Vermouth masterclass at Mele e Pere: a ridiculous London bargain

White and red vermouths, handmade in Mele e Pere, and a really fearsomely disgusting hyper-dark vermouth which I am not adult enough to enjoy

White and red vermouths, handmade in Mele e Pere, and a really fearsomely disgusting hyper-dark vermouth which I am not adult enough to enjoy

With Elizabeth locked away in her flat until she’s finished the first draft of The Book (I know I’m biased, but bloody hell it is SO GOOD), we put a date in the diary weeks ago for a catch up.

“Erm, do you fancy a vermouth tasting?” she said. I assured her that I am on board with pretty much anything that is suffixed by the word “tasting” and we duly booked, and headed off to the vermouth bar in the basement of Mele e Pere, an Italian restaurant on Brewer Street just across the road from the Glasshouse pub.

Now, let’s have a quick pause for you to sign up, because I haven’t encountered this sort of ridiculously good value in London in aeons. Mele e Pele’s vermouth masterclass is £15. FIFTEEN POUNDS. For reasons that will soon become apparent, this isn’t so much a steal as a giveaway by an incredibly courteous saint. Continue reading

It’s hard the Shard stays mainly in the clard


I’ve wanted to go up to the top of The Shard for ages – or at least, ever since I stopped worrying that something was going to crash into it and destroy SE1. So when I got a call asking if I’d like a ticket, I obviously squeaked to the affirmative, even if I’d only be up there for 10 minutes, having to beetle across town to The Audience.

Yesterday was not a good evening. Unless you were John Carpenter.

view from the shard (1)

Mind, it hadn’t exactly been a great day either. But a trip up The Shard is a trip up The Shard! Anyway, we got there hugely early, and the staff very kindly said we could go up a bit before we were scheduled to. So we filled in time in the gift shop. Now, I love a gift shop – I actually did a little “gift shop!” sigh when we were told to wait there. But wow, there is some awful shit in there. Some lovely wall prints and silk scarves aside, everything looks as though it’s been bought off the back of a lorry and screenprinted. Continue reading