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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

Danang Vice

On a muggy Thursday afternoon I was dragged sniffing and sneezing to Notting Hill's ußer-hip 'Danang Vice' for the unnecessary torture of French/Vietnamese (did they ever get on?) cuisine - perfect for their ghastly clientele of guffawing Sloanes. This is no place for the purist but some classic dishes rose to the surface from the menu's murky depths of monkey, dog, leper and heavens knows what else they enjoy fobbing off on the rich and rude. I played it safe and, uncharacteristically, so did Michael who even managed to keep his insults down to a whisper. As usual he is already in full flow…

"In my opinion there are some things that should never be put together. A lit match and a bucket of petrol for example. Or white Burgundy and Munster. So I was somewhat upset this week to hear what John Travolta is planning as his next film project — Shakespeare. It seems that he has announced that his talent has now "matured" sufficiently to be able to tackle the Bard. To this end he is trying to set up a modern day version of As You Like It relocated to New York. Dear God! Is nothing sacred? Has nobody seen the utterly dire ‘Battlefield Earth’, which he produced and starred in? A film so appalling that even science fiction fans who will normally sit through any old rubbish hated it. And if you think that was a one-off then a look further back down the Travolta CV reveals the limp and insipid, ‘Phenomenon’ and the "Let’s get Jamie Leigh Curtis into a leotard" dross bucket that is rather ironically titled, ‘Perfect’. The man is a disaster area! Shakespeare must be turning in his grave so fast, there’s a danger he could drill down to Australia.

Bring me three portions of morels on toast will you? Topped with real truffle oil, mark you. Not that imitation soya slop you pass off on Australian tourists. My palate may be slightly tarnished after 45 years of abuse but I can still sniff out fungus gold quicker than a sweaty French pig.

Mention of our Antipodean cousins remind me that production has begun on the latest in the ‘Mad Max’ series, although the producers have apparently forgone the tried and tested way of making films that have been knocking around for the last hundred years or so, they’ve begun shooting without a leading man. I realise that I’m something of a traditionalist but are they insane?! This appears to be something of a recurring trend in recent years. ‘Jurassic Park III’ began filming before the script was completely written prompting William H Macy to ask, "Who launches a hundred million dollar tanker before the engine room is finished?" The question, "Who agrees to appear in a film that hasn’t got a script yet?" was unfortunately never put to him. Recently, Warren Beatty’s vanity project, ‘Town and Country’ officially became the world’s most expensive flop. Again the script was still being written as the cameras were turning. Can you spot the recurring theme here? Why doesn’t somebody smack their heads together and try to knock some sense into them? I’ll happily volunteer.

I rather fear that the early stages of senility may be setting up shop in Charlton Heston’s head. He was asked about his cameo appearance in the remake of ‘Planet of the Apes’ and was heard to remark, "When you’ve made ‘The Ten Commandments’ and played Moses, it’s strange when somebody says, ‘How do you feel about messing around with apes?’" It can’t be too long before he starts expressing surprise when asked about Ben Hur with the words, "What chariot race? I’m president of the National Rifle Association you know"

Does this duck taste a little ‘doggy’ to you? Is the chef a Malaysian by any chance?

You can’t fail to have noticed that bloody ‘Pearl Harbour’ is still at the top of the British box office charts. I remember a time when we used to pride ourselves on having more taste then the Americans. Mind you in those days there wasn’t a MacDonald's or ruddy Starbucks on every street corner. Rumours are circulating that Derek Malcolm is pacing the corridors of ‘The Guardian’ carrying a loaded shotgun and muttering, ‘Time to end the pain’ Poor chap. They must be working him too hard."

recent whines...

January 2002 - St John - Clerkenwell EC1

December 7 - Hell

November 30 - Birthday at Brula

November 23 - Picnic on the Heath

November 16 - Les Trois Soeurs

November 9 - Ed's

November 2 - Burger King: Piccadilly

October 26 - Lindsay House

October 19 - Darcy's

October 5 - Spitz of Spittlefields

September 28 - West Street

September 21 - St John's

September 7 - Southeast W9

August 31 - Rogues

August 24 - Royale With Cheese

August 17 - Rules

August 10 - Manana

August 3 - £15/head at Mazzo

July 27 - La Scala

July 20 - La Putain de la Tour

July 13 - The Real Zorba

July 6 - Palefico

June 29 - The Moon and Pigeons

June 22 - Post Theatre

June 15 - Danang Vice

June 7 - La Crebiche

June 1 - B.A.N.G.E.R.S

May 25 - The Ritz

May 18 - The Harpo

May 11 - Trading Braces

May 4 - Hijo De Puta

April 27 - Broadway!

April 20 - Escoffier Steakhouse

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