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Posts posted by YKL

  1. Gee's Brasserie next to the Old Parsonage hotel on Banbury hotel always seemed to be quite reliable - does anyone have recent reports? here's the link

    Is your friend at one of the colleges for the conference? Was at a training course at St Catz a few years back and found the food surprisingly acceptable ...



  2. secret is to have cheese first, wash it down perhaps with some desert wine and then desert will be a mere formality.  :wink:


    (Yin takes note for future reference :wink: )

    Sorry Matt - have now re-read my note after some sleep - and realised that I should have made more of my "pacing" comment. I.e. suspect two starters plus main plus dessert is probably fine if you take 3-4 hours for the meal - so probably easier over dinner than lunch? I seem to manage a tasting menu with no problems at all in April .... whereas lunch on Sat was only 2 hours or so .... including all the amuses. So very little time when I didn't have food in my mouth!!

    Did you get your visit sorted?

    Have noticed that the full alc menu is on their website now .. (is that more helpful?)

  3. umm ... well I was very very full - and only had dessert from utter greed so that would suggest portion sizes are well judged? IMHO, I think it's also linked to do with what dishes they are rather than the portion size. And perhaps also the pacing of the meal?

    The Squid and Jabugo ham starter was very good - and a generous portion, but quite rich so that if you had something else that was butch - that might be too much. However, perhaps the langoustines (not tried those) - and the onion risotto might be ok?

    Of course, you'd have to stop yourself demolishing the bread as well - a (half) loaf of bread can take up a lot of room! :laugh:

    However - thinking back to previous posts, I must be getting softer in my old age as I have previously been defeated by portion sizes elsewhere - e.g. no 3 york place. Seem to remember Gary Marshall saying that managing two tasting menus in one day was a sign that I'd made it! :wacko::biggrin:

    That was of no help at all was it? sorry ...

  4. and good it most certainly was!

    Chose the crumble of baby squid with jersey royals and jabugo ham which was a stellar dish. The ham gave the dish real punch - and the overall effect was absolutely bl**dy delicious. It was also packed with baby squid which must have been individually prepared - so immense gratitude to whoever ended up doing all that hard work for my benefit and pleasure.

    main course was roast monkfish with crab salad and avocado (cream I think - my memory is failing me), with lots of shisho leaves and other tiny herb leaves. Very good again - and its freshness was a great foil for the starter.

    found room somehow for the lemon chiboust (just to make sure I'd covered all the bases) which was good, although I think I liked the barley icecream that accompanied it more. Of the P4s, the passion fruit jelly was my favourite (although curiously I couldn't detect the tobacco Olga told me about), not that the chocolate fudge or deep fried filo were bad!

    Charming and efficient service as always - and good to know that Sat evenings are now booked until September. Looks like I need to get my diary out to plan my next trip!



  5. and closed for 6-7 weeks too if anyone was thinking about going...

    That's all right - we're booked for lunch on Saturday :biggrin: .

    Does anyone have experience of getting a taxi there from the station? Such as will they know the restaurant by name, or do we need to give them the address?

    The centre didn't look big so you'd hope they would know. Having said that, I seem to remember reading somewhere that locally it's also known as the champion sausage - which amuses me far more than it should!!

    Hope you enjoy the meal

  6. and it was indeed the Restaurant article that prompted me to go last night. I don't know why the hell it took me so long to catch on that it was in Cheltenham, and therefore only half an hour from Worcester where I have been working for a couple of days every week for the last 2.5 years. think I always assumed it was much nearer London which was very foolish of me! The original plan had been to go with a colleague, but when I rang to book for next week - turns out that they're on holiday next week. I was too impatient and greedy to wait another month - so at 8pm last night, I was being led to a nice window table just for me.

    Reading back through the posts last night - many of the dishes have already been described and lauded in much more impressive writing terms than anything I can offer, but thought I'd share my thoughts?

    I perused the menu with my tonic water (no, really) and some cheese savouries. The shortbread one was lovely - and melted almost immediately on contact with the tongue - very good indeed. Think the other one was a mini-choux disc with tomato paste and some very sweet caramelised onions. (have to confess it looked like a mini pizza to me - and it was only when I heard the explanation proffered to another table that it all became clear.)

    Making the selection was ridiculously difficult - there was at least three starters and two mains that I was genuinely torn between. Starters wise - there was a lasagne of oxtail and lamb sweetbreads with horseradish sauce that particularly caught my eye. But then I would have had to pass on the langoustine dish with tortellini and cock's kidneys (see other posts?) ... decisions, decisions, decisions. (Hadn't caught up with the egullet reviews recently so had forgotten the details.)

    Mains - there was a (I think) some seabass with cep gnocchi and carrot and red wine emulsion vying with the Gloucester Old Spot pork belly with pigs cheek, braised with chinese five spice for my affection.

    In the end, Helen Everitt-Matthias came to my rescue by confirming that the oxtail lasagne (lasagne of celeriac apparently) followed by the pork would be too hearty courses but the pork was a sort of signature dish. So langoustines and pork it was then. I can always go back!

    My reward for all this was a pre-starter of a veloute of bloaters. As in the fish I said? Yes, smiled the waitress. As if I needed to ask - one sniff and the smoky fishness was there in all its glory. I didn't expect it to be quite so hot, so small sips after the first big gulp were the order of the day - which had the advantage of making this glorious creamy concoction last a little bit longer. It was delicious, and I would have quite happily eaten an enormous bowl. Things were looking very promising indeed.

    I munched on my bread roll (lovely warm, nay even hot granary roll) as my starter arrived - and for me - this was probably my favourite dish of the night. The flavour of the sauce was fantastic, rich, flavoursome yet still managing to be light. The cock's kidneys were a triumph - kidneys are my least favourite form of offal since I can find them quite tough but as described elsewhere - was delicately mousse like in texture, with a surprisingly understated taste. I thought they must have been poached - but no, apparently, that's how they are. The langoustine (4 whole, and 2 tortellini) were pretty good as well.

    and so to my main. The couple next to me seem to be having a tasting menu, which would explain the reduced portion sizes. all this meant I was not prepared for the enormous plate of food which followed! The pig's cheek was my favourite meat - taking well to the spicy flavour of the sticky braise - which I guess also contributed to the impressive sweet sauce on the plate. For me, the pork belly was good - but less stellar than the pigs cheek since it was less tender than I expected - although the flavour was very good.

    After such gluttony, it's surprising to imagine that I had room for dessert, no? Ah well, I like confound expectations in that way. The Trio of Pink grapefruit desserts was preceded by the pre-dessert of rose geranium scented cream, and greengage sorbet. The sorbet was absolutely delicious, and the space powder topping on the cream was a fun touch. I now want to know where you get such popping sugar!

    Of the trio - the parfait was my favourite because I think it was the most successful at keeping the sweet and sharpness that I love in grapefruit. The jelly was a close second though, but the sorbet didn't do it for me. Maybe I had been spoiled by the greengage.

    Tea and P4s to follow .... which rounded off a very pleasant evening with some very good food. The bill with a reasonable tip for the smooth friendly service was £60 - and I think I got fair value. and I intend to go back ....


  7. pan fried calves liver, with a mushroom, shallot and red wine sauce (not glossy enough - must add more butter next time), with boiled jersey royals and steamed tenderstem broccoli. A meal full of antioxidants, iron, and other things good for me I'm sure!

    and a couple of handfuls of red grapes and cherries and organic yoghurt later ..

  8. Montague Road is going to be just off the Hagley Road - which is chock a block full of hotels and B&Bs .... so you should be able to get somewhere to walk to/from the restaurant. (Traffic on Broad Street can be horrendous!)

    Also saw on their websites that they mentioned some serviced apartments next door for £65 so that's an option?

    Perhaps just ring the restaurant and ask them about the pick of the bunch ...

  9. Thanks to Joe H for the website link, and to Dale J for further recommendations.

    Hope to try and make a booking for Il Postale next week (will I be too late for a mid June booking?). Am hoping their website front page in English means they can cope with taking my reservation in English - am afraid my Italian is non existent unfortunately.

    re: I Sette Consoli - Orvieto seems eminently reachable from our villa - and therefore it sounds like another great option for later in the week. Suspect more of the group will join us here since Citta di Castello is probably about 1.5 hours drive for us - which they think seems a long way to go just for lunch. :blink::biggrin: Admittedly, a few of them are vegetarian and weren't sure if they could be accommodated

    Have googled for I Sette Consoli ... but again no success in finding a restaurant website (or at least one where the link isn't broken). Does anyone have a weblink?



  10. Thanks to all for their contributions and advice thus far - it is very much appreciated.

    Had seen mention of Il Postale elsewhere - and have now located Citta di Castello on a map so that's a start. However, have not had any luck in googling for a website - does anyone have a direct link?

    Gubbio sounds like a good idea - may have to work on some friends to persuade them to Norcia if a little further.

    I can see I am going to be very well-fed this holiday!

    Further thoughts still welcomed



  11. I'd hesitate to call myself an old hand - but am not going to let myself be held back by that!

    My view is certainly you should let them know - it would be a shame for both parties for you to get less out of the experience because there was less that you could eat. I've always found them very obliging and forewarned is forearmed?

    Am intrigued as to what the meat and shellfish exclusion leaves you though - does that leave only other fish and vegetables and dairy? Wasn't sure if you couldn't eat poultry either.

    re: recommendations for other days walks - sounds like you've already decided to be based in the Dales, in which case options could be around Bolton Abbey - which gives you easy access to the Devonshire Arms (both the formal restaurant or brasserie) and you're not really far from Ilkley with a moor to go stomping on and Box Tree for food afterwards.

    Further west, there's some nice walks around Pateley Bridge and Appletreewick - and good eating places at pubs like Yorke Arms at Ramsgill, Sportsman Arms at Wath, Red Lion at Burnsall ... some of which have rooms.

    If you're considering the North York Moors rather than the Dales, then the obvious choice is the Star at Harome?

    Hmmm ... have I focussed too much on the food aspect? Apologies if that's the case



  12. Was hoping for some advice / recommendations for restaurants in Umbria?

    Specifically, we (large group of friends) have hired a holiday in mid-June in Umbria. My geography is pretty poor but I think that the nearest village is called Collazzone (sp?) and so therefore we're very close to Perugia (35km?), Assisi and Spoleto - and Deruta. It's my first visit to that region so we're planning various day trips to those places (assuming we can drag oursleves away from the poolside!)

    I'm hoping that the quality of basic ingredients in Umbria will mean we don't get any awful meals - but am interested in what is considered particularly good. Particularly as we are a large group (15 adults - age-wise anyway if not in behaviour) ... and it can be really annoying to spend hours pffaffing about where to have lunch.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? Think most of the time, we'll be looking for good reasonable food in a mid price range for lunch (random guess of 20 - 30 EUROS - without drinks) - but info on stellar establishments would also be appreciated - there are a few of us who will be glad of the chance for some indulgence.

    Any guidance will be much appreciated!



  13. not enough time for a comprehensive post right now .... but HAD to say that the duck neck dish was stunning. What we had on Saturday seems to have evolved still further (in less than two weeks!) so that the egg has been poached and then deep fried - so that you get crispy crunchy oozy richness when you cut into the yolk .... and just glorious with the duck. In a long afternoon of great food - this may have been my favourite.

    Jacketless potatoes also made a very welcome guest appearance ... and I now understand that a single stem of foetal parsley packs a punch that by rights you should only get when lying face down in a parsley field.

    anyway ... more to come later. It was a great afternoon with excellent food and company - and therefore deserves more than my usual incohorent ramblings!



  14. looking forward to meeting you Yin and welcome along. God help you  :rolleyes:  :raz:

    Cheers Bapi - yes, it was the words "tasting menu" that did the trick. :wub: ... although I'm intrigued as to why you think I would be any less trouble!!!

    hope the stuffed duck neck dish is there on Saturday - I'll need it as consolation for a possible absence of black pudding .... is it the weekend yet?



  15. Ore

    sounds like you have a pretty action packed itinerary there!

    I live in Leeds so am pretty biased towards anthony's - so I do think you should try it. It's practically next door to the train station, and Leeds is only 1.5 hours from Newcastle, about an hour from Manchester and 2.5 hours from London on a fast train so eminently do-able. York is only 30 mins from Leeds ... and therefore an hour from Newcastle - so you could try Betty's tea rooms ...link here

    The Star at Harome is lovely - but to be honest, without a car, I think you might have difficulty getting there.

    Newcastle - have eaten at the top floor McCoys restaurant at the Baltic Arts Cetntre - just across the river. Reasonable food, and great space and views. Within the city itself - have heard good things about Cafe 21 (I think) ..

    Liverpool - others are more expert, but have heard good things about 60 Hope St and maybe London Carriage Works ....

    Hope you have a good trip - and look forward to the reports back!


  16. Friends and I had a very good meal last Saturday at Senza Nome restaurant (22 Rue Royale Sainte-Marie, Schaerbeek area of the city)

    As you might have guessed by the name, it's Italian (believe the owner is Sicilian specifically) and currently holds one michelin star.

    I had a tartare of scallops on an artichoke cream to start, - which was light, fresh and flavoursome - a very good beginning. I also got a taste of the sardines starters (can't remember what they were stuffed with) which were good. I followed with involtini of beef with a very good onion / balsamic sauce - I particularly liked the balance of sharpness and sweetness. Can't recall what my friends had.

    Too full for dessert - although there were good reports for the chocolate marscapone cream. But pleased that they made mint tea with fresh mint.

    total bill for three of us for pre-dinner Kirs, starters, mains, a bottle of wine and some water, one dessert, three teas / coffees and a grappa and limoncello or two was less than 200 EUROS - so very good value I think, particularly when service was so engaging. We'll be back



  17. Thanks for the clarification David. Look forward to trying one or the other on Saturday lunchtime ...

    One of the most amusing parts of the reservation was when Anthony Snr recognised me on the phone, and said "Well, Gary Marshall is on that day ... would you like me to squeeze you onto one of his tables?!?"

    Don't worry Gary (et al) - I demurred on the basis that it would be far too rude and pushy to join a party of people I've never met ... so you have a lucky escape on this occasion. But I'll wave from my corner :smile:



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