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Paper Monitor

11:32 UK time, Thursday, 12 July 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

"To understand just how trendy gin is right now," declares Anna Shepard of The Times, "you only have to go to Dabbous in London".

Paper Monitor has been known to partake of "mother's ruin" when the sun is shining (not so much this summer, of course).

But this columnist was hitherto unaware a) that the drink was in any way "trendy" at the moment b) of the existence of "Dabbous in London" and c) of the function and purpose of "Dabbous in London".

Said venue is, apparently, "one of the hardest restaurants at which to get a table in Britain", renowned for stocking 15 varieties of gin in its cocktail bar.

Generally, Paper Monitor selects whichever variety happens to be on special offer at the local off-licence.

But, it turns out, the drink is not so fashionable when mixed with tonic water. Instead, the hepcats are sipping gins that have been distilled with flavourings "such as coriander, bitter orange or liquorice".

Discombobulated, Paper Monitor turns to the food section of the rival Guardian hoping for reassurance, in the same way a comfort eater reaches for a family-sized Dairy Milk.

But unsettlingly, it carries a feature by philosopher Julian Baggini on the relationship between superstition and dining:

I am sitting at a table that doesn't exist. I wanted to eat out at a table 13, defying superstition ahead of tomorrow, the third Friday the 13th in this unusually inauspicious year. But it's hard to find one. Only two of the UK's 14 best restaurants have a table 13, most simply skipping from 12 to 14. Here at Le Gavroche, the closest I can come is to dine at table 12a, a kind of phantom table 13, the cursed spot that dare not speak its name.

A shiver runs up Paper Monitor's spine. Time to reach for the first gin of the day (supermarket own brand, splash of tonic).

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