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Gary Marshall

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Everything posted by Gary Marshall

  1. Once again bapi, i feel compelled to warn you of the affects the south is having on an honest (if southern) yorkshireman. the evidence: 1) you are friends/go for dinner with people who don't fancy the tasting menu at hibiscus. 2) rosie not on the sauce, yet you still drive. Are you mad man? you'll be telling me next you have to do your own housework! As you know the key to a successful relationship is letting wife drive you home from a good dinner, in a state of mildy drunken contentedness whilst you declare your love for her. Listen to me i've been successfully married for 1 month, i know what i'm talking about great review, hope to see you up north soon. gary
  2. Martins (70 rose st, north lane 0131 225 3106) is a good place for lunch, down a back st but fairly central. Lots of fish but also a very serious cheeseboard. been there years and very reliable. i also like le cafe st honore (34 nw thistle street lane eh2 1ea 0131 226 2211) www.cafesthonore.com. I really like this place very convivial, solid french bistro food, very authentic decor, not massively expensive from memory. on thistle st (i think) is 'Marlene' it is virtually opposite the road Caf st h is on. A small restaurant handwritten short menu and wine list but decent french-y food good value for a decent curry try the indian cavalry club 3 atholl place eh3 8hp 0131 228 3282, quite decorous for a curry house but decent food in interesting surroundings. one over-rated place it the tower restaurant, nice views but food a bit lacklustre for the money, pretentions above its station. edit: i've just seen your post re the tower! cheers gary
  3. the seasonality may explain why i've not seen it since the egullet lunch last year! gary
  4. This thread stuck in my mind so whilst in paris last week we had dinner there. I was going to have a wander past during the day to check out the menu and make a reservation but upon asking our concierge for directions, he also unbidden made a reservation. He said it was very good but a bit dressy and a bit 'snooty' (he did the old finger under nose head held back guesture). i found none of those traits apparent, although a few people were smartly dressed, i assumed it was because they were on their way home from work. as previously mentioned it is a long thin room, quite shabby in places but definately buzzing on our arrival (9.30 pm on a thursday). the menu was a simple handwritten in places sheet in a tatty clear folder but was full of basic classics, turbot, sole, steak etc along with the 'famous' rillettes and pates to start. with a couple of coupes (and the salami and radishes 'amuses') to start we had a decent chicken terrine and a frissee, lardons and poached egg salad. I fancied the lamb that steve had but the wife wanted that so i gallantly went for a sizable steak bearnaise (a bit if a challenge since i'd had one at au pied du cochon the night before and we had lunch at jamin earlier!). Both were excellent. Although the wine list was quite small it was perfectly formed and not wanting to go mad we skipped the burgundies and bordeaux's and settled on a rhone that escapes me but was about E30 and did the trick. service was very friendly by what in the Uk i would describe as 'dinner ladies' polite 40-ish efficient frenchwomen. The only problem we encountered was on deserts, i saw vacherin on the menu and no other mention of cheeses so ordered it thinking it would be cheese, however what arrived was a raspberry merangue concoction, in my basic french i told her of my error and at first they were reluctant to change it but eventually swapped it for a cheese selection. She did agree howver that vacherin was a great cheese! coffee and a calvodos finished off a very pleasant evening. Not particularly cheap but certainly didn't begrudge a penny of it and a bit more authentic than many of the 'freres blanc' restaurants. gary
  5. Ha! that may explain something, typical to miss out on the only freebie..... i may have to think of another test of restaurant magnaminosity then as they failed easily on every other count. gary
  6. so le gavroche, the head of the restaurant family tree in the uk, virtually every chef of note seems to have passed through its kitchens and as such a much anticipated first night of my honeymoon. oh how i wish i had gone to ludlow rather than london, or even leeds for that matter! It was a wednesday night and on entering the restaurant there was little sign of life, we were offered a drink in the bar reception area but as it was empty, it didn't appeal so we chose to enter the restaurant. Our table wouldn't haven't pleased michael winner as it was near the kitchen entrance but suited me fine to see what was going on, which was essentially chaos. And not of the particularly organised kind. couple of champagnes kicked off proceedings (£10 each) and amuses swiftly followed and were forgettable. menus were disappointing, again the old no prices for the lady rubbish and in very bold type across mine SERVICE CHARGE 12.5% which just irritated me. But not as much as the MINIMUM CHARGE £60 PER HEAD printed on the top, now that just really grated. I'd usually go for the tasting menu but it was £80 plus service and didn't really appeal. the a la carte was also bit uninspiring, not a lot leapt out and it didn't ring many bells from the cookbook which is full of very hunger inducing recipes. After ordering we'd still not seen sight of a sommelier when one eventually made an appearance there was little in the way of guidance, and a very rushed demeanor, i'd reluctantly settled for a fish main course so went white (meursault l'orme), but got little in the way of help other than 'yes it's fine'. The rush as i correctly guessed was because our starters were on their way out of the kitchen. Oh and when i refused mineral water and asked for tap it was met with a very puzzled look and a luke warm carafe of water no ice or anything . It may be a small, and pointless crusade but i'm fed up with spending £10 on water over a long meal, i feel it is a good measure of the true character of a place if they offer 'free' water magnaminously. surprisingly rapidly our starters arrived.... i had souffle suissesse and wifey had escalope of foie gras chaud et pastila a la cannelle. souffle was interesting but not exceptional, and if it has got lighter over years heaven knows what the full fat version was like. sarahs foie was fine, pastilla good. my main course was salmon with a tomato bearnaise and , well crisps. it was all good and there was plenty of it, prob too much considering the richness. Sarah had turbot and seafood with garlic butter and black squid ink rissotto. Again accomplished but only as expected at this level. more amusing was watching the service disintegrate in front of me, best description is 'headless chickens' and wrestling the wine off the sommelier who kept doing the classic not watching glasses so go to fill your own and then half way through they go for the bottle to finish the job, irritating at best. by this point the restaurant had become very hot and i was glad that although wearing a suit i had not worn a tie, rebel to the end me. if you're going to have dress codes then your air con should be able to cope! i'd had enough by this point but had a strawberry millefeuille, more to pass time than anything else, and no sooner had i ordered it than it was in front of me, a baragin too at £17, the assiette was a whopping £27. we then had coffee, that too was worth every penny of £6.40. Each. ever the glutton for punishment i asked for a digestif, the trolley was duly wheeled over and the sommelier waited expectantly. I was quite amused to find they expected me to pick from the trolley without any guide as to what the resulting damage might be. After consulting the list i found a veritable bargain, a roux bros brand calvados for a tenner. bill was £244 incl service and the aforementioned meursault at £54. I felt robbed, but place was full so they obviously don't need my custom. m roux was there and seemed v pleasant (and thin). Legendary maitre d seemed a miserable git. It is no surprise to me whatsoever that this palce lost its 3rd star, and that ramsay is cleaning up in london (which i don't necessarily believe is good for the record). The last place i visited that exhibited such mercenary characteristics was la tour d'argent in paris, again a faded place of historical significance but little culinary relevance. i was genuinely shocked by how little we'd enjoyed the evening, bapi was lucky not to have me on the mobile dictating my review so incensed was i! not recommended. Gary
  7. tony and simon you're thinking the same as me and i've not even had the pleasure of a trip there (yet ) Bapi you are disgrace to the north, the correct term for your type is 'soft southern, shandy drinking, girls party dress'. I believe. i bet you even skipped the lager nightcap too pah!
  8. which arrondissement circe? sounds good! gary
  9. yes, it is subtitled in english. it's worth the money to see gagnaire in action in service! cheers gary
  10. It's always a worrying moment when a client rings wanting to 'pick my brains' stockbroking queries i'm used to, but more and more frequently i'm being asked for restaurant recs, and this is the latest .... client wants to take some american guests to a 'decent' restaurant preferably with a view of the london/city skyline. I think he's looking for a wow factor rather than great food. thought of oxo tower and old neat's (but can't think of the name) and pont de la tour etc on ground level, anything else i've missed? thanks gary
  11. as alluded to in an earlier thread, i have now finished (and passed, but then i always was a girly swot ) the second stage of the wset course, so i can share a few thoughts now . Firstly it does seem if i got quite a bargain, the course i think cost £160 it appears to be about twice this in london, and the wines were much more interesting in comparison to the first course, this is not all down to the generosity of micheal hjort at meltons, as the teaching guide specifies what should be served eg on the champagne night a basic nv, and a quality vintage, on the bordeaux night we had a rauzan segla that was £80 on the wine list so that was more interesting. the syllabus is also is much more detailed, with more emphasis on viticulture and vinification, and the specific regions of the world were taught in much more depth, personally once we deviated from vini & vinif, france, italy and champagne i quickly got bored but that's just my personal wine prejudices, i couldn't face spending a monday night drinking and learning about eatern european wines for example! many of the people on the course hadn't done the first one so its not a pre-requisite, the exam was all multiple choice and although not difficult the syllabus was wide, you either knew it or you didn't and there was a short written question in which you had to describe the colour, taste, smell etc of either a meursault or a chianti classico. if you've got more than a passing interest in wine then i'd recommend it, be afraid of sommeliers no more! cheers gary
  12. mine arrived yesterday too, amazon.fr must be wondering where all the interest is coming from! had a quick flick through gagnaire, it was very interesting. gary
  13. countless nights out of my youth would suggest i never had it apologies, i thought the name was wrong, it may even have been ripleys ? that i was thinking about, my only excuse was extreme hunger on sat eve waiting to go out for my curry! and funnily enough i'm planning 2 weeks off the sauce, think i've had enough recently, and an extra bottle of red on friday night really did confirm this on saturday morning. gary
  14. it was the fixed £700 for the table i hadn't realised. I thought we'd be looking at a slight premium to the menu prestige which is usually £60-70 in other ramsay places, but wasn't expecting £110. as you might have gathered, i thought it was worth it despite the cost they also say it does big repeat business. The 'new' savoy also has a table that apparently has a slightly elevated position looking onto the pass from the chefs side, that sounds good too. Both are/seem a lot better than my only other chefs table experience at comme chez soi, it was just a long corridor off the pastry section, you needed binoculars to see anything! gary ps i noted basildog's black dog menu was veloute less, should it now be an offence to recommend a restaurant where the unsuspecting gourmand may be shocked not find the welcoming presence of our creamy friend?!!
  15. i don't know b'dog i must admit my bad restaurant experiences are quite few and far between, but then i'm not particularly adventurous. It's quite sad to relate that i rarely eat anywhere that i don't know who's cooking for me by name or reputation! They did completely fail the napkin test, the poor waitress couldn't even reach the far side of the table, never mind replace napkins! gary
  16. I had one of the best nights out in London that i've ever had on wednesday. I also dined at the 'chefs table' at claridges. From what i can gather these tend to be mutually exclusive events. However there was a little more to it than the food (strict foodies please scroll down i'll highlight the 'food bit'). you see whilst i'm not so shallow to get over-excited about the presence of your common/garden uk celeb, a couple of hollywood A listers,which happen to be the leading characters in one of my favourite films, and separately a chat with england's leading clothes designer did mark the night out as something special. As it happened Wednesday saw the premiere of the much awaiting (well in my house anyway) matrix reloaded, i didn't know if the actors were coming over but it turned out they did, and they stayed at claridges, so to meet keanu reeves and then later lawrence fishborne did leave me a little star struck. and before this i had a very pleasant chat with Paul Smith about cycling in italy. so that's the background out of the way, now to the food. FOOD BIT STARTS HERE On checking into the bar area that preceeds the dining room, we were shown to a table and advised that champagne and canapes would be served here, 'ooh free chamapagne', a nice touch thinks moi as the bolly nv roams into view, (however my economic background gently reminds me of the 'no such thng as a free lunch' lecture more of which later, oh and i should add my colleague organised the night i was meerely there as food and beverage advisor, although it ended up on my card and i didn't know about the charging structure). we were assigned out own waitress for the night and a sommelier. It was explained it was to be a menu surprise which made choosing wines to match a headache and in a couple of peronis/glass of champagne/matrix over excitement moment i let the sommelier choose, with a limit £30 - 40 per bottle for 3 bottles (there were 6 of us but 1 teetotal and one not-really-wine drinker). first amuses were the usual ramsay-esque hummus and another 'spicy spread' that escapes me. second amuses were hot, as in temperature, they were deep fried risotto balls which were excellent and duck spring rolls and dipping sauce also very good. we then went to our table in the kitchen, which mercifully meant we avoided the dining room where the interior design spec must have been 'tarts boudoir'. into the kitchen we were given a brief tour of the coffee area, the cold starters pass and then shown to our table which was in front of the hot dishes pass. It's basically a decent sized table with a horseshoe banquette surrounding it and holds up to 10 which would be a squeeze, our six was about right. By this point it was about 9pm and service was in full flow, generally the kitchen was a model of quiet efficiency but the sheer numbers of dishes going out were quite incredible (it turned out they had a full dining room, us, and two private rooms to cater for, so it was busier than normal). The first staff bollocking came from head chef mark seargeant quite soon which livened things up a bit as the first course arrived. This was a chilled pea and mint veloute (hurrah!) which did as they described. second was a small seared tuna loin, two discs of rare tuna, very light and good. third up was a small ballotine of foie gras with toast, again good but not execeptional fourthly was was an excellent but hey, guess what, small, fillet of John dory in an excellent lemon-y frothed sauce (they're sending a copy of the menu and wines to me so i'll give the full details later). Fifthly was an excellent seared canon of lamb, now we watched very impressed as they plated up and sent out at least 40 of these dishes at once, so when ours came as chunks of lamb in a big copper pot with roasted shallots, mushrooms and 'crispy bits', a pot of truffled mashed pot, spring veg incl artichoke & asparagus, lentils and 2 sauce boats , one infused with rosemary one without (crucual difference as an fortunate waiter discovered), and i played mother with fairly crap results the skills they displayed were appreciated. Sixthly: a small french cheese selection, i can't say i've ever been impressed by a ramsay cheeseboard, this was no exception. seventhy: an excellent choccy tort. eigthly: an excellent apriccot tart. What made the experience of this was just being in the kitchen in a busy service, it was mesemerising watching the organised chaos. We were also treated to a full chef rant by mark when a waiter gave one table the wrong sauces for the lamb, who then foolishly blamed the kitchen for giving him the wrong sauces. To say he went absolutley f*cking mad is a slight understatement, at first we thought it might be a bit of a show for us but no-way. So that was good As aspiring Lynes understudy in the world of chef groupie-dom i had a long chat with mark (after service and he had calmed down) and he also happily came and chatted to the guests at my request, he did howver ask for 5% of anything i got out of them the next day, who says chefs aren't commercial! I was also impressed that they must have overheard 2 of the table saying they had to leave, and unbidden, boxed up the deserts for them. They then offered us a full tour of the kitchen and explained how it all worked, just to make sure i had the cheffy bases covered though i spent that time chatting to 2nd chef andew. As a parting shot the pastry chef boxed up 4 tarte tatins for us to take home too. the guests and my colleagues were blown away by the whole experience and although i've spent time in many a kitchen i must admit it was bloody interesting and i would definately return. the food although parsimonious at times was perfectly cooked, solid one star, with the quality of ingredients showing through rather than any particular culinary pyrotechnics in the execution. To be fair others round the table were full to the brim so maybe the portions were about right for a taster. we then took coffee & chocs in the foyer of the hotel with a calvados to 'make a hole' as they say in france. (as the matrix crew returned) I ended up signing for the tab and then got a bit of a shock. The table (with our free bottle of bolly) cost £700 for 6. That's the basic rate for up to 6, after that its charged at £110 /head. With wine, somewhere along the line the idea of 3 bottles vanished, we had 5 plus another bolly for my not-really-a-wine-drinker colleague and it came to £990.20. plus service i left £1100. So £183 per head 'aint value but yes i'd do it again. Gary
  17. cracking review simon, is this the place aa gill also 'enjoyed'? gary ps given the honourable mention, i suppose i'd better get my glowing claridges review written then......
  18. bapi, as you know my memory post such functions is never great but i did have presence of mind to keep a menu and as i ordered the wines in advance (a nice touch, they sent me a preview of the new wine list for me to choose) i had the fax in my desk still! re tactical coke, a good point i distinctly remember a bottle of coke and at least 3 glasses of water throughout the day, yet i still ended up completley b*llocksed, which i think is just not fair and if i didn't need a new liver on sunday morning (actually a complete body was required then!) i certainly do after last nights visit to the chefs table at claridges, a fantastic night of top food, bollockings, matrix stars and the designer paul smith! more later when i've gathered my thoughts! Tony, you're right about their attitude, they have this beautiull barn conversion that's cost them the best part of a million quid to renovate usuing fine interior decor, and not only do they welcome 14 leery blokes, they positively encourage them to eat and drink to excess! I was slightly embarrassed to be chatting to jacquie pern the next morning given the state i was in but she was like ' it's the day after your stag do, its only right that you look and feel rough' ,one of my mates crashed out on the sofa for the night (and he was supposed to be staying next door), i thought they might be annoyed, she only expressed surprise that there was only one body comatose when they returned in the morning! top place, top people, would make a great egullet dinner venue if anyone fancies the trek ooop north.
  19. hmmm 13 posts since september 02 would hardly count as participation. writing reviews such as simon's, my own and many others takes a goodly chunk of time for the benefit of others on this board. you get out of this what you put into it. everyone has their own style and as goes for most media, if you don't like it, skip it. 0/10 so far for contibution to egullet, i look forward to your own interesting objective reviews. and i award myself 0/10 for being sufficiently riled into replying to this
  20. I had my 'stag night' at the star on saturday, and a fine venue it was for such an auspicious event. i arrived bapi-esque fashion ie just in time for a sneaky lunch, this was braised faggotts with spring vegetable stew and thyme juices, topped with a fried duck egg (£9.50). I've had this before as a starter and although good, the third faggott was a bit heavy going, but it lined the stomach for an long day, accompanying this was (obviously excluding the omnipresent lager) a couple of bottles of moulin a vent 'rochegres' domaine du vissoux off the new and much improved wine list (£22.50) . We then retired to our accomodation across the road. Basically they have converted a barn into 8 stunning rooms, a large communal lounge area, a full kitchen with bonnet range and a private dining room, fronted by a great deli. we settled in, in front of the fire as the other guests made their way up to harome. there was a well stocked honesty bar but it was no trouble for the staff to pop across to the pub to bring regular large shipments of bitter, guinness etc for the thirsty masses (14 of us). They even proved us, gratis, with a very appetising afternoon snack of items from the shop, cheeses, slices of pie and tarts etc which was very well recieved. One of the bedrooms has a snooker table so some of the lads whiled away the afternoon playing pool and watching the footie/dvd's upstairs whilst the rest of us gently marinaded ourselves and talked bollocks as a group of men usually do. At 6pm we returned to the star for a couple of liveners. At 8pm we returned to the piggery for canapes and a seemingly un-ending supply of louis roederer. Suitably livened we sat down for dinner at 9pm and started with butter roast sand hutton asparagus with cured, smoked belly pork, fried village qual egg, scallion butter. this was excellent the salty pork working really well with the asp and egg. (wine chateau de tracy pouilly fume 2000 £24.50) we then had north sea lobster and puple congo potato salad, dill creme fraiche, cucumber and lemon balm. This was fine but a bit dry for my taste, potatoes were certainly unusual though. (leflaive rully 1er cru 2000 £23.50). third was Roast loin of new season lamb with parsnip dauphinoise, early summer veg, garden mint juices. Another cracker, parsnip dauph also a neat variation. all went well with a super rossignol trappet gevery chambertin 1997 (£35). A selection of cheeses was next, they basically made up a board and we ate it as and when into the early hours, a great idea. (tedeschi amarone classico 1998 £34.50) Finally at somewhere past midnight and a little tired and emotional we had a selection of star deserts in minature, the usual suspect, lemon tart, creme brullee and ices, all good. (lous latour macon lugny 2001 £18.95). coffee and homemade chocs finished the rest is a bit of a blur, my body gave out at around 2am but others continued until 4 am. The next day, feeling like death and unable to participate i saw the boys tucking into some seriously good fry-ups, all cooked to order. I also noticed the lifesaver too (and this gives you an idea of the attention to detail here) amongst the breakfast juices a carafe of tomato juice, tabasco and worcester sauce and a bottle of smirnoff. perfect. I even managed a bit of toast after that! the bill of this little lot worked out at £110 per head for all the food and drink all day, which i think is pretty good value for an average 12 hours drinking per head and for the rooms, i averaged them all out at £100 per room. The menu alone was £45/head if you book all 8 rooms as i did then you have the run of the place, and can sort out your own menu for the private dining room, i highly recommend it. Although my body does not gary
  21. that was lunch, the nightcap came later at the pub! gary
  22. i've just ordered it and was very surprised to see the french site accepted my uk password and had all my data! it even translated prices into sterling too so i'm very impressed, lets see if it actually arrives now cheers gary
  23. thanks, for some reason i thought rsj was a place that specialised in sausages so didn't delve further. cheers gary
  24. Got a lunch to sort for next wednesday in this salubrious part of london. any thoughts? harden's seems to point to laughing gravy and baltic as possibles? thanks gary
  25. We awoke last saturday worse for wear, remembering once again that drinking with thirsty chefs post service is never a good idea when you've already had sufficient Anyway wife to be (WTB) sarah had a great suggestion. Then suggested we go for lunch. Our usual port of call for a decent value saturday lunch would be meltons in york , however they had a set burgundy special lunch on that i didn't fancy, but on my list of places to try was the Yorke Arms, a quick phone call secured a table at the highly agreeable time of 1.45, time enough to wake and get from york to ramsgill, which is in the middle of no-where about 40 mins north of harrogate. It was on my list following a very good write up from giles coren who, after a couple of days spent up north, seemed to have found some very accomplished cooking both here and also at the devonshire arms, just down the road. They also won a star too in the recent red book so in my usual michelin groupie fashion it was somewhere i had to try. The place is a traditional free-house style on the village green and on entering i was pleased to see the bar had been retained, despite the fact they are essentially a restaurant, which avoided the pretentiousness some of these sort of places and a few farmery types hanging round the bar looking suspicously at the diners added to my enthusiasm for the place. A pleasant greeting from the bar elicted a polite welcome into the dining room, a light airy room with old wooden floor and furniture mixed with expensive decor. we sat at a large table near the large fireplace, and all was well with the world. one of the reasons wtb has reached this exalted status is her bizarre willingness to drive me home from meals on the basis i pay. eminently reasonable too, and also may have a lot to do with the fact i'm far less trouble when half cut/asleep so whilst she tucked into her water i had a glass of champagne and checked the menus. on offer were a set lunch, a la carte and a 7 course tasting menu. I think you can guess where we're heading can't you? On enquiring after the wine list (which was thorough and reasonably priced) i was offered a tasting menu with wines to match by the glass which i selected (£72, ex-wine £45). amuse was mackerel on bruschetta, fine. But not a good indication of what was to come.... Course one: yorkshire potted beef, ham hock & foie gras terrine, asparagus veloute, beetroot relish. This was brilliant, aperfect terrine, not stiniting on the fg and immaculately presented on a glass plate, so much so i nipped out to the car and got the camera. Wine was a chateau dereszla, furmint, tokaji 2000 (£4.35 by itself) Course two: lobster ravioli, confit fennel & tomato, shellfish broth. Although small, another cracker, more photos ensued, until the maitre d' very politely asked why i was taking photos, i replied probably a bit too quickly 'just for personal use' and he headed towards the kitchen, and of course came back and said 'chef owns the copyright they can't be reproduce would you mind not taking them?' . I thought about arguing, but was enjoying myself too much to kickup a fuss, but was concerned they might be taking themselves a bit too seriously, i did ask for a word with the chef afterwards though. Wine was a macon chardonnay, domaine talmard 2001 (£4.50). course three: Roast turbot lemon relish, dauphinoise potao, celery, turnip & sweet corn chowder. Again great, the sauce was almost a beurre blanc and it was great. Wine pouilly fume domaine 'des berthieres' daganeau 2000 (£4.25) course four: Nidderdale lamb pie faggots, braised lamb shank, horseradish lentils, boulangere pots, madeira sauce this was the best, one of the nicest courses i've had for a long time it wasn't a pie but just little piles of meat, if only i had a photo as i can't do the presentation justice worth coming for this dish alone. Wine academy label pinotage, stellenbosch 2000 £3.50. Course five: Roast guinea fowl, foie gras tortellini, lamb sweetbread, morel sauce. How good was this? put is this way WTB used to have pet guinea fowl as a kid (don't ask, country folk) and wouldn't normally eat it, this time, devoured. Brilliant sauce too. Wine domaine de bachellery, merlot 2001 £2.50. course six: Beignet of yorkshire blue cheese, beetroot sorbet. lawsons dry hills gewurztraminer 2001 £4.25, not a lot to add, deep fried cheese, but i didn't care as i was in foodie heaven by this point. course seven: 'Plate of chocolate' was chocolate marquise if i'm not mistaken accompanied by a elysium black muscat, andrew quady, california 2000 £3.75. coffee and petit fours were included and we took these in the lounge in front of the fire. chef frances aitken joined us and i expalined the photo thing, it turned out it wasn't pretentiousness on her part, it was just they'd had professional photographs done before and she couldn't belive how hard it was to get a decent photo of a dish that looked perfect in the flesh, which was fine, and didn't want crap picture of her food in circulation (my interpretation not her words!) The presentation of the dishes was certainly a high point. We then had a long chat about all things foodie from michelin inspectors, egullet, other places we knew in france and england, and a text from bapi prompted a fat duck chat, especially interesting as heston blumenthal was customer of hers before he went cooking full time and she rates him very highly (i've you've read my fat duck post you can probably imagine what sort of conversation that was!). As you might have gathered this place is well worth a visit, i could eat the menu again, no problem and given the fact i had no real expectations of what this place would be like i was very, very impressed, which made tom aikens job even harder on the following wednesday! I think the total bill including another pint of lager in the lounge, (i know i'm a peasant, but when thirsty and sat next to a bar i just can't fight it!) was £150 with service and worth every penny. I've forgottent to mention they also have rooms and do a room, dinner brekkie for £100 per head which sounds good, frances also runs a cookery school in the kitchen and basically will teach you what you want to learn, pasta, sauces or fish for example. gary Ps they have a web site, i think its www.yorkearms.co .uk
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