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Simon Majumdar

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  1. Golden Scottish rasberries are the best in the world and wonderful in a crachan(sp?) a mix if whipped cream, single malt, toasted rolled oats and the raspberries S
  2. Jackal is correct. usually found in northern tripe shops to the right of the roast udder I love tripe, just boiled and served with an onion sauce As for Lancashire, the Black pudding there is the one thing it does better than Yorkshire. Burnley pudding in particular with those huge chunks of back fat. MMMM S
  3. The much missed Pirate's Platter from the Golden Egg was a great fave. At the weekend, I received a package of Weasand from a chum in Leeds. A prize to anyone who can tell me what that is. Very good it was too S
  4. In the words of Peter Tosh "soon come" S
  5. After a few days of grim meetings and even more grim meals in Manhattan, I was pleased to get away and head north to the gauche loveliness that is Toronto. People who say “oot & aboot” and who think that they have a major sporting franchise of any sort. How very sweet The first night saw us heading to an Italian restaurant called Prego De La Piazza where the food was undistinguished but the evening was made by the entertainment. The owner, the biggest fan of Leonard Cohen on this planet we call Earth, had invited 25 young things, ranging from 20-25 years of age, to sing their favourite LC song while the diners ate. Each had an astonishing voice and our host and my colleague and I were stunned at the quality of the singing if not the flaccid asparagus on offer. A truly memorable evening. After a long day of meetings and a bit of shopping ( £1=CAN$2.16 – Huzzah and Hurrah ) we headed to Bymark for supper. I am a fan of the chef M McM and his previous place North 44 and had wanted to try this place for ages. Last time I was here, it was not possible to get a table. Now, post SARS, there were plenty of tables on offer. We arrived without ever seeing the light of day, using the subterranean network of malls that tunnel underneath Toronto. The room is Uber hip with subdued lighting and banquettes. We were seated at a corner table and our initial impression was very favourable This was soon dissipated by the arrival of the worst Martini I have had since I was last in Boston. Truly grim, neither cold nor dry. Why are North Americans so bleeding rubbish at making a decent drink? Answers on a postcard please. Anyway, the menu is an eclectic one with lots of fusion stuff ( Prawns with pot stickers ) lots of basic North American “fayre” ( rib eye steak ) and a lot of stuff that seems to have come direct from the kitchens of The Gotham Bar & Grill ( Tall food) My colleague started with a green salad which was better than average with an interesting selection of leaves and two types of mint mixed in the dish. I started with a Pan fried Foie with roasted apple and tempura onions. This dish was taken direct from The Gotham with a tower of onion rings filled in the centre with seared foie. The onion rings were not bad, nor was the roasted apple of the maple syrup glaze they use, but the foie was awful. I am not a fan of Hudson Valley anything, but this was worse that I expected. Not de-veigned, the foie was stringy and overcooked. A poor start. Inbetween courses, I nipped to point percy at the porcelain and found the bathrooms ( after a search ) very chic, but almost useless for the purpose for which they were intended. Thank God I was not wearing suede shoes. Entrees arrived soon after my return to table and my colleague had “Grilled Texan White Prawns with Citrus Dressing”. This was an excellent dish, with some gentle spicing to some extremely fresh and succulent prawns. I , being at the end of a long and tiring trip and needing protein, ordered a 16 oz rib eye of USDA 8 week dry aged beef. It was cooked perfectly to order ( Black & Blue, for the record ) and was, in all honesty on of the best pieces of beef I have had in a long, long time. Fatty and full of flavour. We drank wines by the glass and both started with a glass of Wolfsberger Gewurtz. I followed with a couple of glasses of the Vino Neceto Sangiovese from California. Both were very reasonably priced and the red in particular was delicious. Too full for dessert, we finished with proper mint tea ( test aced! ) and a glass of the Iniskillin Ice wine 1999. Service was friendly but not up to the standards of their NY neighbours ( they obviously have laws precluding them from paying people from Sillet less than Minimum wage ) and they failed the Napkin Test so horribly I would rather have watched a car crash. Meal for two inc service was CAN$275. I think at the current exchange rate that = £2.51. 6/10 S
  6. On recent visits to GR and Savoy and Petrus, there was nothing on the menu for Veg'n's at all. That is not to say that they could not have whipped something up but it would always be an after thought What about a higher end indian place or Thai? I seem to remember some interesting stuff at Nahm S
  7. Grandly presented with a lattice of crispy potato piled high on top? Mmmm, I wonder what wine goes best with pants. ok, ok so I'm no AA Gill but my challenge still holds! and does anyone know the name of the critic from my vivid description? Sounds like Nick Foulkes S
  8. Hi Jancis First of all thanks so much for taking the time to look at our questions. After the Old World Wines and the New World wines, what about the Third World Wines? I notice increasingly in Oddbins and even some supermarket chains wines from places that I didn't even know were places. So, which are the countries to look out for? Who are the makers getting involved and what are the grape varieties that will prosper? Thanks again for your time and to Andy ( I think ) for organising S
  9. It was unfair of me As you so rightly pointed out when you met him, jay looks no more than in his mid forties S
  10. I would be interested to see how Cru stacks up. It is just around the corner from me but I have never been there or to South on Curtain Rd, both of which I have heard mixed things about Do tell S
  11. 'The leather was like steak' It has been closed for a few months now I was pondering on how quickly a place can go from fashionable to out of business, then realised that it had been there for nearly 10 years. Not a bad run, I guess. I have not been for years but used to rather like it. I imagine there were lots of people who said that. hence the closure If it is becoming a sausage & Mash cafe it will be ironic as the guys who ran Alfreds opened that RK Stanley's which ( I don't know if it is still around ) was a sausage cafe. S
  12. No, you are not being unreasonable in the slightest Not unlike another place around Spitalfield that announced it was selling " the best hot chocolate in the world" which turned out to be Cadbury's from a catering size tin. When I gently suggested to the guy that this probably wasn't "the best hot chocolate in the world" he countered with the undeniably true " you're one of those troublemakers who expects real chocolate" Er? Interestingly enough, both the sign and the gentleman behind the counter have now vanished S
  13. Joe Joseph is actually a very good writer. Of course, it must be fabulous if all the critics like it. Whatever was I thinking? S
  14. They were last time I was there and wearing very fetching matching outfits and shimmery glitter make up. Enough details ? S
  15. It depends for me If it is a first try and it sucks I rarely go back as there are so many places to try If I go there regularly and have had good meals, but have a bad one, I would give it one more try. One more bad experience and I don't go again S
  16. Oh and the Peasant ( or is it Pheasant?) on St John St is only a short hop ( even for someone of your considerable girth ) from SD Can we all just also take a minute of silence for tarka to consider their temerity in disagreeing with me and to wave goodbye to their place at the St J dinner To be fair, I hear as many bad things about the St J Fish dhop as I do good, but the three meals I have had there have all been more than fine and one, very good S
  17. For a decent quick meal, try the St John St Fish Restaurant ( the old Upper St Fish Shop People ) It has had mixed crit, but I have always had great meals there S
  18. And me for The Walworth Road Cafe during my college days Fry up consisting of Eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, mushrooms, fried bread, tomatoes, beans and chips & a mug of tea- yours for £2.95 I forget, did women have the vote yet during your college days? Yeah, those that were not shipped to the penal colonies to live with fuckwit occkers S
  19. It is nice to see Alfredo's revived in some sort of way as it was a great old haunt of mine and is down the road from the office. Sad to see it in wrack and ruin for so long but great to see it restored The S&M cafe have a few branches now ( the old Alfred's on New Oxford St is being turned into one and there is one just next to Golds outside Spitalfields market ) They are not bad, not great , but a good non destinational place if you are hungry and in the area. S
  20. I like having dinner with the Finch's. Tony has forgotten more about wine than I will ever know and can figure out a good bottle at 100 yrds. Faro on the other hand barely drinks at all so there is more for everyone else. Last night the four of us ( Me, Tone, Faro and the ever estimable Robin ) went to the Savoy Grill for supper It took us a few moments to figure out where the entrance to The Grill Room was and we wandered around The Savoy in a re-enactment of the scene in Spinal Tap "Hello Cleveland" When we finally managed to find the door which is pretty hidden and discreetly signed as you enter the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised. The room is lovely, lots of booths and with a real buzz about it. They gave us a great little booth near the kitchen which was handy to see all the kithcen and trolley schtick going on. While we sipped on a pre dinner Aligote ( didn't enjoy much, a bit soft ) some pre amuse were bought to the table which while excellent individually were a bit of an odd combination. Hummus with small melba toasts and a brandade on top of small brown shrimps. The menu is £35 for three courses which with the range of choices ( about 6 each in each of hot, cold starters, soups, seafood and shellfish and meats ) is very good value indeed. We were joking that the chef being who he is, the amuse was bound to be a cappucino of something and we were spot on. It was a delicious soup of sweet potato which had a real depth of flavour To start, I chose the calf's sweetbreads which was very good, crunchy outside, soft and melting inside. Tony had a King Prawn torellini with a celery veloute ( hurrah!) and Robin had hand caught scallops ( with no corals on, I guess so as not to offend the Americans ) I can't recall what Faro had, but Tony's dish was the standout. Faro and I shared the Chateaubriand for two for the main course while robin had Belly Pork and tony Anjou Pigeon. The beef had a great flavour and was cooked ( rare ) perfectly to order. I was less keen on Robins pork which was a few slices of slightly dry belly with no discernable texture. Again, Tony's meal was the standout with the pigeon having an amazing flavour and being pink as it should be. Desserts came either from the trolley ( a nod to the old Grill Room ) or from a list of chef's specials. Tony and Robin chose from the trolley which had a selection of about 10 fantastic looking desserts on offer. They both wen for a trifle which the four of us shared while our plum tatin was being prepared. The trifle was pretty good but nowhere near as good as the tatin that came out a moment later. The only downside was that it was supposed to be served with an almond ice cream but we were given a pretty ordinary vanilla. I guess in the bigger scheme of things, it is a minor failing. Coffees and a mint tea ( not fresh mint but from a bag- aghhh!) were served with two types of petits which were quickly demolished Wines on the list were pretty overpriced. The very ordinary aligote was £25. The wine we were recommended with our starter ( Tony-remind me ) was about £5 a glass and was not bad, a slighly raisiny wine from just south of Barcelona. The highlight was a Monastarios 98 which was superb but at £55 about £10 over priced. We had a guess about the bill and I reckoned that if it came out under £100 a head it would be a decent deal. In fact it was much more than that ( a decent deal that is ) The meal came to £75 per person including service which was exemplary throughout. At that price, and with this level of cooking this is a bit of a steal and in every aspect the superior of Petrus which was exactly twice the price on a recent visit. 8/10 - one point off for failing the mint tea test and for the entrance not being directly in my sightline when I entered the hotel
  21. I can happily supply Tom's number Jon and you can organise yourself. That may be a little too much like hard work though S
  22. difference is, I own both the piss and the cup S
  23. certainly Drugs have led to some horrors in Publishing. I mean what but a drug addled mind could have come up with an idea like A COOK'S TOUR? In all seriousness, I cannot see why trust has to come into it. Those days are gone. That's why we have employment contracts and trbunals etc etc What people do in their own time is their own business be it taking drugs or fucking sheep. What is not their own business is if they come into work with the sheep still on their back the next day S
  24. Could you say why you find it repugnant? I find it a purely common sense response to a growing problem I would be interested to hear the other side S
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