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Title: Hanging out
Author: Paul Mathur
Source: Blitz
Publish date: Sept. 90

HANGING OUT

Each month BLITZ, in association with Perrier, presents a selection of some of the capital’s finest and foremost bars and eating-places

COMPILED BY PAUL MATHUR

PHOTOGRAPHS GINO SPRIO

BURT’S 42 Dean Street. London W1 (071) 734 3339

Singer Claudia Brücken has been a vegetarian since she moved to England from her native Düsseldorf. “In Germany it’s almost impossible to be vegetarian,” she says. “Even if you ask for salad they put ham in it. So giving up meat was never really an option. When I came here I was walking down Portobello Road and I saw this corpse of an animal hanging outside a butcher’s with loads of flies everywhere, and I knew I could never eat meat again. It’s so much easier practically to be vegetarian here, even if people sometimes treat you as if you’re handicapped.”

One is unlikely to encounter such problems at Burt’s, where designer eating has been skilfully married to a menu that’s dominated by exquisite fish dishes and an extensive selection of veggie options. The former include a delightful duo of salmon starter, and plaice stuffed with prawns in a saffron sauce. Easy to serve as over-elaborate nouvelle disasters, but presented here with relative simplicity. Brücken’s vegetarian selections were substantial and inventive - a vegetable mousse followed by spinach, asparagus and mushrooms in lattice pastry. Even the staunchest meat eater is likely to be tempted by such inviting interpretations of vegetarian cuisine.

These are busy days for Brücken, who is finishing off her first solo album since the demise of Act, in turn a progression from the Germanic surge of Propaganda. Interestingly, Propaganda have reformed and will find their new album out at the same time as Brücken’s.

“The new Propaganda is only really connected to the old one by their name,” she protests. “It’s a completely different line-up and it’s rather stupid of them to use the same name. Propaganda originally broke up when the boys in the band tried to take over like Lennon and McCartney or something, and although it was a bad end we’d done some great stuff. Now they’re trying to pass it off as Propaganda.”

Brücken is far more interested in her new project, a taster for which has already come in the form of the single, ‘Absolute’. The album covers the musical waterfront, from dance to “more muso things”, reflecting a revitalized creative energy. “In the past I’ve got just to the edge of being successful. This time I’m going all the way.”

We consider this over a selection from Burt’s extensive cognac list (prices range from £2 to £7 a glass), part of a bold and intriguing selection of drinks on offer. Like the rest of the menu, it’s not cheap (a meal for two will set you back approximately £80), but it certainly blows away any preconceptions about vegetarian eating. Perfect for ideologically sound power-lunching.