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Roger McShane

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  1. Great pictures Danielle. It is a lovely restaurant. We went in October 2006 and were able to get in with just a few days notice, but it is more difficult in the middle of summer.
  2. I was going to say L'Ami Jean as well, but felt that I had mentionned it too many times. I think it is a perfect choice for David's request of something casual but better than your average bistro. I was also thinking of L'os à Moelle. ← Hey wait a minute; I thought the rules were to pick one of the four restos David listed.If that restriction is off then it opens the competition to Ze Kitchen Galerie, Les Anges, Violin d'Ingres, l'Ecallier du Bistrot, Maison du Jardin and I could go on. ← Sorry about diverting things here, John. It must be my short attention span kicking in!
  3. Well, to bring us back to the topic of where to eat I think I should put in a plug for L'Ami Jean. The food there is really very soulful. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal we had there recently, especially the garbure. The prices are very reasonable and the food is excellent.
  4. I had a beautiful blood terrine at La Cave de l'Os a Moelle in the 15th recently. The food here is served family style at shared tables. It is a lovely venue and the food and wine is priced very reasonably. A chef who always produces fine terrines is Yves Camdebourde at Le Comptoir in the 6th. The best time to go is for lunch. Arrive at 12 (midday) and you will be able to score a table. Happy eating!
  5. This sounds wonderful. Just through sheer coincidence I will be working in Seattle next week, so will be able to fit in a visit to Salumi and now to Porcella Urban Market to sample some Lardo! I am looking forward to it!
  6. Yes, I agree about Isis - we have had wonderful food there since I first posted my plea for information about Brisbane restaurants. Also had a nice meal at The River House in Noosa recently.
  7. There are two or three quite dark Chinese teas that might qualify but the most likely one is known variously as bo lai, po lai or pu-erh. It is often found in compressed 'cakes'. (Pu erh, by the way, is a prefecture of the Yunnan province.) We love this tea as it is a great accompaniment to food and a wonderful digestive. We have some 20 year old and 40 year old cakes that we have brought home from Shanghai and Hong Kong. Simply break a piece off put it in the teapot and add water. The colour immediately bursts out of the leaves! It is also interesting to note that as the tea 'stews' in the pot it gets darker and darker, however, unlike other teas it does not get overly tannic. It is quite mellow. The other candidate might be the oily chui chow tea from the northern, coastal part of Canton.
  8. Laidback said: When we paid another visit to La Merenda is January this year we noticed that the street name had changed from rue Terrasse to rue Raoul Bosio.
  9. Another place in Nice that we always head for the minute we land is Dominique le Stanq's La Merenda. This is a treasure for food lovers. It is tiny with only about 8 tables. You can't make reservations (there is no phone) and you sit on stools. There is only one white wine and one red wine (available by the glass). However, the food is among the best in France and it certainly isn't expensive. Expect to find authentic Nicoise food cooked perfectly. The stuffed sardines are legendary as is the daube. The tourte de blette is a dessert you must try. It is a sweet tart made with Swiss chard and raisins - sounds strange but it works really well. You can read our review of the restaurant here.
  10. There is one that you have to try. It is from Tasmania. The Ashbolt olive oil has won many awards. It is a very dark green, unctuous, deeply-flavoured oil that muscles up to the best in Tuscany and Spain.
  11. Roger McShane


    We have immense respect for John’s opinions and regularly follow his advice, especially in Paris, but I don’t think you should completely give up on Corsica just yet. We spent about a week in the area around Calvi and in the Balagne villages in the hinterland in September 2004 and ate some quite good meals. We also bought some good cheese, especially sheep milk cheeses (brebis) and charcuterie so you should be able to produce some good picnics. Here are some suggestions, some we tried and a few that were on our list but closed because we were there just as the tourist season was shutting down. Casa Musicale in the tiny and beautiful village of Pigna. We ate dishes such as carpaccio of beef with an excellent aigre douce sauce, and pasta with shaved boutargue (the variously named salted, pressed fish roe that you find around the Mediterranean that’s a must eat experience). It’s not in the least bit sophisticated but the flavours are good and there can be few better locations. The menu for a Casarella, also in Pigna, looked worth a try as well, but we didn’t make it there. We had a memorable night in Feliceto, also in the hills behind Calvi, partly because the very affordable hotel Mare et Monti, was so delightful. The table d’hote menu was basic but quite satisfying and we loved being in the village – sitting on the terrace at the highly downmarket Rigo Bar where everything seemed to cost 1 euro (well the local pastis, and coffee anyway) listening to duelling church bells echoing through the hills as Feliceto and nearby Nessa competed to win the battle to toll the hour first. We had a good meal at Le Tire Bouchon, in Calvi, which has a great selection of local wines. We spent some time at a wine bar called A Cantina, where we started to get a sense of the revitalisation of the local wine industry – often by the younger generation. A group of serious young men, some connected with the establishment and some with local vineyards, were doing serious wine tasting and generally were immersed in a wine culture. We also had really good charcuterie and other good snacks here, which from memory included grilled peppers, anchoide, and figatellu (a local sausage). We also had recommendations for U Minellu, but it had already closed for the winter. There are also lots of ferme auberge, which are another option. We had robust soup and a mutton ragout, which was definitely not too dry, at a place called Pietra Monetta, which was about 17 kms north of d'Ile-Rousse. The wine scene is really interesting – and local wines are very affordable. We especially enjoyed wines from Clos Culombu and were looked after well on a visit to the vineyard – not by the owner, who was working and nowhere in sight (it was autumn after all) but by a family friend who arrived about the same time and decided to look after us. Also look out for Domaine Gentile muscats, and whites from Domaine Antoine Arena One thing we would counsel you on is not thinking you can see all of Corsica in a short period. When we started with a week in mind we thought we could see much of the island but gradually commonsense prevailed – possibly because we live in Tasmania, which is a comparable sized island, but with much easier roads, and we are always amused at overseas and interstate visitors who turn up in our state thinking they can see the lot in a few days. So we decided to limit ourselves to the area behind Calvi and weren’t disappointed. This meant that we didn’t get to Ferme Campo di Monte, in the hils above Bastia, which sounds especially good. You might like to read this article from Saveur - here - to see if it temps you. It also has lots of good general advice about what to eat. Having said all that there were plenty of places that looked fairly dire and not all our meals were a great success so good luck! [John, were these any of the places you tried??]
  12. I would also like to recommend La Beaugravière. A salad of ratte potatoes and freshly sliced black Vaucluse truffles that we tried there a few weeks ago was sensational. The wine list is also very impressive. Another place we enjoyed on two occasions was La Fourchette in Avignon (which is a good base for exploring the Southern Rhone wine areas). This is the sibling of Hiély-Lucullus. It does authentic Provencal food very well. Try the caillettes, the daube or the wonderful pieds et paquets. You can read a review here.
  13. cpj Thanks for the recipe. I will try to recreate it!!
  14. There are two very good restaurants in Launceston - although I do not know whether they will be open on Christmas day. The first is Fee and Me which is an upmarket, fairly formal restaurant that serves great food. The other one is on the edge of the Tamar River. It is called Stillwater and serves Asian inspired dishes of great sophistication. Either would be a great place for a Christmas lunch. If they are not open then there is a wonderful place a few kilometres north of Launceston called Daniel Alps at Strathlyn. The food is great and the view over the valley superb. Hope this helps.
  15. The suggestions so far have been great! As PCL says, the Tea House in Little Bourke is an emerging favourite. In Sydney, Becasse and Marque are both good with Marque being a cut above. If you want a really great meal however I would recommend Quay. If you want French bistro then Bistro Moncur is certainly worth a visit. But, of course, you shouldn't visit Sydney without going to Sailor's Thai. Also, despite the low ratings in the SMH guide, I think that the Vietnamese food at Red Lantern is very good. Back in Melbourne, everyone should be warned that if you eat at the Wine Room on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you have to put up with an extraordinary level of noice and cigarette smoke - it is quite unpleasant and does not do the great food any favours. Mrs Jones in Carlton is a good, reasonably priced choice for dining. Shannon Bennet is also a good choice - he probably does better food than some of the places that are unjustifiably lionized by the local food writers. If you are going to China Town then Flower Drum is very special. If you can't get in there then the Bamboo House is a very good alternative - however you have to realise that they run two menus. They get a lot of politicians and corporate CEOs therefore they have to have a traditional Cantonese menu. So you will, by default, be given a menu that has sweet and sour pork and deep fried spring rolls - the standard fare. However, I dine there regularly and ask for the northern Chinese menu. Start your meal with a platter of jellyfish, vegetarian goose and smoked fish. Follow up with spring onion cakes, oysters in black bean and chilli and mermaid's tresses. Then move on to some fish or to the amazing smoked duck served in bread pancakes. Or have Peking Duck served three ways - in pancakes, then with noodles and finally with soup.
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