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Everything posted by grahamR

  1. The Sunday Times were giving away a DVD of that Bloomin Hestenthal’s new series. What’s on the DVD is a bit of an oddity: the Sunday Times deglazing the cutting room floor. HB doesn’t seem to be one of life’s natural communicators, and yet he comes across as very down-to-earth and a generally nice sort. You certainly can’t imagine him effing and blinding at his staff for messing up the liquid nitrogen ice cream. What’s interesting is that he’s very soft-line on “molecular gastronomy”. It’s a term he doesn’t like, as he explains in a conversation with Harold McGee. Should be an interesting series – if you don’t get too caught up in how clunky HB’s presentation skills are.
  2. My problem with risotto is that no matter how good the first mouthful, the experience goes downhill from there. Flavour/texture fatigue always gets me well before the end of the dish. Ooze seems like a missed opportunity: a tappas element would get around one of The Big Problems With Risotto.
  3. I’ve read through Essence a couple of times and it has plenty to offer at all levels. What at first seems unobtainable (I’m not likely to go foraging for wild ingredients) is at least supplemented by alternatives and suggestions. As I’ve reread the book I’m coming to the conclusion that there is a lot of interest in just those ideas alone. It’s a very good book. It’s a very interesting book. It’s not by Jamie Oliver For gardeners at least, there’s a certain thrill for having a recipe that uses ground elder.
  4. Poor old Maison Berteaux! Perhaps I’m just being sentimental as I’ve been going there for so many years, but I think it’s unfair to put them in the same league as the perfectly horrible Patisserie Valerie (or Amato’s, for that matter). Sketch they are not, but on the simple basis of what I enjoy, I’ll have to tip my hat to Maison Berteaux.
  5. I've just had a quick look through the book (ISBN: 1904573525). It landed on the doorstep the same day as the Tom Aikens. Seems like all those weeds I've been pulling up and putting on the compost heap will be coming in to the kitchen next year: Meadowsweet for rice pudding, and as for the bitter hairy cress... These are recipes you really have to do some world class shopping to source the ingredients. You may even have to buy a greenhouse to grow some of them. In contrast the Aikens book is very down to earth. Possibly too much so?
  6. This year's list. http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/features/1823.html Winners in bold, the runner's up below. Odd categories, some odd choices. Hope Yakitoria get a bit of business out of their mention. It deserves to to better. Best Bar: Lost Society, 697 Wandsworth Rd, SW8 3JF Annex 3, 6 Little Portland Street Donovan Bar, Brown's Hotel, Albemarle Street Gilgamesh, Camden Stables Market Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial Street Best Cheap Eat: The Table (Café), 83 Southwark St, SE1 0HX fish! kitchen (Fish & chips), 58 Coombe Road, Hummus Bros (Budget), 88 Wardour Street Imli (Indian), 167-168 Wardour Street Masa (Afghani), 24-26 Headstone Drive Best Design: Yakitoria, 25 Sheldon Square, W2 6EY Canteen (British), 2 Crispin Place China Tang (Chinese), The Dorchester, Park Lane Ladurée, Harrods, entrance on Hans Road, The Table (Café), 83 Southwark Street Best Gastropub: Marquess Tavern, 32 Canonbury St, N1 2TB Charles Lamb, 16 Elia Street Inn at Kew Gardens, 292 Sandycombe Road Phoenix, 14 Palace Street The Queen’s Pub and Dining Room, 26 Broadway Parade Best Family Restaurant: Benihana , 100 Avenue Rd, NW3 3HF Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill, 224 Piccadilly Inn the Park (British), St James's Park Jo Shmo’s (North American), 33 High Street Marco Polo (Italian), 6-7 Riverside Quarter Best Local Restaurant: Sam’s Brasserie, 11 Barley Mow Passage, W4 4PH Dylan’s (Mod Euro), 21 Station Parade, Cockfosters Road Inside (Mod Euro), 19 Greenwich South Street The Island (Mod Euro)123 College Road Upstairs 89B Acre Lane Best New Restaurant: Arbutus, 63-64 Frith St, W1D 3JW Ambassador (Mod Euro) - 55 Exmouth Market Bar Shu (Chinese) - 28 Frith Street La Collina (Italian) - 17 Princess Road Papillon (French) - 96 Draycott Avenue Best Pâtisserie: Macaron, 22 The Pavement, SW4 0HY Hummingbird, 133 Portobello Road Ladurée, Harrods The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly Yauatcha, 15 Broadwick Street Best Steak Restaurant: Gaucho Piccadilly, 25 Swallow St, W1B 4QR Hawksmoor (North American), 157 Commercial Street Notting Grill (British), Clarendon Road Santa Maria del Buen Ayre (Argentinian), 50 Broadway Market, Hackney Top Floor at Smiths (British), Smiths of Smithfield, 67-77 Charterhouse Street Best Wine Bar: Vinoteca, 7 St John St, EC1M 4AA Cellar Gascon, 59 West Smithfield Green & Blue, 38 Lordship Lane Vivat Bacchus, 47 Farringdon Street Wine Wharf, Stoney Street, Borough Market
  7. How about Delia's, at Norwich Football Ground? You can't get much more brand name than that!
  8. The food at the Foxhunter was very nice. If you have the chance, The Clytha Arms is well worth a visit. (Gethin's excellent recommendation.) Plenty of traditional stuff to try on the menu.
  9. You should especially keep your eye on him if he has a palette knife.
  10. Is anyone aware of a London stockist of Teisseire cordials?
  11. What a strange show the F word is. It has a curiously bi-polar opinion of its host Mr Ramsey. He is one of this country’s greatest chefs, whose food seems, more often than not, to lose when put in competition against the home cooked efforts of (celebrity) amateurs. He is family man Gordon, with his lovely children, and his suberb-garden-slaughterhouse, who comes into the studio to flirt with anything in a skirt. He is caring Gordon, who wants to get the country cooking, and will pop round to your house to show you how to make a Sunday roast. Then it’s back to the kitchen to bluster about like a pirate with tourettes. It’s that last persona that really annoys me: Gordon “the acceptable face of bullying” Ramsey. That thinly veiled threat of violence, as he draws himself to his full height, steps into the personal space of his target and screams invective at them. It’s the sort of behaviour that would have you sacked from almost any other job. Must the price of a nicely cooked meal be a culture of victimisation, humiliation, violence and bullying?
  12. Apropos of what she will be having for her 80th birthday, I was interested to note what Her Majesty was served for her coronation. <p style='border: 1px dotted green; text-align: center'> Chicken Consommé garnished with cubes of egg custard. Fillet of Beef garnished with quarters of artichoke bottoms, tossed in butter with cocotte potatoes and slices of truffle. Salad Mango Ice Cream. </p> From The Old Foodie
  13. If The Ivy is on the cards, I've always found Rules on Maiden Lane an easier place to dine. The Wolesey is very nice, but the pace of the room is quite brisk. If you want to try somewhere really, uh... special?.... perhaps this quiet little palce on Jermyn Street.
  14. Would that be sea bass with macaroni cheese and baked bean risotto with an hp sauce jus?
  15. It's about 20 miles from Stow, but The New Inn at Colne St Aldwyns used to be very nice.
  16. Scotland has special places to eat. I’m not sure that the high drama of the four already selected can be matched on quite the same terms, but for what it’s worth: The Three Chimneys is a terrific restaurant. I have eaten there three or four times in the last five years, but (as already indicated) not really in the league of the other restaurants you are considering. It is, however, a pretty special sort of place and if you are in the area, it’s a lovely place to stay and eat. Even more outstanding in terms of location and I’ll admit a complete surprise for the high quality of food was a recent stay at Ardanaiseig. The view from the dining room is the sunset across Loch Awe. I’ll add, although it’s actually the opposite of what you’re probably looking for , my favourite place to eat in Scotland: The Old Pines. It’s home style cooking, impeccably sourced, always seasonal and prepared with a completely natural flair. If I called it a Scottish bistro I think you’d have the right idea. I wish your celebration well. It sounds astonishing.
  17. London Chocolate Week used to be a fantastic opportunity to explore, try and buy what is on offer. I’d be very happy to be proved wrong but I don’t think it has run in the last couple of years. My own conclusion was that L'Artisan Du Chocolat, tucked away off Sloane Square, are the best of the best. I’m sure you’d find something impressively satisfying amongst their plantation bars. Personally I don’t think any of the other chocolatiers in London get close to the quality of their couture collection. Unlike most other producers they do not recycle mis-shapes (they sell them at Borough market, and very nice they are too) which allows them to be much more bold in their flavouring. (Must stop thinking about salted caramels and get back to work...)
  18. I liked the old well-honed recipes for a dinner party format. At least that way the book at the end of the series had something interesting you could use in there. All this “ready-steady-cook”, “working in a real restaurant” stuff is just padding. Those two muppets that front the show have about as much charisma as a toilet in a French caravan site. Last years “I don’t like salmon” routine was pure x-factor cobblers. I was much more hopeful for “food uncut” on uk tv food. Sadly they have production values that make Masterchef look like Ghandi. A great shame to see good ideas butchered. One of the early shows did a taste off between a Heston slow cooked beef joint and a Nigella recipe for the same cut. Potentially interesting, but rushed through far too quickly.
  19. I was amazed to learn you can get Buccleugh beef from QVC. Is it the real deal?
  20. Should one except lots of horsemeat on the menu and chairs with very short legs?
  21. For those that missed the honours list, Gordon and Heston were both awarded an OBE. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4569630.stm Jamie Oliver already has an MBE, and if the eGullet rumour of Mr Harriot’s royal connections are correct, can it be long before we see Sir Ainsley? I always have mixed feelings about Ramsay: while he’s a very successful businessman, I have a real problem with him as “the acceptable face of bullying”. He is, of course, very able in recognising good dishes and setting up high-quality production lines.
  22. Matthew -- I spent a lot of time wading through the NY recommendations and BEST OF sections in the NYC forums. It’s well worth the effort if you’re looking for something particular. I'm PM you my picks. Back OT: Tom Aitkens and l'enclume.
  23. Interesting topic, particularly for my own New Year resolution to stop buying fruit, vegetables, meat and fish from supermarkets and move to independent (more seasonally inclined) suppliers. My problem has been finding the suppliers as I live in Central London, but that’s probably a thread of its own. Two books to add to your list. The Four Seasons Cookery Book by Margaret Costa : first published in 1970, this is a bit of a lost classic which took years before a reprint became available. Full of good stuff and plundered by many a cookery writer. The Independant Cook by Jeremy Round : some interesting recipes, and very handy charts. First published in 1988. His writing style can be a bit snooty, but I think it's worth persevering with. Useful, though short, early sections on shopping and eating seasonally.
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