So after much deliberation, I’ve decided on this year’s challenges.
This next year is going to be a bit of a rollercoaster, and keeping myself exploring is going to be harder than ever.
So here’s one I plan on doing at home… Cooking with 28 different herbs and spices, in an effort to train my tastebuds.
Secondly, I’m planning on hunting out 28 works of art over the next year, to try and improve my knowledge of the history of art. Some will be famous masters, some will be chosen because they speak to me, or move my education on.
And thirdly, I’m going to read 28 Roald Dahl books. I’ve been a lifelong fan of Roald Dahl, but its been years since I read him. So I’m planning on digging out both his adult collection and his children collection, and working my way through his catalogue.
So, there you have it.
Challenge 27 is complete.
I felt like I really hit a rhythm this year – all of the tasks were evenly spaced out throughout the year, and I didn’t have to rush any of them.
Japanese restaurants turned out to be expensive, but fantastic.
Here are my top five from the year:
The cocktails challenge was great fun – something I’m going to try and keep up. In fact, it helped me find my new go-to drink. The Aviation.
A few of the Nairn’s buildings turned out to be difficult to track down, I was glad to see them all the same. This one really exposed just how little I know about architecture. But I’m glad I did it all the same – it has made me more interested in the subject than I was.
My top five highlights:
Like every year before, I’ve taken 27 photos that best sum up the year. They’re here on Flickr.
And with that, onto next year…
Restaurant: Nobu, Old Park Ln
Time: Friday evening
Stand-out dish: Hamachi with jalapeno
A strong finisher. Nobu is a Japanese icon in London – one of the most scene-y places of the nineties. You get the impression nothing has changed since then – the menu, the staff, the decor. The interior – all light wood, frosted glass and brushed metal – certainly feels dated. But the food is outstanding. We opted for the omakase – me classic, Wist vegetarian. Dish after dish of first-rate fare. My favourite was the hamachi with jalapeno, but it could have equally been the black cod with miso, the seared tuna sashimi salad, even the green tea icecream and chocolate fondant. Nobu probably isn’t the best Japanese meal of this challenge, but it’s certainly up there.
#27. Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley
One I’m particularly fond of to finish. Hidden behind a peeling pink door, in a Whitechapel side alley, sits the oldest surviving music hall in the world. Inside, the entire space has been gloriously preserved in a state of ruin. Cast iron solomonic columns support the creaking balcony overhead. Crumbling masonry for every wall. The building was rescued by Frances Mayhew, who managed to secure funding for its refurbishment and introduce a stellar arts programme. A couple of years ago, in front of the stage, I asked Wist to marry me. I love this place.