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Paul de Gruchy

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  1. Fisherman (and any others): any comments on the service from this site and the quality of the knives? I'm sure some of us have Christmas money to spend and could do with some feedback...
  2. Come on Gavin - tell us how to actually "confit" duck and where other places fall down.
  3. does "Terrine pressé of pork, quince jelly" win a prize for being the silliest use of a french word on a menu? I'm with jay on the kiddies point. I took my almost 2 year old to Le Champignon Sauvage in March and they were great. I was a bit disappointed by the food but then when I'd previously eaten at that level I'd been savouring the experience. With a toddler, you're always a bit on edge and hoping the meal passes before a tantrum erupts rather than go on for hours and hours so I couldn't give the food full attention and no doubt didn't fully appreciate as a result.
  4. one of the great things about the web is that it is inherently democratic. all other media appears to be almost wholly nepotistic. whenever there is a story about an "exciting new novelist/actor/filmaker/designer" he or she is invariably the child/partner/godchild of an existing media person/celeb (usually, in my experience, Edward Fox). it is hugely depressing and the only comfort one can take is that the only people who read restaurant reviews are those who are interested in food, and most of those probably take any review with a pinch of salt, as they can tell that the writer's judgment is relatively unformed. Someone like Matthew Fort is an exception, though his piece in the last Waitrose magazine about Aga's was, I think, a bit silly.
  5. the real problem with Heston is that his cooking requires a fair amount of attention to detail and the TV format isn't really suited to transmitting information of that type. I think that's why Corrigan works better: buttering wonton wrappers and putting in chorizo and cheese is straightforward and can be mucked around with: he even suggested alternative fillings. But Heston's things leave so many questions. Like the snails: where do you get them from, what do you cook them in for four hours, how much almond goes in the butter, how much chocolate, how much water, what temperature etc? For some reason I was reminded of the doctor: "A woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are suprised to find it done at all." I think there is an element of that to Heston's inclusion. That's not to denigrate his cooking, but the motives for his inclusion in the programme are, I suspect, driven largely by the freakshow aspect: he's a chef - with liquid nitrogen! And he breaks the rules!
  6. Gordo certainly makes rivetting TV though the whole kilt business was frankly unpleasant. What sort of contract has he got that stipulates he must be shown getting dressed every episode? I'd like to see a combination of Gordon "Where's your fucking balls" Ramsay and Alan "I'd have told him to piss off" Sugar troubleshooting an ailing business.
  7. well, having not read the article but missing meades reviews in general I just thought I'd add my pennyworth. Meades is a romanticist, and has always fallen for the notion of cooking as a craft that is acquired and honed. Thus he always likes the idea of the French family restaurant, where nobody is formally educated and recipes are handed down from generation to generation. He is a classicist, rather than a modernist, and all you really need to know is that among his favourite cuisines is the traditional Roman cuisine. The problem that he faces with English food is that there is very little evidence of the traditional English family restaurant. The distinction between educated and non-educated chefs is, I suspect (having not read the book) simply an attempt to bring the concept of "tradition" into an analysis of British food, with educated chefs being contrasted with the star-hunters. And for the star-hunters, the tradition that has been adopted (which is an interesting concept in itself, as usually chefs arise out of traditions, rather than adopting them) is the stereotypical Michelin tradition. We all recognise it: a resolutely refined yet anti-regional and anti-seasonal menu. The whole menu often framed months in advance and unaltered for the season. The Ramsay boxing day dish of a cherry tomato soup that was mentioned on this thread summed it up perfectly. And I do think there is an issue here. I would far sooner eat at St John or the Anchor & Hope than GR. But they are no less mannered or stylised or un-traditional than GR. I suspect that, as soon as you cease to be a rural, regional culture, food inevitably becomes parenthesised, as the dish you cook becomes the manifestation of a choice made from a global marketplace rather than an expression of your terroir.
  8. agreed. can we start a campaign? I can never bring myself to read his endless articles in praise of solihull. his talent is wasted.
  9. Mark - was the one when someone turned up unannouced at half past one for lunch & wondered why the kitchen - full complement of two people - couldn't cook on demand food at that level & the person then sulked away in a huff, posting within the hour? Don't let that put you off - food is stunning; as is front of house service. Food quite orignial & well worth the trip. ← Good oh - I'm booked in for lunch next Thursday with the wife and 2 year old. The infant is used to restaurants but this will be her first time in a starred place - not that she will notice. But life can't come to and end just because you have a child can it and hopefully she will behave impeccably? Anyway, fingers crossed - everyone says such good things and I was in that neck of the woods so couldn't not go. Went to Cambridge at Christmas but Midsummer was closed. Stayed at the Hotel Felix and ate at their restaurant, Graffiti. It was poor beyond belief - a trip to Gardenias would have been better.
  10. I'd forgotten his appearance on The Games. Now, that was deeply humiliating: he's one of those men that really look much better wearing something other than a tight pair of shorts while doing gymnastic tasks. Maybe he needs a better agent. Still, it gives some of us a chance to catch up with pop culture - I had no idea who Abi and Jen were until the first series.
  11. I do remember one chef handing in his stars and bemoaning the fact that you need to bake several types of bread and petit fours to keep Michelin stars. And that's the nub I guess - getting 2 or 3 stars means that you have to have a large brigade doing everything from scratch. Whereas from my point of view, I rarely eat bread in a restaurant that is as good as an ordinary loaf from a French village bakers. I think it would be better if more emphasis was put on the three courses of food, and less on the ancillaries, but at least you know that if you go to a 3 star restaurant you get an all-round experience. In my limited experience at that level, I generally prefer the food at a 1 star rather than a 3 - 1 stars have to take risks but 3 stars tend to be conservative. I think this is discussed on another thread.
  12. You should go Andy. I went a couple of weeks back on a Friday and went to The Capital the next day. Nothing wrong with the latter, but, like you, I'm slightly tiring of the whole haute cuisine thing. A&H was really excellent - not the food which technically wasn't in the same league as The Capital, but just the whole vision of the thing. I turned up at 12 after a Borough Market shop and was by myself, the only person in there at first and I don't even live in England or go to boozers generally, so you really shouldn't be scared by your Pompey memories (though I know someone from Portsmouth and it does clearly leave deep scars).
  13. Andy - I suggest that you avoid using the phrase "I'm no snob" in future. The cat has been let out of the bag. And, for what its worth, I quite like the crappy tumblers they serve the wine in. It all adds to the sense of good food and eating as something that should be a daily, rather than a special, event.
  14. I went there for lunch on friday. Turned up by myself at about midday, sat at the bar and chatted to the staff while eating the food. I was the only person eating at the bar and the restaurant got busy but that was fine by me and the staff had the attitude that they were happy for me to eat wherever I wanted. They were very personable and it was interesting watching the kitchen. The wine was a highlight - I got through 2 carafes of red, a meaty Portugeuse number and a Valpollicella and a decent stickie and a pint for the road as it was raining and all were excellent. The whole lot cost £50 with deep fried pigs head starter, breast of stuffed veal with mash and buttermilk pudding with quince. The food was excellent of its type, but the standard is probably that of a good home cook rather than a high falutin restaurant. I had lunch at the Capital the next day and clearly, you are comparing chalk and cheese - the Capital was probably three times more expensive and a much more formal business. The thing about the Anchor & Hope is that its a small kitchen, with just two at the stoves, producing food that isn't messed around with (with the limited number of chefs it couldn't be any other way). In its way, I thought it was unimprovable, and if it was at the end of my road I'd be there a couple of times a week. It is very close to the idea of a neighbourhood restaurant that I mentioned on another thread.
  15. Having not eaten at the Boxwood I'm not going to comment on particulars but it does seem to me that what the UK lacks is neighbourhood restaurants - the sort of place that you could eat in three or four times a week without breaking the bank or feeling overwhelmed with taste sensations. Sort of like a chain of Ivys where you could just turn up and get a meal. There are so many dishes I can think of - Shepherd's Pie, Lasagne, boiled ham in parsley sauce, French onion soup dripping cheese, proper apple pie, rice pudding etc that if I want to eat them i have to cook them myself. Most people aren't as gluttinous as me and can't be bothered and would like a bit of comfort food. Quite why restaurants don't offer this and think we all want sea bass in a faux-med style and fines tartes tatins baffles me. If I was Ramsay, that would be my next venture - quality controlled, "home" cooking restaurants in half a dozen provincial cities (to keep costs down). I'd even call them "Home". In fact, Gordo, if you're reading this, for half a mill I'll sell you the concept!
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