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Economically designed for eating

edendum pizza and salad

On a surprisingly quiet Friday evening in Brighton last week, while desperately avoiding restaurants we’d already been to, my Mum and I came across this unassuming Italian café-restaurant-cum-food shop. It wasn’t our first choice on the street, but rather our realistic choice since our first choice was the vegetarian restaurant Terre À Terre, which from one past experience we already knew would tell us they were fully booked even as we looked at a restaurant with the majority of its tables empty.

But for its visible popularity with early-evening diners like ourselves and its Latin name, we would have easily passed Edendum by. But any doubts about the place that I had were soon quashed by the friendliness of the waiter, who welcomed us in with a smile and offered to hang up my coat on the coat pegs on the other side of the room as I looked bemusedly at the coat pegs directly above our table, and by the delicious food. We shared a seafood-laden Pizza Gennaro (£13.95) and a salad (£13.65) with a mouthful of a name – Spinaci freschi, arancia, melograno, caprino e salmone marinato – and my Mum had a Peroni Nastro Azzurro beer (£4.00).

I liked how the menu tried to be exciting without being unpretentious. By that I mean the dessert menu had a seriously tempting Gelato caldo (lit. “hot ice cream”), which I suspected was less innovative that it sounded but still marked it down on my eat-list, and yet the salad that we ordered was advertised in the menu as Chinese dishes often are, where what you see is what you get. And now, in the process of reviewing the restaurant, I’ve also discovered that the San Marzano tomatoes used to make the pizza base are, according to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, “considered by many chefs to be the best of its kind in the world”. Edendum is as quality-conscious as its wall-printed brand concept blurb claims to be.

The squids, mussels, mini octopus, and crevettes atop the pizza were cooked to juicy tenderness, and the only drawback was the inability to eat the pizza after cutting it into slices without the aid of cutlery. But if you think of the pizza as a seafood dish with an edible plate, then by Jove that plate is tasty! I am not a fan of pizza crust nor a fan of salad with fruit in it that isn’t fruit salad, but the gutsy flavours of the salad – the saltiness of the capers and marinated salmon, the tart orange slices, the sweet pomegranate seeds, and the hint of bitterness from the spinach – when eaten with the pizza crust served to liven up my mouthfuls of plain pizza dough.

edendum

I liked the simple and considerate décor and space-saving layout of the place. Besides a modern bar dining-area the restaurant was also brightly lit by what looked like torches covered with transparent candle-extinguishers. I don’t like dimly-lit restaurants where you find it difficult to make out what you’re eating and feel like it’s bedtime, so this aspect of the restaurant scored an instant “like” from me as I took my seat. Our table had a small bright orange vase with a small flower bouquet arranged by the students of St. John’s School and College, a school for autistic children. This was my first encounter with one of the institutions my agency sponsors, and I was happy to see Edendum supporting it too. A few wooden steps at the back led to the toilets, one female one male, sharing two sinks outside and the male cubicle entered by a wooden screen door. The toilets were kept clean, airy, and odourless – they were not just a semblance of cleanliness created by overpowering air fresheners. The only improvement I would make is to fill up the shelves a bit more – they are too vacant at the moment to look inviting.

To sum our evening up, it was spent in a well-thought-out area for people to enjoy a good meal in, which filled up quickly as the evening progressed. When we arrived the other diners were seated near the front door, at the bar area or at the tables by the street-facing window. By the time we left, several more groups had entered, including a large group with children occupying several tables at the back. It was an animated atmosphere that we left, and one that we would be happy to rejoin in the future.

Find Edendum at: 69 East Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1HQ

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My Brazilian Culture Trip

The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics may be over but the Paralympics are about to start (7–18 September), and my exploration of Brazil continues. It struck me towards the end of the Olympics that the only Brazilian food I ever had tried was bolitas, which is actually called pão de queijo, so having begun my further tasting of Brazil with some awful-tasting spicy chilli samba and Brazilian salsa style Pringles – the former was boring and the latter was too salty, though I was too hyped up to admit to their faults before – here are some better ways to get into the Rio spirit.

Continue reading

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In search of England

If you’re looking to holiday “at home” in England this summer, as many are doing because of Brexit and terrorism, think about York! Not only is it one of the most English-feeling cities I’ve stayed in, but this city has many layers of history and a laidback attitude that Londoners lack, and is now my 2nd favourite city in England after London. Whereas previous places I’ve stayed in have been good for transport connections but were themselves unexciting, York ticks both boxes and more. Continue reading

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David Bourdon

Art critic David Bourdon’s description of the wrapping and unwrapping concept behind the art of the married couple Christo & Jeanne-Claude.

“Revelation through concealment.”

More about Christo & Jeanne-Claude: They re-evaluated landscapes all around the world and were a truly international duo: Christo was born in Bulgaria, Jeanne-Claude in Morocco; they met in Paris; and they made New York City their home. Jeanne-Claude died in 2008 and is survived by Christo, whose latest work is Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in Italy. Here’s a “true story” about the French sculptor Auguste Rodin that Christo told The Daily Telegraph last Saturday to offer a parallel to his art:

“The French sculptor Rodin had a commission to do the figure of Balzac, In the first version, Balzac was totally naked – big belly, skinny legs and many details. And what he did, Rodin, he took the cape of Balzac, put it in liquid plaster, and shrouded the figure – basically, highlighted the principle proportions of Balzac.”

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Li Jinyuan

Chairman of Tiens Group who recently paid for 3,000 employees to holiday in Spain and will be paying 10,000 to go to Bali in September, when talking on CNN about US-China relations and cultural exchange, quoted this Chinese proverb.

一加一大于二

one plus one is greater than two

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Book break #1: The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Yesterday I read Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, after watching the new live-action Disney film version earlier on this month. It had been on my bookshelf for years, yet I had avoided reading it out of my prejudice against ugly book covers. Yes, the image beneath the cover is the same. Compared to the live-action film, in the book Mowgli is more wild, the animals are less adorable, and we hear and see more of humans.

Me being me, I had to dig for more. Continue reading

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50 years since the Great Cultural Revolution

Today is the 50th anniversary of the start of China’s Great Cultural Revolution (文化大革命). May 16th is considered to be the start because on this day began a purge of the Politburo. Instigated by Mao Zedong, it lasted for 10 years (1966-1976) and aimed to destroy the Four Olds (四旧) or perceived enemies of Chinese culture: new customs, new habits, new culture and new thinking. It was not only western, capitalist ideas that were banned – traditional Chinese cultural traditions were also banned, including Chinese opera. The devastation of this art form is poignantly portrayed in the film Farewell My Concubine (霸王别姬), which you can watch, with English subtitles, on YouTube.

The government is not commemorating this date, but it is being freely discussed by the people on social media, and the South China Morning Post has created a special feature on the “Cultural Revolution, 50 years on”.

This is not surprising. Although there has been a revival in Maoist culture in certain parts of China, notably in Luoyang, and a new patriotic girl group called 56 Flowers (五十六朵花) was formed last year, the official reception of this period is far from warm. It was a decade of oppression, and a far cry from the brief period of liberalisation during the Hundred Flowers Campaign (百花运动) in 1956. If you were a class enemy, you would be sent to the countryside, imprisoned, sent to a labour camp, or executed. Ping Fu, now one of Obama’s tech advisors, was among them, and luckily fled China for the USA. Ding Xueliang, Social Science professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, was a Red Guard who became disillusioned with the movement and was sent to the countryside. The government admitted the tragedy the Cultural Revolution in 1981, namely that it brought to the Chinese nation and people “the most grave calamity and internal turmoil” (严重灾难的内乱), in a Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China (关于建国以来党的若干历史问题的决议), the full text of which can be found here. Read it in English here.

So what was it like, to live in the Cultural Revolution? Continue reading