FOOD-FRIENDY BEERS ; The new wine?
With ’cappuccino culture' assuring us that coffee is the new beer, it was only time before those responsible for flogging beer would devise a response. So now it seems - that beer is the new wine. Actually, there is more to this than cynical marketing. In Belgium, beer has been on level pegging with wine for quite some time. But recently Interbrew, the UK distributor of Belgian brands such as Stella Artois, Leffe and Hoegaarden, has begun to sell Britain on the idea that beers, both ale and lager, can be well matched with foods.
You may be muttering to yourself that you’ve known kith and kin who have enjoyed beer with their meals for years; a can of Tennents or something similar being a regular feature on the dining table. Needless to say, Interbrew is courting a different and presumably more sophisticated market.
‘Belgians view beer in the same way that we view wine,’ says beer expert Rupert Ponsonby. ’They recognise there is a beer for each food and — even more importantly - there is a beer for each mood.’ Ponsonby is not only a spokesman for I-Ioegaarden but a member of the National Hop Association and the Guild of Beer Writers. In the early 19905, he helped Whitbread develop speciality ales. So he knows a bit about brewing.
‘What I have been doing over the past year is looking at which food goes with which beer,’ he says. A citrus- hued beer such as Hoegaarden, for example, goes well with fish or any food that might be flavoured with lemon. Something with a more malty taste favours curries, while the lightly spicy edge he detects in Stella Artois (thanks to the Czech-grown Saaz hop, if you must know) best complements subtle or delicately spiced food. 'The easiest rule is to match like with like,’ Ponsonby says. ‘But you can be clever and go in the
Cheese market goes Mediterranean
Match your Hoegaarden to your food
opposite direction.’ For example, a cherry flavoured ale goes well with chocolate cake.
To prove the point of food-friendly beer, Ponsonby and colleagues hired a bus this autumn and took curious hacks around Glasgow matching beer with food. Hoegaarden was served with sushi from Oko, as well as a toasted almond ice cream pudding at Eurasia. Bottles of Leffe Blonde were cracked open outside Kama Sutra to wash down a pakora assortment, while Stella
accompanied a salmon fillet at Stravaigin. Wine master and Scotsman writer Rose Murray Brown went along for
the ride and her conclusion was that ’wine still steals the limelight when it comes to gastro dining but there's an array of stylish speciality ales worth trying.’
Not only flavour is at issue in the marketing of beer as the new wine. Presentation is consideration, and some beers are now sold in statuesque 75cl bottles. Hoegaarden’s is sealed by a Champagne-style cork. Pretentious? Not necessarily. ’The cork is a nice thing to have and the 75cl bottle means you should have it in the middle of the table to be shared,’ Ponsonby says. ’It
looks far better than a lot of little bottles laying ' around.’ Besides, he adds, early beer probably would have been served in corked bottles before Champagne. (Barry Shelby)
acts at the weekend.
nearby Polo Lounge and Corinthian capitalised on the opulence of those landmark buildings, the old Cheese Market was an empty shell. Many will no doubt be gobsmacked by the
oil paintings in the manner of Old
hanging near the fireplace, and more. An adjacent internal courtyard is ideal
the basement club features comedy by The List Eating and Drinking
While décor and rEdes'gn at (31,5 2 Business am. The new outlet offers
MERCHANT CITY MASTERS Arta
Arta is the latest extravagance from Stefan King's GI group, the masters of the Merchant City in Glasgow, The location of this Mediterranean-styled venue is the former Cheese Market, which faces onto tiny Walls Street between Bell and Blackfriars, In the manner of Corinthian, Arta has a main bar, a restaurant, separate l0unges (the red and gold rooms) and a club called Canvas —~ Spread out on three levels.
120 THE "31’ 2-16 Nov 2000
The menu in the first-floor restaurant offers an array of tapas, both classic and contemporary, and other Mediterranean dishes, such as the obligatory pizzas and pastas, as well as mains such as pan-fried salmon With spinach, saffron, capers and tomato sauce. Michael Smith, formerly of the Blue Print Cafe and Le Pont de la T0ur in London, is head chef. Meals Will be served until late (although admISSIOII to the bUilding, entering from Albion Street, Will be charged after llpm). In addition to DJs and live bands, Canvas
for Glasgow — outdoors drinking
" ' ; Side dishes
News in small portions
YUM IS A new 'design-driven' café in 5 the Glasgow city centre. Owned by the i design/PR firm Curious Oranj, it is the brainchild of Susan McMillan. She
: spent a ‘long year’ of research in New ; York, London, and Sydney before
returning to her home town to break 3 ground at the basement site on 130
West Regent Street (0141 229 0258).
; Yum's emphasis is on healthy options,
with gluten-free selections, daily soup
1 specials, fruit smoothies and even a
in ,1" :0. 4
couple of herbal remedies like Echinacea. The interiors are a soothing
cream and olive, with rosewood tables
and two popular sofas at the front of the shop. A ribbon mural includes
some subliminal messages: 'tranquil’, ’serene’ and others. You can place orders via Yum’s web site -
: www.yumtogo.com - and delivery
throughout central Glasgow is free for 3
any order over £5. A LUNCH at The Bonham at the end of
: October to launch the publication of . Edinburgh On A Plate included a
surprise ViSit by renowned chef Michel Roux, who happened to be in town to
| promote his autobiography. Edinburgh
On A Plate, published by Black and
White (£16.99), follows on the success of last year’s Glasgow On A Plate and
features recipes from 21 chefs at
1 restaurants in the capital such as lggs,
The Atrium, Howie’s, and Bamboo Garden. Many were at the lunch and
most paid their respects to MonSieur Roux
THE MARQUE CENTRAL opened in the middle of October at the former
premises of Tuscan Square at 30b Grindlay Street next to Edinburgh’s
- Royal Lyceum Theatre. This is the
second shop for the Marque, hit-listed
‘ Guide and more recently praised by
frequently changing a la carte, table
‘ d’hote, snack lunch, pre and post-
ground floor bar they have created from scratch. Others, however, might feel it's over the top, with the cupids, '
Masters, candelabras, Italian statues, a , giant 19th century French bellows
indoors. Look up and you'll find the '
ceiling painted blue with twinkling lights serving as stars. In contrast to
the bar, the restaurant upstairs offers .
the elegance of modern, clean lines in
an informal setting. Here there is little T clutter and the special touches are ;
fairly subtle, for example, the
terracotta crockery which comes from s
a famin business in Portugal.
I Arta, 73—76 Walls Street, Glasgow, 0747 552 2707.
The design-driven Yum