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the queneau

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    Belshaft with itchy feet
  1. It would appear that someone might have finally realised that Ireland, either North or South, doesn't quite fit in with the British theme of the programme. That, or they've already used up the only passable Irish chefs in the previous series.* *This is a joke, just in case Dylan McGrath is reading this and now wishes to throw angry chips at me.
  2. Yes, but all the above is predicated on the notion that this meal was actually served, that this customer actually exists, and that Branson actually invited him to help improve the food. And that the whole exercise was in no way dreamt up by Virgin as way of drumming up some publicity. But I'm sure the latter couldn't possibly be true.
  3. Whisk(e)y is a pretty straightforward one: it's an anglicised form of either the Scots Gaelic "uisge beatha" or the Irish "uisce beatha", both of which mean "water of life". Chartreuse is named after the Grand Chartreuse monastery in Voiron, where it used to be produced (with Chartreuse being the French for the Carthusian Order of monks). Tequila is so-named because it's produced in the area surrounding the town of Tequila, in the Jalisco region of Mexico. Here's Wikipedia's take on the etymologies of Punch and Rum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punch_%28drink%29 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum
  4. Out of curiosity, what bar is it? Or at least, what is the clientele like? I'm guessing it's an ex-pat bar of sorts? I used to work in a variety of bars in Paris for a number of years, so know them all pretty well. BUT: the type of drinks that we made in Fubar were very different to those we made in The Hideout (if you know those bars), because it was entirely dependent on the customers' expectations. Let me know, and I'm sure we can knock together a few simple ideas. Q
  5. I think you're referring to the rather erroneously titled "Vegetable Roll", which is a mixture of beef sausage meat (brisket), vegetables (onions, carrots and leeks) and about 15 kilos of salt and white pepper.
  6. If you want to add the Irish/Ulster element to this, then you must have breads: - toasted/fried soda bread (depending on your desired girth) - fried potato bread (best done in bacon fat, and then put under the grill to crisp up) - fresh wheaten bread on the side, with lashings of salted butter. As an Irish bloke, I've also never understood the desire to put beans with a fried breakfast. It's just not the done thing, dahling.
  7. Aye, I think in his Sauce Guides, Simon uses the "shot" method of description, as it's a global publication and this method might, in his mind, be the most accessible interms of local custom/law, without having to revert to conversion charts. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with him, but that's possibly his thinking. In terms of cocktails in the UK (defined under law as a "mixed" drink), there is no legislative regulation over the minimium or maximum quantities of booze that must be served in them. A "mixed" drink is defined as a drink with 3 or more constituent parts, the making of which is the only legal method of free-pouring in the UK. The "regulation" of the amount of alcohol that goes into one is left to the discretion of the bar, and most will use 50ml - 70ml, depending, of course, on the drink itself. The law, unfortunately, isn't clear on mixed drinks that only contain 2 constitutent parts (such as the Fifty Fifty), and I think this is an example of the law not moving to reflect cultural shifts. It's likely that mosts bars would serve this as a 50ml drink (2 x 25ml measures of each). Whilst this would not strictly be within the law, it's unlikely to receive complaints from either customer or lawman. The difficulty, as always, is how to interpret the above definition of a mixed drink. Does a squeeze of lime become a constituent part if added to a rum and Coke, thereby allowing the tender to upgrade from a 35ml pour for a standard rum and Coke to, say, a 50ml pour for a Cuba Libre? Damn civil servants! As for high proof liqueurs, the standard pour throughout the UK is 25ml, if not included in a mixed drink. God, but it's complicated.
  8. A few points here. There may be some confusion over the idea of there being a UK ounce and a US ounce. In the UK, ounces are only ever used as a measurement of weight, not volume. So yes, whilst our nations have different ounces, it's because they have completely different referends. For clarity, we do have fluid ounces in the UK, but these will always be specified in recipes as "fluid ounces" (i.e., separate from the "other" ounces). However, the last time I saw fluid ounces mentioned were in recipe books from the 70's, and never in relation to bartending. Secondly, the standard UK shot is not 25ml. This is the standard English shot and, I think, Welsh. Here in Northern Ireland, we serve 35ml as a standard measure, always served from a Government-approved measure (whether jigger or optic). It's a legal requirement to do so, unless in a mixed drink with 3 or more ingredients (this is where the law gets complicated, so I won't go into it too much). As for how UK tenders give recipes, I've only ever given them in metric form and have only ever received them in metric form. It avoids the confusion that might arise from the belief that there is such a thing as "a standard shot". We do generally have different size jiggers in our bars - 25ml, 35ml and 50ml. I normally keep a set of "keys" on me as well, which allows me to measure 5ml, 10ml, 12.5ml etc. It just means that I know exactly how much I'm pouring, which is critical to the formula of a drink, as well as allowing tabs to be kept on booze control (important in a bar context, rather than at home). Personally, I believe that everything, everywhere should be measured metrically, but that's mainly because I prefer decimal points to fractions, aesthetically as well as functionally. Edited for clarity.
  9. A smart man once said that "if ewe categorise me, ewe negate me", and I think it's a little disingenous and myopic to taint all Northern Ireland folk with the same lumpen and leathery palate, as has been done elsewhere in this thread. Whilst much of what Corinna has said is spot on, there are a couple of other bits and pieces I'd like to chip in: Whilst Molly's Yard is a very good bet, a better bet (alliteration ahoy!) might be Simon McCance's Ginger on Hope Street. Consistently producing fresh, unadulterated dishes with local produce, it's possibly the best reflection of Northern Ireland cuisine (and no, that's not an oxymoron). My default restaurant when friends are visiting. My recommendation for the Saturday would be pre-drinks at the bar in Zen (Adelaide Street), followed by dinner at Ginger which is only 5 mins away, and post-prandials at the Merchant House, where there is simply a great cocktail bar. And I don't mean "great" within a Northern Ireland context. The drinks are on a par with The Lab (London), The Flatiron Lounge, and anywhere that Dale deGroff or Salvatore Calabrese might associate themselves. For brunch the next day, Deane's Deli (Bedford Street) is fine, the Apartment (Donegall Square West) is also "ok-ish", but get a table with views of city hall and a Bloody Mary and all will be fine. Roscoff's Cafe (another Rankin venture), is again fine as is Rain City. Hope this helps. PS - Stay the hell away from Malmaison. It has nothing in common with any other establishment of the same name.
  10. At the top (Queen's University) end of Botanic Avenue, sandwiched between Duke's Hotel and the Theological College. Very pleasant place - nothing outstanding - but would certainly recommend ewe pop ewer head in. And good value too.
  11. Quite simply, it translates as "Lil' Punch", punch as in a generic term for a rum-based drink. The "ti" is a créole diminutive of the French "petit" - a meta-diminutive, if ewe will. Most of the talk here has been of rums from the western French DOM-TOMs (Martinique, Guadaloupe and French Guyane). Let's not forget wee La Réunion in the Indian Ocean which also produces a vast amount of amazing rhums agricoles and where wee Queneau had the pleasure of living for 3 years. Yum.
  12. "A vested interest? Why? I'm curious" Aye, I'll see ewer reticence and raise ewe 3 intransigences. Ewe'd think EG might be a perfect place to effectively market a new (or, in the pipeline) restaurant. Apparently not! As ewe asked, I werk in the biz, I write in the biz, I eat in the biz, and I drink in the biz. And I live in NI. One dead cat?
  13. Slight generalisation there Postcode, suggesting a wee lack of market research and a frankly myopic view of who eats what in Belshaft these days. And for the record, I like the no knickers brigade. Where will ewe be opening then? Bangor? Helen's Bay? Both of which are populated by second generation/older variations of the self-same "scourge" ewe so eloquently describe, but have simply evolved into the types of creature who espouse the same wanton elitism that ewe do. (London)Derry? If so, then this is simply madness as the disposable income is nowhere near on a par with Belfarce, and the restaurant-going public nearly minimal (unless ewe serve ribs 'n' sauce and Ulster fries). I am genuinely am curious as to where ewe hope to open, if not Belfast, and the reasons for this. Call it a vested interest. Q
  14. Throwing in my tuppence (also as a resident of Belfarce): Simon McCance has re-opened Ginger within the past 2 months (now situated in Hope Street), and it is as great as the previous version. Still a limited amount of tables which suits me fine, and the food is freshest, local produce, with minimal tinkering, no pretensions, and tenderly treated. Fantastic. Zen opened last year in Adelaide Street (member of the Red Panda Group, but nothing in common with other Red Panda restaurants) and Belfast finally has a sushi restaurant. Yes, it's pretty standard sushi conceptually, but also perfectly executed. And the interior (upstairs) is beyond striking. Also has the best cocktail menu in Ireland - Sazerac with 18yr Sazerac bourbon anyone? Manhattan with Pikesville 4yr Old Rye? Someone mentioned earlier shaking a Manhatten. No! We "stir" them daaling. L'étoile on the Ormeau Road - classic French cooking. No nonsense. Rock! With a few notable exceptions, I have to agree that the standard of eating and service in Belshaft remains appalling - and I say this as someone who still werks in the industry over here. While there are some good restaurants here, they are invariably qualified with the caveat "good for Belfarce". This ain't acceptable for me. It is, unfortunately, perfectly acceptable for the general Northern Ireland palate, which is leaden, lumpen, made of asbestos and judges the quality of a meal by whther the contents of the plate should be climbed or eaten. City of Culture bid? How we snarfed.
  15. I refer the honourable School Tie to the comment I made about Barthesian Reader Function not too long ago. Fewl. And if ewe're all so het-up about the quality of restaurant/food reviews, why not channel all this here key-tapping anomie into something more worthwhile, like writing the frickin' things ewerselves* (like a notable few here already do). * and yes, before anyone says it, I'm perfectly aware of the validity of meta-reviews.
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