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Everything posted by Tonyfinch

  1. Well, not wishing to re-run an old Italian food thread but are adventure and surprises what people are looking for from an Italian restaurant? I don't think so.
  2. Anybody got news of the new venture Koffman spoke about when he left?
  3. I could be wrong but I thought Koffman retained three stars when he moved and was relegated to two later.
  4. Well there's a bar in the hotel where LL is situated. Couldn't get closer.
  5. Tonyfinch

    Tasting Menu

    Episure sorry. I really have very little knowledge of Zins.
  6. Just over the road is Embassy. Not ethnic but good French.
  7. Another staple is Cassava- Mogo in Swahili. Eaten pounded and mashed, or fried and sprinkled with chilli powder and lime, its delicious.
  8. Some clarification. M'Chuzi is the generic Swahili name for any stew or curry. Irio is a beans and corn dish and does not necessarily include potatoes, as implied by the recipe on the link.
  9. The staple in Kenya is Ugali. This is maize meal boiled into a porridge very akin to polenta. It is then moulded into a ball with the fingers and used to scoop up and absorb the stew or the curry. It is not a "neutral" flavour and has a distinctive taste. The main course will mainly be goat or chicken, and fish on the coast. Palm oil is the most widely used cooking medium although corn oil and groundnut oil are also used. Onions and chillies are always used in the stews. Corn on ther cob is ubiquitous, not served boiled with butter but roasted on roadside braziers and sprinkled with chilli and lime. The Kenyans have a taste for a bitter green vegetable. I forget the name but its like spinach or callalloo, but with a distinctive bitter flavour. It's an acquired taste but oonce you've acquired it the stuff is addictive. On weekends or special occasions Kenyans will eat roast or bbq'd goat-Nyama Choma. Also, there are many Asians living in Kenya originally bought over from India to help build railways in East Africa. As a result Indian food is very popular and some marvellous Indian food is available in Nairobi and Mombasa.
  10. I've been cooking salt beef a bit lately. My local butcher brines brisket and I boil it with an onion, a stick of celery, peppercorns , a few bay leaves etc. I find I need to change the water after its come to the boil otherwise ithe meats too salty. Also you need to get the timings right. Boil too long and the meat disintigrates when you cut it into strings. And Thomas is right about keeping it in the water, otherwise it dries out.
  11. I've always enjoyed the steaks there. But its a very uncomfortable restaurant-well its just a prefab really and I'm not overkeen on the whole experience. I agree Bodeans is better. Mayne Bubba needs to move on and get himself a "proper" restaurant.
  12. The Butler's Wharf Chophouse has more or less the same view as Blue print Cafe, albeit from a ground floor level, and is now a better restaurant IMO. They still do set meals in the bar for £9 two courses, £11 for three which I think is one of London's unsung bargains. Only trouble with that is that you can't book. Interestingly the other big Conran joint along there, La Pont de la Tour, which has always struck me as a tourist rip off, was absolutely jam packed on an admittedly lovely Saturday night. They're obviously doing something very right.
  13. Tonyfinch

    Tasting Menu

    Really? That's a shame. Personally I'm a fan of ice cold White Port with Indian snacks and starters but I realise that's an eccentric choice. Same with Amontillado Sherry. A more acceptable choice would be Vouvray, in either the dry or medium versions. Or a good new world rendition of Chenin Blanc. In my experience, Chardonnay, Sauvingnon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier do NOT work with Indian food.
  14. Tonyfinch

    Tasting Menu

    Aniseed, asparagus and cilantro are difficult flavours for wine. For that reason I'd play safe with the first three courses and stick to Champagne, or its top class sparkling equivalents. For the Prawn dish you can be more daring but red chillis mean you don't want too much subtlety in the wine because they'll kill it. An Alsace Gewurtztraminer, or Pinot Blanc or a New World Riesling or, if you want something medium sweet a good German Riesling. For the mutton/lamb an Australian Shiraz, or a rich Rioja or Ribeira Del Duero. Green Tea Kulfi-No wine will go with this. If you were having the more regular Pistachio or Almond type Kulfi then only Pedro Ximenez Sherry will be sweet enough
  15. Lovely view but stretched service and awful food at the Blueprint Cafe last night. Salt Duck, Red Cabbage and Watercress had a miserly portion of paper thin slices of duck which, if it had any taste, was completely overwhelmed by the sweetness of the dressing on the red cabbage. It was like a dessert and it killed the hitherto pleasant bottle of Morgon Beaujolais. Fennel, Celeriac and Spinach Soup was fine. Ox Tongue with Tomatoes, Pepper and Basil had thick chunks of tongue but it was curiously tasteless and instead of slices of tomato and peppers came with a mushy salsa which had leeched juice and rendered the meat and the dish "wet". Fahro's Braised Veal with Green Sauce was inedible (well, except for the fact that I ate it ). Think school dinner stew-brown meat with globs of fat with a gloopy green sauce. That'll be £16 please. We really should have sent it back but the restaurant was crowded, the waiters harrassed and we knew we'd have to wait ages for something else as we'd already waited ages to order and get what we had and, in all honestly, we didn't want anything else. We just wanted to go, despite the view. On the way out I asked if Jeremy Lee still headed up here. I was told yes and did I want to speak to him? I confess I chickened out. At that moment I really didn't know what I'd say I now wish I had. This place was once considered the best in an area clogged with restaurants. I'd had an excellent meal here myself a couple of years ago. Maybe people still rate it but I really wish we'd stuck to our original intention and carried on round the corner to Tentazione instead. I won't be going back.
  16. I'm always amused at how unwilling people are to defer to people who know more about food and restaurants than them. If I want to buy a new car or a computer or just about anything non-food related I'm quite happy to ask someone who knows more than me for their advice and I'm grateful for it. But here we have Basildog's friend who I'm sure is a lovely bloke but clearly knows nothing whatsoever about where to eat in that area and has chosen a crap hole in an area surrounded by much better restaurants, even for pasta. No-one I know who has eaten at this place has a good word to say about it. But will this chap be told? Clearly not. He would be "offended". It's hard to tell people that when it comes to restaurants you know much more than them because when it comes to food everyone considers himself an expert. I suppose it doesn't matter so much if you're not paying, but if you are its a waste of money and even if you're not its a wasted opportunity. Just make sure you leave enough room for the Raan, BD.
  17. Tell your friend to stop being silly and that you want to go somewhere that people who know about these things know is good. In that same area you've got The Arkansas Cafe, with some of London's best BBQ, and St John Bread and Wine, to name but two.
  18. Oh, we're back with this are we? Why is it difficult for people to accept that restaurants might adapt a cuisine to cater for local taste? The fact that a few cooks in India might put cheese in naan does not alter the fact that the vast majority do not. Nor is it done in Britain which has infinitely more Indian restaurants in it than any other European country. The odd exception only proves the rule. What we ARE finding in Britain are Indian breads being regarded as a less essential part of the meal in the upmarket Michelin aspiring Indian restaurants. This is because these restaurants are Frenchifying, by which I mean pre-plating the food before it is served in strict portion control, and paying a great deal of attention to how the food looks on the plate and to the importance of good cutlery. Gone from these places are the communal bowls in the middle of the table where you help yourself and eat with your fingers, ie. with bread with every bite. Now the bread is an adjunct because you are eating with a knife and fork. You have to put these down to take up your bread so you're likely to eat less. We're also seeing more specialty breads as courses in themselves (this is where the cheese naan would come in were it on the menus, all kinds of stuffes parathas) rather than the piles of plain rotis and chapatis one gets in the more traditional places. And then there's Dr. Atkins................
  19. Why are you going there for lunch? Don't tell me because of the name ?
  20. It is a brine cure and the cut is brisket.. Some non-Jewish versions use silverside, but brisket is far superior. Good salt beef needs some fat. When I was at B&Ks recently Bernie asked me if I wanted it "with or without", meaning fat. Diet consciousness is clearly rife in Edgware. Since there is no butter on the sandwich (against Jewish dietry laws) you need some fat to lubricate the bread and meat. It's also delicious.
  21. They're not there in Windmill St anymore. The biggest one is now the site of Melati-a Maylaysian?Indonesian restaurant. Traditional salt beef bars are now mainly to be found in Jewish residential areas. The best is the B&K Salt Beef Bar in Edgware, and there's still a branch of Bloom's in Golders Green. In Central London I had some very good salt beef last year at Gaby's on Charing Cross Rd, but there was a lot of dissent about that on this board and the general consensus was that Selfridges did indeed do the best salt beef in the centre. There is also Reuben's on Baker St but I haven't been there in years and couldn't vouch for it. A new pan Jewish restaurant/deli has opened up alongside the Bevis Marks synagogue on Bevis Marks near Liverpool St. It's had some excellent reviews but it's only open at lunchtime. I haven't been yet.
  22. Eating dog is illegal in South Korea, although it still goes on. In an article on Dog Cuisine before the last World Cup there was an interview with S. Korea's most famous Tang chef who poured scorn on Western "sentimentality" towards dogs: "People in the West say dogs are loyal, brave, faithful etc. They are nothing of the kind. They only want you to THINK that they are loyal, brave, faithful etc so that you won't eat them" . Now that's what I call a culture clash.
  23. It never ceases to amaze ME, coming as I do from Britain. I have heard various explanations for this appalling state of affairs but none of them make sense to me. Ultimately I suppose it must be about demand, but why the British are not demanding fresh fish and seafood everywhere when it would be so easy to supply it is a mystery.
  24. Had some canned artichoke hearts stuffed with seafood, which I'd brought back from Spain, for lunch yesterday. Quite tasty, but again the artichokes turned to mush as soon as the fork touched them. The reason why canned or bottled red pimientos work is because their texture out of the bottle is similar to that which you get by grilling and skinning fresh ones. The discrepancy between bottled and fresh is far less marked. To me a pleasure in eating fresh aparagus is its slight bite and resistance, getting the juice to burst out in the mouth while they're still warm. I've never had this from canned ones no matter how acceptable the flavour.
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