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Everything posted by YKL

  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.
  15. just back from first visit here, and had a good meal - as per comments above, the refurb has made the whole place look stunning. Has always been one of my favourite buildings in Leeds, but the roof with Christmas lights looks quite magical at the moment. Had a quick chat with Tony Sr, Olga and Holly who were having a well deserved drink in the bar, before heading to the table. Too full and tired for cohorent thoughts at the moment, but the food was good (black pudding and poached egg salad for me, baked camembert for H, both had cod with chorizo for main and bread and butter pudding for dessert), service was friendly and efficient (top marks for bringing us a taste of the two red wines we were dithering over!) and at £75 for a three courses each plus tea and three glasses of wine, we were quite content. Was a little disappointed at the absence of suckling pig on the menu, fingers crossed it's there when I go back in a couple of weeks.
  16. good report Calum - thanks. Hope to make my first visit soon.
  17. all sounds excellent - which reminds me that i am overdue for a visit .... hmmm ...
  18. YKL


    Noma - 25 Oct 2008 a few notes from another cheeky visit a few weeks ago for a belated birthday celebration. Anyone who has read this thread will already be aware of my bias and all too frequent visits, so with thanks in advance for everyone's patience - a few pics and words below: Snacks Smoked quail egg Ryebread, chicken skin, lobster roe and smoked cheese Radishes, soil and herbs Toast, herbs and vinegar - All as pleasing as ever with the savoury chicken skin and rye bread sandwich taken to new levels with the lobster roe - Yum indeed Chestnut and rye, bleak roe and walnut Paper thin slices of nuts with a scattering of herbs and rye bread shards, but the star of the show was the fantastic bleak roe sauce with its popping eggs. Light and delicate, and tickling the tongue - a pleasure to look at and eat. Squid and white currants, cream and chlorophyll Ah - another return - think this was introduced as squid and kohlrabi last time and the herbs drew much comment The squid had excellent flavour but parts of it were less tender than previous renditions - at least on my plate - god, I‘m picky aren’t I? amazing they let me through the doors .. Razor clam and horseradish “snow”, parsley and dill Fast becoming a noma classic, and deservedly so. So striking in presentation, but pure and clean in flavour, incredibly tender razor clam … I don’t think I am ever going to tire of this dish. Grilled cucumber and fresh cheese, browned butter and chicken stock Hurrah - the cheese was back .. *sigh* so lightly set that it was almost a pity to disrupt its fragility and delicate form. Salsify and milk skin and truffles think they have finally converted me to milk skin with this dish - the creamy silken texture that slipped down so easily was a great foil to the truffle paste and vegetables. Fava beans and marrow bone, seaweed and verbena ah - a reworked version of the dish that didn't take off last time for us. For me, the runny egg yolk was a great improvement since the richness was a much better balance for the lemon verbena sauce with the seaweed providng a lovely iodine seasoning. But although more enjoyable than the last time - still not quite a classic in my book … hmmm ... what am I looking for? not sure, I just know it doesn't excite me in the way the other dishes do ... but that's what happens when everything else is so good, the ones that don't click stand out. Onions from Læsø and blueberries Very pretty looking dish*, and an unexpectedly successful combination … a good dish for me, but a much bigger hit around the table * and if my photos had worked, you would see this. Sorry. Turbot skirt and pickled ramson onion, radishes and herbs But I loved this dish very much very much. Maybe it was nostalgia for the fish and pickled daikon radishes dishes I ate as a child, but the dish was so comforting, and cleansing and enjoyable. I was smiling quite a lot by this point. Lobster in “red nuances” Delicious. And beautiful. Veal tongue and celeriac, veal breast and garden sorrel Don’t make the same mistake as I by thinking that the nest of crispy fibres is some sort of fried celeriac. Oh no, that’s the veal breast, painstakingly hand shredded fibre by fibre to create this cloud of fantastic flavour and a real “wow” moment as you realise the hours of work that went into creating this. Delicious. Cheese Ah - this was at our request as a couple of the party love cheese and they don't usually feature on our menus. I must apologise in advance for not being able to fully read the hand written notes but I think they were 3 year old Svenko (??), Langli Stout, Sønderjusu Blå. All delicious, all ridiculously rich which is why I passed off half of my portion to the others …. And so to desserts and I should say that all through the evening, the staff were gleefully telling us that they had some brand new desserts for us to try, and their excitement was very infectious. As I’ve said before, their enthusiasm and pride is an integral part of what makes my noma experiences so special Overripe pear and whey, malt and woodruff And doesn’t this look like a Danish winter wonderland? We joked that all it needed was a Lego figure skiing down the hillside to complete the scene, and the young chef confessed that the thought had occurred to them in the kitchen. Good to see a sense of humour and fun - I want to smile and laugh during my meals as well as savouring delicious food. And this *was* delicious, but hey, I love pears and the malt oil was a lovely flavour note to add some earthiness. And so to the finale … Truffle from Gotland and “kvark” Are you slack jawed as you read this? that was certainly my reaction when this appeared - truffles for dessert for crying out loud - and for me, a stunning representation of a volcanic scorched earth. Soft meringue and truffle mousse I think, with slices of truffle as well … but to be honest, I am not clear on the precise details!!! I was too busy being impressed and delighted to play close attention. Like the Jerusalem artichoke icecream I adored in April, I loved the combination of an familiar flavour in an unexpected setting, just enough sweetness to place it in the dessert field, but without masking the truffle muskiness. An bold and brilliant dish, and I loved it. Other reactions round the table were more mixed, was too rich for a couple of people (damn us and our cheese greed - that didn’t help!) - especially after the gazillion courses we’d eaten beforehand. I think it’s now been introduced onto the main menu, and the feedback is mixed - clearly a marmite dish. And so we were done - full, slightly inebriated* and very very happy - again, some excellent food, fabulous people and a great evening’s entertainment. Am so very grateful to all those who worked so hard for us and looked after us so well. With such joys to discover on each visit, is it any wonder that I have already made plans for another visit?
  19. my pleasure .... look forward to hearing your feedback!
  20. Glad you all like it I chose to book a couple of months in advance because that we could only do that date, and specifically only that lunchtime. So sorry, don't know how much notice is needed. The room was full though so my impression is that if you're going for a more popular slots (e.g. weekends), probably best not to leave it too close. But they were charming on the phone when I spoke to them. Does that help?
  21. Am surprised that there doesn't seem to be a thread for the Kitchin - so am taking the liberty to start one to feedback on a cheeky lunch last weekend. We had a splendid time with some very good food - well worth the mad dash from Glasgow. It's been on my radar for a while; an illustrious CV, a menu stuffed full of seafood and game in accordance with their strapline of “from nature to plate” and plenty of regional and national pride as befits one of Scotland’s brightest young chefs. The glimpses of Tom Kitchin’s food from his appearance on the “Great British Menu” earlier this year whetted our appetites further and so our expectations were pretty high as we arrived on Saturday 4th Oct for lunch. And am very glad we made the effort since the food was so good. The service in the main room was more formal than we anticipated, but maybe that's just a personal thing. Photos and menu notes below - still playing with new camera and the best shot is of the petit fours which was taken in the glass conservatory - if only we could have eaten out there! We’d been perusing the menu for weeks on the website for weeks, and the choice was as difficult as we’d anticipated with a good value set lunch menu (3 courses for £24.50) and an more elaborate and ambitious ALC. There was also a tasting menu option, but as a group of four, we figured we would have more fun if we ordered different dishes and tasted from each other’s plates. Well, good food is made for sharing isn’t it? And for those situations where we were struggling to make a selection of only 4 dishes, um, well, er, we ordered an extra starter and dessert. Well - it saved us making a difficult choice!! So we had … (items from the set lunch menu denoted by an *) Pre amuse of pumpkin soup I know, I know, pumpkin soup is such a cliché as an amuse during the autumn months - but this was very very good. There were delicate notes of cinnamon and cumin which played so well with the sweetness, and turned something which could have been so bland and dull into something more much exciting and yet still familiar. Things were looking promising. Starters * Venison - braised haunch of venison ravioli served with roasted chestnuts and quince * Crab - brown crab from Anstruther served with a salad of celeriac, apple and hazelnuts Snails and bone marrow - sautéed organic snails from Devon served with roasted bone marrow and a garlic and parsley risotto Langoustine and Pig’s Head - Roasted langoustine tail from Anstruther with boned and rolled pig’s head served with a crispy ear salad Sea - from our Scottish shores, an assiette of seafood served with pickled cucumber, dill and crème fraiche For me, the all conquering champion from this selection was the langoustine and pigs head - rich, delicious and again some restrained spicing to tickle the palate, and the pig‘s ear lattice was a taste and textural delight . I had to remind myself that we were sharing otherwise I’d have scoffed the entire plate. I can see why this is something of a signature dish. Mind you, the snails and bone marrow were pretty damn fine too - the photo shows a goodly portion of the bone marrow having been hacked off already - clearly I wasn’t speedy enough with my camera. But my slow reflexes aside - this was very very good - big butch robust flavours, almost rustic in its appearance (apart from the fried quail’s egg … not sure of its place) and universally praised around the table. The venison ravioli was good - incredibly rich though, and we all felt that we’d eaten the entire ravioli (raviolo?) ourselves, it may have crossed the line excessive richness and possibly been cloying. The crab salad was nice - fresh and clean, and also appeared on the “sea” plate - which was nice enough, but given that this was the extra starter that we had ordered out of greed (a plate of Scottish seafood in the hands of a good chef - surely we mustn’t miss out!) - we were less overwhelmed than we expected. Maybe we’re being harsh, but we certainly weren’t swooning as with the pig’s head and the marrow. God - dribbling now at the recollection in fact! Mains * Partridge - Red leg partridge roasted on the bone , served with braised red cabbage and bread sauce * Halibut - seared wild halibut served with herb potato gnocchi, Jerusalem artichoke, chorizo and wild mushrooms Venison - Roast saddle of venison from the Invercauld Estate, served with beetroot and celeriac gratin, pear, chestnuts and a juniper berry sauce Hare - a la royale …. (sorry, forgot the accompaniments, but this was one of the specials of the day) Have the venison! Have the venison! Have the venison! Did you get that? Yes, menu winner for me was Bambi - quite possibly the most delicious venison I have ever eaten and the silky smooth beetroot and celeriac gratin was stupendous. A fabulous and generous plate of food. My smile was quite broad as I ate this. Of the others - the partridge was pretty good, and considering it was on the set lunch menu, then very impressive. The hare was fine, but not as wonderful as I’d hoped (although the foie serving was very generous so points for that) - and the halibut may have been a mite overcooked. Shame really - everything else was so well done. Still - venison was bloody good though Desserts *Orange - bitter orange crème brulee served with praline ice cream *Apple - apple soufflé served with cinnamon ice cream Plums & honey - Iced parfait of Heather Hills clover honey served with pickled plums and oat crumble Hibiscus and Raspberry - Hibiscus scented pannacotta served with macerated Perthshire raspberries and mini floating islands Pear and toffee - the classic Edinburgh Fog served A la Kitchin with Drambuie, pears and toffee Um ….. All of these were good - think the Pear and Toffee was my favourite but not by much. All were light, delicate and a satisfying end to the meal. So no standouts but no clunkers either. We finished with some Mint tea, flowering silver tip tea and petit fours in the lounge and more giggling and catch up. We didn’t drink much - an aperitif each, some mineral water and a couple of glasses of wine in total - and bill was just over £300 incl. tip. Given that we did two set menus here then it’s not necessarily somewhere one could eat ALC every week - but what a treat when you can. I don’t know when I can next get back - but I sincerely hope it is not to be my only visit Recommended if you’re in the area.
  22. Kendells was ok on my single visit from a few months back - a good cheap and cheerful choice for pre-theatre meals I would say. Not flashy in any way, but competent enough. No 3 York Place is another option for higher end - but have not been enamoured of Brasserie 44 - imho staying in the city centre - the Aagrah is reliable enough if you're looking for good curry. Akbar's was pretty good too. And Chaopraya by the station is a good choice for Thai, although I think Sukhothai in Chapel Allerton is better. Fuji Hiro would be my choice for a noodle fix - above wagamama or tampopo also in the city centre.
  23. maybe a Nov opening according to this? http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/feat...arge.4440358.jp think there's an article in the current issue of Caterer as well ...
  24. YKL


    um, not absolutely certain but I thought many of the snacks were served to all. and re: the menu, apart from the 7-course menu, there's also a nassaaq 12 course menu available, but you're right - they're kind enough to tailor the menu for me each time so probably best to seek guidance from them? wine - since I know nothing about wine, I tend to leave it in the capable hands of Pontus - and let him know whether I want just a few different glasses or the full menu - depends on my mood ... and alcohol capacity for the evening! can't offer any advice re: local bars - but am sure some other readers who are far more local to CPH can offer feedback! am sure you'll have a great time - look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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