Eddie Paradise: Review of Jangeorang (Guest Reviewer: Lord Herford Chumley)
The London fog ached off the river Thames and balefully insinuated itself into the night. I was cold, but I was not gloomy for my pleasant companion, Lord Fotheringhamforshirtonstonlydown (or, “Susan” as he’s known at the Field’s Club) had promised me a rare evening of delights. As I wound my cravat tighter to ward off the chill, I was discomfited to find myself being accosted by several knots of ragamuffins who were congregating just off of Berkeley Square and kicking up a bit of a fuss. They spoke in a strange tone that no god-fearing man should hear and thus I laid into them with my walking stick (made of the finest yew-wood and hand-carved in Plymouth by a chap called Markham). Worn out by so much excitement, I was grateful to find myself at Jangeorang where we were instructed to remove our shoes, a strange request, to be sure.
For reasons best known to himself, my good friend decided to make photographs of all we ate that night. Hauling the camera box and the glass plates up the stairs must have been an arduous task, but the servants made no complaint. The décor was what one would expect; wood, mostly wood. The seating was comfortable and intimate, so that one could fill one’s cup of conversation but be in no danger of it sloshing over and hitting the table next to you. Our main dish that night was grilled eels; one with yang nyum sauce and the other with soy sauce. I must confess that I abhor fish of any kind and so these eels were working five to the sixpence to impress me. The yang nyum (a seasoning made from red pepper sauce and sugar)eel was a profound disappointment as I am inordinately fond of yang nyum sauce. Many's the time when I was at Eton, I would sneak into the kitchens and greedily devour as much as possible. Then I would get such a licking! Fond memories of those halcyon days aside, in the case of the eels, I had no idea what it was doing there and neither did the sauce itself but merely shuffled and tugged its forelock in embarrassment. On the other hand, the soy sauce eels were well within their rights to be sauced and lauded for it. While their black outer layer did not look entirely appetizing, the light saline quality served to both mellow and elevate the flavor to the point where I could not find it in my heart to fault it further for its seamy aspect. Wine, of course, was served with dinner. A strange concoction, to be sure, made of some sort of local berries. My dear friend explained to me that the etymology of its name was something quite rude which I will not repeat here. It was served, if you can bear it, in small, squat clay bowls. What poor Papa would have said about it, I shudder to think. As wine qua wine, it was passable. Certain notes had perhaps ran away with a chorus girl and were tootling a merry jig a bit loudly over mountain countryside. It certainly complimented or at least attempted to make love to the eels in its own sweetened way.
After a few more photographs and re-wrapping our cravats and adjusting our neckties we sallied forth to a local chocolatier called CacaoBoom (what some people will name their establishments really makes one wish they would bring back flogging). Unforgivably ostentatious as its name was, the confections were ambrosia to the senses, and unto the palate. I availed myself of a fresh truffle and was given a dainty fork with which to consume it, as is the only way to eat chocolate. The gauche would have us all handling our chocolate as an ape with an apricot and should all be shot for thinking so. The truffle was an ecstatic experience, a Bach variation played in cacao and cream. My dear old chum had a cup of hot chocolate which he was evidently pleased with as he could only gurgle with delight and grin seraphically.
The evening drew to a close and I made my way to the Fields Club where I rounded off the evening with a snifter of brandy. It was there I ran into old Biffy Wainship. At school, it was said he closely resembled Lina Cavalieri in short pants and I'll not gainsay it. In fact, he was accounted the most popular and kissable boy at Eton, beating out a embittered Reggie Dwight, who went on to have a career as a music hall singer. The whole thing, was, of course, hushed up. There was then some mirthful confusion when someone launched a cricket bat through the drawing room and it it struck one of the servants. Fortunately, the bat was not damaged in any discernible way. As I wended my way into the sleeping area, I smiled at my recollections in tranquility of the eels I had known and eaten.
(Lord Chumley has written extensively on food for over 40 years. His recent book “Cuisine of the Crimean War” was largely received and widely forgotten. We at Seoul Eats are grateful to Mme.Toussard's Convalescent Home for the Occasionally Excited for granting his temporary release.)