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  1. Kendells is probably one of the best options in the city centre right now, although Little Tokyo is fun and Hansas is good although service can be very slow from my experience. Red Chilli gets plenty of press, and Chaoparaya is a very good Thai (and yes, also has a branch in Manchester) although the two branches of Sukhothai are very good too. Arts is a good option for a casual lunch whilst out shopping. am way overdue for a visit to Fuji Hiro, and am also missing no.3 york place. but otherwise, many of the others seem to be chains ...
  2. Fraiche - 24 May 2009 So … let’s see, culinary bear’s first report was back in 2005 so it has taken me four years to get here … and the only question I have now is “Why did it take me so bloody long to get here?!” In short, we had a MARVELLOUS time - lovely food, Marc and his fab team were incredibly kind and hospitable to us all evening, and we were even lucky enough to get the menu black - we were very spoilt. Which is why it is so crap of me to have taken so long to get round to writing this up. And actually, Cavendish had a similar menu so you‘ll have heard most of this already. Sorry about that … but my ramblings and pics below: Rice crackers yoghurt sumac Chocolate … (no pic) Melon -196c lime sour dough Pork quaver apple toothpaste The rice crackers were fun, and very reminiscent of prawn crackers, and the melon was very light and refreshing. But it was the pork quaver that completely won me over - pork scratching and apple puree - what’s not to like?! Seared scallop artichoke per me Fragrances fig tomato soil Cauliflower mussels passion fruit (no pic) Butternut squash smoking parmesan ice cream hit of shitake The scallop was very very good indeed and left us with broad smiles on our faces J - and the cauliflower and mussels were a surprisingly successful combination for me. Was less won over by the fig and tomato combination but it was the butternut squash dish that was the winner for me - lovely sweetness tempered by the salt and creaminess of the icecream. One of the best dishes of the night for me- Lemon sole asparagus chorizo quinoa (no pic) Loire quail parsley meringue And so to the mains. The lemon sole was good, but the quail was absolutely bloody fantastic. Actually made me stop talking it was so good - and those who know me will appreciate that’s no mean feat! Fizzy grapes, popping egg yolk, rhubarb cloud I guess these were the pre-desserts, and I thought the fizzy grapes were terrific fun, but have yet to figure out how they were made. Clearly I will need to make a return trip ! Lemon grass pannacotta sour cherry (no pic) Lemon meringue pie Pistachio yoghurt Mango textures Chocolate box (no pic) Yes, we were greedy enough to eat ALL of the above (and in fact a cheese course as well - I have no shame ...) - and why wouldn’t you when they’re so delicious. Pannacotta delicately flavoured with lovely fruity tartness, and the theatre of the lemon meringue was good fun. Time has dimmed my recollection of the pistachio and mango desserts, but I do remember the chocolate selection being rather damn fine J We were lucky enough to have a (rather too) long chat with Marc after the meal, and what a star. Generous to a fault, clearly loves what he is doing, and far too bloody humble about his brilliance. In a world of dull identikit modern british gastro-emporiums, Fraiche is an absolute god-send - fabulous food, done with flair and finesse and filled with charming people. What a pleasure to eat there … and I really really want to go back. SOON.
  3. also had a fantastic evening here a couple of weeks ago, some fab food and warm and gracious hospitality from Marc and the team. One of the best meals I've had in recent memory ... and if I lived nearer, I be there at least once a month! It's taken me bloody years to get here but am already plotting a return. will try and find time to do a full write up this weekend - assuming I can redeem some of my photos via photoshop.
  4. a shame to hear of disappointed punters. My visits have generally scored very well on food, and variably on the service, but overall still good enough to have it as a default location for mid-range lunch or dinner. but then i do love the room.
  5. for me, the whole point of the dumplings is that they're homely and comforting and yes, dangerously addictive. and would be good news indeed if they were to open a branch in Brum - it could really do with a standout Sichuan place.
  6. um, still haven't done notes from the March visit since the photos need a bit of work, but in the meantime - had another great lunch here last week. David cooked for us, which meant lots of lovely food - always a good thing in my book. Pics and notes below: Amuse - salt cod mousse and vichysoisse and angelica (??) I thought this was delicious, although it was too salty for one of the group. Which meant more for me - hurrah! Assiette of pigeon - tartare, cured breast and rillettes - with fig puree For me, one the highlights of the meal. The tartare was the standout, velvet texture, just rich enough and great flavour. Seared Scallops, pigs head, pickled pears, topped with crispy pig's ear Very good. Butter poached skate and peas, poached hogweed and purslane Good - but very very rich. Cannelloni of celeriac, oxtail and coxcomb with pom pom mushrooms and lady smock flowers Roast kid, Bolognese of heart, kidney and liver, wild garlic gnocchi and chervil tuber puree A superb main course - a classic LCS dish using both flesh and organs of a relatively unused beast and other lesser known ingredients to create a dish packed full of flavour and excitement. Pre-dessert - pandanus leaf pannacotta, Chinese rose jelly and orchid root foam Beautifully balanced, and so scrumptious that I scraped the glass clean! Lemon meringue pie, lemon jelly and sorrel icecream Very impressive, particularly the sorrel icecream. Given that I was stupid enough to pass over this on my last visit, was delighted to see it on our menu. And it’s in the new book, hmmm … wonder if I could try to make it. Apricot cake, toasted almond icecream and milk puree Icecream was excellent, and cake was good - but very rich and sticky. Not that that’s a bad thing at all, but it was the reason why I couldn’t finish my last mouthful! Petit fours …. And that’s it. At least until next time.
  7. and will there be a report? Had hoped to pop in for lunch on Sat but not sure I will have time. has been ages since I went to the main restaurant ....
  8. yep, craster kippers is the obvious suggestion (http://www.kipper.co.uk/home.html) - and in Bamburgh itself, this butchers seemed pretty good when I was there a few years back. http://www.bamburghcastle.com/business/carters.htm but in terms of eating places ... sorry, nothing comes to mind
  9. I was here a couple of weeks back for a corporate do, and had reasonable expectations off the back of the YP review. Sadly they were shambolic re: the service and much of the food was only lukewarm and not enough to get more than a spoonful. So (much like Gary's colleague) can't really see a reason to go back when Akbars and Aagrah are so reliable.
  10. that sounds unfortunate. I took a big group of colleagues to the Leeds branch at the end of Jan, and a couple of the chaps had the veggie set menu and seemed to be stuffed. I can imagine that some of the other dishes on the menu would seem pedestrian by comparison. It was noticeable that when they let me do the ordering, that all the dishes I added (the standard as discussed on this thread) - they were the biggest hits of the evening!
  11. Hopefully the following will work .. link to review
  12. Just back from lunch - and it was very good. More notes to follow, but in the meantime, in the spirit of public service re: the following ... ... um, it's out now ... and it's absolutely stunning. Some classics, some new ones, , some of the recipes and photos actually made me want to go and be in a kitchen very very soon - and am particularly tickled by the vegetable section. Can't say any more, need to go and caress my copy of the book.
  13. it's been a while since I've tried either of the following but would http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/ or http://www.bankrestaurants.com/birmingham_restaurant.html work?
  14. YKL


    noma, 31 Jan 2009 Ah yes - my noma obsessions goes on with another quick visit here a couple of weeks ago - pics and a few thoughts given below: Snacks The smoked quail’s egg and ryebread and chicken skin snacks were as delicious as ever - don‘t think I will ever tire of eating these. The summer radishes has become the sweetest winter carrots in a pot of edible soil but the crimped toast with herbs and vinegar were still present and still delicious - although don’t inhale at the wrong moment when eating the toast - else you’ll have a coughing fit for 10 minutes like I did! Cucumber, frozen dill and frozen cream A new dish, and yet so familiar in its blend of flavours and textures - cool, creamy and refreshing. Loved it - and it occurred to me that this would be a terrific opener to a summer meal as well as a winter one. And then it occurred to me that I love most openings to my noma meals because they herald several hours of fantastic company and fabulous food. I am very lucky indeed. Razor clams and parsley, dill and mussel juice One of my favourite classics. The clam was particularly sweet and tender tonight - another winner. Cauliflower and elderberry capers, fresh cheese and brown butter sauce Utterly utterly delicious - probably one of the best three dishes of the night for me and we greedily sopped up the brown butter sauce with more bread! Actually two cheeses here - a melted Swedish cheese on top of the fresh cheese - which added a lovely gentle nutty flavour to the whole dish, and the capers provided just the right acid spike to the richness of the dish. Langoustine and söl, parsley and seawater I have been lucky enough to enjoy langoustines on a number of visits and hence there was much glee from me as this arrived - a monster specimen from Norway - as fat as two fingers and insanely rich in flavour and perfectly cooked. Radishes from Lammefjorden and moss, seaweed and egg yolk Another revision of this seaweed dish - and the new guest star was the Icelandic moss, and we were told that they just discovered or learnt of 600 (I think … failed to scribble notes) edible kinds of moss - in fact - the subject of René’s presentation in Italy that weekend - so we were intrigued to see how it would taste. Well, the answer is incredibly bitter - not unpleasant to me but certainly a wake-up call to some underused taste buds. And with the seaweed and egg yolk and radishes, the dish had the potential to be perfectly balanced, exciting and revelatory. And K certainly enjoyed it. But it didn’t hit such giddy heights for me - never quite managed to compose a sublime forkful to get the nirvana effect that I believe they were aiming for. Hmmm … re-reading this, it sounds harsher than I intended. I didn’t hate it, just wasn’t as cohesive for me as the other dishes, and I found more to admire than enjoy. Ironically, I wonder if perhaps the moss was the unwelcome element for me. Pike perch and vegetable stems, ransom capers and butter sauce This was a unexpected delight - my guess would have been that Pike could be possibly a little muddy and flat in flavour but I was completely wrong because this was so sweet in taste, and so delicate in texture. Fantastic cooking - one of the best dishes of the night. Ashes and leeks, mussels and king crab Ah .. Almost as if they read my mind since this was one of the dishes that made me swoon on my first ever visit, and have been yearning for a repeat ever since. And god it was worth the wait. Even if it was 2.5 years in coming. Potatoes from Lammefjorden, whey and smoked speck Thanks to photoshop, the pics aren’t too bad. So we have potato puree, with some truffle puree and a sheet of speck on top with whey foam / sauce - served at the table (?). Very very nice, but exceedingly rich. In fact - I must confess that the heavy and powerful combination of truffle and speck floored me a little and I’m not sure I finished my plate. Short rib of beef and roses, beets and malt My scribbles remind me that we have apples from Lilleø and malt puffs on the plate. A good dish - again very very rich (well, what did I expect, visiting in Winter!) and I suspect I was still feeling overwhelmed by the truffles and speck because I was starting to struggle. Thank goodness we were able to take a break because I had seen glimpses of what was to come and wanted to be able to fully appreciate the desserts. Snowman from Lammefjorden And look what we got! made us laugh a lot! We were advised to cut straight through the snowman (dread to think how long they took constructing this!) to show the carrot sorbet dipped in yoghurt and apple vinegar meringue, accompanied by sea buckthorn puree and yoghurt snow. And it was very very good … and convinced me even more that the desserts seem to be getting steadily more impressive and creative. Good to see their confidence growing so that they can really let rip with the ideas. Walnut powder and ice cream, dried cream and dried berries Best dessert of the night, and for me, one of the top three dishes of the night. I’d had this on a previous occasion and thought it was pleasant but on this night, it was knockout. Barley and kisses, milk and aquavit Oooh - more food - they know how to make me happy! They asked if I’d had this before, and digging back through my photos, seemed that I did. But this worked so much better on this visit - maybe it was the liquorice that added that extra note which lifted the whole dish. Or that the cranberries were particularly sweet or the crisp bread particularly buttery but it was delicious and we scraped our bowls clean. So - another terrific meal and I remain a fervent admirer of the talent and enthusiasm and general fabulousness of the people and the restaurant. But surely you wouldn’t expect me to say anything else? For me - still one of my favourite places on Earth, and am already looking forward to a return.
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