Jump to content

tony h

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by tony h

  1. The last time I was this excited about a themed restaurant was when Mash opened & I thought it was a homage to mashed potatoes – ah, well. Ooze – terrible name & terrible eating space – cool blue stark walls, retro modern & surprisingly uncomfortable seats on a rainy winter’s lunchtime its the best way to start a meal – so bad in fact I did even enjoy Peter Bradshaw’s normally excellent rants. But, risotto is one my favourite dishes and when ever I see it on a menu I find it really hard to order something else Starters was artichoke hearts & Parma Ham – the parma was fine if a bit thick but the artichokes and red peppers looked & tasted like they came form a jar. Shame – could have been a really good combination. Risotto I chose was butternut, hazelnut & sage. The plate was HUGE. Overflowing with unctuous, bright yellow, mouth-watering loveliness. Admittedly the first mouthful was not great – very sweet – but when the bitterness of the sage & hazelnut kicked in with a little help from some seasoning I got a very satisfying plate of food. Not to everyone’s liking – in fact I’m sure most of you would have hated it because the rice was just slightly overdone & there was lots and lots of sauce – this is they I love it despite so many books saying that the rice should have some bite. Anyway – don’t expect ooze to be around for much longer – 1pm on Friday & only two tables occupied. A few more did arrive by the time I’d left – but with that superb location they should be swamped. Also – with such a simple idea & limitless versatility I can’t understand why they haven’t gone for ½ dozen specials of the day listed on a blackboard rather than going for a large printed, design fixated but sparsely populated menu. I don’t was to see the same stuff each time I go there and I’m fairly sure they won’t be able to keep up with the printing costs of a constantly changing menu. A fan - but with some reservations.
  2. i enjoyed it up to the point when he poached the sausages - surely that can't be right; certainly seemed sacrilegious
  3. A very quick note on last Saturday’s meal Bread sticks & cheesy dip were very disappointing & also alarmingly pedestrian for a place with ambitions In no particular order – which means I’ve forgotten: shrimp wrapped & fried in fine potato “hair” and threads of lemon peel on a lemon sabayon and pistachio oil – absolutely divine duck sausage with brioche and salad – couple of thin slices of sausage plated between similar sized discs of brioche. The sausage had grainy texture which suggested it was steamed at too high a temperature. Relative plain and unexciting Potatoes with bacon & cheese – a most bizarre dish – several thick potato round covered with melted cheese, caramelised onions and lardons. Home cooking really – great if your are sitting in a small French village passing the time away with comfort food and a bottle of wine or two – but quite out of kilter here. Don’t get me wrong – loved every morsel – but I really object to that level cooking when the prices don’t match. White fish (brill I think) braised with salsify and chestnuts. Nice and autumnal if a little lacking in depth of flavour of the braising juices. Pathetically small half of a duck breast served with braised brusselsprouts. Really! brusslesprouts! These can never, ever be made to taste good and should never ever appear on any menu that aspires to stars and accolades. Mini dessert of some kind of sorbet wrapped in a champagne foam with dark berry coulis. V nice and refreshing. Dessert was the only really truly sensational part of the meal: pumpkin soufflé with white cheese sorbet. Truly wonderful, great texture and a quite unexpected and satisfying combination at dessert time. On the whole the dished were cooked fine, presentation was generally excellent but overall there was something lacking in the whole thing – it just didn’t excite. And – worst of all – we left hungry which is seriously bad news for a tasting menu. Oh, and the wine list is ridiculously expensive.
  4. finally got hold of the book & I think its great - already planning a dinner party around it this weekend. can't remember being this excited about a cookery book in a long, long while. I love the fact that some dishes seem simple & straightforward and some look they needs days of preparation. But the best thing in the book is the very last sentence (on the cover) where it says "... is his first book" implying there's going to be another sometime. Although DEM should be allowed a wee rest after this - hopefully not too long before the outline plan is developed. There are, of course, lots of mistakes in the book. For instance - the pistachio & olive oil cake says its for 10 – rubbish, its for one - like I'm going to share that with anyone. There's also something called an "elderberry gastric" - I have no idea what that is but I can't wait to indulge. Other high end books such as french laundry, charlie trotter, el bulli etc. - are great for inspiration - but mostly leave me cold & distant. But unlike the others this one makes me want to be a better chef
  5. what kind of costs are involved with waterbaths & vac seals?
  6. That was one bad experience - I have had many wonderful dishes cooked sv - and the flavour has been quite stunning. For example - David Everitt-Matthias creates and extraordinary amuse of parsnip veloute-like liquid where the parsnips are cooked with butter sv. If you were against sv before you’ll certainly be a big fan after tasting that.
  7. In a recent visit to WD-50 in NY one of the courses served was shrimp SV. The shrimp looked and felt raw but was in fact cooked. It was really, really horrible. Snot in a bag is the nearest description I can find.
  8. don't forget - I was little drunk when i made my notes later that night whole course could have come & gone...
  9. Dinner Saturday 2nd I was trying to wait until his book was out, try a few recipes then get help from the master himself on where I went wrong (my lack of ability, not his lack of description) but it had been year since my last visit – and a year is just to long. We arrived to be greeted by the lovely Helen but no menus were given – David had kindly offered to cook for us, again. Whilst choosing from the least marked up wine list in the whole of Europe we were presented with gorgeous savoury pastries. From the start the pre-starter was going to be a problem. Glass cup with 4 layers and the depth and range of colours was so appealing that on first looks I though – chocolate, what an interesting way to start a meal. But a quick sniff left us in no doubt as to the wonderfully rich and savoury dish we beheld (not least the description from the lovely, efficient & charming waiter). Tasting was even better – lobster foam on top of deep dark lobster bisque which in turn sat on top of a lobster gelée which nestled on a puree of chervil tuber. It was piping hot & with the gelée staying intact you knew something very interesting was going on. But why a problem? It was obvious that anything following this was going to have a lot to live up to. This was a very, very special dish and the taste lingered long and lovingly after we’d finished. It let us fairly speechless. Scallops were next – they came with raw cauliflower slices, cauliflower puree scented with cumin, slivers of apple and crunchy spiced sugar. A great dish which just about managed to hold its own after the stellar start. Next was langoustine and pork belly with peas, pea puree, peanuts & peanuts puree. I was initially hesitant about the peanuts but (of course!) they worked very well. This upmarket surf & turf was a joy. Mackerel & duck heart – a scary combination if ever there was one. The duck hearts had been fried then confit’d for a few hours. Served sliced with mackerel on top accompanied by one of the most robust slap you on your face sauces I’ve ever had: red wine & port reduction with hibiscus emulsion (a little carrot puree to stabilise the sauce). We grinned while eating. The triumphal end to savoury dishes was young kid 4 ways: lion, rack, rump (I think) and kidney. It came with artichoke pieces, artichoke puree, broad beans & almonds. The red wine reduced had a little liquorice added to it – the artichokes also had a slight dusting of liquorice powder. Normally I would have shied away form kid thinking it too strong – but no – this was a revelation being so succulent, tender & moist and understated. All quite wonderful. Pre dessert of geranium brulee with popping sugar was as pleasurable as always and came with a palate cleansing lemon & liquorice sorbet. Two desserts followed but I’m a bit vague now being completely stuffed and not a little drunk: honey ice cream with pear parfait & pear pieces. Followed by delice of chocolate with slightly salted caramel centre with malt ice cream and sugar/caramel snap (?). All too much – I’m a bit out of practice with tasting menus. However – having completely immobilised us David appeared with a rather superb bottle of calvados – a perfect and much needed digestif. The Book We talked for ages & I felt guilty keeping him up so long after a long day & I could easily sat for a few hours more. Anyway – the book. First the bad news – its been delayed by a few weeks. However, I felt very privileged in being allowed to see one of the sections (only one!) and I can say without hesitation that the book more than lives up to expectations. Apart from being beautifully produced its got so many staggeringly good recipes from a chef (should that be team?) at the top of his/their game. It certainly seems to capture the “essence” of the restaurant and what David is trying to achieve. It wasn’t easy trying to hold a conversation and read, no, make that memorise, sections. I do want to say more about what’s inside but I don’t want to spoil your surprise. My one major complaint about the book is that it isn’t scratch & sniff.
  10. i have her cookbook which i found completely uninspiring if anyone wants it - PM me & i'll post it to you
  11. A question. The floor tiles in the gents loo - don't suppose anyone knows where they come from? Ta
  12. I had dinner there in May & they had just changed over to the more streamlined menu. I think the other was taking its toll on the kitchen. I did take notes but had such a mixed & miserable meal I couldn't be bothered to write it up. There were one of two dishes that we genuinely good - but most were with just OK to foul. I am assuming it was an off night.
  13. Sunday Lunch @ Ledbury Finally made it to the Ledbury for lunch yesterday. The restaurant was surprisingly quite – only 6 or 7 tables were occupied. Amuse – simple wafer thin piece of flat bread with a couple of strands of creamed foie gras - full of flavour, wonderfully seasoned - quite stunning. Pre-starters – delicately seared disc of tuna wrapped in basil & lettuce. Drizzles of basil puree with lovely little gathering of small salad leaves & herbs. Very prett,y refreshing & flavoursome. Seemed like a lot for a pre-starter. I think was given to us because there were so few people – its one of the course on the tasting menu. Starters – rabbit lasagne is back on the menu after a 6 month break or so our waiter told us enthusiastically – like a long lost friend who just returned. How could you resist? I didn’t & it was quite marvellous – a couple of layers of densely packed rabbit & pasta with puree of mushroom, fried mushrooms & foamed sauce. Some deep fried herbs provided colour contrast. Confident dish form a confident chef. The other starter was red mullet with roast red peppers, pine nuts, purees & salad. Although vibrant to look at it only was only really brought alive by the red pepper. The mullet itself was quite plain and one dimensional – don’t know why – it usually a succulent fish. Good but not great. Mains – thinly sliced roast duck with sautéed foie gras, sweetcorn puree and sweetcorn pancakes. Wonderfully thick reduced sauce. Very, very good. The other was beef two ways – one slow cooked which took on the deepest mahogany hue & melting texture; the other simply roasted to perfection. It came with mashed potatoes (more a sauce, really) with layered sliced potato cake/wedge; Yorkshire pudding; horseradish sauce & deeply reduced sauce. I think we missed out on the veg (we saw another table getting some) but it didn’t matter – we couldn’t have eaten them anyway. This was fab. Desserts were caramel soufflé with banana ice cream – I can never get enthusiastic about soufflés – always too eggy for my liking. I had warm figs with crushed apple, mini-donuts and ice cream. This dish didn’t work for me – all the components were fine but it didn’t come together as a single dish. I almost forgot to mention the bread – the bacon brioche easily amongst the best bread I’ve had in a long time. Set lunch is £35. I’m not a big fan of the Square – too formal & stuffy. I’d very happily come back here.
  14. - Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road (three Michelin stars) flagship restaurant - excellent food, v expensive wine - very, very hard to get in - Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's (one Michelin star), Mark Sargeant (chef partner) Claridges is a british institution - food good rather than stunning - don't seem to want to raise the bar to two stars but its been a while I've been there - The Boxwood Cafe at the Berkeley Hotel average restaurant - liked it at the beginning - but recent lunch there was dire - The Connaught Hotel (one Michelin star), Angela Hartnett (chef partner) went first week it opened - really bad but I'm sure that was just opening week jitters. Connaught also a british institution but not nearly as lovely as claridges - Petrus Went to to the old one & it seemed to just dish out cut down versions of RHR. Haven't gone to the new one I haven't been to the rest RHR is definitely special if you can get in - the food is also staggeringly reasonable for a 3* Other than that claridges is a hoot
  15. Heston's new show (BBC2 i think) - does anyone know any thing about this, when its on etc? Anyone see the accompanying book yet?
  16. Had a fairly miserable dinner at Cafe 21 the other night - gone downhill since my last visit last year. Very rushed service too. Anyway – had a splendid lunch at the Baltic’s top floor restaurant yesterday. Lovely seared scallops with asparagus risotto, truffle foam and confit roast tomato. The tomato was the only bit that didn’t gel – a bit too bitter & strong for the rest of the food – only a minor complaint. All beautifully presented. Main was fillet beef with tortellini of braised shin. The filet was, I think, cooked sous vide and was particularly succulent. The tortellini filling was a bit too refined – looked like jarred meat paste – but tasted OK if you ignored the texture. Carrots we server 3 ways – ribbons, dried & foam. Lovely maderia (I think) jus. The kitchen is very large and housed behind a ¾ length glass partition at the back of the restaurant – I was sat with a good view of the kitchen. All was going swimmingly well until we started to actually swim: the fire alarm went off, the sprinkles came with a veracity and forced I hadn’t quite anticipated was possible, the chefs were drenched in seconds & the poor waiter who when to see what happened came out a moment later also soaked. The announcements came over the PA system asking us to evacuate, immediately. I sat there fascinated by the spectacle – I’ve never seen anything quite like it & really didn’t wan to leave (plus I hadn’t finished eating!). I felt so sorry for those poor souls caught up in the mess – I guess it’ll take a age to clean & recover (esp. electricals). I do highly recommend (take an umbrella!) Also – there’s a superb sam taylor wood exhibition on just now. Well worth seeing.
  17. you just might just about make a res. for next year - or if you are very lucky a cancellation this season. for me it was one the best meals/experiences ever.
  18. tony h

    Fry pans

    £40-ish in John Lewis I'm also a big fan but find I have to replace every 2-3 years or so - but I do use them more as roasting tins rather than just on top of the stove if buying a frying pan make sure the handle can withstand oven temps
  19. tony h

    The F Word!

    there's a decent 1/2 hour show lost somewhere in this bloated hour long format
  20. I walked past this on my way into work this morning (rush hour for me in london = the calm of regent's park) & I have to say the set up looks very impressive and big. I'm not very good with crowds (its a bad hearing thing) - is this likely to be mobbed? Is there a better time to go?
  21. Slightly off track… We went CIA for a meal on our recent trip to the US. I also did the tour which was just an hour or so of some poor kid who's voiced hadn't seem to have broken taking questions on the course, the place etc. I enjoyed it - my partner hasn't quite forgiven me. The meal was in the Italian restaurant (French wasn’t open on Monday nights) - it had an impressive central valued (?) ceiling with side areas, chandeliers and more. Although the food was very good it didn’t seem very Italian to me – more French in influence, I thought. Service was, as predict, slightly haphazard (but in a good way). The kid who served me let me taste my wine first (red) but just poured my partners (white). A second later: “shit, I forget to let you taste it first”. The kids who serve are really here to cook but must do at least one block as a waiter & they all hate it. Anyway – well worth it of you’re passing by.
  22. I've been trying to think of a couple of examples of what I mean by "chemical" - metallic taste of some sushi - the first couple of seconds pink bubblegum - before the powder dissolves - food colouring from the bottle (yup - I was stupid kid) - raw powdered gelatine (even stupider adult) - watercolour paint (when I put the wrong end of the brush in my mouth) - superglue (let’s not go there) In no way do I wish to suggest that WD-50 put any of the above in their – but some of the tastes I recall were faintly reminiscent of the list above
  23. our differing experiences I believe may have a lot to do with palate. I noticed in many restaurants that I ate & loved on my recent trip (bluehill, anasia, toqueville) many of the sauces were quite sweet - sugar being added, i guess, to suit local n american tastes. Is it possible that you're also more used to processed food taste & didn't notice the strong chemical element? I do remember finding it quite hard adjusting my eurpopean palate when I lived in the states a few years ago.
  24. i based my comparisons on visits to the Fat Duck in the UK which "mucks" around with tastes & textures but in a far, far superior way
  25. WD50 – April 2006 Was really looked forward to this place. First time in lower east side – very different from the almost sanitised soho & the village – also a little scary – we didn’t feel too safe. The restaurant is fairly anonymous from the outside – the banquette down the middle gives the impression of deconstructed restaurant – however – it was not that pleasurable if your not on the comfy central seats. We went for the tasting menu Raiser clams with broad beans (aka fava) – fine but miniscule Carrot & coconut egg: described better elsewhere – fun dish but has a very, very serious flaw: taste of the chemicals used in the dish overpowered everything else. Not pleasant at all. Foie gras: came as slab and frozen powder of fg. good but needed some bread. Cannelloni of shrimp – came with “rendered” chorizo - easily best dish of the evening (my notes say) Beef tongue with fried mayo – oh dear – very strong chemical taste which distracted from the novelty – tongue was surprisingly flavourless Langoustine sous vide – "snot is a bag" was how we described it – clever, maybe, but really horrible to eat pointless dish of miso with little bottle sesame gunk which you squirt into the soup smoked duck breast with parsnip ricotta & chocolate squash pasta – duck was good but the rest was fairly offensive a few other dishes followed – only the tonka bean ice cream was worthy of note. At one point, noting our distaste of a dish, the waiter said – we don’t expect you’ll like everything. Wonder how they’d feel if I said – we’ll you don’t expect I’d pay for everything. Overall – I really hated this place – from the strong smell of “drains” when I first entered – to the uncomfortable seats – impersonal service (I don’t think we had the same waiter serve us more than once) and – main reason – the a la carte dishes served to other tables looked so bloody good compared to the crap we got.
  • Create New...