Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Curse of the Squint and other such tales

It’s unfortunate that I cannot include “being photogenic” in my list of resume hobbies and interests.  I should however start including “beach volleyball enthusiast” in this section as I understand such a skill set exponentially increases your chance of being offered an interview (and at workplaces other than American Apparel) by approximately 94 percent. 

I specialise in The Awkward Profile Shot (a difficult sight with my twice broken nose) and like the mix it up with a wide-open jaw laugh and squint combo.  My school photo album runs a little like a flick book of Geek Chic maxi frames accosting a human face.  My most recent effort, a professional head shot, turned out to reveal more about the spaced out side effects of my hay fever medication than in did my avid pursuit of professional success.

 I can't blame that wayward fringe or my eye sight impediment for failing to
 correctly identify the location of the camera on tripod.
But, I’m not alone.  I share this mantel with any dish of Thai food I have tried to photograph in London. Even good Thai food.   Curry always looks shiny, stir-fries lose and sauces all about the same level of tan as the next. Donna Hay would be appalled with so many shades of brown.

This disappoints me because the smell steaming up from a plate of  Chu Chi Salmon renders me ravenous.  The sound of Poo Nim Thai Herb breaking it’s soft-shell in your mouth makes me want to discard the rules of human consumption decency and munch from two hands. But on film, why salmon do you look so oily (toner and primer please!)?  Puddles on Film?

Rosa's Poo Nim Thai Herb
I ask then that you don’t judge these madly tasty dishes from London’s Rosa’s on their photos. Pad Thai, would probably not break too many hearts in the online dating world of in photo form alone. But, I assure you, Pad is an accomplished musician, saucy, hot and she’s amazing at beach volleyball. 

Gai Satay, Thai Calamari and Poo Nim Thai Herb at Rosa's Soho.
I have two favourite Thai restaurants in London and I’m a flippant flirt between the two as my fancy or location sways.  Rosa’s (Spitalfields (12 Hanbury Street, London, E16QR) and Soho (48 Dean Street, London, W1D5BF)) is my top London Thai pick.  It’s no Longrain, but I realise after 5 years living outside Australia, I need to let go of Executive Chef Martin Boetz’s Thai and Southern Chinese influenced menu as my holy standard of Asian city dining.  I’m going to take a moment though to remember the caramelised pork hock with five spice and chili vinegar…good times, good times.

Pad Thai noodles with chicken,
But back to Rosa’s, it’s a solid, rich, spiced hit of flavour every time.  I have an affinity to the original in Spitalfields, but often leave uncomfortably full and restricted in the rudimentary East London skinny jean   uniform after the pleasure of a Rosa's meal.  Whilst never endorsing them in any environment, those fisherman's pants erroneously purchased (in full contravention of better judgement as to your capacity to pull off ethnic clothing) in Phi Phi years ago might have some benefit after all. That Red Bull t-shirt does not.  No.
Chu Chi Salmon...air brushing doesn't even help her.
Although every other week, it’s Cool Monkey in Holland Park (6 Clarendon Road, London, W11 3AA) which holds Thai taste supremacy for me.  It does not, however, hold my memory.  I often forget its name and morph this local back-street find into Arrogant Gorilla, Cheating Chimp or Chunky Monkey (the latter worries me the most, simply substituting one brand for another, courtesy of Ben & Jerry, is testament to the effectiveness of advertising or ice cream on a malleable mind).  
Beef Pad Prig Daeng, not even trying to work the camera.
Despite being in Holland Park, Cool Monkey is low key and affordable, the plates are generous and the staff are the happy. They are the kind sort of people you just want to hug as you say good bye (don’t worry guys, I’ll withhold).  Service can be a little slow, but it's good, not amazing, good Thai.  It’s my quality local so perhaps I’m bias…things do tend to taste better on a Sunday night when available a mere block from your front door.  

OK, seems Australian light works slightly better for my photographic relationship with Thai food.
Pearl, Melbourne, Thai style crispy prawn salad.
I’m also told trekking a little further from chez moi may prove interesting. Suhko Thai in Fulham is, my sources tell me, a serious London Thai supremacy, not health.  Perhaps I can develop some sort of Hefner style time share arrangement between the three?  It's a telling concept that food consumption for me is analogous to a debauched sexual calendar of an ageing porn magnate. I'm not quite clear what it says, but I'm sure those waiters at Cheating Chimp are questioning my convivial smiles and satisfied murmurs.  Suhko Thai, I've scheduled you for Tuesday.  Your place, not mine. Let’s just leave the cameras at home…oh no, not that angle…delete it, delete it!!! 

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