Thursday, 13 October 2011

Bloggerview with Andi Oliver talking about food and her floating bar.........

Andrea Oliver

Name and occupation

Andrea Oliver, Cook, singer. soon to be bar owner! yippee!!

What would you like to plug?
My new bar opening in Shoreditch, at the end of this year early next and  also our( My boyfriend Garfield Hackett/Deborah Armstrong and a host of others!)  huge pleasure gardens project which will launch next spring at Pontoon Dock  called The London Pleasure Gardens, 15 acres of amazing semi-permananet festival site with stages, cinema,sculpture gardens and in the middle of what is sure to be a wondrous new landscape I am opening a floating cocktail bar/restaurant called The Sugar Shack-yep you heard me FLOATING!.

Name your three desert island ingredients
Avocado, Garlic, Lobster

What would you have for your last supper?
Griddled Ribeye Steak, Lobster on the side,Hawksmoor triple fried chips and big lemony green salad with lambs lettuce and spring onion/....actually that is in fact a large part of the haksmoor menu!! oh yes and a square mile espresso martini!!  

What foodstuff would you banish to room 101?

What's your favourite restaurant?
 Right now in case you haven't guessed in London its The Hawksmoor Spitalfields, the literally have the BEST steak ever!( I am very fickle though) but long time favourite is La Coupole in Paris, the first place I ever had oysters.

What's your favourite tipple?
Square mile espresso martini or Hendricks gin and tonic

Which book gets you cooking ?
Edna Lewis- The taste of country cooking

What's your dream dinner party line-up? 
My brother Sean ( he died 21 years ago and I miss him every day),  my friend Jeannette Lee because I just love talking to her endlessly, my friend  the writer Damon Rochefort because  he and my brother never met and because he is one of the funniest people on the planet! Sam Cook ( coz..well good god! yummy),James Baldwin, Groucho Marx, Katherine Hepburn, My grandmother Dorothy Prince ( I never got to spend much time with her and she was an incredible woman who danced naked on the beach every morning!), Maya Angelou, Isabelle Allende, Walther Matthau AND Jack Lemon, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra ANd Dean Martin...ok i'll stop now , I could go on..... 

And what would you cook for them?
Start with my new recipe which is a Sea Bass Carpaccio with a lime mint and apple dressing,  Grilled Langoustines with garlic/parsley and chive butter,  a huge Paella with Seafood and Chicken  and a crisp light   lemony green salad, lemon tart with Chantilly cream

What was your childhood teatime treat?
Hot Apple turnovers at suppertime on the weekends.. or my Mum's hot  buttered homemade bread with crispy bacon on a Saturday morning

What was the first thing you learnt to cook?
Caulifower cheese and pineapple upside down cake

What was there first thing you taught your children to cook?
Baked chicken pieces with spiced yoghurt sauce 

What was your mothers signature dish and do you try to copy it?

Stew chicken rice and peas and yes I do!!

What would you make to impress your partner? 

A turkish style Barbque'd whole Sea Bream, patlican Soslu (a turkish aubregine tomato dish that he LOVES) and home made hot spiced flatbreads and a leafy salad. 

What was your most memorable meal?
A feast that Neneh and I cooked with her late mother the wonderful Moki Cherry for King Sunny Ade and his huge entourage of wives. It was  in New York at their old loft and we made  Lamb on a spit with bright blue dyed  rice.. not sure why, I think Moki just decided it looked better!

What was your biggest culinary disaster?
Again it was with Neneh we made a pizza for Ian Dury and decided to try to  make it healthy and use wholemeal was just a vile disgustiing brick of lead!

What's the worst meal you've ever had?
At a friends house as a teenager, I was just so confused with the lumpy  grey mash and weird boiled mince, they then all proceeded to pour the  water the cabbage had been bolied in  on  top and kept calling it gravy! I can still smell it!

What's the most outlandish thing you've ever eaten?
 I guess it would have to be what they call ' Cocksmanswater' the clue is in the name.. its a kind of soupy stew of testicles and entrails in the carribbean that is pretty disgusting but if they put enough scotch bonnet in it you don't notice..pretty gross though, it got a weird ripe smell to it...ewww

Who's your food hero/food villain?
Hero Edna Lewis she was a trailblazing  American  chef extraordinaire who ran a famous Manhattan eaterie called Cafe Nicholson in the late 40's50's, frequented by the likes of William Faulkner,Tennesee Willimas, Maroln Brando,Dina Vreeland,Ricard Avedon, an honest to goodness downhome genius! check her out ..

I  also LOVE Nigel Slater we saw him once when we were filming near where he lives and totally lost the plot!! we made lots of noise and stated falling overeach other.. I think the poor man was more than a little alarmed!
Villain- whilst i have the utmost respect for chef craft and genius,  I just hate pompous, shouty chef twats! i'm not naming any names- I have to walk the streets in this  town!

Nigella or Delia?


Gin or Vodka?
Vodka  unless its Hendricks

Muesli or fry-up?


Wine or beer?


KFC or Burger King?
Depends on the hangover! last time it was Burger King

What do you consider the best of the best of British?
A perfect steamed pudding, spotted dick, treacle or steak and ale or mushroom..endless variations... sweet or savoury, when its perfect its light fluffy and rich all at once!

What's the best/worst thing about the British restaurant scene?
Stuck-up idiots!! I am not sure why just because the food is good the chef and then staff often have to be so damn smug!! and the of course the food and the whole experience  is diminshed, nothing worse than loveless perfectly executed food!!!!

What do you think will be the next big thing?
The London Pleasure Gardens!

What would you do if you could choose any other career?
I would sing more( I have just started again with a GENIUS call EVM 128 or Luke to me on Meltdown recordings!) or I would have a secondhand bookshop with a little cafe and a wee hotel on a lovely beach somewhere.

What do you have for Christmas lunch?EVERYTHING!!  the last few years we have combined forces  with our close family  friends and between me and Alison we make EVERYTHING last year we had turkey, ham, pork AND a goose!.. before you become too appalled I should add that there is usually at LEAST  20/30 people every year and  trust me it gets eaten!!

Make a wish
done!.. I'm not telling you though!!


  1. I want that floating bar to be open now, how fantastic.

  2. About time we had somewhere for the non pretentious Londoners to go. Finger on the pulse as always Andi

  3. Wicked, Andi thru & thru.
    Don't know which to wait for, the food or the Floating Bar :)
    Sarah xxx

  4. Brilliant. London Pleasure Gardens and friendly foodie place sounds fab...much needed and long overdue. A reason to stay in London xxx