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Everything posted by kerriar

  1. Ptipois, When sourcing a "coq" in France for a coq au vin, what should I ask for? Will the butcher/stall holder understand if I explain what it's for or do I need to find the French term for a "real rooster"? Your description makes me want to take down my well-thumbed 30 year old Julia Child and get cooking with her classic recipe.
  2. Not much recent activity on Athens it seems - but if anybody reading this has been to Kollias Seafood Tavern at its new location, some feedback would be appreciated. For many years some of the best fish in Athens (or anywhere else for that matter) was assured at the old Piraeus premises - it's now at Leoforos Singrou and I'm wondering if everything is still the same before I bring a group of professional friends there. I don't get to Athens that often and re-visiting somewhere on the basis of good memories carries some risk - especially if time and a change of premises have had their impact. The old website, which was quirky, artistic and creative (and all unremittingly in Greek) now looks a bit like any well designed restaurant website with fairly standard bilingual explanations and the poetry seems to have gone.
  3. kerriar


    Oh please please forget Allard unless you want to eat mediocre food with other tourists. It has a great history but is long past its best. Try instead l'ami jean, l'entredegeu, les papilles, etc, etc
  4. Jaloa, Bon Bon and Brasserie de la Paix are very good choices. David Martin, of Brasserie de la Paix, is now also responsible for the Bozar Brasserie in the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The restaurant space in this lovely Horta building has been restored and the menu carries many of the favourites from BdlP like the "Parmentier crémeux". It's all a bit more functional here but much easier to get a table at short notice.
  5. L'ami Jean's recipe is now available on-line on a few different sites, such as here I've tried it and it really does produce the smoothest, silkyest, creamyest, etc results. It's also surprisingly simple.
  6. Any suggestions on Ronda, apart from the obvious Tragabuches?
  7. kerriar

    Lake Garda

    Opps - wrong lake! It's a good spot anyway if you are going that way.
  8. kerriar

    Lake Garda

    Had couple of good meals last week at Albergo Silvio in Bellagio website . It's a family run place and, because the family include fishermen, it is a good spot for lake fish. Prices are decent, especially the wines, and the view from the terrace over the lake towards Cadenabbia is memorable.
  9. Not so long ago I had a totally different experience at Jarasse. On a truly foul night, public transport workers were on strike and Parisian traffic was chaotic with the taxi from Charles de Gaulle taking over more than two hours – really a bad start to the evening. We ended up hopelessly late for our reservation (9.30 for 8.00!) but everybody at Jarasse, particularly the maitre d', was delightful and in the first moments lifted the stress of the evening from our shoulders. Having fallen for some polished up-selling, the bill was much higher than planned but the recollection that remains is of good food and wine in relaxed stylish surroundings. It's funny how even good restaurants play their part in life's infinite variety
  10. Not sure if Geneva is in your catchment area but this site might be useful http://geneva.angloinfo.com/af/464/geneva-cookery-classes-and-wine-courses.html
  11. If you are going to Rome for a rugby international and looking for somewhere to eat, this might interest you. George Hook, Irish rugby pundit, former coach of the US Eagles, etc, etc but above all these days a bon vivant, gives an enthusiastic recommendaton to Ambasciata d'Abruzzo on the Via Pietro Tacchini. Whateverabout his views on rugby, I've found him dependable when it comes to food - in fact people who write about rugby are usually well informed on where to eat but sometimes hold the cards close to their chest. Haven't been there but trusted family members say that it's a great restaurant, for the food, the athmosphere and the friendliness of the people - it's on my list for a future trip. As you might expect from the name, there'll be plenty of Abruzzo wines and I guess lamb. The website is http://www.ambasciatadiabruzzo.com/index.php?cmd=contatti. It's within walking distance of the Stade Flaminio so maybe you should book if you want to go there on the day of the match. You might find that Aquila rugby club will be occupying a fair few of the tables already.
  12. Day trip to Dublin? Careful - these days they might not let you board at the airport if you seem under the weather!
  13. OK - false alarm about Tram Tram, we stuck with our choice for lunch on a cold December Sunday and were really happy. First update (see John Talbott's posting above) is that the three ladies are no longer blond and have reverted to black but even more importantly, the kitchen is back to what it always was. Both of us started with a pasta dressed with mussels and clams - it was moist and succulent and delicious. This is a simple dish but unbeatable when good - if wrong (e.g., too dry) the let-down is enormous. Like many Italian restaurants, the menu is very approximate and what is served varies according to the day. I had a near perfect coda alla vaccinara while she had grilled lamb (exact description forgotten but in French it would be tranche de gigot). Contorni were the incomparable artichokes Roman-style and a bean puree liberally dressed with oil. All of this was washed away with a litre of the house red - a decent nameless but easy drinkin' merlot which cost €8. Desserts, the usual ones, were just ok, but seemed homemade. This is never going to be the greatest restaurant in Rome but remains very much worth the schlep out to the back streets behind Termini for good food in a place that is authentic and atmospheric. (Best to reserve as there seems precious little else in the area.) All this got me to rechecking the negative comments about Tram tram on routard.com. The main complaint seemed to be about the lamb - but anybody who likes this French style will never be happy eating lamb in Italy. By French standards, the Italians overcook lamb so a compromise will always be difficult. The writer also was scathing about the undrinkable house wine - this I simply don't understand and perhaps it can be attributed to chauvinism.
  14. Over the holidays I tried bomba spanish rice and got exactly the results required - it turned out just as close as I am ever likely to get to L'Ami Jean's Riz au lait ‘grand-mère’ en service, confiture de lait which for me is the benchmark . Bomba (which L'Ami Jean use) is an organic paella rice and can be sourced on-line from La Tienda (they deliver in Europa and North America - their service is personal and efficient). I found it will absorb up to four times its volume in liquid with the grains gradually becoming softer but retaining their shape as they start to melt. The riz au lait was cooked in a slow oven (90°c) for about and hour and a half and extra milk (sometimes a little cream) added as needed.
  15. Thanks for the tip Hungry C - you were right about Testaccio market, it's the real thing and we filled the bags with Roman artichokes, puntarella, several kilos of parmesan (which will be appreciated as a present), etc, etc. Nearby Volpetti (mentioned elsewhere) has to be one of the great food shops of Europe. No serious food lover should miss this when in Rome. There were so many things in both places which are impossible to find here - even in a city like Brussels which has its own strong food culture. Quality is above reproach. The do-it-yourself airfreight worked well (most things went into the bags in the hold). Notwithstanding Ryanair's long delays, everything arrived in top condition in our kitchin shortly after midnight. Some of the Italians with whom I work will travel to Rome every year for their Christmas food shopping, although they have lived most of their lives outside Italy. Now I start to understand why they go there each December with empty cases.
  16. Any recent update on Tram Tram? On the basis of some very good reports here, elsewhere and particularly from friends, we have booked for lunch on Sunday - but now some more checking is giving us doubts, particularly when no less a source than John Talbott starts to identify a decline. Some comments (in French) posted on routard.com report that the place has changed hands and gone rapidly down hill - "resto à éviter"! A few alternatives on good Sunday lunch places would be welcome.
  17. Any updates on these recommendations - particularly for shopping for food? Is the Monday before Christmas a good day for the market at Campo Dei Fiori? Apart from cheese, salumi, etc, what are the seasonal delicacies or specialities one should be looking for?
  18. The beans are not part of the authentic Irish version!
  19. Tetedeveau - had meant to reply to this earlier but it slipped though the cracks. You don't have to go to London to find Jack O'Shea - he also has a shop in Brussels in Rue Titian. Details http://www.jackoshea.com/shops-contact.php- but maybe both shops are equally out of the way for most Parisiens so the tip may be of limited value on this thread. The beef is aged Irish Black Angus and is so good that I have stopped eating beef when I eat out (this applies to Paris as well as Brussels). The only exception would generally be when Jack is the restaurant's supplier - that would include Heston Blumenthal in the UK and Le Canne en Ville in Brussels. This is not the cheapest shop in Brussels but it is worth the price. Bad news is that I don't think either shop does mail order.
  20. Two recommendations came from a good friend, a French chef, when we said we were stopping overnight in Collioure a few days ago. Choice was between 5eme Peche in the town and La Cote Vermeille nearby in Port Vendres. 5eme Peche is mentioned elsewhere on this thread - Japanese chef, Masashi Iijima, mixes a classic French formation with notions from home. In the event we did not eat there but checked out the menu before deciding - it reads much more French than Japanese but this small attractive restaurant with an open kitchen was difficult to pass and must wait another day. La Cote Vermeille is on the quay in Port Vendres, about as close to the boats as it gets. Again not large, so best to reserve at busy times of the year. Atmosphere is refined and the staff is warm, professional and knowledgeable. The "Grand Large" menu (€35) entree was thon mi-cuit and two small pieces of crab maki. Our main course was filet de racasse, very simply prepared with a tomato based dressing. Grilled figs with mascarpone completed a meal that was perfectly equilibrated, fresh and deliciously simple. The carte is more wide ranging and hints at the chef's ambition. The wine list is strong on local growths - the Coume del Mas white had a fine aromatic/mineral balance. Both Collioure and Port Vendres have more than their share of fairly routine fish restaurants which probably make a reasonable living from the summer throngs but a little checking around can give you something much better.
  21. Well, you have rectified that now. Probably a bit late for faine, but for anybody else going to Lekeito, there is one great fish restaurant and it can be found on the quay just to the left of the white boat in the photo in faine's posting of 15 August. It's called Kaia and friends from Bilbao will travel out to eat there regularly. It's been a few years since we have eaten there but these notes and photos are calling us back.
  22. kerriar

    Ile de Re

    You could start by reading John Whiting's very witty and wide ranging if slightly down- beat essay at http://www.whitings-writings.com/Travel/ile_de_re.htm. We spent a family holiday there a two years ago and not much has changed since John's visit in the 90's. Just look for somewhere simple to eat - there will be little memorable but the seafood will be as fresh as it gets. The best meals we had were cooked at home after a trip to the market. Re attracts a lot of snobbish Parisiens who seem to stay behind the high hedges that surround their stylish cottages and the local restaurant scene sometimes only rises to the mediocre. The local wine industry has not progressed much - John's comments are rather kind. The island is however a cyclists' paradise and a great place to unwind.
  23. Just received today a whole (leg of) jamón Ibérico as a birthday present - without weighing it I would guess there is at least five kilos here. This is very definitely a first in this household and we've been scrambling around to find what to do next. We're leaving for a week in Helsinki early tomorrow morning so some arrangements have to be made. On the basis of what advice is on this and other websites, the following is what I propose to do. There is a thin layer of white mold across part of the exterior. I understand it to be harmless and it will simply be wiped off with a damp cloth. The leg will then be hung in the garage - normally cool and dry - by the little attached rope until we get back. (Then we probably need to have another party.) Is there anything more to done to ensure its welfare? Once we start to slice, I understand the cut face should be covered with a damp cloth or some cling film - any other advice? The labels say that it comes from Rubado on the Calle Jesus Aprendiz in Madrid and should be consumed before the end of November. Brussels, where we live, has a generally temperate moist climate so I fear that the leg may not keep as long as it might in Spain - again any advice would be welcome.
  24. Vinotas - I don't think Auberge de Cedre can be classed as pricey. Leaving aside the inexpensive accommodation (which was really not to everybody's taste - Margaret's news about the upgrade is welcome), the website is showing menus this year at €30 and €39. Even going a la carte will not push this up too much. The wine list however is difficult to beat - nearly all local and great rapport prix/qualité. Over the years, the cellar has been assembled with skill and enthusiasm. These wines Languedoc wines are increasingly on the lists of some of the world's great restaurants but never at these prices. More generally, you won't go wrong with Graham Tigg's guidance.
  25. There have been stories circulating in Brussels that Bruneau was for sale or would close at the end of the year. This seems to confirm it. Paulbrussel's measured response to deliberate rudeness can only relate to a restaurant that will not be around for much longer. It is however a great pity that a long standing establishment of some quality should end its days on a note of "je m'en fous" ism. Bruneau has for many years been everything a three star restaurant should aspire to. Every meal I have had there (alas, not as many as I would have wished) has been a pleasure and demonstrated imagination, professionalism and, let it be said, courtesy. This is of course merely a personal view but Bruneau has received consistent well-merited praise from other contributors to this thread and feedback over the years from friends and colleagues have been uniformly positive. A couple of meals in 2008 after the demotion by Michelin left me with the impression that they were working to regain the third star but I have not been there since. So what has happened? It really doesn't matter since there are so many other alternatives in or within reach of the city.
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