Most countries have an iconic chef, one who is familiar to every person on the street. The UK has Jamie Oliver (Sorry Gordon), France has Joel Robuchon aand Thailand has now……..well, the iron chefs. British food is undergoing a resurgence, as French food is with the new generation of ‘Fooding’ guys. Thailand, hopefully, will always have the street food vendors, but for Thai cuisine by a Thai person?
Enter Chef McDang…….
“Qu’ils Mangent de la Brioche!” or perhaps, “Let them eat their tea cakes!”, as Anne Boleyn actually mouthed before she was given ‘Le Chop’. The “eating brioche’ part was actually said by someone else and mistakenly attributed to Anne Boleyn. You read it here first, through lots of dubious research, I have uncovered a famous quote lost to history just until now*.
As fascinatingly brutal as that era was, we can be grateful that Henry VIII’s and Anne Boleyn’s brief pairing gave birth to this delicious tea cake called a ‘Maid of Honour’. The best place, according to marketing hype, to eat this is at Newens at Kew Gardens in Richmond, London.
According to folklore, Henry VIII first met Anne Boleyn when she was a Maid of Honour. This historical event took place at his Richmond Palace, and he fell in love with her eating this dainty little pastry. Love never tasted so sweet, and if this story has a romantic ring of regality to it, there is also a dark story attached, if you believe the myth (As printed on Newen’s website). However, it would not be surprising if this story was true, considering Henry VIII’s reputation.
Now Henry VIII’s key achievements were plenty, not excluding breaking away from the Catholic Church, beheading 2 of his wives, of which one had a younger sister who was his mistress prior and executing tens of thousands of people (72,000+ according to a less than trustable internet source*). His daughter, Queen Mary 1, is credited with burning around 300 Protestants to their deaths and thus, earning the nickname, ‘Bloody Mary’, to whom bar-goers and bartenders around the world pay homage to with a shake of the jigger*. Back to the dark story……
You have 2 days and 1 night in Bangkok, armed only with an iPhone and you need to eat and document some food. What do you do? What do you do? Well, this is just a very small list of the places I frequent to satisfy desires and cravings. Whether you can find these places or not…….its another question and up to your abilities to navigate your way around. Here are some recommended eating places for those on a tight schedule:
Day 1 – Lunch
Fear, excitement, trepidation, pertubation, consternation, anxiety…..the thesaurus lists so many ways of describing the feeling and fear. It felt like the first time meeting an online crush in real life. Had my years of infatuation with Clafoutis been in vain? It felt silly lusting after a sour cherry tart recreated so many times in the kitchen without having ever tasted the genuine article. Would those Boiron frozen sour cherries be the same in Singapore than in France?
Well, it was too late, its showtime and sink or swim now. I am now in front of Patisserie Gerard Mulot, famous for his Clafoutis, which is for me, a pastry middle finger to the world of fussily composed architectural showpieces with over-elaborate flavours and textures. Egg + Flour + Cream + Sour Cherry. It does not get simpler or better than this. Chef Mulot, you have no idea how long this moment has been in the waiting.