Belly Kids: Omi Palone

Categorised as INTERVIEW., MUSIC.

Belly Kids are teaming up with Mint Magazine to talk with our favourite musicians about food, cooking and all things eating. It’s something of a passion of ours and I know we aren’t alone. Ever since I put together The Mona Pizza recipe book, investigating the food culture behind music, it has become an obsession.

Omi Palone is Polari slang for homosexual. Polari is like a hybrid slang of loads of other British slang that circus and Thespian people used to use. You’ll probably be familiar with a lot of terms that made it into the contemporary lexicon. We didn’t ask them why they chose Omi Palone as their name because, to be frank, asking questions like that is pretty lazy. We just got Belly Kids’ Mike to talk to them about rocking out to food.

So first thing’s first, are you foodies? Who’s good in the kitchen and who’s not?

Simon: We all have quite different diet. The main real divide is between the VEGGIES (Philip and Simon) and the MEATIES (Jack and Liam). Liam is probably the only real foodie, the fancy-meal-uploaded-to-Instagram kind. He says it’s because his wife is a really good cook so he had to get game. He thinks risotto is a 2am snack and is full of good tips like ‘sharp knives ftw’ and ‘use Google and then add more chillies’. Last time I went over he made fresh guacamole to keep us occupied whilst he made a rad chili with some kind of smoked paprika he had to trek across town for, those are the touches of detail you can’t help but admire. Jack says he’s more practical – meat and potatoes, vats of pasta etc. Phil reckons he’s not great past the basics – pasta, stir frys, curries etc, but I can vouch for his winter stews. I’m dairy free and work for a health food store, so you’ve necessity and opportunity right there. I cook for Philip semi-regularly, but I think the portion size is the main draw.

Favourite sort of food when eating out, and do you do it much?

Liam: I am completely spoilt for eating out. My favourite place is Moro on Exmouth market, and their tapas place next door (Morito) is also awesome. I don’t have a particular favourite type of food, just give me all of it. I’ve been making an effort lately to explore some nice places: St John, Pollen Street Social, Roka, Polpo, The Modern Pantry, Goodmans, etc. There’s a new place by the Hix owners that only serves steak or whole chicken: shut up and take my money. I’m a big fan of London’s recent meat/burger explosion: Lucky Chip and Patty & Bun burgers are off the hook. I’m always on the hunt for the next cheeseburger. It doesn’t all have to be fancy though, the avocado and hummus on toast at Flat White in Soho is likely to be the best £4 you’ll ever spend. And if you’re playing a show in Dalston hit up Istanbul on Kingsland Road for a lamb kofte kebab. And Crazy Homies for jalapeño quesadillas if you’re ever in West London.

Simon: Philip has a little black book of all the Vietnamese joints on Kingsland Road and says Hanoi Café makes the best Pho but Mien Tay is the best all-rounder. We also swing by that veggie all-you-can-eat Indian place on Chapel Market quite a lot, partially for the average taste and good value, but mostly for the extensive array of all-down-hilarious veggie propaganda – like the poster of an eagle carrying a horse over a rainbow that says: “It’s time for us all to go veggie”. Hard to argue with that.


1. Damascu Bite (Shoreditch High St.)
2. City Kebab (Stoke Newington High St.)
3. Istanbul Iskembecisi (Stoke Newington Rd.)

Will we ever get a summer? Describe to us an Omi Palone BBQ?

We took so long to answer these questions that I guess it’s here already! (Wishful thinking chaps) There hasn’t been an OMI BBQ yet, but if it happens it’ll almost definitely be split along the MEATY/VEGGIE lines. Liam is Aussie and says his BBQ would involve steak, sausages and burgers – the closest thing you get to a salad is chicken. Phil digs Linda McCartney sausages on the barb. He loves her, and her food products. I’ve never been one for BBQs, I was into a banana someone cooked for me once, but truth be told I think it’s a meat lovers game. I’ll stick to beer and dips.

Best food to eat when listening to your records?

Phil says party foods that you can eat with your hands, like pizza or burritos or hot dogs – throw on some Ramones or Oh Sees or Eddy Current Suppression Ring and you’ll really have a good time. Jack listens to records a lot in the morning on his weekends, usually
accompanied by fried eggs. His tip is to fry them in butter and put chilli flakes on top, then serve atop of English muffins. Me and Liam have never put much thought to it. We can all agree on coffee though.

And what records do you play when you’re eating?

Jack’s into jazz (for better or for worse) and says Sun Light by Herbie Hancock is a great album to listen to when you’re eating with a babe, as he sings through a vocoder and it’s sexy (Herbie, not Jack). Liam is a fan of the TV dinner, so the only music would be the Game of Thrones theme, accompanied by some kind of epic schnitzel time; though for a lazy weekend breakfast he’d go for something semi-relaxed like Neil Young, Magnolia Electric Co, Dead Meadow, Smog, or Wooden Ships. Phil isn’t into anything that’s too loud or has too much going on during meals and prefers instrumental stuff. He swears by Zomes – Asa Osbourne from Lungfish’s new thing – “looping, repetitive and meditative melodies that weave in and out of each other – perfect for tucking into a huge stew.” I haven’t had a record player in my dining room for a while, so if I have guests they’ll probably be treated to my iPod on shuffle through a guitar amp. You run the gauntlet of a Lee Hazlewood serenade being closely followed by something like VOID or Moss Icon. I think Histoire de Melody Nelson by Gainsbourg would be pretty swell, unless your guests could understand the lyrics, or a good film soundtrack like the one Alain Goraguer did for La Planète Sauvage, though it’s perhaps a little dramatic in places. Maybe VU-Loaded or Zuma by Neil Young & Crazy Horse?

Is there anything you just can’t eat?

Well, Philip and I are resoundly OFF THE MEAT. Other than that he’s not a fussy eater, Liam either; he says moving to London and being stone cold broke for a few years made him appreciate any food that’s on offer. I don’t have dairy or eggs either, and I find cucumber frustratingly pointless.

Talk us through your favourite snack, make us hungry!

Liam’s all time favourite sandwich is Gail’s rosemary and potato sourdough with some chunky ham slices and creamy potato salad, he says it’s a game-changer.
Jack’s into fried halloumi and avocado sesame bagels (with butter and mayo) -“salty hangover relieving miracle sandwich.” My current snack of choice is sliced (larger) tomato from-the-vine with a decent ‘premium’ houmous (Moroccan topped, roasted pepper, or
that really oily kosher one with pine nuts), and a decent black olive tapenade, on a good quality toasted bread. Repeat three times a day.

More Belly Kids here.



Mike Coley, Belly Kids.

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