, and her respect for quality ingredients is wonderfully apparent. Take the third course, my personal highlight, an exquisite dish of cured salmon, scorched potato and Danish prawns – the saltiness of the fish and the smokiness of the potatoes perfectly balance one another, but every flavour is so fine and clean it stands alone. Another triumph is the starter of tender asparagus, goat’s curd, toasted seeds and pickled baby tomatoes. The sweetness of the tomatoes perfectly offsets the sharpness of the cheese and the re
Venue says: “Snaps & Rye have been selected for a Time Out Recommended Award. We consider Snaps & Rye to be one of the best of its kind in London.”