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Apsleys - a Heinz Beck restaurant


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#1 Man

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:39 PM

Is there really no thread on this restaurant?

I had lunch there yesterday. The previous day I'd been at Hibiscus, had had a great meal, and was anticipating a climbdown from the heights reached there. I had also read some negative reviews.

And the truth is that I am pissed off with Mr Beck for being one of the few Italian 3* without being Italian :rolleyes:

It started badly as we were offered a choice between two olive oils and the waiter could not tell us clearly where they were from. We Italians take olive oil fanatically seriously and if we don't know which side of which hill it comes from we become suspicious...And if we are told it is made of taggiasche olives (which come from Liguria) and produced in Imola (which is in a non-olive oil region, Emilia Romagna), we just want to flee the room.

But after that, it was a climb to paradise. This is the best Italian (or Italianate) food I've had in London. The famous fagottelli carbonara exceeded all expectations, it's the best pasta dish ever. I'go back just for that. But the rabbit ravioli, on the other hand, were also the best rabbit ravioli ever.

A pigeon in mustard seed sauce and a lamb wrapped in crepe and spinach were deep reaching, and a Sicilian cannolo cum cassata had a ricotta from paradise (I told you it was a climb to paradise).

(More details and pics in a few days at our place.)

#2 felixhirsch

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:30 PM

Had an equally good experience here. Everything was perfectly cooked, well seasoned and faultless. But on top of this, the pasta was clearly 2-3* quality, and far, far better than anything else in this country. A piece of foie gras was also textbook perfect quality, as was a great dessert and a pheasant.

All in all, a meal here is worth a visit! Michelin should have at least one more place to list on the star list.

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#3 Man

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:53 PM

Glad we are one the same gustatory wavelength! (When I read Matthew Norman's review on the Guardian I despaired). On your blog I see very interesting variations of the dishes we had: crepinette of 'pernice' instead of lamb, game ravioli with squash in lieu of rabbit and pistachio.

#4 Gareth

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 08:36 AM

"According to Beck, who wrote a book on the “art of the service”, women are either too beautiful, or ugly to work in restaurants, hence the all-male brigade (that’s at least what a German TV programme said)."

Herr Beck sounds completely objectionable and not the kind of person I'd want to give my money to. No doubt he's doing great in Burlusconi's Italy...

#5 felixhirsch

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:48 AM

Well, Gareth, I don't know if that is questionable, but it only shows how much of a perfectionist he is. However, if that troubles you, rest assured that there are women in the reception.

YOu would miss out on some great food, if you don't go. It really is worth it.

Will go back to it in January or so

#6 Kropotkin

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 10:08 AM

Well I'm with Gareth and shocked by this attitude: Beck appears to state that women can be assessed and valued according to their appearance; while men, presumably, are not subject to these same criteria. The fact that he judges women able to answer the phone, take coats etc only serves to reinforce his prejudice to my mind.

If this is perfectionism, its a perfectionism informed by ignorance. And I'm pretty sure making these distinctions between employees is also illegal in the UK.

#7 Man

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 10:53 AM

"According to Beck, who wrote a book on the “art of the service”, women are either too beautiful, or ugly to work in restaurants, hence the all-male brigade (that’s at least what a German TV programme said)."

Herr Beck sounds completely objectionable and not the kind of person I'd want to give my money to. No doubt he's doing great in Burlusconi's Italy...


Well, if you start putting conditions on a chef's character and opinions before trying his or her food, you risk, if not starvation, at least missing on many, many pinnacles of gastronomy :rolleyes: (same as when you start enquiring about the private lives and opinions of artists). At any rate guys, some caution is advisable before accusing somebody of ignorance or even of committing an offence - is there any verifiable source for the allegation? Does Beck state his opinion in the book (which he co-wrote with three other people, by the way)? Did he state his opinion personally on the German TV program? Or was it just reported?
At any rate, I confirm that Beck is doing very well in Berlusconi's Italy, and he will do equally well when the odious man clears off once and for all, simply because he is a genious (Beck, not Berlusconi, though no doubt he would claim so).

#8 felixhirsch

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:46 PM

yea, I'm not even sure if they didn't misinterpret something on that programme or so. After all, if you go by those standards, you really would starve, as any professional kitchen will not be innocent in terms of jokes, remarks and so on...

#9 david goodfellow

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 03:46 PM

We had a fantastic lunch here last Sunday, possibly the best food this year.

Stunning value for the money especially if all the food that we were served is normally included.

I took some good photos and made a few notes so will elaborate when I have a bit more time.

#10 MaLO

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:06 AM

Sunday Lunch at Apsleys.

We had a decent lunch on Sunday. Not quite as good as I was expecting but nice enough. We also ordered too much food. After looking at the Menu del giorno we decided that both main courses were too tempting, so the plan was that instead of the tasting menu we would order two lunches each, it proved to be a lot of food.

We ate

A trio of canapés – delicious borlotti bean and mint puree, truffled arancini and a savoury custard with tomato and olive. All good. We also tried most of the bread and it was fine. The olive oil was seriously tasty.

Vegetables minestra. Lots of good vegetables and a very rich, tasty liquor. There were also some fine saffron gnocchi in the mix. There was enough for two bowls and it was good.

Tagliolini cacio e pepe nero. This was excellent. Quite a simple preparation but the quality of the pasta was instantly apparent and the sauce had a fiery kick from the pepper.

We both ordered the warm seafood salad. This was a riot of colour. The seafood included octopus, lobster, squid, and langoustine. It was livened up with the addition of mango and papaya. All good tasty stuff.

Next up was Halibut papa al pomodoro and yellow peppers. The halibut came looking like a couple of triangles of white bread sandwich with a tomatoey stuffing. The stewed peppers were ok if a little dull. Better was the bitter crunch of puntarelle. I wasn’t that keen on this dish. The fish lacked the moisture larger fillets would have delivered. It is perhaps a way of using the less glamorous parts of the fish but I would rather have a lump of something less expensive.

Partridge with red cabbage and crispy polenta was also a little disappointing. I think I saw someone wrap something in thinly rolled bread and fry it on Great British Menu and this was how the partridge breasts were treated with a rectangle of unintroduced ham (I think). This came with some broccoli and carrots and very nice fried polenta. The cabbage was good colour wise and offered a nice tang. There was also a nest of slick mashed potatoes, home to a trembling poached egg. The egg, I guess, was cooked at low temperature as it was barely cooked and not at all set. It was a little off putting really, a lot of sloppy egg white everywhere. As a whole it was a bit on the cool side and would have benefited from more meaty sauce. I did eat more or less everything though; it wasn’t great but by no means bad either.

We gave desert a miss due to having overdone the savoury courses.

The table nearest to us sent back mains twice. Not sure why but something wasn’t quite right.
All in all it was a relaxing couple of hours in a nice dining room. The starters were in my view the star of the show, the mains lacked that sprinkle of magic that make for truly memorable dining. Service was excellent, once we had got our order sorted out. It did cause some confusion and a raised eyebrow or two. It is undeniably good value for money but I don’t think I will be rushing back with the number of other options available to those in the capital.

Edited by MaLO, 27 October 2010 - 11:06 AM.

Martin

#11 MrsCC

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 04:32 AM

I love this place. I think it is obscene they only have 1 star. The dishes are so intricate and are executed perfectly IMO.
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#12 Man

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:07 PM

I love this place. I think it is obscene they only have 1 star. The dishes are so intricate and are executed perfectly IMO.


I agree with you. I go there every time I find myself in London and have the time, and on each occasion I am stunned by the quality and the generosity in everything they do. I do not understand the many negative reviews.
I'm booked in for next week and can't wait.

#13 david goodfellow

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 04:49 PM


I love this place. I think it is obscene they only have 1 star. The dishes are so intricate and are executed perfectly IMO.


I agree with you. I go there every time I find myself in London and have the time, and on each occasion I am stunned by the quality and the generosity in everything they do. I do not understand the many negative reviews.
I'm booked in for next week and can't wait.


I would like to add to this love in. I'm a bit miffed that I did not write up this meal at the time. It was top, top quality. Problem is now I can't remember what the dishes were (its an age thing)

Can you identify any Man?

I lost the few notes that I made, and assured that our waiter would stick to his word and supply me with a more detailed list of the dishes, I relaxed back and enjoyed the meal even more. Sad to say the list did not arrive and the meal did not get written up.

I,m glad I still have the photos to share, hopefully they will convey the quality of the food we ate.

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Fabulous food and all of this was served from the set lunch menu, although we were compted a few dishes from the kitchen, as chef must have been informed we were taking photos of the food. Good on him too :smile:

#14 Man

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:30 AM

Can you identify any Man?




Yum!

The fourth is obviously the 'fagottelli' (starter portion) and the fifth is, I think, what he calls a 'crepinette' (as the term normally indicates a kind of sausage, he is being humorous here), of which I have tried a lamb, but that doesn't look like lamb, veal perhaps? I am also noticing that in mine the spinach was the outer layer whereas in yours it is inside the pastry. In general, it is quite rare to have exactly the same dish at Apsleys, they seem to play on endless variations. Another of many reasons for its appeal, for me.
Not sure about the others, though I'd certanly like to dig in them. :cool:
Will add to my experience soon...

#15 Man

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:32 AM

PS: for those of you who watched masterchef last night, or who have been to Noma: the dish in the second photo looks quite Noma-esque!

#16 david goodfellow

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:49 AM

It does indeed, thought I recognised the style, not that I have been to Noma sadly but, I did watch Masterchef :biggrin:

#17 MaLO

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:22 AM

The second image looks identical to the warm seafood salad I had. It was very pretty and tasted fine too. I do have some photos but knackered my upolading thing a long time ago, it thinks I have uploaded dozens of photos!
Martin

#18 Man

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 01:39 PM

I fittingly concluded my pre-Christmas indulgence with a light lunch at Apsleys today. I just wanted to try the Fish crudo (a Beck signature dish) (£30) and the Tagliolini with lobster and almonds (£22).

The Fish crudo (= raw) consists of many tapas-sized dishes. Extremely delicate, great variety, technique, freshness and finesse. Just not convinced by the tuna tartare with tea, which I had had previously in full size as part of the tasting menu. For me there's something wrong in that dish, though I'm not sure exactly what.

Like most Italians I've eaten a lot of pasta in my life, basically every day. Yet these tagliolini rank among the best made I've ever tried as far as the pasta itself is concerned. The sauce was also almost perfection in a plate (I was just expecting some more play on crunchiness).

Espresso at Apsleys is superlative if made by the right person. You have to ask them to make it with love.

With a German Riesling glass at £11, water and service charge I spent around £80, which I felt was much better value (especially looking at the bright, spacious room I was in and at the materials I had) than my lunch at Pied a Terre yesterday.

Both dishes I had (OK there was also a foie gras, something that I never order, that I always get either as a bonus or as part of tasting menus, that I never refuse because it's so bloody good, that I always eat with a terrible sense of guilt, and that consequently I can't really judge properly), both dishes, I was saying, were for me clearly, clearly of 2* level. If not yet this year, it's impossible for me that Michelin will not top up their star the year after.

Edited by Man, 24 December 2010 - 01:42 PM.


#19 Andrew

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

Finally got to visit this excellent restaurant. Went there for lunch and we settled for the excellent value set lunch at £35 for three courses (including a couple of 'freebies'). The food is beautifully presented and of the highest quality. Absolutely superb value. My starter of the chef's pasta of the day was the best pasta I have had in a long time - rabbit tortellini with wild mushrooms. A main course of lamb was good but didn't quite reach the heights of the pasta. Dessert was a modern take on tiramisu. My guest had a pumpkin and ginger soup, sole and chocolate & passion fruit. 

 

The food was of a very high standard and I definitely would return to try the tasting menu and some of the signature dishes.



#20 Andrew

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:10 AM

Went to book yesterday and found that the hotel (and consequently restaurant) is closed until the 'fourth quarter' of 2014. A real shame as the food was good.

 

Andrew



#21 Edesia

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:55 PM

Went their last year, excellent food but service wasn't brilliant. First they started serving up set lunch menu without giving me an a la carte menu, which I had to ask for and at the end their crappy card machines couldn't read two of my cards, and the waiter acted like a complete dick over it. Both cards worked perfectly both before and after the meal in shops and at the cashpoint. That is my main memory of the visit.