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tony h

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  1. Fancy a day in the kitchen with David & the team? Now you can try via the Mince Pie Project - bid through the auction here: http://www.themincepieproject.com/ Had some Thai Green Curry Sorbet there last Saturday - quite remarkable. The rest wasn't too bad either... ;-)
  2. The Guardian love affair continues today, and long may in continue, with LeCS recognized as a top 10 food destination http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/aug/30/destination-restaurants-britain-short-breaks
  3. Hi On their website VacMaster say they do not yet ship to the UK/EU zone. Looking at mharpo's picture above it looks suspiciously like SousVide Supreme Vacuum Chamber http://www.amazon.co.uk/SousVide-Supreme-Chamber-Vacuum-Sealer/dp/B009YYFJGI/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1376302139&sr=1-1&keywords=vacuum+chamber+sealer Can anyone confirm that these are the same? Thanks Tony btw - that’s one seriously ugly piece of kit
  4. DEM is on Hairy Bikers and on Saturday Kitchen next week (6th & 9th March). yup - he'll be doing the omelette challenge! ;-)
  5. v excited- Essence II has just turned up - simply stunning i know what i'll be doing this weekend (probably staring at the page thinking wtf...)
  6. Friday 9th August - 1 space available for lunch today
  7. Cava @ Portsmouth - July 2012 This is a small plate tapas Influenced restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, NH. Why tapas influenced? Well - no tapas I've ever had has been this good. Chefs Gregg & Michael preside over the establishment supported by excellent kitchen and front of house house staff. It has an open kitchen and 4 seats which overlook the kitchen make it the chefs table - ask for those you won't be disappointed. With a short stop over in Portsmouth it was so good we came back the following night. Here's a first for me - a wine list with two prices - retail prices of the wine and restaurant price of the wine. With a typical mark up around $10 these guys are saints and shames pretty much every other restaurant i can think of (byob excepted). First night we went for the tasting menu which at $29 (yes, twenty nine dollars) is easily the bargain of the holiday. Even with eight courses they didn't pass off with the cheapest dishes. First up was sweetcorn & tomato gazpacho - kept as distinct soups in the glass but when mixed they complemented each other wonderfully - great peppery aftertaste Next was pork belly with apricot purée & chanterelle - so good and beautifully presented. This was followed by scallops with fennel & salsify chips & salsify purée - just fabulous. Beef sirloin with watermelon several ways w roast nuts - the beef was great but the watermelon was just a little on the bland side. Patatas bravas - with harissa and garlic aioli - best PB I think I've ever had. The only downside was that this is a side dish and not necessarily one I'd serve on its own. Experimental dish of foie gras with chocolate, raspberry and pistachio. My part er loved it but i found it a little too off-the-wall perhaps but full marks for trying. (this was an extra dish that we ordered) Pineapple cubes with pomegranate molasses and lime - wonderful palate cleanser and great combination A final dessert was also served but I have no notes Second night - we made our own tasting menu. Rather sweetly Michael had prepared an off menu dish for us to start with. Tomato bisque wrapped in cheese casing pan fried with tomatoes and mexican cheese (didn't catch cheese name). When you cut into the fried block the liquid tomato centre poured out a wonderfully. The tomato bisque is set with gelatine before being encased with cheese. The heat seals the casing but melts the tomato. Impressive Carpaccio of beef served on a block of Himalayan salt. Came with raw and fried cauliflower with carrot slices. Wow! Potato and prama croquette with chilli strands, garlic aioli and tomato/harissa base - so flavoursome & so light. Dates stuffed w manchego wrapped in param and then baked - superb combination of sweet salt and savoury Scallops ceviche with raddish chilli & avacado puree. A bit disappointing if only because the other dishes were so good and because we had the wonderful roast scallop dish the previous night Squid and pork belly served with tomato & harrissa sauce - stunning and visually breathtaking Flank steak with roast corn, colita cheese, lemon rind and micro basil. I cannot truly describe just how refreshing and flavoursome this dish was - simply magical. Hummus w lamb, pomegranate molasses & lemon. A good dish but ruined by coming at the end of the meal rather than rear the beginning. We finished with some churros - wed didn't need as we were so stuffed at this stage - but kept seeing them being cooked all night & couldn't resist. Unexpectedly - night 2 was actually a few dollars cheaper than the first night. A great find - come see for yourself.
  8. More on the new book: http://www.absolutepress.co.uk/books/beyond-essence-further-recipes-from-le-champignon-sauvage/
  9. I take it someone didn’t get their bran that morning and to be honest to say something like “perhaps if you employed staff who were easily understood” frankly sounds like something only a bigot would say. Not liking food is one thing but your comments make it personal. poor show. We’ve always found David & Helen’s “little helpers” to be nothing but warm and friendly. And we are very naughty because we try & make them laugh when they trying the damnedest to stay professional. I’ve been coming regularly 2 or 3 times a year for something like 8 or 9 years – I’d come more often but I live in London. During that time his cooking has constantly evolved (I still vividly remember basil mojito sorbet from a couple of years ago - wow) and a recent visit earlier this month was nothing short of spectacular. On Friday & Saturday LeCS now offer a tasting menu. For those of us who’ve become jaded by tasting menu’s I truly recommend trying this one to remind you just how wonderful a tasting menu can be. However, you are right about one thing – the food here is no longer 2*- it’s 3*! Anyway – enough of this nonsense. Let’s celebrate the fact that the follow-up to Essence, appropriately named Essence II, will be in the shops in time for xmas. Can’t wait!
  10. Hi - I've done something stupid. I accidentally gave away one of the little secrets to the meal - eating from the flower arrangement. I really hope I haven't ruined it for anyone. Crossed fingers that noma'll forgive me too. Unfortunately its now too late to change the post. humbly...
  11. Hi - Relae 7 Noma both last weekend - Aug 19 & 20
  12. Rather lovely little busy local restaurant with good feel opened by former Noma chef. It’s a fair trek from the centre ‘though. Two fixed menus – one with meat & fish and one purely vegetarian. Optional pre-started which we had to have. This was poached leek served cold but still had a little and was covered in breadcrumbs and mustard. The feathery roots were left hanging out giving it a slightly otherworldly look but it tasted quite delicious. First up was mackerel with pickled cucumber and deep green lovage sauce, and a lot of it too. On their own it they were just OK but together they were quite wonderful. You could even say there was a lot of lovage on that plate. Roasted celeriac with dark olive sauce and seaweed was not the prettiest dish – however – it was truly remarkable and enjoyable. I’ve not idea how to describe the seaweed preparation but it left it slightly transparent. Very moreish. Butterflied leg of lamb cooked sous vide (4 hours) was a joy – it came with some samphire (which it feeds on) and covered by a bed of sliced turnips. The turnips let it down a little – slightly pedestrian/boring taste. But overall pretty good. Dessert was blueberry and coconut with black pepper ice cream and some mint. It was just plain strange. The initial taste was fairly rounded but after a couple of minutes the pepper oil just took over and dominated everything and covering the inside of your mouth. Extremely unpleasant and not quite ruined an otherwise lovely meal – but it came pretty close. The food was moderate at sub-400 kr mark but we were slaughtered by wine costs. In fact, the meal was half the price on Noma (for less than a 10th the experience) which we were going to the following evening. Clearly the next time in Copenhagen I’ll just have to go to Noma twice ;-)
  13. Disconcertingly good start to the evening - the MD arrives and explains how the evening will unfold then slowly moves the table flowers to the centre saying that the we should to start with something from the arrangement. The trick of course is to unnerve and delight in equal measures. Are they really serious about us eating the display (upper left)? Yes they are - hidden amongst the flowers are a couple of "twigs" that are actually bread doused in pollen - a creamy dip appears to accompany them. So we're off on a 25 course extravaganza starting with some 12 starters over the next 45 min period. Photos were taken on an iPhone – first time I’ve captured a meal in this way – apologies for the sometimes rubbishy shots. Also, I didn’t take notes so some of the detail escapes me. Moss comes next dusted with mushroom powder (upper middle) - can't remember if it was deep fried, liquid nitro’d or merely dehydrated as I was still a little giddy from actually "being here". I recall from foodsnob’s blog that it took him a couple of courses to calm down – I know how he feels. Anyway, whilst staring and caressing the delicate moss a couple of lovely nasturtiums arrived with their stamens replaced by snails – delicious (upper right). On a plate of muscle shells were two unopened muscles (lower left) - discard the top but eat the rest we were told - the bottom shell was edible and made of biscuit/pastry coloured with squid ink. big grin. Sea buckthorn leather arrived with some pickled rose petals (lower middle) – delicious, delicate and perfumed. In fact, that’s one the key characteristics of Noma’s food – predominance of aromatic, herby and perfumed notes instead of more traditional meaty and savoury smells and flavours. The juice was set with pectin rather than some other mol-gast chemical but surprisingly the rose petals had been pickled for a year – I am amazed they stayed in one piece rather than become a sludgy mess. The leeks bases and roots were deep fried with a little black butter (of what I can't remember) - very enjoyable and fun (lower right) Savoury speck cookies with blackcurrant and vinegar powder were served in a fun retro tin (upper left). The chicken skin with rye bread and smoked cheese was incredibly moreish (upper middle). Next up was the unnerving plant pot of carrot and radish in edible soil (upper right). Beneath the soil crust was strikingly bright green sauce - satisfyingly sharp and a good contrast to the veg. Ham tartlets (lower left) were next followed with apple buns threaded with smoked fish (lower middle). Poor photo (lower middle) above of a rather beautiful dish – tart apple ball at the centre played against the saltiness of the fish. The last of the starters was layers of a creation made from duck skin and herbs (lower right) - a wow finish. It’s certainly worth noting that during all of this the dishes were served by the chefs themselves – some 15 or so that night. Incredibly generous with their time whilst describing the dishes and answering questions and never once did I get the feeling that they were anxious to get back to the hectic kitchen – somewhat surprising given the enormity of the evening’s endeavours. The other thing I noticed was the sheer harmony of the group – everyone working together as a single team. It was also pure theatre particularly when the 8-table was being served – the huddle in the kitchen to ensure the dishes are plated perfectly (visible through glass wall) plus a mass of chefs arriving in unison to serve the food. One chef talked about previous restaurants where the separation of kitchen and front of house lead to both sides essentially hating each other. He said that it will be almost impossible to go back to the more traditional environment. The bread arrived wrapped in its lovely fabric cradle accompanied with lard infused with kirsch (fab) and goats butter (less good). The bread is made 3 times each day to ensure its freshness. I overheard one guest asking if they could buy some to take home. Of course, the downfall of any tasting menu is the bread as it fills you up and more so when it’s this good. I struggled a lot with that bit. It was only at this point that the MD came and spoke of menus of which there are two: 7 courses and 12 courses. How could we not choose 12? Good he said - we've organised a special menu avoiding eggs for you - this was very thoughtful as I mentioned my dislike of egg as I when confirming the reservation. First up was gooseberry and green strawberries (upper middle). Essence of summer packed into one little dish – wow. Crab came with two jelly's (upper right) – one was made from mustard leaf unfortunately the other escapes me – it was soo delicious. The razor clam wrapped in parsley sheet/gel came with horseradish ice and dill sauce (lower left). One of the standout dishes amongst a lot of other stand out dishes. Dried scallops with beech nut, watercress and grains was very interesting (lower middle). It provided one of the contrasting textures of the evening in that the grains were presented in little mounds almost risotto-like but the grains left nut hard. The dried scallops were quite fragrant but slightly overpowered by the herbs. I think that’s squid ink in the middle. Loved it. Beef tartare (lower right). Well, what can I say - it’s clearly one of the signature dishes but, being honest, it was good rather than great. Surprisingly, it was a little on the dry side. My reckoning is that it’s been on the menu for a long time and has reached a certain level of perfection making it untouchable. But maybe the inventiveness, fragrance and sparkle of the other newer dishes have sort of left it behind. A couple of excellent vegetable dishes came next. A piece of cauliflower roasted on one side for 25 min served with herby sauce (upper left) - I really liked the apparent simplicity of the dish (have since tried this technique at home - anything but simple). Really wish I’d taken notes at this stage. But next were some onions (upper middle) - wow. Roasted on a barby until black then sous vide for 19min. Served with (I think) smoked butter sauce it was simply wonderful. Fresh water pike perch (upper right) wrapped in cabbage and barbecued came with different cabbages, stalks and a verbena sauce – loved it (that’s my finger mark on the plate - made before the photo was taken). This was followed by sweetbreads, tiny girolles and foraged greens (bottom left). This was the only dish of the evening not to my liking - beautifully made and the veal sweetbreads was delicious but the foraged greens, accompanying sauces and (raw?) mushrooms just didn’t work for me. My partner loved it 'though. When clearing the plates the waiter was more than a little concerned and offered an alternative dish. Although I refused it was v sweet of them. Desserts could easily have fitted into the starters side of a meal rather than end due to use of herbs and vegetables. To me this was great as often in restaurants I have regretted not ordering another starter instead of a dessert. Elderflower panna cotta with cucumber ice and dill oil came first (lower middle). Fresh and zingy. Next was hay infused parfait (lower right) - interesting but not a particularly pronounced flavourful. Last was a dessert of carrots, raw and poached, with liquid nitro'd cream/foam (left). I thought it would sink me but it was unbelievably light and moreish. A couple of sweeties came next - potato chip covered in chocolate (middle) was fun and caramel (right) made from smoked marrow served in the bone hit the spot. Very big thank you to Sam Miller (ex-Le Champignon Sauvage). He ran the kitchen that night and must have been dropping with fatigue but still found time and energy to shown us around kitchen & upstairs spaces. Everyone was charming and friendly and made you very welcome. Indeed it felt like you arrived as a stranger but left as a friend. Not an easy trick to pull off. A very special place indeed.
  14. Thanks all yes, would love to have those knife skills
  15. Help. I am looking for a special type of mandoline – not the usual ones that slice veg in small discrete slices or the Japanese ones which create long spirals – but one which creates very long slices by turning a cylindrically shaped vegetable on its axis and shaving off long thin pieces to create sheets. I can’t find using google as I don’t know its name. Any ideas? Thanks in advance Tony
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