Even more surprised is the amiable local tabloid writer, who I get parked next to, when I tell her I write reviews under an anonymous pseudonym. Why would anyone not want a “personal brand” and a readership she must wonder. She bemoans the lack of “visibility” working for a local tabloid, the name of which I hadn’t heard. Clearly she has the same desire for publicity as the myriad of others around her.
The problem with food reviewers from the local rag is that more often than not they are bound by a code of conduct to censor, tone-down and objectify what they write. In most cases, they have a distinctively positive bias, “local papers for local restuarants” as the saying goes. The second and the more repugnant problem is that if you are a journalist of any merit, you have to deal with the constant sycophantic and pandering PR beings, who rattle off their Curriculum Vitaes and their rolodex without skipping a beat. Ok, maybe I am being a little too harsh, but my morose, cynical nature is a misfit in this sea of maxi dresses, stilettos and “pinky-up” wine drinkers.
It’s only finger food on this occasion at Myx, but it’s enough to prompt the most bitter accusations of style over substance. The veg sliders in multi-coloured buns are made with “natural flavourings” the waiter tells us. I can’t see any aesthetic virtue in fluorescent pink and blue buns which would have been better suited to those vacuous, chichi females in the corner. From a taste perspective, it all went downhill after I had to pull out a stringy piece of tomato skin from my first mouthful. The fried kale and cheese dippers served in shot glasses were on the lower side of mediocre, with nothing able to balance out the bitterness of the kale.
I was searching for a word to describe the truffle risotto, and a voice across the table came back: “Khichdi”. This wasn’t risotto, this was overcooked, stodgy rice – version of the Indian dish Khichdi. It also had an overbearing taste of garlic, enough to make even my dining partner grimace. The sweet potato dim-sums were bizarre and were always destined to disappoint after I had spent the previous evening gnawing on the unlimited dim-sum at Hakkasan.
I did have a sip of the Smokey Cocktail served in an elaborate pipe shaped glass. Good lord! I brought myself from a tee-total state to try what tasted like car radiator fluid with a chaser of methylated spirit. This is how I imagine an old-age Russian Mafia initiation scene might be played out in a dark room where men in suits hold a young Vladimir under duress. “Mr Vladimir, now it’s time to introduce you to a potent smokey cocktail. If you can handle this, Vladimir, the finest Russian hookers and the country’s supply of Vodka will be at your fingertips.”
Back to the place, although not remarkable, it is well done-out. However some basic praticalities have been overlooked. For example, the fact there is only one “unisex” toilet for a restaurant of 80 covers is a nuisance and left me close to asphyxia from the musky perfume overdose of the lady before. The service was haphazardous and failed the dropped cutlery test as practiced by our professional friends over at Michelin.
Myx is yet another place that has sparked my militant tendencies and now I’m just waiting for the chorus of placating voices: “Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up” and say something nice for once.
Sorry, not this time around.