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Posts posted by YKL

  1. Well ... I won't know for certain for another 14 hours (have a rule that I have to wait till Christmas Eve is over) but one of the most intriguing mystery presents is a gift from a friend - a square box of about 8cm x 8cm with a gift tag that says something like "For the person who has everything useful for the kitchen!"

    Can't imagine what on earth that will be ...

    Apparently I'm a very difficult person to buy for - so kitchen and food stuff is always a good fall back. Can be amusing when you find duplicates or themes - like last year when I got about three copies of Schott's Food and Drink miscellany ... and the year before when completely different sets of friends seem to have a cheese theme ... got a cheeseboard, cheese knives etc ..

    All good though,



  2. nice thread - gives me more restaurant ideas as well as making me feel slightly less of a greedy gannet!

    OK - assume that I should ignore the three visits to the local pub at lunchtime since Friday, and in reverse order they are:

    1. The Diner at Salts Mill in Saltaire - still one of my favourite places in the whole world!

    2. Sukothai - fabulous Thai restaurant in Chapel Allerton in Leeds - link is here

    3. Hotel du Vin, Harrogate ..

    Oh it's a hard life!! :rolleyes:



  3. Thanks for all the contributions so far - will print off to discuss with my sisters over Christmas. And would welcome any further suggestions.

    Re: Bux's suggestion of a market in Bayonne ... will see how feasible it is to get there because actually Mum (and the rest of us) really enjoy that sort of thing.

    also thanks to John Talbott for amending the topic title - much appreciated.


  4. That is a shame. It's odd - you could really see Harrogate having a thriving restaurant scene - the Ludlow of Yorkshire.

    Still don't think it's a bad idea though - Only ever heard good things from the Winchester one.

    Harrogate is a lot, lot bigger than Ludlow. SO either it should be better, or it's missing that small-town size appeal.

    Sorry - should probably have been more clear on my previous note. The food was fine (although my starter was probably the worst choice, should have selected the orzotto like my friend which was very good), but unsatisfactory parts were not getting the water we asked for, then about four attempts by four different waiters to take away my friend's starter before she finished (always make me cross!) and then a 45 minute wait for main courses.

    We were in quite a relaxed mood but given that there are a lot of very good dining options in Harrogate, then it's a shame that the competition hasn't spurred it onto better things. Like you say, have generally heard good press about the various branches of HDV.

    Apologies for hijacking this thread - in a vague attempt to try and get back on track, I would suggest that Harrogate is a clear example of where there is plenty of money to be spent, (and dare I say it, ladies who lunch?) and so overall, there are a lot of good dining options.



  5. that is so spooky! As i was driving home last night, I suddenly remembered about Nando's and thought "I must post about that tomorrow!"

    Was embarrassingly happy when they opened up a branch in Leeds, and all the friends I've taken there seem very happy too. Am also very fond of their custard tarts.



  6. My sisters and I are taking our mother to Biarritz for a long weekend in January, and was wondering if anyone could offer any advice for restaurant recommendations?

    Am looking for all kinds of places - from fine dining to more homely bistro food since although we all love food, our budget will preclude us from splashing out every night. Am also interested in good shops to buy food that we can take home ...

    Would also be useful to hear of places that we should definitely avoid ... am conscious that we will be going on a weekend when there is a big rugby match on ... so many places will be very busy.

    We're staying somewhere central, and will not have our own transport, so ideally the places can be reached by a very short walk (mother is quite elderly) or by taxi.

    With thanks in anticipation


    (whoops - EDIT to say that the topic was meant to say MID-January. Apologies)

  7. This topic was prompted by comments on one of the other threads about how so many major cities / towns are lacking really good individual and independent restaurants, and seems particularly pertinent during the festive season when there are so many meals out to fit in and all the best places are quite rightly booked up!

    So, am taking it for granted that given a choice, we'd all rather eat at somewhere like Anthony's, Star Inn or [please fill in Blank] ... but if you are somewhere unfamiliar where there only seem to be chain brand names or are too pushed for time to look anywhere up ... then do you go hungry or fall back on somewhere where you at least know what to expect?

    I'll go first ... will quite happily say that the following are reasonable chains serving good or reasonable food with good service:

    - Pizza Express - particularly useful if charging off to theatre afterwards

    - Loch Fyne - there just aren't enough fish specialist restaurants around - and this helps plug a gap

    - Aagrah Indian restaurants - in Yorkshire only. Yes, I know Bradford is the place to go - but sometimes I can't be bothered to drive that far when the Tadcaster one is 20 mins from my house.

    - some of the Cafe Rouge used to be ok ... but admit that it can be a bit hit and miss ..

    and have only eaten at the Manchester Le Petit Blanc, but was genuinely very happy with what we had. The birthday champagne may have helped though! :raz:

    So ... any views? Or have I now disgraced myself on EG?


  8. hmm ... well my tuppence worth is that I think of London as a place which has by far the wider choice and range of restaurants in the UK, so that is bound to help the averahe. But this is also a weakness since unless you have a specific recommendation, then you can also eat badly or mediocrely (is that a word?!) - for quite a lot of money (that's the Yorkshire in me I suspect). I.e. the jewels can be hard to spot amongst the shedload of pebbles. Wasn't there a thread recently where people said they felt quite jaded by London?

    As I mulled over this topic, I also got to wondering whether this growth in stellar establishments outside Zone 1 was demand led i.e. consumers have been crying out for a decent alternative to Pizza Hut, and besides, 80% (random guess to be corrected :smile: ) of the country don't actually live in London ....

    or perhaps more product/supply led - i.e. chefs looking to be their own boss, without paying extortionate rentals, different pace of life, wanting to push the boat out in terms of their cooking or develop relationships with truly local food suppliers?

    I'd also like to say that i share Andy Lynes' pessimism about some sort of critical mass being reached in the "provinces" over the next 5-10 years. But this is more because I think that despite the increased overall interest levels in food, I still feel like a bit of a food freak in terms of my enthusiasm for food and restaurants. I'm not convinced that there will be a mass interest in raising food standards generally because despite many glorious British food traditions, food just doesn't seem as central in British culture as say Italian, French or Chinese (or that could be just my family!). So, despite the brilliance of people like Simon Rogan, Anthony Flinn and Nathan Outlaw ... there may be some sort of natural limit.



  9. we have a couple of places in Leeds with split personalities ...

    Sami's in Chapel Allerton is a greasy caff by day (with All day english breakfasts to be sluiced down with mugs of tea) ... and by night, with a few metres of voile, dimmed lighting and bejewelled cushions, becomes a very nice BYO Moroccan place in the evening. Cheap and cheerful rather than haute cuisine - but have had many a good evening there. Must be doing well since it appears it's now expanded upstairs and you can no longer just walk in and expect to get a table!

    And on Street Lane - just across from the legendary Flying Pizza is Cafe 41 ... a baker's during the day, and a bistro like place in the evening. Not been for a few years - so it is possible it is now permanently one or the other ... but it used to be okay.

    Darn it ... now need to add to my list of restaurants to visit in the new year.


  10. well it's been two months since I last posted on this thread so feel quite restrained that I only have five books to declare (or that I can remember)

    so we have Casa Moro by Sam and Sam Clark ... a beautiful looking follow up to the Moro cookbook ... and a set of 4 cookbooks from the Woman's Institute again .. based on healthy eating(!)

    However - may have to buy a copy of "First Peel the Otter" for myself shortly - bought one as a Christmas present for a friend and is very gruesome!

    BTW - would restaurant guides count? I figured not ... else there may be some other recent acquisitions!!



  11. Am clearly half asleep because I initially thought this thread was the Hardens and Remy awards ... and was expecting to see Anthony's mentioned as a regional winner (as per comments in the Anthony's thread) ...

    also not sure if these next comments are considered off topic - but it's clearly a good year for Tom Aikens since he won the overall award in the Remys as well.

    think the details are here ...



  12. this happened to three of my college friends who went on a self catering holiday together - one was a vegetarian, one wouldn't eat vegetables (claimed that it was a result of growing up on a farm! :wacko: ) or spicy food and the other didn't like mushrooms. Apparently they survived teh week on pasta with tomato sauce, with tinned tuna mixed in for the meat/fish eaters. Oh yes, and a lot of chocolate and pringles!! :laugh:

    Anyway - sounds like you've been given lots of great ideas already but when I have a mixture of veg / non veggie friends, one fall back is something like big garlic / herb / lemon roast chicken, big tray of roasted mediterranean veg, a side salad and (fresh?) pasta with tomato sauce or pesto ... basically everyone serves what they want to themselves .. so I would pile everything on my plate and yum it up ... others might do just plain chicken and pasta - or veg and pasta etc ...and it's teh same sort of cooking I would be doing anyway

    and agree with earlier comments that a homemade dessert always makes the whole meal seem much grander .... or you could just do cheese and fruit afterwards, and try and get the non-veg eater to take on some nutrients and vitamins!

    Hope this helps



  13. just back from a weekend in Brussels and had a good meal at Bonsoir Clara - but seem to be having trouble finding its website.

    It's a lovely atmospheric place (we were not in the stained glass room) with courteous service and well priced food. Starters for the group were gravadlax, tuna tartare with nori and prawn croquettes - and all were good with the tuna being pronounced exceptional. Mains were the rack of lamb with millefeuille of vegetables and fillets of red snapper. The clean plates are the best indication of delicious food. Sadly we were too full for dessert - but next time!

    We weren't really drinking that night so the bill for three of us was just over 100EUR - pretty good value in my mind. and certainly somewhere I want to go back to ..



  14. Excellent as Antony's is £50 won't go very far on a Saturday night!

    Agreed and understood ... but isn't that what credit cards are for?! I also acknowledge that there is also likely to be an issue of getting a table at Anthony's as well - whereas when we left B44 at 8.15 on the dot .. the restaurant and bar area still didn't look that full.

    We both felt that if we had the choice again, we would rather spend more and eat very well at Anthony's. Wasn't that B44 was bad or awful - (as I said - have eaten well there before) - it's just that I think I would get more than double the pleasure and enjoyment out of spending £40-£50 per head somewhere else.



  15. friend and I took advantage of the early bird offer on Saturday night at Brasserie 44 - food was fine / okay so it seemed more appropriate to bung comments here than to give it a whole topic of its own.

    Hadn't been for a few years, but had always had good food so was looking forward to it. For starters - I had gravadlax with beetroot relish as a starter - and it was delish. Pale pink salmon, wonderfully tender and a sweet beetroot relish to go with it. Could have eaten a lot more of this! Pumpkin soup (ickle cup of it!) on the other side was pronounced nice - but nothing more than that.

    Mains were prosciutto (I think) wrapped loin of pork on a sage and onion risotto - and apparently the risotto was gorgeous. I had salt beef brisket with celeriac cream and some other sauce ... which was pretty good actually.

    Sadly the side order of vegetables let them down, were far too overcooked and soggy, and quite expensive for what we got (I counted 6 carrot batons for £2.50). Shame really.

    Puddings were back on form though ... I was too full to manage the warm crumble tart with creme fraiche (much to my disappointment) but the mango frozen yoghurt was very creamy but not very mango-ey (at least to my tastebuds).

    Neither of us were drinking so with the early bird offer, was only £50 for the two of us - which isn't bad. It's just that even with the attentive service and nice surroundings, we won't be rushing back when we can go to Anthony's or No 3 York Place instead. Maybe we've been spoilt ... :hmmm:

  16. whoops! forgot to confess to acquiring a penguin set of 10 classic cookbooks a little while back - Real Fast Puddings, Real Fast Food, (Nigel Slater) Italian Food, A Book of Mediterranean Food, Summer Cooking (Elizabeth David), English Food (Jane Grigson), A Celebration of Soup (Lindsay Bareham) and English Seafood Cookery (Rick Stein).

    never mind that I had most of them already - the whole set only cost £10 so too good to pass up!



  17. think since my last post I have received or ordered another six - as follows:

    Just One Pot - Lindsay Bareham

    Sue Lawrence - on Baking

    Nigella Lawson - Feast

    Anthony Bourdain - Les Halles cookbook

    Tamasin Day Lewis - Tarts with Tops On

    Good Food - 101 cakes and bakes

    err ... think that's it. Think I might have to do a belated new year resolution to cook at least one new recipe a week or fortnight to justify the number I have!



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