Friday, 11 January 2008
I'm going to read out a list of dishes found on the lunch menu at Bogayo, and I'd like you to decide what kind of cuisine they serve there:
Penne served with red peppers and pesto sauce (Italian! Easy)
Merguez sausages and haricot beans cassoulet served with mash[sic] potato (Oh, er, Italian-French then. Mediterranean?)
Moules et frites (Is that Belgian?)
Cumberland sausages with mashed potato, onion and red wine jus (England!?)
Lamb Tagine: Lamb shank coated in Moroccan aromatic sauce with prunes, roasted almonds and sesame seeds (Help!)
That's right! You guessed it - in a city tired of the same old fusion experiments, Bogayo is forging a brave path with its revolutionary "Italian-French-Belgian-English-Moroccan" menu. To hell with centuries of culinary traditions across Europe, clearly what London has been waiting for all these years is a restaurant that attempts one dish from every corner of Europe and cooks them all equally poorly.
It's a menu that makes your heart sink just looking at it. What were they thinking? What kind of kitchen could possibly believe they could serve all these wildly different styles of cuisine to anything like an acceptable level? I should have made my excuses and left the moment its full horror was revealed to me, but with my adoring blog-reading public in mind (ha!) and With a due sense of extreme trepidation and dread I chose a halloumi sandwich and moules frites. The sandwich was dull as dishwater, the kind of thing any caff in the capital could rustle up in minutes, the salad coated in a dressing that tasted suspiciously like something out of a bottle - gloopy and sweet. Moules Frites, to be fair, weren't the worst in the world. They weren't fresh mussels - obviously - but the sauce was light and herby and the chips although not frites (they were big fat ones) had a good texture. But they were just so uninspiring. A friend's squid and chorizo dish was incredibly sweet and cloying - not pleasant at all.
I'm going to stop now because I'm determined not let the memory of Bogayo linger any longer than strictly necessary. It's a place so poorly conceived and serving such mediocre food I can't believe it's survived longer than a couple of days. But there it squats on Old Street, taking up valuable real-estate in an area of Shoreditch building an otherwise well-deserved reputation for gastronomic excellence (The Fox and The Princess are just round the corner). Do yourself and our great city a favour, and never ever go to Bogayo.