Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Photo by Luna Woodyear Smith

Some of you old uns may remember a poem by Adrian Henry, (who is currently being celebrated at the Whitechapel Gallery) which runs:
Note for a definition of optimism:
A man trying the door of Yates Wine Lodge
At quarter past four in the afternoon

This, of course, comes from the dark days when pubs had ‘opening hours’ based on the notion that if the working classes could get at drink at a quarter past four in the afternoon they’d never go to work at all, and society would collapse, and so on.  But oddly enough it seems not to have worked quite that way.

Photo by Luna Woodyear Smith

And it so happened that I was in Manchester at the weekend and went to a Yates – the ‘wine lodge’ part seems to have disappeared from the name - and yes, times have changed.  There were cocktails (the Woo Woo, and The Pornstar Martini, among others). There were even nachos:

Photo by Luna Woodyear Smith

And there was also, and I can’t work out whether this is tradition or innovation, fusion or ethnic diversity, something on the menu called the ‘Topside Beef Yorkie Wrap’ which I’d never heard of, never even thought of, though it seems to be all over the internet.             
        There, and on the Yates picture menu, it looked like a rolled up pancake filled with with roast beef, which would be OK, but in the flesh it was more like a rubbery hot pocket filled with tough mystery meat. I wouldn’t say I regretted ordering it but I don’t think I’ll be having it again.

However I was absolutely thrilled another night at a Chinese restaurant, called the Mei Dim, to have the ‘spring onion cakes.’  

Photo by Luna Woodyear Smith
They didn’t seem very Chinese - the ‘cake’ tasted just like shortcrust pastry (not that there’s anything wrong with that) so they were ‘fusion’ I suppose – and in any case it made for a heck of a starter.  Better than Yorkshire pudding, and as a Yorkshireman it doesn't even pain me to say that.

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