Sunday, 27 February 2011

Restaurant Review: Paramount Restaurant London

Do the rules of etiquette go out the window when dining 32 floors up? Last night the woman at the next table to me was merrily tap, tap, tapping away, Blackberry in one hand, attempting to eat her steak with the other. Her dining partner looked on as if this was the most natural thing in the world to do.

"Maybe she is a doctor on-call", the other half said, when I pointed this out to him. The very large glass of wine she was glugging said otherwise. Surely nothing is more important that the person you are dining with?

Image Source: Paramount
Anyway, we were at Paramount, the restaurant located on the top floor of the Centre Point tower and the views were stunning. The sprawling metropolis that is London was beautifully lit-up, stretching as far as the eye could see.

The restaurant itself is impressive. The interior, designed by Tom Dixon, was slick and classy with lots of dark wood and a geometric copper bar, all of which was framed by huge glass windows making the most of the fabulous vista.

Image Source: Paramount
Oh and Paramount also does food, funnily enough, for that is why we were there, and it didn't disappoint. I had the lobster tortellini with courgette chutney to start. Tender parcels of pasta filled with melt-in-the-mouth lobster. Segments of warm grapefruit gave the dish a surprising zing.

The other-half had the scallops & chorizo, which came with a sweet potato purée with cauliflower and cumin, which he said was delicous.

The only minor niggle with the starter was the glass plate the scallops came on. Food just doesn't look nice on glass plates, I much prefer crisp white china, which allows the food to shine.

Image Source: Paramount
For the main course I had a small but perfectly formed piece of seabass, which was cooked just right and was served with a very tasty truffle gnocchi, baby fennel and delicious, salty samphire. The dish was topped of with a caviar cream, which was very good but I did think the caviar a little unnecessary. 

The other half had the five spice monkfish with saffron risotto and crab spring roll. The oriental flavours of the monkfish worked well with the risotto, although I didn't get to taste the spring roll as it was demolished too quickly.

Demolishing the food wasn't particularly hard and I almost laughed when the waiter asked if we had left room for dessert. Yes, don't expect to leave this restaurant stuffed as the portion sizes are definitely on the small side.

Image Source: Paramount

We did indulge in dessert and I had the brilliant mille feuille of pecan with mapled roasted apple and yoghurt sorbet. It came with a little nest of orange flavoured spun suguar, which combined with the other ingredients created a fruity explosion in the mouth.

The other half had the valrhona chocolate puddings. We learned that valrhona is a French chocolatier. It consisted of five petite desserts, of which four were apparently delicous. I only tasted the less delicous one a dark chocolate tart which tasted a bit burnt.

Image Source: Paramount
Overall the meal was fantastic. The service was just the right side of attentive and the staff were happy to make recommendations or explain some of the more obscure ingredients.

After dinner we took a stroll around the viewing deck and took in the views one last time. I would definitely recommend Paramount, in fact i'd recommend it just for the views.

ParamountCentre Point, 101-103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DD. +44(0)20 7420 2919.

What do you think?

DIY, Sneaky Blogging and Fabulous Accessories

I am supposed to be helping to install my new Ikea kitchen this weekend (the picture above is not my kitchen, unfortunately). The other half is busy screwing, nailing and drilling away like a trooper. Being DIY challenged, I am reduced to holding things in place, fetching and carrying. "Bring me the flat-head screwdriver", he says. Boring.

I am much more of a details person anyway. I like to add the finishing touches, so will happily shop for the new glassware, crockery and cultlery which will fill the new drawers and cupboards once it is built and installed.

I have been told that this weekend is not the time for blogging and I must wait to post my restaurant review because I need to be on hand to help. I have been sneakily doing it anyway, snatching moments between being called to clear the cardboard boxes away, but it's still a way off yet.

So I decided to post up a quick little snippet about a lovely gift I was given the other day from the other half, a fantastic Paul Smith iPhone 4 case, made from soft leather and with a retro cassette design on it.

I love all things Apple and had been looking for a suitable sheath for my little phone, so was very pleased to get this beauty.

Anyway, I am now off to Homebase to buy a jigsaw. Not really my idea of shopping but the new glassware will have to wait.

What do you think?

Friday, 25 February 2011

Merging My Old and New Blogs

Today I decided to merge my old and new blogs, bringing some of the old posts from my old Totally Obviously blog into Mr Musing, so apologies to those who follow the blog who will have seen a steady stream of posts appearing - I haven't been that busy!

The old blog has now been deleted, so I have everything in one place. It brought back some funny memories seeing my old posts from two years ago, when I was a newbie blogger. Hopefully this time I will last a bit longer - I got distracted by other things after about 4 months last time!

So RIP Totally Obviously...... It's all about Mr Musing now!

What do you think?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Sell A Minute Of Your Time - Part 1

Today I popped into Brixton Village market, in South London to sell a minute of my time for a pound. I had heard about this intriguing proposition over at the Londonist and decided to check it out.

The purchaser of my time was artist Brian Lobel, who has pitched up at the Brick Box cafe as part of his project Carpe Minuta Prima (seize the minute).

Each person gets to step into a darkened room with a camera and can do or say anything they like for a minute. At the end of the week Brian will collect all of the snippets together and produce an installation, from which people can buy their minute back (for a pound) or, interestingly, purchase the time of a complete stranger (burned onto DVD).

I was minute number 81 and Brian had been there since Monday, so by the end of the project on Saturday there should be lots of time collected.

Brian says that the project, "explores themes of economy, the value of our time and our work, the over-documenting of our lives and what it means to sign away your soul."

Brian Lobel: source the Londonist
I don't think my minute was particularly interesting, I am sure there were far more interesting uses of the time. I talked about my new passion for writing, an article I have just finished (about Brixton, co-incidentally) and finding my 'voice'. 

I think when I go back next week I'll purchase the time of a stranger and post the DVD up here for Part 2. It does sound a bit strange, I'll admit. That person may not want to feature on my blog - but to take part we each had to sign something saying we gave up any rights to that minute of time. We had sold it (you do actually receive a shiny £1 coin). So the purchaser of my time, if anyone buys it, will be able to do whatever they like with it. An interesting concept.

Brian is at Brick Box from 10am to 6pm until 26 February. Visit from 4 to 10 March to see the installation. Or find out more hereBrick Box, 41 Brixton Village, Coldhourbour Lane, SW9 8PR.

What do you think?

Monday, 21 February 2011

So When Did Gwyneth Paltrow Become Cool?


One minute Gwyneth Paltrow is being criticised for her lifestyle website Goop, where she regularly dispenses advice on everything from health to recipes; is being called up-tight and snotty and parodied about her macrobiotic diet.

The next she is appearing in Glee (top), rocking the stage with Cee Lo Green at the Grammy's and giving sultry performances as Kelly Canter in the film Country Strong (below). So has Gwyneth suddenly become cool?

Gwyneth looks like she had a real laugh appearing in Glee, where she performed Rihanna's 'Umbrella' and Cee Lo Green's 'Forget You'. So much so that she is even reported to have resolved a feud between the show's makers and the rock band Kings of Leon. 

I am not sure if it is a concerted effort to improve the public perception of her, or just a string of lucky coincidences? Whatever it is, this new, fun and increasingly musical Gwyneth should definitely stay!

Speaking of cool, how fabulous were these Christian Louboutin shoes she wore to the Grammy's? Go Gwyneth!


What do you think?

Five of the Best: Men's Hi-Tops

Mr Musing loves a good pair of retro inspired hi-tops and right now there are some amazing pairs in the shops, from relatively inexpensive ones through to some eye-wateringly priced designer 'statement' offerings. If a pair of trainers doesn't come up above the shin, right now I am just not interested.

So keep those ankles warm with these beauties...

The High-End: These hi-tops from Lanvin just look pure class - although for the price I feel they should actually do the walking for you! The copper coloured patent leather and contrasting suede detailing stands out for being different to many of the other trainers I have seen. From the Spring/Summer 2011 collection, expect them to be upwards of £350.

Update: Okay, so while on holiday to Puerto Banus I succumbed to the beauty of these Lanvin hi-tops (below) and completely blew my budget buying myself a pair. 

I went for the silvery-grey colour as I figured I would get more wear out of them (I was coming up with any old excuse once I had tried them on). Unfortunately they don't actually do the walking for you but they do make you feel absolutely fabulous. 

The Collaboration: This pair of Alexander Mcqueen for Puma 'Descent' hi-tops made me a very happy boy at Christmas and are my favourite pair of trainers at the moment.

With interesting shapes and a comfortable cushioned ankle, you can wear these night or day. They also come with neon orange laces, which means you can choose to make a real stand-out statement. £225.

The Understated: These Converse 'OS Academy Hi' trainers are clean and fresh in white leather, with contrasting red textile stripe detailing. A simple design, yet you'll stand out from the crowd wearing these. £65

The Sporty: I just loved the simplicity of these 'highrise' trainers from Adidas Originals. The gold detailing contrasts nicely with the grey leather and they feature unobtrusive perforated adidas stripes. £62

The High Street: 
Okay, okay so AllSaints is not exactly the cheapest high street store but these vintage-look 'Lincoln' hi-tops are great for perfecting that scruffy care-free look. £95

What do you think?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

London Fashion Week 2011

Dress sizes dropped, stitches sewn, cameras at the ready and tantrums thrown... London Fashion Week 2011 is here and it's the UK's turn to showcase its creative talent.

Whether it be for heritage labels Burberry and Mulberry, rising stars Erdem and J W Anderson or the first British showing by Tom Ford - fashionistas, celebs and those just lucky enough to get a ticket will get a first-hand preview of what we will be wearing this Autumn/Winter.

I thought I'd show you these wonderful photos, from photographer and friend Greg Jackson, who brilliantly captured a mixture of models and generally fabulous-looking people outside Somerset House earlier this week.

You can see more of Greg's work on his website Greg Jackson Photography. Also, look out for a Q&A with Greg here at Mr Musing, which will be posted next week.

To celebrate London Fashion Week 2011 and the fact I have a week off work, there will be a distinctly sartorial feel at Mr Musing with a fashion related post each day this week. 

The 'Five of the Best' feature will return, this time looking at the best men's hi-tops; there will be a feature on a British designer and I'll take a look at some of the highlights from London Fashion Week 2011 as it progresses.

What do you think?

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Jimmy Choo Men's Collection: Don't Men Deserve Some Glamour Too?

Jimmy Choo, the footwear brand that produces glamorous shoes women love to covet, is to launch a range of men's shoes this summer.

Apparently pitched at the man in a Jimmy Choo wearing woman's life, it is a (relatively) masculine collection of loafers, evening slippers, hi-tops, biker boots and even a pair of croc Hunter wellies.

I must say, I am not blown away by what I am seeing so far. Apart from maybe a few of the hi-tops and the paisley patterned slippers, they look a bit, well, average to be honest. Not that I like the slippers, I actually think they are hideous. In fact the whole collection is boring.

It's just not what I would have expected from a fashion brand that gives women the likes of these fabulous black and orange patent stilleto's. I was hoping for some more colour, something a little more edgy at least and which would set them apart from other men's shoes. 

Surely we men deserve something a bit more exciting than a pair of black buckled croc shoes, however well made or high quality they are? I couldn't really tell them apart from a pair of Church's or Tod's and there is nothing that shouts Jimmy Choo, which is disappointing. 

Maybe, as I have no Jimmy Choo wearing women in my life, I am just not who they are aiming for, but I think they have missed a trick.

What do you think of them?

What do you think?

Brixton: Bringing the Shutters Down in Style

Until recently, like in many areas of London, if you walked through the streets of central Brixton after the shops had closed you'd be met by rows of imposing grey steel shutters.

Many businesses rank the protection of their livelihoods higher than any aestetic impact and these ugly looking barricades, whilst offering security, make many of our streets look like barren ghost towns after dark.

Recently however, the drab-looking shutters along the streets of Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Road in Brixton, South London have been brightened up.

Shops such as Brixton Wholefoods, Atlantic Meat Market, BEM Music and Clear Prints Digital have been transformed with colourful and interesting grafitti art.

The man responsible, Malarky, is a street artist, originally from South London and his work has been featured on shop shutters in Madrid and Barcelona, where he lived until recently.

I think that they are great and bring an interesting dimension to the streets of Brixton. Hopefully some of the other businesses will follow suit.

What do you think?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Amazing Artist Paolo Troilo: See Him In Action

A few years ago, I wrote on my old blog about an amazing artist I came across when holidaying in Positano, Italy. 

His name is Paolo Troilo, he's from Italy and his work still gives me a tingle down my spine whenever I see it. When i came across this video (below) showing him painting I just had to feature him on my blog again.

Paolo Troilo paints with his hands, creating for me the most powerful self portraits I have ever seen. 

His work is so physical and emotive and I could never tire of looking at his many paintings, each one telling me a story of anguish, struggle and frustration. 

It's interesting to see in the video how he goes about creating something so powerful and using his hands instead of a brush adds to the rawness of his work. 

I hope Paolo exhibits in London one day, so I can see more of his work up close. They may look amazing on the screen but look even more mesmerising in real life. 

It is still my ambition to own one of his pieces and two years after seeing that painting in Positano, he is still my favourite artist.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Rihanna: Pop's Hardest Working Star?

Rihanna Fenty, the seriously sexy Barbadian superstar has released the video for her new single 'S&M' from her latest album 'Loud' and it's sure to join her growing list of hit songs.

Featuring pink latex, blow-up dolls, lace stockings, whips and Rihanna seductively eating a banana - the video might sound tacky but it's actually playful and fun and I love it, although it will probably split opinion (for those that care). Check it out below:

While most stars are content with releasing three or four tracks from their albums, Rihanna seems to be trying to break some kind of record for the number of singles she can release from any one album. And boy does she pump the albums out - five in five years, with a total of 40 tracks (and counting) released across them all. That doesn't mean that her albums are full of fillers either - the vast majority go on to become huge sellers. 

So is Rihanna at risk of over-exposure? Well no it seems. There is no shortage of stars wanting to collaborate with her, she has recently appeared on songs with Eminem, David Guetta and Kanye West as well as working with the likes of Drake and Nicki Minaj. Phew.


Rihanna is never out of the charts in the UK, nor in the US, and not content with just one top ten single, she often occupies multiple positions at the same time. If she is over exposed then the public doesn't seem to notice, or mind. 
Her video shoots, single promotions, endorsments, round the world headlining tours and her charity work must mean that Rihanna is surely the hardest working girl in pop?

What do you think?
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