Exchange (2013)

Right all the time.

Who else expected a little bit more from 2013? Who else got that little bit more and almost immediately realised that being excessive, totally unrestrained and superfluous wasn't particularly attractive at all? Nevertheless, I trust that you've all had your fair share of highlights while I've been fine-tuning the art of stepping back to 'within normal limits' and regaining a tad more balance and momentum in my life. Speaking of highlights...

Still listening intently

Eli Verveine -

This lady possesses just the right amount of sensitivity, which always translates well when listening to her carefully considered mixes. One of Zurich's finest DJ's.

Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana - Mehliana -

Now that was what you would call an incredible live performance from this highly accomplished duo at the Barbican Centre for The EFG London Jazz Festival. Some might say they 'smashed it'. The only thing I'd like to add to that is this: they made it look so easy.

Axel Boman -

The grand daddy of clever and cool, standing out like a king amongst men in today's seemingly flailing DJ circuit. Whilst others are flagging, Mr Boman, you give me hope for tomorrow and better days to come.

Floating Points -

Smartie pie - Sam Shepherd of Eglo Records remains to be a crystalline clear favourite of mine over and over again. Well done to Pitt Cue Co. for playing Floating Points during a historic meal, which mainly consisted of bone marrow mash. It was like a dream. And the bone marrow mash wasn't bad either.

Lanterns On The Lake -

When I'm not listening to Daughter, I'm busy wondering what life would be like if I listened to Lanterns On The Lake, in a similar 'almost exclusively' fashion instead. It's a tough one.

Daniel Avery -

If my memory serves me correctly, some of those hazy flashbacks refresh the full force of Daniel Avery as 'StopMakingMe' at Fabric in 2009. Fly forward to 2013 and he finally emerges as one of the strongest artists of the last few years, gaining the recognition he downright deserves with his album 'Drone Logic'. If you, like me and Avery call yourselves part of the 'Breezeblock' generation, what lies ahead may just be as exciting and mind-bending as those unforgettable sounds that so many of us used to stay up all night for, just to explore and capture onto magnetic tape, a brief history of the foundations of modern day electronic music and its masterpieces.

Still moving in their own way

The Gardener's Cottage - Edinburgh

La Fromagerie - Fleur de chevre, black olive crackers, a glass of Sancerre. You could get used to it.

Kirazu - One man with a lot of work on his hands. I think Chef Yuya Kikuchi pulls it off rather gracefully. Expect some competent cooking with clean flavours on the regular.

The Quality Chop House - Utterly professional. I liked the ceps, puffball, parfait and pig skin. Do you think they do lessons in how to set up and run a successful restaurant?

Bright Courtyard Club - My personal preference above many other contenders. Join Bright Courtyard Club and contribute towards the global drive to outlaw cheap tasting Chinese food.

Koya Bar - Immaculate and addictive. Koya just keeps going from strength to strength.

Timberyard - Edinburgh 

Gujarati Rasoi - This post reveals all. 

Spuntino - Perfect panzanella as well as good old-fashioned no-nonsense hospitality from the staff.

Little Social - Dear Caragh and Alex - Thank you for this wonderful meal. I couldn't get a word in edgeways, but that's ok as neither could Daniel, nor anybody else... x

Upstairs at the Ten Bells - That fig oil, jam and fig tart with crème fraiche. On that dessert alone, the team at Upstairs at the Ten Bells can kiss the future.

Koya Bar

Timberyard - Edinburgh - Absolutely spot on. This place may cause a few of you to get more than a little excited. With its innovative food and cocktail menu, along with a beautiful interior space (still smelling of the saw mill and full of character), I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes almost impossible to get in on weekends without booking weeks in advance.

Trangallan - From start to finish, the choice of ingredients and cooking demonstrate a higher level of thinking than what you may be accustomed to experiencing at neighbourhood restaurants. Believe me, a find such as Trangallan in Newington Green is one to hold onto for dear life.

Six Eight Kafe - Six Eight Kafe can be classified as one of 5 official safe havens in Birmingham. I could tell you about the other ones, but surely part of the thrill lies in finding those places for yourself? Birmingham is now a distant memory as I've come back home to the big big smoke. During my time there though, Six Eight sure gave me something to remember, by keeping me sufficiently cool during those hot summer months with their perfect cold brew coffee.

The Gardener's Cottage - Edinburgh. Saving the best for last. The Gardener's Cottage is the antidote to all those disappointing meals and banal food trends you've been subjected to in the past few months. Let me know if you find any places similar to this. We loved the game faggot, green bean and pak choi, as well as the smoked duck, yoghurt, charred vegetable and celeriac as part of a 6 course dinner (plus a few extra surprises thrown in for good measure). Crowdie and rye bread ice cream sandwich with rhubarb was a superb end to my most memorable meal of 2013. Just feast your eyes on their daily changing menus for brunch, lunch and dinner. If charm is what you're looking for then this is your place to be. Dive in.

Upstairs at The Ten Bells

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