A Bit Casual Eating Out Events/Classes London

An Evening with Jay Rayner & Camino, King’s Cross

July 7, 2015

Anyone who tells you they don’t like reading scathing restaurant reviews is a goody-two-shoes or a liar, and let’s be honest, no one likes either. I, along with most of the review-reading population, love a nasty write-up though I’d rather not delve into what this says about me or society in general. There are a handful of food writers I read regularly; they’ve been around the block and back again so I’m going to throw a limb out and say they know their stuff and they’re usually full of witty one-liners and cheeky quips. I almost always enjoy their pieces, regardless of whether they’re nasty or not but the difference is that while the positive ones are useful to know, the negative ones are quite simply, gripping.

Negative reviews are like reports on a disaster, you really shouldn’t want to know about the gory end but the build up has sucked you in and you simply cannot drag yourself away. I know it, you know it and Jay Rayner knows it. His column undoubtedly gets an impressive hit rate on any given Sunday but when he pulls his own knives out and slices a place to shreds, the stats must really soar. With this notion in mind, it would have been devilishly good to turn the tables on Jay and tell you about the train wreck that was ‘A Night of Food and Agony with Jay Rayner’, but sorry folks, don’t bother with that call to emergency services because it was good. Very good, in fact.

Recently unveiling himself as a man with more than just a talent with words, this Guardian Live show combined what we already know he’s good at- tales of dining triumphs and tribulations, with what we recently discovered he’s good at- being a jazz pianist. Jay Rayner in the flesh was no less engaging or humorous, though I’m happy to never have to see that Hawaiian shirt and pinstripe jacket combo on his weekly columns. He told us stories, he answered questions, it was one big gut-busting laugh fest.

Photo 05-07-2015 9 18 29 pm

The second hour was slightly less riotous but definitely got my toe tapping; a certain someone is a huge jazz fan and since we’ve been together I guess some of that’s rubbed off on me too. Along with singer (and Jay’s wife) Pat Gordon Smith, bassist Rob Rickenberg and saxophonist Dave Lewis, the atmosphere in the room lifted up a few notches and the music was certainly deserving of the enthusiastic applause. And almost as if there was a risk of us forgetting his day job, the tunes were punctuated with random tidbits from ‘the life of Rayner’ which I’m sure, if strung together, would sell better than his books.

Over two hours of merriment later, we were hungry. All that talk of restaurants and toe tapping will do that to you I suppose. It was late, we needed something close, quick, hopefully tasty- a couple of tapas at Camino really appealed. Neither fancy nor too gimmicky, this Spanish restaurant has a couple of branches in London and dishes up decent plates of food. We wanted fast food that night and with the kitchen coming to a close, they definitely delivered with speed.

Camino_boquerones

Within minutes of ordering, our boquerones arrived, salty, acidic and utterly delicious, swiftly followed by the pan con tomate and gambas al ajillo. Predicatably we always order patatas bravas at tapas restaurants and are also quite partial to a bit of morcilla, this version was rich but nicely offset by the sweetness of the peppers. The only disappointment of the night were the anaemic empanadillas which somehow managed to be a little bland despite being filled with spinach, pine nuts and goat’s cheese.

But that was only a minor blip in an otherwise speedy and satisfying meal; no tales of agony to report back to Jay on this occasion. This was an uncharacteristically short and snappy meal by our standards but I’d happily stop by Camino again and linger a little longer with many more of the menu items!

Camino_patatasbravas


Click to add a blog post for Camino on Zomato Square Meal

After the first sell-out show, A Night of Food and Agony with Jay Rayner is on again in November, check the Guardian Live website for details of this and other events.

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  • LondonKiwiEmma

    He can write & play music? Urgh, hate him for so much talent 😉

    • Hate to confirm it but yes. He was pretty good, though the others were absolutely fantastic!

  • I had heard he was a very good pianist, I think I shall be grabbing tickets for November!

    • You definitely should- it was absolutely hilarious and the music was fantastic- Jay is great on the piano but Pat, Rob and Dave are amazing!

  • Oooh I would have liked this, the only thing better than reading Jay is reading the funny comments that he gets!

    • Oh I know- some people really do write the most ridiculous comments don’t they!

  • Ooh I didn’t know this was happening – I’m a huge Jay fan! I went along to one of the talks he did at the Guardian and it was side-splitting!

    • It was a great find by the boyfriend! I think they’re playing at Brasserie Zedel in the next few weeks but otherwise you can head back to the Guardian in November!

  • andreaspassions5

    Oh my goddddd what a fab event, definitely going to try to get tickets for November – who doesn’t love Jay Rayner (and a bad review, hehehe). Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea’s Passions

    • He was absolutely hilarious and spent a good deal of time answering questions from the audience which I thought was great!

  • When is a Hawaiian shirt ever appropriate? I’m seriously trying to think of an answer here…. there must be someone…. at some time…

    • Beach Boys?! Part of their job to look silly.

      • Beach Boys always remind me of Full House. Ugh.

  • This seemed like an awesome event! Jay is one of my favourite no-holds-barred critics in town!

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

    • Mine too – he’s brutally hilarious! Well he’s doing it all again in November so you should consider going!

  • He’s so fabulously scathing sometimes! Love reading his reviews. Sounds like a fab evening and Camino is great too – they had one on the river at Canary Wharf that we used to catch the river boat from London Bridge to, but it’s closed! (rather surprisingly as it was always busy!)

    • That’s really surprising as it sounds like all their branches are doing really well! I would highly recommend this show, especially if you’re partial to a bit of jazz!

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