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Gary Marshall

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  1. We left our hotel at 8pm for our 9.30 booking at Guy Savoy’s newest bistro Atelier Maitre Albert, we’d wandered past it on our way to mon vieil ami so saw it was a modern, very designed space. Given good reviews by patricia wells and others we were expecting some soild rottisserie food with some nice touches such as a few starter dishes from his 3* that we had fond memories of a couple of years ago. we had plenty of time so we returned to a bar for a swift err, bottle of aligote and wandered to the restaurant with a quick look at the menu at ‘le reminet’ it looked very enticing and the ‘maitress d’ came out to say hello, with hindsight we wished we’d taken the last minute plunge on le reminet! we were on time for our booking and were met with a very busy, much more casual restaurant than the decor first suggested. the main dining room was not huge with an open fire at one end and the rottisseries at the other , but they were less of a feature than i expected. we settled in with a couple of glasses of champagne after eventually catching the eye of the busy staff. The decor though and ambiance certainky rang a bell ( i suppose i’d better describe it since you may not have been!) Like mon ami and atelier black is very definitely back in paris. it looked very similar to mon veil ami actually with some original features mixed in with the ‘modern’ black. But that was not what rang a bell, the blackness and casuallness reminded me exactly of london pizza espresses of the early 90’s down to the ceiling spots highlighting the tables! the menu was surprisingly short about 4 dishes each section with daily specials on each. It wasn’t a vastly excting selection and there was nothing that i could determine was of 3* provenance, certainly no oysters en gelee that wells had enjoyed! in the hope that like aux lyonnais it was a ‘sleeper’ menu playing down its charms i had potage parmentier with shellfish and sarah had a chicken liver salad. Unfortunately they were both very dull. The only 3* slant was the serving from larger bowls with the suggestion of extras. My soup was bland and seemingly unseasoned i thought the shellfish may have been incorporated into the soup, no, there were a few clams in the bottom with the boring soup ladled over the top. At 11e i was hardly ecstatic about this. for mains the choice for us was between roast chicken or entrecote (even the special was rottisserie leg of lamb), seeing as it came with potato gratin and bearnaise, and i’d had roast chicken the day before, we both went for steak. We were asked how we wanted it cooked, which given i could see the full joints on the roitisserie i was a bit surprised as i thought they may well say they are all cooked saignant, which would have been fine, as it was we ordered one saignant one a point. A waitress appeared with the steaks, and asked which was for whom, i got the rare one and gave it a cursory prod, as i tend to do, and thought it was a bit firm, the plates were also scorching hot too which didn’t bode well. Another waiter appeared and said ‘here’s a little bearnaise for the steaks’ i thought, hang on, i don’t want a little sauce i want a lot! As you’d expect for two separate orders not a couple of teaspoons full between two. As for the cooking, Sarah’s seemed rarer so we swapped, but both were medium plus a bit. That in itself not the end of the world but the meat was very chewy, i remember saying at the time church’s would have been able to make a decent pair of shoes out of both steaks. the gratin was a very shallow dish of decent pot but was hardly generous. i of course secured some extra bearnaise but by this point was in quite a bad mood, i thought it was a perfect example of style over substance. The couple next to us were obviously well connected with the restaurant as everyone from the chef to the waiters came out to speak with them, Sarah stopped me from collaring the chef to tell him what i thought, that and not being able to elucidate my thoughts in french other than ‘merde’ which was a tad harsh! Although i can be a notoriously fussy diner i was surprised when sarah, who is much less picky said unprompted, ‘you’re not ordering anything else’ which was exactly my thoughts . as they cleared the plates they asked if we wanted deserts, ‘no, just the bill’. L’addition arrived and to add insult to injury they’d charged us for two billecart salmon blancs when i’d just asked for a glass of champagne and they did offer the ‘guy savoy nv’. To their credit they did reduce the bill uncomplainingly. The dirty look that sarah gave the waiter was as close as we came to getting our thoughts across. Drinks were a bottle of minervois which looked interesting but was 43e, with hindsight the simon bize savigny les beaune would have been a safer but perhaps more enjoyable choice Bill was 137e, it was still early-ish so we headed back to st germain where a few beers in a local bar went someway to salvage the evening. I think it was part high expectations not been met but certainly the food, to my mind was not worth the prices being charged, the steaks were 23e each and were certainly the least enjoyable i’ve had at any level in paris. luckily we had an 11.30 booking at l’atelier joel robuchon to look forward to for the following morning........
  2. With a spring in our step to match the easter sunshine we left the hotel at about 11am on Saturday. I had thoughts of Pinxo but mixed reviews had made me uncertain and due to the fact that despite taking the contents of a small electrical goods store with me, I was unable to get on the internet and find the address or telephone number. Hotel reception was none the wiser so we headed 2 mins up the street to FNAC to browse the guides. Whilst nosing around I also noted there’s a recipes from la regalade cookbook out and also alain ducasse’s livre du cuisine in minature still 70e though but cheaper than the originals 200e odd! I knew vaguely where pinxo was but as I have proved beyond doubt recently, vaguely is not good enough, so address in hand we metro’d over towards the louvre, indeed such old hands were we now at metroing we even splashed out on a carte mobilis, for some odd reason I was very taken with my shiny ticket and dinky folder! (Simple things/simple minds I assume). It didn’t take long to find Pinxo (bet you weren’t expecting that!) but looking at the menu both french and english (I often find the literal translations harder to understand certainly less appealing, eg beurre noisette –yes please, brown/burnt butter sauce- no thanks). We weren’t impressed and I could see a large outlay/ mixed return outcome here, so we wandered on with vague thoughts of Maceo/Willi’s down the road. A quick look at the guide though showed Maceo was shut Saturday lunch and the closer I got to Willis the more I knew that although apparently good value for lunch, I’ve never left there without irritation and could see the writing on the wall, another quick look at the guide suggested L’Ardoise was not far away and promising Sarah this would be the last suggestion we went off in search. The name rang a bell from various posts but I couldn’t remember if they were positive or negative but the guide suggested the 30e menu was a winner and it fitted our new value for money dining strategy. It turned out the restaurant was next in the next street to where we’d spent a few days on honeymoon with hindsight I wish we’d known about it then, it would have saved us a rain soaked trip across town one night! L’Ardoise looked shut at first but no, it was open, I took a cursory glance at the 4ft chalk board menu in the window and saw ‘menu 30e’ and that was it, we were in. The welcoming, sole waitress seated us and brought some bread, radishes and a pleasant but undeterminable dip. The blackboard was brought over and from the choice of about 8 of each starters, mains & deserts. After agonising deliberation over a glass of drappier nv , I started with tartare of tuna and ginger and sarah with lobster ravioli. My tuna came as a sizable, couple of inch thick disc and was just as described on the board, nice fresh fish with a bit of zing from the ginger. However Sarah as usual had the pick of the two, there were about six not giant, but certainly generously stuffed ravioli (especially when atelier robuchon charge 24e for one chunky one!) in a beautifully simple beurre blanc-esque sauce, this is the sort of sauce that makes me love french cooking, rich, creamy and mottled with oily droplets. I thought sarah may have left me some out of decency but no, she pretty much scoffed the lot. For mains I had a ‘queue’ of monkfish with ‘choux chinois’ a cut across the tail with the bone in the middle and a pak/bok choi type veg,again in a saffrony-creamy sauce, served in a cast iron dish. I thought it may have been chinese spiced too but it was simple french, a good dish but, once again, sarah trumped it. Her red mullet with ‘vinaigrette tiede and beurre noissette’ was fantastic, good thick fillets of pan fried fish with the sauce counterbalancing well, the vinaigrette livening up the butter sauce. To top it all it came with a gorgeous potato gallette that I greedily picked at. Deserts continued the trend a textbook apple tart on filo pastry for me and a noisette millefeuille for sarah, I also like the way they gave us steak knives to cut the pastry to avoid squashing the puds too much. Off the short but not unreasonable wine list we tried a macon solutre, a 99/00 I think which was the one name on the list I hadn’t heard of, so assumed it was there for a reason, and it was. It had depth and colour I would have expected in a much more expensive bottle than this at around 30e I think. I was having such a pleasant time so I was in no rush to join the madding Easter crowds so it seemed rude not to finish with coffee and calva. In terms of value for money/enjoyment ratio I think this was the best meal we had, nothing got in the way of an extremely pleasant couple of hours. It might not have a big name chef behind it or be particularly ‘designed’ but if you want good honest cooking at fair prices I don’t think you’ll go far wrong. We emerged and made another assault on the Musay d’Orsay, this time there was no queue to speak of a quick tour of the big names satisfied my, admittedly low, need for culture. All those pictures had made us thirsty, so we went to a bar and people watch around notre dame, before heading back to st germain for a final trip around the grand epicerie at au bon marche. We stocked up on a few easter choccy treats and watched enviably at the locals stocking up on the excellent fresh produce for their easter dinner. A very pleasant day that unfortunately did not have a happy ending at guy savoy’s maitre albert, to follow…… cheers gary
  3. we stayed at the holiday inn st germain des pres. i've stayed there before and got a good rate a couple of years ago about £60 per night. This time expedia et al were quoting £90-100 per night. i re-checked the holidayinn website and got it for 99e per night which looked good value for the hotel. It's nothing special but fits our needs. there was a nice looking one next door hotel abbaye gregoire (after the street it's on) gary
  4. (lunch under the mon vieil ami thread) post lunch at mon vieil ami, we embarked on a ‘short’ walk, in the vain hope of walking off a few calories, that took us from the ille st louis along the seine to the musee d’orsay. Unfortunately about 30,000 others had a similar plan so my brief attempt at culture was cut short. We instead went for a far more sensible option, especially given our track record in finding places, we went to find the destination for the evening’s dinner at Aux Lyonnais the bistro rescued by alain ducasse and the owner of l’ami louis. On the way we wandered through the presedential gardens (?) and stumbled across ‘ le grand vefour’ although the menu looked interesting the prices were certainly not in line with my new austerity measures! after a cursory glance at nearby maceo and willis wine bar, and despite employing my esteemed powers of persuasion, sarah couldn’t be persuaded to stop for a quick drink, (glad to see marriage hasn’t dented my powers over the opposite sex!) we continued the hike northwards to aux lyonnais. Eventually we found it down a very unprepossesing back street with a lovely view of axa insurance. the restaurant was smaller than i imagined but looked authentic enough but i wasn’t blown away by the menu and givent the distance from our hotel in st germain i was having thoughts about cancelling, but decided to stick with it. so later that night we headed (by metro yet again although i hadn’t realised that switching trains in chatelet involved a 10 minute hike!) and to willis wine bar for a swift livener. After a couple of supposedly large but decidedly skinny looking measures of riesling i was entertained by the english staff taking large glasses out of a customers bottle of lynch bages and wondering whether it needed decanting or not! i’ve only ever had drinks in willis and tend to find the staff highly irritating so we didn’t linger and headed to aux lyonnais. we were a bit early for our 9.30 table and after much hand wringing by the staff who seemed completley flummoxed by our 15 minutes early arrival we were shown to the upstairs bar area which also houses the private dining room. We were quite amused by the fact that there’s obviously a back staircase, staff kept disappearing in one direction and reappearing from another. Ok, so you had to be there, a couple of coupes further sharpened the appetite. we were eventually shown to our table in the second of the two rooms that make up the restaurant, there was a buzzy cosmopolitan atmosphere in the room and it felt very comfortable. however making head or tail of the menu was another matter, i consider myself a bit of a veteran of french dining now but there were items on the short menu we couldn’t decipher, and weren’t much wiser even after explanation by the friendly staff. I eventually came over wild and adventurous and settled on the oeuf cocotte aux morilles et ecrevisses and sarah the saladier et tartine a la facon ‘gones’. This was a salad with a long toasted ficelle of bread with we assume the tartine on it, what it was we are none the wiser, i suspected it may have been offal of some sort but was unremarkable, despite its unusual provenance looked good though. My cocotte though was a masterpiece. This is the sort of place that reinvents old classics not just recreates them. When the waiter brought a large glass jar filled with cocotte and a foamed veloute with the same bread (about 40cm long!) i was extremely glad we had stuck with the booking! Mains were another minefield with again nothing obvious apart from the ‘entrecote non paree a la moelle, echalotte, vin rouge’ that sarah had and after explantion i had ‘quenelle et ecrevisses- un recette de lucien tendret 1892’ which although well hidden was in fact the old classic of pike/perch quenelles in nantua sauce, but ‘much lighter’ said the waiter. the quenelles looked like actual fillets of fish when they arrived but turned out, as they had suggested to be extremely light fishy quenelles, in a great sauce. Deserts saw a riz au lait, mermelade de fuits for sarah, as it suggests a fine rice pudding and a tarte et ile flottante aux praline roses for me. Both were great looking deserts for a start and the little tart very morish that accompanied mine. the usual coffee, calva and a rully 1er cur washed it all down, a very enjoyable evening. It was nice to have a few pleasant surprises for a change in a dinner and there was obvious thought in the details, some more successful than others eg i didn’t like the chequered tea towels as table cloths but liked the linen bags that they brought the (v good) bread in. the mainly young staff were enthusiastic if a little forgetful, i may well still be sat there if i hadn’t kept reminding them to call me a taxi, though a lengthy stay in hindsight would be no bad thing! tomorrow a stunner and a shocker...
  5. quattre jours a paris: day two lunch at mon vieil ami [Moderator's note: day one was posted here.] to keep things orderly, i'll file this here, jamies pictures help a lot and bring back some great memories Friday morning we eventually rose late at 11am following a disturbed nights sleep due to a room slightly cooler than a sauna, despite supposedly having air con and the fact there was a school next door whose bell kept ringing loud enough to make me think the hotel fire alarm was going off in my half asleep state. By 11.01 thoughts of lunch were paramount. I had read patricia wells report on mon vieil ami and thought of the 38e menu fitted with my new, unextravagant ways. A quick phone call secured a table and we were on our way, again braving the metro but as per last night, no idea where the place was. I knew it was on ille louis and just hoped it was a small ‘ille’ .Luckily we found the main street and just as I was about to give up and turn back sarah noted that we were in fact stood with our backs to said restaurant looking up and down the road. I don’t think I’ll abandon finance for the world of exploring just yet! Part of the reason I didn’t spot the place was it didn’t look anything like I was expecting, I thought a small traditional décor bistro for some reason, I was not expecting a black very designed space with half exposed dry stone walls and minimal décor, obviously the 80’s are back as atelier robuchon, here and maitre albert all have monochrome schemes. Inside there are two rows of tables along the walls with a central serving table and a couple of round tables with the second long table slightly raised, which I thought looked cool. Initial thoughts were good especially as on the serving table was a fantastic looking chocolate tart and huge chunks of comte and chaource (?) that looked in perfect condition. The menu looked great, daily specials (as in a dish for each day of the week) together with a couple of market specials and the menu. Although they advertise the menu at 38e it is split into 10e starters, 20e mains and guess what, 8e for desert (though cheese was 11e). Massive indecision over the menu saw me go for the safe choice of foie gras pate en croute (although wifey refused to believe that ‘pates’ was pasta, and pate is well, pate, and thought she’d caught me out ‘how do you wrap foie gras in pasta?‘ She should have realised by now I’m never knowingly wrong!). Although she did get her revenge with her starter which was more interesting than mine, marinated sardines, served in a cool staube cast iron pot and served with provencal –esque peppers etc, a really good fresh and stimulating dish. My foie was a technically excellent preparation accompanied with hazlenut dressed mache leaves and remoulade . My main thought was just what le doctuer ordered, a stuffed roasted chicken breast (mmm) with pomme puree (mmmm) and caramelised choucroute (mmmmm). The breast was large (insert own joke here) and perfectly cooked with a bit of chickeny jus the pomme not quite robuchon level but not far off pomme lovers. The choucroute was the revelation, although caramelised it actually tasted slightly curried, it was great. When they invent teleportation I’ll go every week for this dish! Sarah had a skate wing which was good from memory but paled against the mighty poullette combo. The choc tart was calling but the cheese had been facing me all lunchtime and although thoughts of leaving room for the evenings adventures entered my mind I had a portion of cheese. It was goodly chunks of the aforementioned comte and chaource together with an altogether smellier livarot I think. They tasted as excellent as they looked. On the drinks front we had the alsatian pinot blanc freebie to start then a bottle of kottabe riesling 02 which was a little green, a coffee to finish and remarkably, no calva! Everything was well until I paid and asked for a menu which they refused, which pissed me off more than it should have done, especially when I had seen another waiter give one to another couple. It was the only sour note, the young waiters were (with the exception of mr no givy away menu) good and spoke french to me rather than the irritating answering you back in english when you ask a question in french school that tends to predominate. Being a big man, I can overlook the menu issue and say you should try it, it is a very good restaurant, especially so at the prices.
  6. The Eurostar hit Paris about 2.30 on Thursday afternoon, our last gastronomic trip to Paris a couple of years ago was looking back a rather extravagant affair, 4 nights in paris taking in the bargains that were Guy Savoy and Tour D’Argent, followed by dinner and then lunch in London. At Gordon Ramsay RHR. This time it was going to be more restrained I thought, cut back on the taxis and seek out a bit of dining value/comfort food (to keep mrs marshall on side). So although swiftly off the train and in a prime position for the taxi queue we went the other way towards the metro, straight into the gendarmes cordoning off the coffee house and a blatantly forgotten briefcase. That sealed it we wanted out of gare du nord asap. We shot undeeground to the metro to be faced with a long queue, after about 15 milliseconds of queuing my fear of the briefcase bomb had subsided and we gave up the economy drive and took out rightful place, at the back of the taxi rank, the irony also being our hotel, which we’d stayed in before and knew exactly where it was, is but a stumble from st placide metro, which is where we headed for, a short 20e rather than the 2.60e on the metro! This was not the first time our economy drive proved bad value. Our traditional first night in paris is always based around a bottle of red & steak and bearnaise sauce. I had decided fairly abitrarily on ‘Chez Henri’ au moulin a vent. On the map it didn’t look far from quai de tournelle an area I knew, so again patting ourselves on the back at our frugalness, we eschewed the usual taxi and set off to the tube and our destination jusseau. After once finding myself at the station in chantilly about 10 miles from my hotel which I couldn’t remember the name of, and with only my friends mobile, telephone numberasa contact, which was switched off, I learned never venture out without the name & number of my hotel plus name and address & phone of my desinatation. Plus a map. Preferably one with your intended location on it. Unfortunately as we wandered further and further through the backstreets it became increasingly clear we were no where near the comforting banquettes of chez henri . We were lost, it was getting dark and we all dressed up and looking very out of odds with our neighborhood. Our map was proving next to useless, even if I could read it in the fading light. Ever so slightly panicing, we headed north and eventually hit a main road and a metro. Somehow we’d wandered rather than northwards, two stops further south, no worries we still had time and we went back on the metro. Or we would have done had there been a metro to catch. After 10 minutes of waiting for the train that the sign said was only 3 minutes away and various un-understandable announcements, we gave up and headed back to the street. Taxi was the only option now after a quick call to the restaurant to assure them we were definitely coming. We missed a few, it started to rain, then with the devil may care attitude of a man definitely at the end of his teather and in need of a strong drink, I managed to run across 4 lanes of mad parisian traffic and grab, nay, throw myself at a taxi. Phew! Eventually at Chez Henri the taxi driver was apologetic to have to charge us the minimum 5e. I would happily have paid 50e! Once inside the world suddenly took a turn for the better. A small convivial restaurant with a zinc bar in the corner banquettes down the sides and plenty of awards for the quality of their meat and beaujolais on the wall. A couple of coupes to start and a charcuterie assiette to get things going along with a bottle of moulin a vent. The charcuterie came as a serve yourself selection, a sharpish knive chopping board and 4 sausages of varying provenance, including chorizo and an andouillette looking one. I happily tried to cut off delicate slices and ended up with err chunks, quelle horreur! Steaks featured heavilly on the menu (full of old school classics) I had the old favourite and sarah broke with tradition and had steak au poivre. They came cooked as requested with a nice charred crust and some ‘cubes of chips’ that certainly tasted like they’d been cooked in animal fat. mmmm. The stress of the journey prompted another bottle, and deserts which was a tarte tatin pour moi and choccy mousse pour madame. Coffee and calva and after the hassle, the most welcome sight of a pre-ordered taxi finished the night off. It wasn’t cheap, especially given they’d charged for two charcuteries when we requested only one but I couldn’t be bothered to point it out, we had a very pleasant evening and been looked after well. However I did feel a bit better when I re-read the bill the day after we’d only been charged for one bottle of wine, of course i will be sending them the money..... Next installment mon veil ami……… cheers gary
  7. no, that's fine by me, but i prefer sir for choice gary
  8. Tarka, there's certainly a strong case for a visit to leeds for the food alone now. a weekend taking in anthony's and 3 york place would be a good trip. get a train up friday night (2hrs from kings cross) book yourself into quebecs townhouse *or 42 the calls and have dinner at no3, saturday as you say there's shopping, i'm sure there's culture too, but i tend to ignore that You could jump on the train for 1/2 hour to York and have a wander round the touristy bits or have lunch then train back, dinner at Anthonys and train back sunday lunchtime. if you want more specific details give me a shout * if you are interested check with no3- i think they can get discounts here, it is a very nice small hotel in walking distance of station and both restaurants.
  9. Saturday brought the minor event of my 34th birthday and in the spirit of sharing the ‘pleasure’ of my custom with my favourite restaurants (lunch on Friday at no3, dinner at my local st vincent arms), Saturday saw Mrs Marshall & myself on the train heading to Leeds for lunch at Anthony’s. The usual friendly greeting from the staff was aided with a good glass of champagne, and menu perusal. I was pleased to hear that business has been extremely brisk with most evening services sold out and after the Yorkshire Post review they had to turn down 120+ requests for tables (at the mo they are only doing 25 covers), so luckily it would seem Leeds does get it! Eventually we wandered to our table, first amuse was the infamous ‘upside down beer’ that tony had been perfecting over the last few weeks. This was a small handled glass with an almost frozen head of guiness at the bottom of the glass, topped up with guinness and we were given a spoon with chocolate bonded to it so you could get a spoonful of everything with each mouthful. Technically very clever and hit the spot. Second amuse was my favoutite jacketless potatoes, as everything on the menu is in a state of perpetual improvement these had a slightly lighter casing and the same unctous potato/vanilla filling, just a great dish, and despite being told repeatedly, how they are made/what they are made of, is still a bit of a mystery! Third amuse was a duck terrine, not a huge chunk of pate put a tiny almost ‘large postage stamp’ sized slice of a very, very fine confit leg terrine, with a real salty edge, perfect, light anf yes I would quite happily each a huge chunk of it but that’s not the point! I’ve forgotten the bread too which was the usual white loaf this time with salted and parmesan butter which is very moreish. For starters sarah had crab salad (well dressed salad of crab, green pumpkin seed praline) this was a round thick disc of salad with a dressed cone of salad leaves and the seeds around it. The bit I had was very light and the salad dressing spot on. My starter was anjou squab on jabugo ham with pink grapefruit drops. This was a diamond of jambugo with a rare breast neatly sliced on top with a very reduced stock drizzled on the plate. The pink grapefuit drops were hand picked out of the whole grapefuits, very laborious but the sort of attention to detail happening here. For the main course I had roast duck with olive oil chocolate bonbons which also came with 2 tiny potato fondants (cooked in duck fat I later discovered-yum!). The instruction was to break the bonbon and release the choc, I of course did as told. And thought it worked well. Sarah had the salt cod and pork belly cannellloni from my initial trip and enjoyed it so much I only got a very small portion. There were of course pre-deserts and damn fine they were, but I can’t quite remember what was in it! However deserts were excellent, wifey went for cheese which I thought there wouldn’t be much they could do with but I was wrong, it was four perfect squares of cheese with what looked like celery but was actually pickled celery with a spice added to give it a kick. A great surprise, the cheeses were all excellent. I wished I’d had a course of that before my desert and despite it being my birthday I was only allowed a small taste of them too! My desert was a coffee timbale with yoghurt mousse marshmallows, this was a cylinder of white chocolate with the finest coffee/toffee-ish filling, and the yoghurt a nice sour counterpoint. I liked this a lot. We had coffee 7 p4’s this time a dark chocolate ganache(? Semi solid slice) covered in a sort of spanish popcorn which was excellent in a sweet/savory way. A swift calva to finish and with a highly abstemious only-one-bottle-of-red (a michelot nuits st georges) the bill was £115 ex service and comped champagne. I’m sure that those heading up north in april will really enjoy the food, it really us somewhere that is trying very hard to make a mark, I think if michelin cotton on soon they’ll get a star in February, if the fat duck can get three, then in a few years I’d expect at least two for Anthony’s. It’s certainly not going to be for a lack of hard work that stops them, he’s in the kitchen at 6am starting the bread and there ‘till 1am! Cheers gary
  10. there were five of us. i thought we were quite restrained gary
  11. that's quite a difficult one. We had lunch at anthony's yesterday and my wife thinks they are both quite similar, i think they are almost chalk and cheese! As a rough generalisation, anthony's is a definite foodie place, go to try something you've never had before and to eat at what i think will become a very significant restaurant in the uk. no3 is more a classic restaurant, refined french comfort food, better wine list than anthonys and a great overall experience. to give you broad terms of reference anthony's is like the fat duck in whilst no3 is ramsay royal hospital road. both are currently unstarred but i don't think that will last for long. if you want to meet up let me know, and i'd book quickly as both are becoming really popular cheers gary
  12. well i could have said 'as it was 12.05 on friday and i was thirsty' but thought people might get the wrong idea, and think i was some kind of alcoholic cheers gary
  13. well the lunch i had planned didn't happen but i made amends with a client lunch today. I thought the recent menu (see last post) looked great and I was not disappointed. We started with a bottle of pol roger as it’s nearly my birthday and little excuse was needed. At the table we had a button mushroom veloute I think which was fine along with the usual choice of white/brown homemade bread. Ever since I saw the menu the curried cod stood out as a dish I’d really like, so I split that as a starter with a colleague. And had the ‘pork 3 ways’ as a main. The cod was a decent chunk of cod with a salty skin, salsify and a fantastic curry cream sauce, if only chippy’s served this ! We had a tokay pinot gris 98 with this which made a change and was perfectly good. My main pork was fillet, stuffed trotter and braised pork belly, it was all good, and would satisfy any piggy aficionado . It was served with pommes puree which is always a treat at no3. With the mains a domaine d’arlot ‘clos du chapeau’ ‘98 did the trick. I slipped in a maury mas amiel desert wine to accompany my pineapple tarte tatin (with happy birthday written on the plate!) Coffee and petit fours finished us off and remarkably, I’m back in the office, I must try harder next year!
  14. You've upset me with your mind fogging gibberish. Read THE POSTS.
  15. So disgusted are you going to tell us who's upset you? Or are we just going to have go round and round in circles through this tiring charade of why the whole restaurant reviewing business is a vast conspiracy whilst you flail around trying to justify your point? gary
  16. Of course i've read the threads and it seems your view is reviewers can do no right. On your basis: write a bad review- what does he know about restaurants? write a good one- reviewer knows nowt do you think the restaurant trade would be better without reviewers? don't you think it's poor food/service that breaks restaurants not poor reviews? gary
  17. disgusted I'm at a loss to quite understand the point you are making. On the one hand reviewers are to be 'tortured' because they write bad things about, i assume, restuarants you have worked at/know and like yet when a reviewer writes a great review about a young chef & restaurant trying its hardest out of london (anthonys for those who've not seen the thread) you claim his review is meaningless as he's as good a reviewer as eddie the eagle is at ski jumping (for those not old enough to remember, a particularly buffoonish english skier who came last all the time..). ????? gary
  18. I couldn't care less about your view of robert cockcroft's credentials, but if his article manages to publicise, and go someway to ensuring the success of one of the most interesting restaurants to open in the uk then that is good surely? don't take my word, or his for it, go and try it. I doubt you'll be disappointed. gary
  19. Stunning review in the yorkshire post by robert cockcroft. 'Is anthony's the most interesting, innovative and challenging restaurant to have opened in leeds-in yorkshire- in the past 20 years?' 'it is just 20 years (!) ago since this column began and a dinner last week was amongst the six best i've had in that time' 'these are early days. One thing is sure: this wandering lad from wakefield has followed his star. one may now follow him.' not just me then! review might be on www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/restaurants but it's not working at the mo. cheers gary
  20. did he transfer his stars to the landmark a la marco or win them back? He had 2 didn't he at one point? completely agree with you basildog but i suppose at the end of the day you can only buy what someone wants to sell so if he wants to capitalise on the momentum of the tv series he needs to be back up and running asap. I assume buying an established business will aid in that way and no-doubt the tv money will make the deal stack up, but hey, don't forget chefs and business have always been uneasy partners! cheers gary
  21. hi thom close but no cigar! i was there friday & hibiscus saturday, however bapi & rosie were there tuesday and hibiscus on thursday in addition. yes, they went twice! gary
  22. New menu at No3, which i think is about the best i can remember, and i'm in next tuesday luch for a feast Velouté of Leek & Potato, Smoked Haddock Ravioli, Poached Quail’s Egg £ 4.95 Terrine of Corn Fed Chicken, New Potatoes, Foie Gras & Parma Ham, Pickled Vegetables, Aged Red Wine Vinegar £ 8.95 Poached Oysters with Fresh Noodles, Cucumber, Avruga Caviar, Sweet & Sour sauce £ 10.95 Risotto of Plum Tomatoes, Goat’s Cheese Cromesquis, Tapenade & Balsamic Vinegar £ 7.95 Ballotine of Foie Gras in Sauterne Jelly, Celeriac Remoulade, Truffle Vinaigrette, Toasted Brioche £ 11.95 Caramelised Galette of Sea Scallops with Endive Tarte Tatin, Red Pepper Vinaigrette £ 13.95 Carpaccio of Tuna, Niçoise Garnish £8.95 ******** Steamed fillet of Sea Bass Farci, New Potatoes, Asparagus, Basil Cream £ 19.95 Fillet of Whitby Cod Roasted with Curry, Caramelised Salsify, Buttered Baby Spinach, Carrot Purée, Confit Garlic, Curry Cream £ 13.95 Roast Ballotine of Salmon & Sea Scallops, Fricassée of Peas & Baby Onions, Baby Leeks with Ginger, Sweet & Sour Sauce £15.95 Roast Fillet of Beef, Seared Foie Gras, Cèpe Mushrooms, Celeriac Purée, Red Wine Sauce £ 18.95 Roast Rump of Lamb, Brochette of Lamb Sweetbreads, Crushed New Potatoes, Fricassée of Young Vegetables, Jus of Thyme £ 14.95 Pork “Three Ways” Belly Braised with Spices, Roast Fillet & Braised Trotter filled with Black Pudding & Ham Hock, Pomme Purée, Spinach, Honey & Clove Sauce £ 16.95 Roast Fillet of Veal, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Parsley Purée, White Truffle Cream, Essence of Morels £ 20.95 Roast Breasts of Duckling, Ravioli of Confit Leg, Buttered Savoy Cabbage, Pomme Fondant, Maple Syrup & Blueberry Sauce £ 19.95 Side Order: Panaché de Légumes or Pomme Purée £ 3.95 ******** Banana Three Ways (Hot Banana Soufflé, Crème caramel & Iced Parfait)£ 6.95 Hot Rhubarb Soufflé with Ginger Ice Cream £ 6.95 Sablé of Spiced Quince, Honey Cream, Sauterne Sabayon & Red Fruits £ 6.95 Cadeau of Dark Chocolate & Orange, Blood Orange Sorbet £ 6.95 Pyramid of Passion Fruit Sorbet & Nougat Glacé £ 6.95 Assiette of Desserts £ 12.95 Selection of English & French Farmhouse Cheeses £ 7.95 ********
  23. think it’s fair to say i couldn’t get away from the office quick enough on friday, news that we were driving into bad snow storms failed to dent the excitment of a weekend of food and drink in ludlow in the excellent company of Bapi & Rosie, who made us look like amateurs by already having eaten at the merchant house and hibiscus before we’d even arrived! A three hour drive later and we were in the smart cottage that B&R had booked for the week that was fat boy hq for the weekend. After a short and worrying conversation that appeared to involve going to the church for sightseeing i was relived to discover the church was in fact a very convivial pub at the top of Broad street. After blowing the dust off with a few pints it seemed a short time until we found ourselves heading for the Merchant House. With a short diversion to the next door unicorn. ‘Watch the step’ warned rosie seconds before i half walked/half collapsed into the warm surroundings of Shaun and anja Hill’s highly rated restaurant. A bottle of Drappier Champagne started proceedings and we eagerly read the usual concise menu with 4 choices in each category, which is changed daily. canapes soon arrived, which escape me apart from a small bruschetta. i’m sure Bapi will fill in the gaps though. I’ll stick to what sarah and i had as i’m sure Bapi will be preparing his own magnum opus as i write! To start i had a shaun signature dish, sauteed monkfish with mustard and cucumber sauce. On first taste i thought this is one of the few dishes i’ve had that was actually improved by the appearance of cucumber but it eventually got its own back by making the sauce slightly watery by the end of the dish. Sarah had calf’s sweetbreads with potato and olive cake, this was a more interesting dish, the glands were pan fried and were foie like in consistency with a bit more 'wow' than my dish. although they offer only a 3 course set dinner for £35 i asked for an intermediate fish course and shaun duly obliged with a very generous portion of roast john dory with porcini beurre blanc. I was expecting the usual dried variety of mushrooms but no, these were the genuine article, or should i say they looked like the proper giant italian variety but were actually south african. A good dish. to drink we had a gruner veltliner, an austrian wine i'd first been recommended at claridges, a good food wine. For Mains i had rack of lamb with herbs and red wine sauce, i recieved a very generous 2 rack portion of lamb with a side of excellent dauphinoise potatoes and a decent red wine sauce. I had planned a domaine d’arlot burgundy to partner this but at the last minute decided to switch to a sassiccia-esque wine that sounded better than it tasted, it was a bit too rustic and i’m still craving domaine d’arlot! Sarah had roast squab pigeon with parsley risotto. which was fine. for desert i had chocolate pithiviers, a preparation i seem to see a lot of at the minute. this was filled with chocolate and almonds. the desert wine went down way to easy by this point and i can’t remember what mrs marshall had! coffee’s, teas and i assume digestifs followed as did a chat with shaun and purchase of his new book ‘how to cook better’ which looks very interesting. it was good value for the quality of ingredients & preparation, about £130 i think for 2. gary
  24. mine arrived yesterday! after the confusion over sizes it appears that my sizes are standard. For reasons best known to themselves you measure then from the inside edge where the pan lid sits. Anyway rather than 2 new sized sauce pans i have 2 to match my existing pans, a 20cm saucepan and a spaghetti set. think these additions should keep me going for a while..... gary
  25. first the bad news: virtually sold out everywhere, cucinaitalia have a few things on their website but not much. Divertimenti sold out and old importers nothing of note. then some good news: however david mellor (davidmellor.com) had a last delivery yesterday then some more bad news: you may find if you've had them a while as i have, that they don't stock the same sizes, mine were 18, 22, 26 and they now stock 16, 20, 24. However i took it as an excuse to stock up on some new sizes! cheers gary
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