Hello, it's Ray Jayner here, writing on Helen's blog while she's watering the peas.
As you know, I am a fan of anything offal- any part of an animal can be fried up, dished up, in a splendidly delicious manner and as a restaurant reviewer I like to be the first to introduce my readers to a new flavour and a new experience. I am always the last person at the table, mopping up the gravy with a large slab of crusty bread and licking the juices from my chin.
Tomas Wurkfeld ( formerly of St Johns in Clerkenwell and L'Abbatoir, Paris) has developed what must be by far the most progressive and exciting eaterie this side of Mars; The Zoo is tucked away in a back street in Hoxton (now almost passe as an area to find such a restaurant) and, providing you don't mind paying over-the-odds for a bottle of wine from the impressive list, it's just about the only place I have ever eaten that I have been able to award full marks to.
My dining companion, Heather, is a vegetarian (I've never understood the people!) and I have to say she left soon after the starter but this was a unique feasting experience and I have vowed to go back again as soon as I can find an accomplice to go with.
One is led into a dimly lit room, issued with a spoon, and carefully inserted into a freshly-slaughtered elephant that has been marinaded in chilli, garlic and Sauternes and grilled on an enormous charcoal-fired grill in front of a crowd of screaming school children, which chef Tomas insists improves the flavour immeasurably.
After that, the dining experience is fairly basic which is what makes this such an excellent idea: you simply dig yourself out of the elephant, eating as you go, emerging some hours later blinking into the candlelight with a happy and satisfied grin, suit dripping with gorgeous fat, sated and looking forward to the other house speciality, an Irish coffee prepared by Tomas' German wife Heidi.