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Gary Marshall

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Everything posted by Gary Marshall

  1. I tried to get a table for this weekend, no chance. We are on their waiting list, not only here but a couple of other places. Well, apart from the popularity, it is Xmas. saw brett the day after the masterchef segment featuring them aired, they were busy before that, but after all the weekend tables til christmas had gone, think this was mid-october! it is very much a 'chef's restaurant' too.
  2. yes tried needoo, if you dig out jay rayners review his experience was about the same as ours, from memory stale popadams and blaring indian tv in the restaurant! in isolation its fine but i wouldn't walk past tayyabs to go there, yes owner is ex tayyabs. It's not 5 years old though, unless the last few years have really ripped by!
  3. It's a different beast from its origins , due to its deserved success it has expanded and must be over 100 covers now, but the food and the prices remain excellent. kebabs/grills still the star of the show, but curries are much improved, and i agree that often akbars can match the lamb chops and curries but tayyab is usually pretty consistent, still go to casual in london, it's the one place i take visitors to that they always request again. It is however very busy and increasingly (especially downstairs) very noisy a quiet meal a deux it is not, and it will all come at once, which is fine if you are rushing but can be a bit of a pain if you're not.
  4. No chance, not based on the meal we had there! let's not forget that every year, the majority of changes, additions / demotions are from exisiting starred chefs leaving or joining. So koffman very likely, 3* before, cooking french food in a suitably attired room. pace ducasse, robuchon etc all of which got maulings from press/punters at various times (less so robuchon but query over 2* etc) but got the star. No 6 in padstow were ex-petrus IIRC so should know how the game is played. been twice, first forgettable , second brilliant (last year).
  5. might be a year too soon but the pheasant at harome should get there.
  6. new game book from andrew ..... http://www.loosebirdsandgame.co.uk/ just in time for christmas...will hopefulyl be making my usual christmas eve visit....
  7. mate got table at atelier robuchon other saturday night when everthing else was full. easy to rack up a bill but the pomme puree is worth it!
  8. have you tried the three horseshoes? it's one of the many i have tried down south and yet to write up, it is good and i suspect could be very good. if we hadn't got into olive branch i would have gone there but i can go when i'm down south for work so not really something new. I had an osso bucco main that was salty to the point of inedibilty and i like it salty! but everything else good, incl wine list. olive branch is certainly more convivial, 3 horseshoes was once a pub and has been stripped and painted white, personally i don't like that it's a bit too clinical, somewhere like the sun inn in dedham serves similar cuisine in a traditional setting and it works far better. (another one to write up). i will return to both, there's a trend of italian cooking in pubs in essex/cambs by the looks of it, also jamies dad's place the cricketers is good too, and my nearest. charlie's been slipping, he was in the pipe & glass at 7 days old so about time he had another star under his belt (nappy?).
  9. Driving down to aldeburgh last week i handily noticed a sign for clipsham which rang a bell as home to the one starred olive branch pub, even handier i realised it would be about lunchtime as we were due to pass on the way home so i thought it would make a nice final lunch of the week. We booked for 1.30 and thankfully we had as it was full, i had a swift pint of the house 'olive ale' as mrs m fed and watered marshall jnr to keep him quiet during lunch - we won't be the ones with a screaming child in a pub rest assured! and got my bearings, it's a dinky 2-3 roomed pub, very cosy, very star at harome like. ALC and set lunch on offer and standard wine list plus four black boards of old/new world red/white wines of character/vintage. we asked for a table with room for the pushchair and they gave us a great table in the window with room for 6, charlie happily actually layed on the bench quite happily for most of the meal. bread and herb butter to start, an unusually brioche-y loaf half cut and then baked again so very crispy all over. the alc was fine but dishes for me were either too pubby or too fine dining for what i fancied, the set lunch braised oxtail caught my eye and i couldn't let go. so off the set lunch i had as guinea fowl terrine with picked carrots which was good and punchily seasoned, sarah had beetroot cured gravadlax. my main was herb crusted oxtail with mashed root veg and sarah breaded plaice , she was very happy with her dish and mine was very good especially with the remoissnet (sp) givry 2000 that accompanied. to finish a good take on rice pudding, the rice in a rectangular dish with a frothed nutmeggy foam on top and on the side a pot of stewed fruits. decent espresso to finish and a bill for c £75 half of which was wine/beer. highly recomended seemed a very convivial spot.
  10. i see that winteringham fields is on ramsays latest programme tonight, C4 9.00pm should be interesting, this was once one of the best restaurants in the country under annie and germain schwab, since they sold it, it appears to have had a tought time on the chef front and the gongs front falling from 2 star to none. as a place that oozed michelin it really suprises me, i haven't been under the present owners and am very interested to see how the place is today, i'd love it to regain its former status as it is a one off restaurant like the box tree and waterside that i'd hope don't get trampled in the rush to modernity.
  11. i find the hotpot varies everytime i have it, sometimes it's incredibly hot, others it's fine, i suppose it depends who's cooking.
  12. It's much more rough n ready than red chilli, more of an adventure. went a few months ago. we started in the 'wrong restaurant' there are two with the same name one does hot pot only i think, and their english isn't great, i seem to think we were explaining we had booked, they were saying go next door. we got there in the end. food was good, but it's filed under cheap eats rather than evening out, in my book. would happily return.
  13. very good early 'tea' there last night. myriad of antipasti's a special bruschetta of gorgonzola piccante, the sea bream, mozzarella and courgette world class deep fried zucci fitte , vitello tonato and possibly sme more! pasta for me of rigatoni with lemon ricotta and hazlenut pesto. Main Veal chop, superb with superfluous (for me) spinach, blackberry and lemon tart to finish. Killer double espresso. We did a bit of byo at £6 a bottle and some off the list, ex wine £55 a head incl (very good) service. will return, trullo to try next. busy from 6.30 onwards,so doing it right, pricing it well and reaping the rewards with a full , buzzy restaurant on a tuesday night during the tube strike when most just worrying about getting home.
  14. been 3 times now to the city branch , the burger is very good and is the value pick there, £12 with very good fries and a myriad of extras. Took a 'near vegetarian' (her words to the waitress when she asked if we wanted to see the tray of meat) but who enjoys a good burger, we were both very happy, stuck to beer and it's a useful casual option, get stuck into the wine and the special cuts and it's expense account territory.
  15. for libations don't forget bin two, wine merchant to the stars, local restaurants and the lucky public, a great place for a pre-dinner drink / afternoon.
  16. in brum last night and tried to book purnells, but they are currently closed for a bit of a renovation. thought about simpsons as it is close to our b'ham office but in the end after finding lasan fully booked and fancying a curry, went to shimla pinks. very average but very expensive for what it was, i wasn't expecting fireworks btw.
  17. Had planned a burger at Hawksmoor last night, only to be prompted by mr friar that they only offer them at lunchtimes, he'd mentioned that loubet had returned and as it was near my hotel it seemed rude not to sample it. Arriving for an early table at 7.30 the place was rammed, i scanned the various tables on the way through to see what was coming out and detected a distinct smell of smoked fish, or as it turned out, burning menu as my mate had set fire to the thin one pager on the tea light. There's a few interesting sounding starters but the 'inverted lyonnaise salad' upon asking was enthusiastically described as poached trotters, strippped, bread crumbed and deep fried, with poached egg, salad leaves , sauteed potatoes etc, to paraphrase DH 'they had us at bread crumbed and deep fried'. We eagerly awaited the plate and it looked good but it didn't eat very well, too much gelatine and not enough piggy goodness, i soldiered on but gave up, it wasn't very well dressed - nothing to cut the fat, and no potatoes. main of veal special of braised leg wasn't as we thought a slow cooked fibrous affair but nicely cooked sliced of leg with some excellent, 'meaty' veg tasted like they'd been on a well used griddle, very good. as we'd have to walk past the eagle to go home we decided to skip dessert and head to the eagle for a pint and maybe dessert, bit annoyed (but not suprised) that the pinot noir we were persuaded to try in preference to my choice was charged at £39 rather than the £30 of my choice, quite a step up (not on the list by the bottle- it was a carafe/glass job so not too obvious, though of course i should have done 'the math'). £97 for 2 courses each and a bottle of wine for a casual meal, is that value in london nowadays? I think you may choose differently and have a better time but i don't see it becoming a regular. We pitched up at the eagle with a pint and a couple of portugese custard tarts and enjoyed the ambiance, think i'll be there for my dinner before the week's out.
  18. well we didn't take advantage of the £10 lunch but we did avail ourselves of their £100 a night room offer which saw us in a large ground floor room just down the road from the pub, complete with hot tub but being a cold february night it didn't seem quite appropriate though the staff seemed disappointed we'd not indulged! we arrived mid-afternoon and checked in at the pub, chef tom kerridge was around and we got chatting, i told him about our kingham plough visit earlier that day, and the sous vide burger, to raised eyebrows, i started a rant but then thought oh shit i hope there's not a load of sv on the menu here! tom said they only did the duck en croute mise sv and it was something to be used sparingly. Thus reassured we retired for a nap in readyness for dinner. we arrived at the bar in time for a couple of pre dinner pints to settle in and get a feel for the place, it's a cosy low ceiled and atmosheric pub of about 38 covers but there's not a lot of excess space! as an amuse deep fried white bait and marie rose were offered, not my personal favourite but i did try one just to remind myself that, no, i really don't like things that fishy! i'd been recommended the glazed omlette to start with so had that whilst sarah had a butternut squash soup with trompettes and scallop, and also some unadvertised but excellent cubes of pesto (a la cromesquis) to drop in very good. I think there's a picture of the omlette in the dictionary under 'unctous' a creamy parmesany lobstery mix flashed under the grill and served in a pan, very good. for mains i was intruiged by the fillet of bass with pork belly, cockles ,pickled apples and honey gravy so went for that whilst sarah had a whole lemon sole with pommes galette and sauteed turnips. On arrival the bass was a little less porky than i had hoped with an almost large lardon of pork rather than a slab, but that probably says more about my greed than the dish. Sarah's sole was less of a success, it had a mushy texture that to us suggested it had been sous vided, and indeed on mentioning this elsewhere i was told that whilst dover soles cook brilliantly SV lemon soles just disintegrate into a puddle. she wasn't a fan. things improved with dessert i had an apple souffle , looking for the lighter option! and sarah a very vivid white chocolate and mango trifle. espresso and mint tea for the mrs followed and a calva to digest, all in all a very convivial evening.
  19. the highlight of my recent little UK jaunt was a trip to the montagu arms at beaulieu, haunt of matt tomkinson, roux scholar 2005. We been threatening a visit for ages having only had sunday lunch at matt's previous haunt the goose, and 2 1/2 months of gardening leave meant that even an arch procrastinator like myself could actually get around to organising a trip, thus a plan was plotted, lunch at the kingham plough, dinner& overnight at the hand and flowers in marlow then on to matt's in beaulieu, the final leg was supposed to be then across country to the sportsman but we had to head home friday afternoon so that itch will have to be scratched shortly. it must be said it is a great drive through the new forest to beaulieu and the hotel doesn't disappoint, standing grandly on a corner in the village of beaulieu, next door as the crow flies to beaulieu and the motor museum. After a quick catch up with matt and wary of filling ourselves up ahead of a tasting menu matt had been plotting for us we nipped to the brasserie next door monty's for a couple of 'corrie chicken sandwiches before heading off to the motor museum, somewhere i'd always wanted to go, although the £15 entrance was a bit of a shock considering we only had 2 1/2 hours left of the day it was enough to see all the car displays and the house and build up an appetite for dinner. Matt had emailed me the menu to see what sarah could and couldn't eat and although i was expecting one tasting menu for the two of us, what they actually produced was two different tasters which pretty much covered the entire ALC , good job as it would be hard to pick just a 3 course meal from the menu! after a drink in the bar before dinner accompanied by some fine gougeres we took our seats in the dining room, although the room has its critics, it's a very pleasant space and at lunchtime the views into the garden are excellent . sarah's first course was a vivid green warm leek and potato soup with gloucestershire smoked eel, baby leeks and pink fir potatoes, whilst i had croquettes of hampshire beef brisket and tongue with roasted beetroot, homemade mayonaise and quails egg. A good pretty dish with good balance. next up for sarah were some spiced diver caught scallops with cauliflower puree, apple corriander and cumin veloute plus a crispy rice cracker iirc! she was very pleased with this dish as i was with my taste, whilst i had home smoked organic clare island salmon with crispy oyster beignets, tartare potatoes and creme fraiche plus a blob of caviar, this was a very well smoked piece of excellent fish, i seem to be having some good salmon of late it's good to see this fish regaining its quality status again after years of abuse, this was a very fine piece of smoking with a well judged garnish, especially the saltiness of the caviar with the smoked fish. next for me was an excellent fillet of john dory with razor clams, and other shellfish, all very neatly arranged in the shell, at which point i remember commenting that although matt's cooking is gutsy and strongly flavoured, the presentation shows a lighter touch, they were all very attractive plates. Sarah had i think sea bass but i have to say my iphone photography is not doing the cooking justice and i can't place the rest of the dish with accuracy! After that little lot we both moved onto one of the more anticipated dishes, the oxtail lasagne, it lived up to its billing the soft oxtail, al dente celeriac and horseradish quenelle all melding together brilliantly. a dish that on paper reads like you want it and doesn't disappoint on a plate! meat course next which for me was a slow cooked fillet of aged hampshire beef, with smoked mashed potatoes and braised ox cheek bourguignon. If ever a dish had my name on it! The potatoes had the smokiness but the texture of robuchon potatoes, the braised cheek was almost a meal in itself, a textbook bourguignon with some lovely lardons adding saltiness. The beef was cooked sous vide, but finished in a pan. We'd had the usual sous vide discussion at lunchtime and matt's view is that it has a place in certain dishes and sometimes works better than a pan, they'd tried this dish both ways and decided it was best this way, and it was a good piece of beef, that looked like it had been pan seared and rested well, no blood oozing, with a nice sprinkling of salt. Sarah meanwhile was devouring a plate of new forest pannage pork with braised cheek, stuffed cabbage , confit belly and roast fillet quite a plate, which barely lasted long enough for me to grab a swift pic of it! Cheese next and a really nice touch was a plate of pasteurised cheese for the mrs and the good old bacteria ridden stuff for me, including some stinking bishop and my favourite vacherin mont d'or iirc. desert time followed banana souffle for me, whilst sarah had a new dish which was from memory a green marzipan dish, which despite my crap memory was a good one! I do remember her second desert a selection of apple dishes, tarte tatin a jelly and an ice cream a good finish, ,whilst i went out with a bang , the daddy, the dark chocolate delice with salted butter caramel, coffee ice cream and seasame tuile, the waiter delivered this with a knowing smile 'chef's given you extra caramel there!' it was as the description suggests a gooey caramelly salty affair, perfect! with only one drinking i managed a bottle of 2004 ladoix blanc from claude chevalier which had enough depth to cope with most of the dishes with just a glass of red required for the beef. Wine list is intelligently sorted with some well priced wines, unfortunately the bargain DRC had been snaffled before we got there! All in all a lovely evening, certainly obvious that it's one star cooking but 2* looks a realistic achievement given time.
  20. returned to the pheasant last night, i enjoyed my first meal, this one was killer, and i've done a lot of eating this year already! the occasion was a joint birthday party between my wife and and my mate who runs my local pub (st vincents arms sutton on derwent). we had a table booked for 8.15 and had deliberated over staying the night too but seeing as we had a driver for the night we drove but got there early to enjoy the bar, as i mentioned before, given its provenance it has the star inn feel about it but without the bustle so it's a lovely spot to enjoy a pint and look at the menus. unfortunately there was no golden pippin on offer this time so we had black sheep instead. menu wise there's a tasting menu comprised from the ALC, ALC, set menu and veggie menu. Interestingly the ALC doesn't offer seperate starters and mains, there are about 4 dishes that can be taken as a starter or main size, or can be linked to make a bespoke taster, a very good idea imho. for us though the taster had all the dishes on i wanted to try with a few substitutions for the ladies. on checking the wine list there is a matched wines option but after bad experiences with these as a procession of house wines i wasn't interested though i did notice that in this instance there were some very good wines offered in the matching so i wouldn't rule it out. however this close perusal of the list did make it an expensive night out as tucked away at the bottom of the list was a Lafon meursault desiree 2004, as we were celebrating, it seemed rude not to, and to accompany it a jm boillot 1er cru volnay roncerets 2000, amd to celebrate our wine splurge a couple of glasses of billecart salmon champagne! once at the table in the lovely dining room, which is rapidly becoming my favourite, we were offered bread and then our starter of lightly cured organic smoked salmon, marinated carrots , fig and caper puree. The salmon was first brought out in a bell chamber of smoke and the top lifted to give a waft of the smoke before being taken to be plated , nice touch. on arrival it was clear this was very good salmon, really 'clean' and meaty, the carrots were sensational - how often do you here that? and the puree really good, artfully dotted on the plate. next up the one we'd really wanted, steak tartare, poached duck egg yolk, pickled beetroot puree. the tartare was a small rectangle with the duck yolk sat atop, and 'by eck, it were good, as we say round here. the tartare was verging on warm and the duck egg yolk perfectly cooked, it was a 'when harry met sally moment'. fish course next, poached halibut, perigord truffle gnocchi, sea vegetables , button mushroom puree. when this was presented there was a delicious aroma arising from the strips of gnocchi on top of the fish and the rest of it was sublime, i thought initially there'd been a touch too much salt in it but it appeared to be a 'dusting' rather than running through the dish so it faded quite quickly. a very very good dish. meat course next, and credit to the restaurant manageress for a) taking the meursault off the ice before it got too cold, i nearly always have to do this myself and b) preparing the red so it was sat for a course before we needed it just as i was about to ask her to do exactly that! excellent service. meat was a roast lamb saddle, curried parsnips, corriander, silverskins, sprouting beans, it looked very much like to me the meat had actually been near a hot oven and not a plastic poaching bag! like its preceding dishes what came through here was clarity of flavour in everything from the main item to the garnish. stunning stuff. we caused a mild commotion as i think they were just about to serve desserts when we asked for our cheese first rather than after, but this was capably handled and the cheese trolley soon rolled out, they also managed to dig out some pasteurised cheese for my wife too which was much appreciated, the cheese service itself was excellently handled, reminding me of the glory days of the winteringham fields cheese chariot, the RM had excellent knowledge and knife skills to prepare our plates. on the dessert front we swapped out an apple dish in favour of mille feuille, well i'll always have mille feuille if it's on offer and guess what this had salt caramel in it too so that was a no brainer, its official title is salt caramel and chestnut with white chocolate ice cream. second dessert was a rhubard and custard cheese cake with custard cream biscuit, this was the only weak point in the menu bit too much cream rather than cheese but still pleasant enough. we retired to the lovely lounge for coffee and p4's , plus a swift digestif (no calvados on the list though!) and with much begging a pleading one last pint in the bar (a trip to the star being ruled out by the ladies as way to dangerous to them getting to bed before the early hours) before being dragged home. A great place, it looks like the menu changes monthly so despite moving to london next week i'm alreading plotting monthly visits from now on. Prices are very reasonable too, you can have 3 courses for £30 on the set meal, our taster was £55 and most of the ALC dishes are well under £20. Open 7 days a week lunch and dinner, you really should go, and the star inn is next door, what's not to like?
  21. Someone in my local asked me of somewhere he could stay whilst having his car fettled in oxfordshire, i said the kingham plough gets all the coverage but i couldn't say whether it's any good or not, but with a trip planned to see matt at the montagu in beaulieu as it 'append i was looking for a spot of lunch in oxfordshire so having piqued my own interest, i booked a table for lunch. having found it a bit off the beaten path, it was a nice looking place with an obvious 'gastopub' makeover lots of pale greens and greys (i'm sure there must be a whole page at farrow and ball now of gastropub colours as they all have them (indeed we did too)). Given the publicity and the rave reviews from aa gill and giles coren, who contrary to popular belief i do rate, i was expecting as gill had written a demonstration of how to run a food led country pub, i think it fair to say that despite no calamatous errors i can name off the top of my head 3 pubs within half an hour drive of my house that box them into a corner in running a proper pub (ok - the star at harome, the pipe and glass inn, the st vincent arms)never mind nationally. For example only 2 real ales on tap (my local in the sticks has 9) and no fire lit on a chilly lunchtime, i wouldn't mind but the fireplace has pride of place in most of the publicity pics for the place! so anyway back to the trip, a warm welcome at the bar offered a choice of tables whilst we had a pint at the bar and a scan of the menu. The bar snacks menu actually looked most inviting, scotched quails eggs, mini pork pies, rarebit and sourdough etc, had it not been for the fact we were dining at the hand and flowers in marlow that evening we'd have got stuck in but mindful of that we stuck to a solitary scotched quails egg before our mains. now they make a fuss of their country location and shooting connections, but to me a four choice mains offer of 3 game dishes and a burger (in the evening, a steak) does not a balanced menu maketh, yes we know you're a country pub but we do eat other things in the sticks you know! so that left the final choice, a home made burger of aged beef , sourdough bun , triple cooked wedges, and salad, £14.95 with cheese £16.95. Like most foodies i'm a sucker for a burger and after a 3 hour drive the thought of game didn't really inspire, so a pint of lager, a quails scotch egg, a burger and a glass of wine would hit the spot i thought. The alarm bells then started to ring, a lady next to me was paying her bill and had her burger comped with the waitress saying ' i know you didn't really like it'. hmmm have you ever left a burger - not lest a £15 one? then it got louder, on ordering we were told they were cooked med/rare, no issue for me but mrs m wanted it cooked through (for medical rather than taste reasons) , that was a slight issue as the waitress explained how they were cooked, 'well they're cooked sous vide then finished off etc' , hang on a minute, a sous vide burger? (think peter kaye's 'garlic? bread?' etc) and we were warned it might be a bit tough. Now here's a novel thought, just put some meat in a pan and cook it until the required cuisson, revolutionary hey? so they arrived, i was expecting something special given the places rep but a rather disappointing small puck sized burger arrived in a pale looking soft bun, with half a plate of standard issue salad, oh and some home made ketchup. Let's just say there's somethings that are really done better on a large scale industrially. And the cheese? for £2 a reasonable slice might be expected, but no, they'd obviously borrowed the meat slicer to cut the bit on mine, you could see the burger through it, it was that thin. The burger itself? Hmmm yes, browned on top and pink in the middle but a potentially unpleasant metallic taste, i would bet that's what put the lady diner off, i don't know if came from the aged beef being a little gamey or the sous viding, but it wasn't actively unpleasant, but to my mind there was no benefit from poaching the little fella before grilling him. sarah's was cooked though and yes as warned it was a bit hard going. the wedges though were world class, i tried to swap the wedges for TC chips on ordering but again got caught in an english/polish mix up and left it as per the menu. The previously demolised quails egg was cooked through so mrs m could eat it, it was good but i thought there was a fighting chance of a runny yolk, james at the pipe and glass can manage it in his ..... I had a glass of an italian house red with the burger and it was very good. so all in all it's not a bad place, if it were down the road/ half an hour of travelling from me i'd be very pleased , but is it the best in the country? a lesson in country pubbery? No, much like ramsay's f word search, i doubt it's the best pub in oxfordshire, never mind the UK.
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