The boat that rocked

Bloc Festival has amassed a typically stellar array of electronic music acts for its annual ‘rave-up’ this weekend (July 06-07).

Snoop Dogg and Orbital headline Friday and Saturday nights respectively, ably supported by the likes of Gary Numan, Battles, Four Tet, Squarepusher and Nathan Fake, to name but a few.

This year, however, Bloc has left its humble surroundings of Butlins holiday camp, and set up shop within the capitals latest renovation project – the London Pleasure Gardens.

Originally named The Royal Victoria Gardens back in 1851, this large communal space was once used by people from all walks of life to come and immerse themselves in the culture that made their city great.

Now, thanks to Newham Council, the site has been redeveloped into a 21st Century version of the historic Gardens in time for the Olympics.

Bloc is the premier music festival to be staged at the Pleasure Gardens this summer, and is the ‘flagship’ in more ways than one…

An innovative Swiss-born sonic artist (known as ‘Blo’), and his team of forward-thinking buddies, have converted

an 80m deep-sea fishing vessel that was once owned by the German Democratic Republic before the collapse of Communism.

MS Stubnitz will drop anchor at Bloc this weekend and help play host to some of the most immersive audio-visual spectaculars Bloc has ever curated.

Day tickets can be snapped up on the festival website, along with more useful information and some alluring videos.

The Daytime Eating Guide to: The City of London


Amongst the narrow alleyways, medieval churches and modern skyscrapers that make up London’s financial district, there exists a wealth of foodie establishments especially in the area around Bank station.  Whether you commute into the square mile every day or are just planning a short business trip, here are a few refreshment stops to provide sustenance between meetings.

Where to eat breakfast

Hawksmoor Guildhall, 10-12 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ
If you like a meaty breakfast and have time for a decadent morning meal, this is the spot for you.  Options include steak and eggs and a full English breakfast that has both black pudding and grilled bone marrow.  If you prefer something lighter you can choose pancakes or mushrooms on toast.  Fresh juices and velvety smooth coffee make this one of the best brunch spots in London.

Nusa Kitchen, 2 Adams Court, off Old Broad Street, EC2N 1DW
For a light (and quick) breakfast choice seek out Nusa Kitchen.  Here you can find an inventive breakfast menu including chilli cheese toastie as well as organic porridge and muesli.

Taylor St Baristas, 125 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1AR
If all you require to power you through to lunch is a good shot of caffeine then head to this spacious café for a well-crafted coffee. Even the decaffeinated beverages slip down easily with lingering liquorice notes leaving you longing for a second cup.

Where to eat lunch

Nusa Kitchen, 2 Adams Court, off Old Broad Street, EC2N 1DW
If you only have time for a spot of soup at your desk then head here for a range of nutritious soups that change on a weekly basis. Most soups have an Asian twist such as Goan chickpea and spinach. Arrive before midday if you want to avoid the lengthy queues outside the


Le Relais de Venise, 5 Throgmorton Street, EC2N 2AD
For a lunch with (omnivorous) colleagues this bistro offers only one option on the menu – steak and chips. It’s little piece of brusque Paris with tender steak, crisp chips and a secret buttery, green sauce.

Where to go for a mid afternoon snack

Paul A Young, 20 Royal Exchange, Threadneedle Street, EC3V 3LP
To beat that mid-afternoon drop in sugar levels try a salted caramel (or two) from one of the UK’s finest chocolatiers.  This tiny shop sells mouth-watering seasonal creations such as passion fruit and vanilla ganache as well as hot chocolate that bubbles away in a soup kettle in the corner.

by Reena Pastakia  blog: twiiter: @Coconutraita


Primavera Sound 2012

Sunshine, beaches and San Miguel throw on a little music and you’ve got yourself a rather tasty weekend.

Primavera Sound takes place this weekend at the Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain and we’re excited to be going along. With cheap car repairs acts such as The CureThe xxDeath Cab For Cutie and Justice you kind of wonder who wouldn’t be.

Check out our review from last year where Pulp stole the show and tell us you don’t wish you were there.

If you’re sticking on closer shores this weekend then check out this Primavera playlist put together by Pretty Much Amazing

For Queen and Curry

With both the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee this year, food trends agency thefoodpeople is predicting a rise in demand for classic British dishes on menus. Following the Queen’s coronation sixty years ago however, it was Indian food that increased in popularity. At

the time and even now this can most clearly be seen in the creation of that classic British dish coronation chicken.

Coronation chicken was invented by Constance Spry (a florist who also helped with floral arrangements on the day of the coronation) for a luncheon hosted by the Queen following the ceremony. The recipe used cold chicken pieces in a creamy curry sauce with a well-seasoned dressed salad of rice, green peas and mixed herbs. Rationing was still in place and so herbs and spices were rare but curry powder was used as it had become popular through its use in British Army rations.

Curry powder itself is a Western invention and is unheard of in India. It is a non-standardised mixture of spices, in the same fashion that garam masala is a mixture. Although Indians use curry leaves (from the Murraya Koeniglii tree) in cooking, curry powder does not contain curry leaf. The distinct yellow colouring comes from the heavy reliance of turmeric and while there is nothing wrong with using curry powder, if you use the same blend of spices in every dish, your curries will always taste the same.

The years following the coronation saw a rapid growth in Indian restaurant numbers in Britain; by 1960 there were five hundred Indian restaurants in Britain but by 1970 this had grown to over one thousand. However those running the restaurants were often not Indian at all; until 1971 approximately three-quarters of ‘Indian’ restaurants in Britain were Pakistani owned. After Bangladeshi independence in 1971, the geographical distinctions became clearer, with over half of the restaurants being owned and managed by Bangladeshis.

Many of these chefs had learned their trade on the job. But in 1982 Taj International Hotels opened the Bombay Brasserie in Chelsea and a new class of chef was introduced backed by years of training in Taj and Oberoi management colleges. This led directly to the opening of other top class establishments in London such as Chutney Mary, Benares and the Michelin starred Tamarind. But the food served in these restaurants is no more traditional Indian home cooking than that served in the Bangladeshi owned restaurants of the 1970s. While Indian food was being spruced up for the well-groomed in central London, other patrons were discovering the joys of more authentic dishes in areas such as Tooting, Southall and Wembley. These dishes came from areas as diverse as South India, Lahore, Gujarat and Uganda.

Today the demand for Indian food is still increasing and while the top end restaurants seem recession proof there is a rise in popularity of street food such as that served at Dishoom or Chai Pani. To me this is the real food of India – the food my family in Surat (where the English merchants of the East India Company landed in 1608) eat on an evening out before going to the cinema.

by Reena Pastakia  blog: twiiter: @Coconutraita

If your in the mood for some authentic dishes that stray from the mainstream, Reena has listed a few here for you all to try out.

Hot Stuff:
Address: 23 Wilcox Rd, London SW8 2XA
Telephone: 020 7720 1480

Mirch Masala (several branches):
Address: 213 Upper Tooting Road, London SW17 7TG
Telephone: 0208 672 7500

Lahore Kebab House (several branches):
Address: 2-10 Umberstone Street, London E1 1PY
Telephone: 020 7481 9737

Chennai Dosa (several branches):
Address: 3 Ealing Road, Wembley HA0 2AA
Telephone: 020 8782 8822

Sloppy vs. Straight Edge

The burger hunter spins the wheel on what defines a good burger. In many reviews the importance of a burger buns structural integrity is put into question. This has nothing to do with the taste of such said item, but how it is going to handle half a pound of sweating beef, squelches of sauces, maverick mayos, and malevolent mustards. You can call in the lettuce for support, hope that a cross hatch of bacon slices will keep things in place – blast that bun if it falls apart.

Well I am here to say, fuck it I want a sloppy burger. Sure, sometimes you want a tight ass bun that gets to

grips with what your eating, but after having my way with a Umami burger at the Hawksmoor, all the chaos of its flavour enhanced items brought this burger to breaking point. Now maybe I was so high on fifth flavour fumes when the burger bun barrier broke, that I didn’t care anymore. Not a terse word passed my anchovy butter slicked lips, all the detritus dotted about my plate. The game wasn’t over, the towel was not thrown in. I picked up this goodness piece by piece, some bites were beef strong, others crisp from a shard of parmesan tuile. Fried mushrooms, sun-dried beef tomatoes and the newly donned king of burger cheeses, ogleshield- British raclette fantastic, but with its toes firmly dipped in the cheddar realm. My flavour zones went deep into dark fungal forests, into the night scent of tomato plants reaching for the moon, and let me brush my hands through lush green, cow filled meadows, all cud happy and productive.

Damn, this wasn’t supposed to be a review, but it damn near turned into one. Back to the sloppy. Now is it a skill to keep everything contained, is it too easy to get reckless? I think if you’re enjoying the taste so much, that when that inevitable break happens, it should not discourage you from picking up the pieces with relish. If that burger is such an animal it cannot be contained, then you shouldn’t change up the bun and miss out on its flavour and mouth feel. Now if the burger’s components are just slipping out due to negligent construction, then by all means reign on its parade, or if the bun is just a big fluffy puss, then no doubt bust its balls. To conform and make rigidity a critical point in the review of a burger, is to keep things way to straight edge and loses out on the divinity of this fine creation.
Get messy or keep it vertical, just make it tasty.

by Greg Nay, @TheBrokenSpork

New Music This Week: 09APR12

So the Easter bank holiday came and went again under a big black rain cloud, but cheer up, here are our highlights of new music this week.


The Track:

Ladyhawke – Sunday Drive

This is the second single to be taken from Pip Brown’s forthcoming album Anxiety, due out in May. The song premiered on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show last night.
While Ladyhawke’s new guitar-heavy pop sound is definitely catchy, it seems to lack the punch of her synth-laden debut. What do you think, should Pip have stuck with the electro sound or is she moving with the times by ditching it?

Links: Website / Facebook



The Artist:


Foxes, aka 22-year-old Louisa Rose Allen, is another incredible female singer to grace the 7” singles of Neon Gold Records. The indie label, which has previously put out singles by Marina & the Diamonds and Ellie Goulding, released Foxes’ debut single ‘Youth’ back in January. She will be following up with a new EP, ‘Warrior’ in June.

Links: Website / Facebook

Youth by iamfoxes

You can also download Foxes’ new track, ‘White Coats’ which is due for release in June, for free on Soundcloud here.


The Gig:

Simian Ghost

Who: Swedish indie trio Simian Ghost who last month released their debut album ‘Youth’ which you can listen to via the Soundcloud stream below.

When: Tuesday 10th April 2012
Where: Surya, 156 Pentonville Road
Tickets: £6 (+ fee) from See Tickets

Links: Event / Band Facebook

Youth by Simian Ghost


The Free Download:

Best Coast – The Only Place

Download the title track from Best Coast’s new album, out on 15th May, free using the link below

(Email sign-up required).

Links: Website / Facebook



New Music This Week: 02APR12

This week’s highlights of new music, new bands and gigs.

The Track:

Van She – Idea of Happiness

Aussie electropop band Van She had seemingly dropped off the face of the earth following their last release, a remixes EP, back in 2009. However, if you happened to visit their website recently you’d be greeted by a mysterious video of a hairy man on a sun bed followed by the text “What’s your idea of happiness?” Now they have revealed this teaser video is for their forthcoming second album, ‘Idea of Happiness’. The album is due for release on 9th July and the band posted the title track online to give us a taste of what’s to come.
Let us know what you think of it @theothersidemag


Van She – Idea Of Happiness by modularpeople

Links: Website / Facebook


The Album:

The Futureheads – Rant

Released 2nd April 2012

The Futureheads’ new album is

entirely a capella, quite a concept to get your head around, but what’s even more incredible is that it somehow works. Perhaps it is just the novelty of it, or that the simplicity offers a respite to overproduced chart pop. Either way you cannot help but be impressed by their talent as a capella singers and just that they had the balls to do it. Check out their cover of Black Eyed Peas ‘Meet Me Halfway’ taken from the album, below.


The Futureheads – Meet Me Halfway by WorkItMedia

Links: Website / Facebook


The Band:

900 Spaces

900 Spaces are a Brighton based four-piece specialising in infectious indie-pop tunes. Currently working on a new EP due out this summer, the band are showcasing some of their new material at Stop Look Listen at the Royal George in Soho on Tuesday 3rd April. Find out more here.


Shake it up by spaces_disco

Links: Band Facebook / Tickets to Stop Look Listen. £5 adv.


The Free MP3:

Bombay Bicycle Club – How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep (Tom Vek’s Big Beatnik Mix)

Tom Vek has remixed BBC’s forthcoming single, ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ (out next Monday, 9th April) and it available as a free download via the Soundcloud stream below.

Bombay Bicycle Club – How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep (Tom Vek’s Big Beatnik Mix) by Bombay Bicycle Club

Links: Website / Facebook

Review: Pitt Cue Co.

Are you a queue addict? Do you need to know about the latest line to join. Do you wonder where it will take you? I’ll give you an address, 1 Newburgh Street. There is an awesome line there, that starts around five thirty tonight and every other night for the foreseeable future (except Sundays). The wonderful whiff of barbecue gives it away, this is Pitt Cue Co. version 2.

At the end of the line or the beginning, whichever way you see it, is the start of a meal that feels like a performance, you buy drinks in plastic cups from the pub nearby while you wait, you chat to other people in the queue- share Pitt stories. When you make it to the front door, you are told how everything is going to work. If you timed it wrong you’ll have to wait in the bar, but that’s no bother, as the cocktails are a supremely advisable option at this point. Drain a Big Mac and Rye – a tweaked version of a Manhattan that keeps thing cool with a slug of pickle juice.

When its your turn you will be taken downstairs to your seats. The room is a cosy little dinning den. You will be hip to hip with other eaters, where you can’t help but strike up more conversations about drink choices, and dish decisions. Pitt Cue Co, last year a food truck under Hungerford Bridge; this year a bricks and mortar joint, that not only serves up its famous barbecue but now has room to breath and become a little more creative with its choice of  daily specials. With so much anticipation for this place and where people like me want to try everything on offer, they have included a double-up feature on the menu, get one of the mains and add an extra meat for a few quid more.

Let the meat fest commence. You are here to feel the lick of flame and the searing of flesh. There is nothing like being served your food in a tin tray. As a registered messy eater it keeps things contained; stacked ribs, rows of resting homemade sausage and piles of brisket did not lean or lurch out of their specified eating zone. Secreted meat juices don’t pass the curved metal lip, your bread has one corner and your side has the other. House pickles take up the middle row- you are now ready to eat.

My homemade sausage was heavy on the burn. The grind to fine, causing a quick chew that didn’t retain smoke sweat.  On par with the scorched nature of the sausage an intense seasoning was needed but unfortunately wasn’t there. St.Louis ribs were cooked to perfection

and had a subtle smoke. A hefty squeeze from the bottle of BBQ sauce on the table slicked the ribs in a strong sweet liquorice bent number that was addictive and yet gazumped me at the same time – star anise? Where’s the familiar tang I’m looking for in there? The second bottle on the table was a hot sauce that sung loud and proud, fresh as sin and similar in taste to sriracha sauce and with which I could not stop moping up using the fine wedge of sourdough bread

When I think of brisket, I’m into thick cuts of it tenderised by gelatinising collagen, all the better to chew through and let the taste expel itself into my mouth. But the brisket came in thin slivers that did’t let the great taste amalgamate. Maybe if this wasn’t my double-up option I would have got a larger cut. My side of burnt ends and mash, had a glorious level of meat liquor resting on top of a jam jar of stodgy mash. The other side was a chipotle slaw- it was mild and not enough natural sweet smoke flavour could be detected from the chipotle as it was neutralised by the sour cream that was plopped on top.

The bread and butter style pickles, hinted at something exotic, going slightly out their comfort zone and confirmed that this place is not just an American style BBQ establishment like it is compared to, but altogether heading in a new direction. The quandary I’m getting messed up in, is trying to compare it to the original thing, but its not, this is a whole new beast. This is evolution, and I’m just some kind of fuddy-duddy. For me everything had that one spice too many or an ingredient that need not be there. The technique is there and everything was cooked impeccably, I can’t knock that, but the reality for me is that the food feels like it is halfway through a transformation and hasn’t quite made it there yet.

by Greg Nay , @TheBrokenSpork

Pitt Cue Co.
1 Newburgh St W1F 7RB
Tel: 020 7287 5578

New Music This Week: 26MAR12

Here are our highlights of new music, new bands and gigs taking place

this week.


The Track:

Slow Club – The Dog
Released 26/03/12


The latest single to be taken from the Sheffield duo’s second album, Paradise.


Links: Website / Facebook

You can also download a free Tom Vek remix of The Dog here.


The Album:

Blood Red Shoes – In Time to Voices
Released 26/03/12


Another British two-piece, Blood Red Shoes return this with their third album, In Time to Voices.


Links: Website / Facebook


The Gig:

Laurel Collective

What: Laurel Collective follow a mini-tour of the UK with a four-date residency at Electricity Showrooms. Support comes from Peter and Kerry.
Where: Electricity Showrooms, Hoxton Square.
When: Tuesday, 8pm
Cost: FREE!

Here’s a free download of ‘They Hate Me.’ Laurel Collective’s first song from their forthcoming album Heartbeat Underground.

Laurel Collective – They Hate Me by LaurelCollective

Links:  Website / Facebook Event


The Band:

Fort Lean


Fort Lean are an exciting new indie-rock band from Brooklyn, championed by Neon Gold Records. The five  piece’s first release Sunsick is, ironically, the ideal accompaniment to these sunny spring days.


Links: Bandcamp / Facebook

New Music This Week: 19MAR12

Here are our highlights of new music, new bands and gigs taking place this week.


The Track:

Beach House – Myth

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Last week Beach House broke their social-networking silence to reveal a new track, Myth, with a new album Bloom due to be released on 5th May.





The Album:

The Shins – Port of Morrow (Released 20/03/12)

Five years since their last album, Wincing the Night Away, James Mercer returns from his Broken Bells side project, with a new-look Shins line-up.


Simple Song by The Shins


The Gig:

What: The Barfly based club night Jubilee has teamed up with Gin in Teacups to host a night of acoustic sessions this Friday.

Performances will be coming from Carl Barat, The Howling, The Jude, Toy Horses, and Kurran & the Wolfnotes.

Where: The Camden Barfly

When: 10.30pm Friday 23rd March

Cost: £5 in advance

Links: Official Facebook Group


The Band:

Wild Belle

There are not many hard facts to be found about Wild Belle on the internet, except that their track Keep You has caused quite a stir on music blogs both in the UK and in the US, and it has already achieved

airtime on Radio 1. It’s dreamy pop meets rocksteady, quite a combination.  We’re eagerly awaiting further tracks from the duo.