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Monday, March 12, 2007

The Monday Pot Pourri: Plymouth Argyle snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; the New Angel reviewed and good news about language lessons

Language lessons from age seven
Glad to hear the news today that language lessons are to be taught at primary school, from age seven. It's a constant source of shame and embarrassment to me how badly the Brits speak languages when abroad. It's no longer sufficient to shout in English. My own language skills are pretty bad, I hold up my hands. I don't know when children stopped learning languages at age seven. I remember learning French at primary school. We sang jolly songs like "Sur le pont D'Avignon," and pretended to be shopkeepers. I don't know why it's not compulsory beyond age 14 either. In my view, should be compulsory, along with English & maths, until age 16.

The New Angel, Dartmouth: restaurant review
Fabulous weather at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Plymouth (except for the match of course. How did Plymouth Argyle lose against Watford? They were infinitely superior!). Took Giz to Dartmouth for Sunday lunch at the New Angel. This is the place now owned by John Burton-Race (Channel 4 TV show fame) which has always had an excellent reputation. My verdict is: should try harder.

Service was very good and the pudding - vanilla, Cointreau and orange baked Alaska - was sublime. I could sense that it was a work of love, so painstakingly perfect, with lightly browned meringue that was soft and crunchy, and a gorgeous marmalade-y type syrup around the edge.

But the starter and main were, frankly, disappointing. If Burton-Race has not been spending enough time in the kitchen, I would urge him to return. Both plates were lukewarm and lacklustre. The Dartmouth crab tortellini initially had a delightful explosion of flavours in the mouth, but was quickly overwhelmed by coriander. And why was it floating in a tepid fish tasting water? It was neither a reduction or a sauce, and added nothing to the dish.

Blackawton lamb should have been meltingly tender but was hard round the edges. Mum had the pork plate and said it was tough. And to round it off, Hildon water, which as Michael Winner fans will know, is water beyond the pale.

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