Jump to content

Raj Banerjee

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Raj Banerjee

  1. Thank you for the welcome and the input, Dejah. I am gladdened to hear that my eating experiences pass muster! And thanks also for your suggestions, am gonna give the iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce a go. I tend to do what you suggest in any case, and just use oyster sauce to flavour steamed or very simply stir-fried veg - in fact steamed veg (like sugar snaps or mange tout) with a little oyster sauce I can happily much sat in front of the tv or with a cold beer! What are, incidentally, the "superior" oyster sauces? Do you mean the bottles that say "Superior Grade" or are there specific brands etc that one should look for? Ta again Raj
  2. Just a quick question for this thread, which I have been lurking on for a while now: In my eating experiences in Chinese restaurants, I have only really come across oyster sauce on boiled/steamed veg (gai laan, choi sum and the likes) and in very few stir fries, not at least, as a central ingredient, and in even fewer stir fries with meat (with the exception of beef and oyser sauce and maybe stuffed fried doufu with oyster sauce). So, my question is, is oyster sauce traditionally used as a condiment to flavour simple veg dishes, be they steamed or stir fried, or is it a more ubiquitous ingredient for all types of Chinese cooking? Or is its ubiquity a recent phenomenon, from use in Chinese restaurant cuisine rather than in Chinese home cooking? Thanks, I hope this isnt repetition for any of you. Raj Edited to add: I like oyster sauce, but use it sparingly, and more so for veg as a flavouring rahter than using it to flavour meat sauces etc.
  3. I dont believe theres any evidence to suggest that imbibing alcohol in some way diminishes the possibility of contracting travellers diarrhoea - in case you were thinking the alcohol would somehow "kill" the bacteria/viruses/parasites/fungi that may cause your stomach upset. However, it may well be the case that, under the effect of alcohol, one makes some dubious food choices when you just gotta have some scooby snacks! Explains my 3am Doner (gyro to you folks in USA!) from the Turkish round the corner anyways!!! In all seriousness, its not a good idea. However, going back to the original question, there are also plenty of "local" remedies which you may or may not want to consider, which can have a good prophylactic and remedial effect. Again, I only really know about India, but my parents and brother (who can't handle the food like I can any more!) always rely on a combination of an Ayurvedic medicine called Pudhi Nara (which is mint based, and really "cools" the stomach) and another one called Aqua Ptychotis. I am ashamed to say that even tho I am a medical person, I have no idea how this works, although I am sure a quick web search would reveal it...unfortunately, exams next week, so I dont have the time! I am sure there are plenty of other such local fixes available, which may work better than the Pepto Bismol etc. Although I do love Pepto Bismol! The CDC info seems very sensible. As is all the advice to remember that you're on vacation, and that you should be enjoying yourself and you're more than capable of making sensible decisions based on the information in front of you at the time ie food looks and smells delicious etc and from what info you pick up here etc. Have fun! Raj
  4. Haha...very true...!! What I meant of course was the hotel, as you say, and its pricing - definitely in the 'fancy' price range of restaurants, even in Delhi! The bibs also do nothing to raise its fancy status! Showing those pictures is just cruel...I was stuck in transit thru Delhi over Xmas cos of the fog (on my way to Jammu & Kashmir). However, as I spent all day in the airport hoping beyond hope that my flight would take off, I never got to go to Bukhara...so close, yet so far...but managed on my way back. Raj
  5. Hmm...I am torn between two different ideas of an Indian restaurant in comparing Rasoi Vineet Bhatia and Amaya. In fairness to your comments, Matthew, yes, I would have to agree that RVB is indeed more modern and forward thinking. And in terms of fitting the description of a high end meal, again, it works better, both as a room, and an eating experience. However...in terms of the dishes....well, let me think about them in terms of conception and then in terms of cooking skill etc. I think, in terms of concept, while it is encouraging to see Indian food being taken down a Tom Aikens-y slightly molecular gastronomy type route, for me, the marriage wasnt entirely successful. Its a good trick, but to my mind, which admittedly is probably somewhat staid when it comes to Indian food and cooking, I felt like someone was trying too hard. In terms of cooking, everything was spiced and cooked well, no complaints. Maybe a bit too much ginger in the lobster, but thats either a blip or my personal taste. But I am still ambivalent about whether I personally enjoy Indian food cooked in this way. To make things clearer: my favourite Indian restaurant in the world is Bukhara in Delhi. Its a fancy restaurant serving simple food: its all about the grills. This is what I love cos I eat, or ate, "curry" at home, and to me, grills and biryanis are the treats of eating out. This perhaps why I am such an Amaya fan. Let me further say, that taking the Indian "curry" concept forwards is, to my mind, something very difficult to do. The combinations we have in "traditional" curries (I would really prefer to avoid a discussion about "authenticity") are, arguably, a slow rooting out process of what spices go with what meats/veg in whatever gravies. They work. Substituting certain meats or vegetables may make a change, but its rarely something mind blowing that results from it (chocolate samosa etc). And does it move Indian cuisine forwards? What Zaika etc started in London, using Western cooking styles with Indian ingredients, is a fantastic idea and has certainly "raised the profile" of Indian food (Bonjour, Monsieur Michelin Man) and allowed it to appeal to the sort of diner that wouldnt want to have to go to the local curry house or order take away to eat an Indian meal. But its not as big a development of Indian food as what Ferran Adria et al have done wtih European food (or is it just food in general?). So, getting back to RVB and Amaya. I think that Amaya has added a small but noticeable dimension to a relatively old concept of Indian food, but succeeded in keeping everything very Indian (whether thats good or bad is arguable). RVB has taken an Indian base and married it, to my mind forcefully and with measured success, to a very much more modern, established style of cooking. I dont think its necessarily a step forward for Indian cooking, but a possible new development in the London restaurant world. Its success will be determined I suppose by how many imitators pop up now. That was a long answer, apologies! Hope my point wasnt too confused. Raj
  6. I'm born and brought up in London and my parents are from India. They moved here 40 years ago. We are lucky enough to go back to India (Calcutta, now Kolkata) once a year at least. India has dodgy water. When we first used to go, everyone would boil and then filter water for drinking. I still got ill for the first few times I remember clearly (from about 9 yrs old til about 14 yrs old). Then there was a new UV filter system released, so now I can drink that water and I'm fine. BUT...whenever we're invited to an outside catered event, I would more often than not forget to pack a water bottle. So I would take little sips of water here and there. Now I can manage tap water more or less. Altho I still drink filtered or mineral water if I have a choice. I'm now 28. The same goes with the food. I hardly ate raw veg/salads, and still dont. Most of my eating was at home (washing would have been done in unfiltered tap water, as would have the dishes) or at restaurants, where dishes were also liked washed in regular tap water. But as I grew up and started going out on my own without my parents, I ended up eating more and more street food. Now, I dont get "travellers diarrhoea" ever when I go to India and I can handle more or less any street food. Iron Belly! But, from a medical point of view, this immunity (or colonisation of the GI tract with local bacterial flora) takes a long time to develop, and doesnt happen after one episode of "Delhi Belly". So beware of that. My tuppence worth! Cheers Raj PS also beware of ice cubes if you dont know what water has been used to make them, and remember my comments about dishes and glassware and crockery - you never know what water, and indeed what soap, has been used to wash them. having said all of that, bourdain certainly has the right idea. if it doesnt kill u, it only makes u stronger. and hopefully u got to enjoy the food in the first place! risk vs benefit scenario, seems to me. Also, in response to your question, water purification tablets are available. In the UK, you can get them at pharmacists or camping stores. I dont know how well these work, otherwise, boil and filter as appropriate. The UV filters are not portable, so I dont think they would be any good but maybe someone knows where they can be purchased. They are called AQUAGUARD in India.
  7. A girl I used to live with a couple of years ago, who's Indian, but brought up in Belgium, always swore that Chutney Mary's on Fulham Road was her, and her entire extended family's (all Indian, from Belgium) favourite Indian restaurant in London. So I have heard good things about it. Shameful thing is, though I live 15mins away, I have never yet actually eaten there, so I couldnt comment. Same thing with Vama, on Kings Road. Heard many excellent reviews of that place also, but apart from a party I went to that was 'catered' by Vama (excellent food, btw) I again have never eaten there, so wouldnt want to recommend based on second hand information. Cinnamon Club I agree is slightly overhyped. It has wonderful food, very well cooked. But in using the "Indian ingredients, Western cooking style" approach, I recall some of the flavours in my meals there being somewhat diluted, and with nothing phenomenally new or interesting, flavour-wise. Compared to Amaya, where I really tasted "new" Indian food, without it getting gimmicky or 'fusion-y'. Oysters in coconut gravy, served in the shell, was a standout that I remember, since Prawn Malai Curry (Bengali prawn in coconut gravy curry) is prob one of my fave Indian dishes, but this really took things in a new, but still resolutely Indian direction. Incidentally, in Bengal, if not the whole of India, oysters, cockles, winkles etc are considered a poor man's food since they are scavenged by those who cannot afford fish, meat and veg etc. Its funny that so many Western dishes find their inspiration in peasant or simple cooking, but in India at least, the majority of the food traditions we have today are remnants of the Moghul influence on cuisine? Indians (Hindus) never really cooked for pleasure before the Mughals came along, preferring to follow a Vedantic diet. Anyways, this aside has gone on for too long! Cheers Raj
  8. I would agree with most of that. But for "top posh money no object" I would say that AMAYA wins hands down. It is the most modern and forward thinking Indian restaurant in London, but thats not to say the Indian flavours are in any way diluted down. Its a place more for grills/tandoori food and biryiani rather than for curries, but is a fabulous and unique to London Indian eating experience, and one that I would highly recommend. For South Indian food, any one of the Rasa group of restaurants is very good. Rasa Samudra is the best option IMO, owing to its central location and availability of seafood, which is good. If you would prefer vegetarian South Indian, slightly cheaper, head out west to Hammersmith for Sagar. The same dishes are available at Rasa, but it would be more expensive there, tho you will have a larger menu choice at Rasa. The other posh Indians to go to would be Cinnamon Club (fab room, havent eaten there for over a year now tho, but its not as 'traditional' Indian as Tamarind) and Benares. This is another fab room, and altho its likely to be busier than normal owing to the chef/owners outing on Great British Menu, still provides very decent cooking, altho not as traditional as Tamarind (where Kochar used to work) but not as modern as Cinnamon Club. The cooking here overall I would say is better than Tamarind or Cinnamon Club. Having said that, Tamarind's lamb chops are one of my fave dishes in London! If you're feeling adventurous, then heading down to Tooting for Mirch Masala, Southall for a slice of Punjabi life in London - samosas at Shahenshar, chaat etc at Moti Mahal and sweets from Ambala and dinner at Gifto's (variable quality but relaxed cafe style) or Madhu's (more trad curry house) would be a nice day out. But if I could only go to one place, it would definitely be Amaya. Enjoy! Raj
  9. Yan Kit So's Classic Chinese Cookbook Far superior, IMHO, in almost every way to Barbara Tropp's book. Includes all the info in Modern Art...but has photographs giving instructions on how to do things, but lacks the painstaking levels of detail in the recipes in Barbara Tropp's book, which are useful for the very novice Chinese cook. I have had both books for years, and in terms of learning how to use a wok and cleaver and have recipes that are tempting and accomplishable, Yan Kit's book wins every time and is the one I turn to time and again. I dont own Breath of a Wok, but from discussions around eGullet, the general consensus is that its a very worthy book for wok information, if not indispensable in terms of the recipes it provides. Have fun! Raj
  10. To add my tuppence worth, I agree with whats been said thus far about cooking, cooking, and cooking some more. I also concur with recommendations for Richard Olney and Marcella Hazan, Julia Child, and reading decent cookbooks in general. But I will add a third category of recommendation, and that is: EAT! Sounds simple, but the next time you're out at a restaurant or a friends place or whatever, eating, think about how the food was made. Thinking about food may be an obsession for some of us, but it does impact what you find your hands doing the next time you have a piece of lamb/fish/whatever in your hands, or see one at the butchers/fishmongers whatever and you think back to that fabulous experience you had in that restaurant that time or whatever...AL the experience adds up and influences the way you end up cooking, and thinking about cooking. I've laboured my point enough. Also, eG's really good, eh? Raj
  11. I'm not even American, but everytime I've visited (which is more or less once a year of not more often) and I've come across a Cheesecake Factory, its had ppl queuing for it. Recently, I have been in Baltimore a lot, and the branch in the Inner Harbour, at peak times, always has a queue. Theres one that just opened in Columbia Mall, right next to PF Changs and another chain whose name escapes me at present, and they are similarly slammed. Always. I have eaten there, and from a tourist point of view, or ppl being out for the day point of view, I can see its appeal. Its not great (or dare I say, even good) food, but it covers most bases and presents reasonable value for money, in a clean-ish pleasant-ish environment (assuming you know what chain restaurants are like). If, however, ur put off by chain restaurants, then TCF may well represent the first few circles of hell for u...but at least they dont insist on any "flair" on the serving staff's uniforms!!! Raj
  12. Chicken (a la) Kiev? I remember having this for lazy Sunday dinner, with crusty bread or rice (I am Indian after all) to mop up the garlic butter...it was always such a struggle to distribute the garlic butter throughout all the rice that Mum would pile on the plate. Interestingly, this is still a popular menu item in 'Continental' restaurants in Calcutta, where my parents grew up. If any of you ever find yourself there, the vast majority of the retro foods that have been mentioned on this thread (Lobster Thermidor et al) are mainstays to this day in all such restaurants. Chicken Cordon Bleu was another one. And Chicken Tetrazzini. Creamy, cheesy stuff seems to feature quite highly. My tuppence worth. Raj
  13. Though Indian food is indeed, Indian, I thought that the use of spices in British cooking, and the use of fruit and 'local' herbs in meat cookery, is as traditional as boiled mutton with caper sauce and the ubiquitous hot pot or...fish and chips. Why and where from does a view exist that having been in the British cooking lexicon for hundreds of years, the use of spices is still not intrinsically British? If the line has to be drawn as to what foreign influences are accepted as British, then where should that line be drawn? Case in point, potatoes. Brought here from South America (Peru?) in the 16th century or thereabouts? But noone has any problem accepting them as intrinsically British nowadays. Its a fundamental part of the hot pot after all. So, why draw the line at spices? They are only a century or so 'newer' than potatoes. I havent read and dont own any old/antique British cookbooks, but I am sure (have heard) that the use of spices has been common in a certain type of British cookery for centuries now. Anyhow, I completely agree that the 'rules' or guidelines for this competition are blurry at best, and I do wonder why some of the ingredients and cooking styles are still not, however loosely and whatever it means, British. Lasagne (not Galton Blackiston's lobster version) is apparently the most popular ready meal bought at supermarkets. But I agree that this doesnt make it a 'British' dish, just cos its widely eaten here. But, then again, one could argue that we call 'bolognese', tho it may have Italian origins, could not be anything but British in its execution and taste. No Italian would claim our version of Bolognese as Italian, would they? Just goes to show, that what with the influences this country has had on its culture and national identity overall, a definition of Britishness is hard to come by in any realm, however hard the government tries with these exams about Britishness for immigrants. Just my thoughts, hope no offence was caused. Raj
  14. I agree with Tsuji, Nobu and Tetsuya (the latter two for artistry even more so). And the works from the chap in Yountville. Yan Kit's Classic Chinese Cookbook has fantastically informative photographs of chinese cutting techniques and cooking styles (ie how to use a wok 101 and how to use a chinese cleaver 101). They are fantastic, and I must say, infinitely superior to those in Tropp's Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. The recipes are fantastic also and accompanied be slightly dated but nevertheless useful pictures about how the finished dishes should look. If you are in the mood for armchair travelling, then the Momo Cookbook is a whistlestop tour of North Africa, with nice food photography thrown in. I have to say tho, that if a cookbook is good (and by that I am not referring just to the recipes but also the author's "voice" if you like) then I am in no way missing the pictures...I dont need an illiustrated Elizabeth David, Richard Olney, Marcella Hazan or Claudia Roden. Even Nigella's How to Eat doesnt have photos, and that doesnt detract from the utility of such books in any way, IMHO. Beautiful food photography (over styled to some tastes, tho it may be) seem to be a staple of Australian cookery books more so than anywhere else. Tetsuya has already been mentioned, I recently purchased French by Damien Pignolet (wonderful book btw) and I own Bill's Sydney Food, Spice by Christine Manfield and Recipes & Stories by Kylie Kwong (I like this one). But the real stars in terms of photography and eye candy are surely the Australian Women's Weekly/Donna Hay. I dont own any, as they dont seem to be my cup of tea. But as I said earlier, IMHO, it depends on what you want from your food photos. Raj Edited to add...forgot about Marcella Hazan...how could I?
  15. Hello, I am an Indian, born and raised in London, and I can offer some thoughts on your situation. I noticed during my yearly travels to America that American supermarkets (Giant, Safeways et al) put a different sort of emphasis on the look of the produce than do English markets (altho we are also certainly guilty of the "every apple looks exactly the same colour size and shape" crimes). And really its no wonder that 'ethnic' markets seem grimy compared to the almost clinical nature of big name supermarkets. You must forgive me for not knowing where you've travelled to, but I also travel yearly to India amongst other places. And the smells and sounds of a busy market in Kolkata, West Bengal, are more exhilirating an experience in many ways than the first 20mins of Saving Private Ryan (forgive the hyperbole, I hope you know what I mean!). Flies buzzing around and carcasses all over the place, not to mention the dust/dirt on fruit and veg not just from the fields they were plucked/dug out from, but also from the receptacles they were transported to market in. But I never get sick eating ANY of the food, be it the food cooked at home, or the street food (knock wood). My point is, that ethnic markets "back home" are indeed very different places from the (I would argue) overly sanitised markets that I am used to frequenting. The whole world lives differently, and I dont swear by the Health Department as much as I do by my own common sense. People do indeed have different standards of cleanliness, and different standards of acceptability. Dented cans certainly wouldnt bother me as much as bad fish, but here again, I am reliant on my own judgement, freed from as much prejudice as I can muster. But if it doesnt feel/look/smell right, then that doesnt make you prejudiced for thinking so, as long as you are being fair to the market, the produce, and yourself. At the end of the day, business is business, and ppl have to sell what they can, within reason. Thanks, apologies for the overly long response. Raj
  16. This post got me to thinking on a grander historical scale in terms of the use of mealtime terminology. I found this article which makes interesting reading, and confirms the opinion that meals used to be breakfast, dinner, supper, with tea being an upper middle class or even royal invention for ladies of leisure which became fashionable as the popularity of tea as a drink increased and tea-houses found themselves at the favour of those that had nothing better to do of an afternoon than sit in a tea house and eat cakes and sandwiches in between dinner and supper. Anyhow, heres the article: http://www.history-magazine.com/dinner2.html Enjoy Raj
  17. Am in agreement with Adam. Meals used to be breakfast, dinner, supper as I understand it. If anyone thinks it a worthwhile resource, I recall there being something about this in a Gary Rhodes book once upon a time (New British Classics, I think). Lunch developed following industrialisation when people had time, luxury and leisure to eat more substantially and earlier during the day, and hey presto, we have lunch, with dinner moving later into the day, and supper becoming increasingly superfluous as a meal. Although there must be a historian around somewhere that can clarify and put our eating habits into a better context. Incidentally, in India (or Bengal at least) we refer to lunch as "eating rice" (so someone would ask "bhaath khay-cho?" meaning "have u eaten rice?") and dinner, as I understand it, has no specific name, just "evening meal". Raj Edited to add that in Bengal, dinner is served with roti. Puri (or luchi as they are called in Bengal) are also a breakfast/lunch thing, along with paratha's).
  18. Had another lovely dinner at The Walpole this evening. Really love this place. Its so comfortable, and the is just the sort of place you go eat at, rather than just go out to. The husband and wife team who run it are absolutely lovely. The staff were charming. Let me be frank about having a weakness for the sort of bistrot/brasserie food that they seem to do so well here, but what I enjoy even more is the fact that this place is about food, not necessarily cuisine or cheffiness, but just good food. Risotto with wild mushrooms, then confit duck. Creme brulee for dessert. Could have had it anywhere, but very few places as simply yet competenly done as here. Great selection of wines, but I was the only one drinking, so just had carafes of house white and red. I want one of these in Kensington!! La Bouchee just doesnt cut it and its too self conscious. Ok, moan over. See, London hasnt totally shut down, its just that overheads make it hard for neighbourhood places that do simple things well to operate in central London. Someone mentioned earlier about eating out being a lifestyle choice rather than a hunger choice nowadays. So true. Bring back the neighbourhood bistrot and out with the neighbourhood chain/asian fusion place. Raj
  19. Global uniformity of flavour is certainly intended, but how stringently are work practices in any franchise standardised? Even Starbucks, which if nothing else, is I would say at least is to be congratulated from raising the standard of the 'average' high street capuccino and delivering a consistent product, manages sometimes to make me a super-watery Frappucino... Also, we're never likely to get Maharaja Macs or Chicken Tikka McSandwiches (staples in Indian McDonalds where ppl of course don't eat beef) in England are we? Or maybe we should... Incidentally, a friend of mine assures me that Chicken Cottage in Tooting is the unofficial capital of Tooting, having as it does, a flag. Raj ps I recall seeing the Colonel/General comment somewhere else in the States, but can't recall where, may have been Baltimore.
  20. KFC in Tokyo was absolutely immaculate when I visted about 3 years ago. It was the only fast food place I went to cos I had been told by a Japanese friend that I had to try it over there to appreciate the difference between here and there. And he was right. The lettuce is green. And crisp. The chicken looks smells and tastes fresh. The floors/tables etc are immaculate. The meal you get looks better than the pictures of the food next to the menu. And as such the tastes are cleaner. Friends from Hong Kong have told me that McDonald's fries in HK are better than London...anyone got any word on that? I have possibly opened a debate about the difference in work ethics between Europe/USA and Asia, or I've just had a good fastfood experience (oxymoron hunters out there??) Raj
  21. I agree wholeheartedly about the state of affairs currently. Down the road from me a corner site, formerly an All Bar One, has been turned into an upmarket steakhouse called the Green Door. Its quite plush inside, all shiny and new, and not at all tempting to visit. Considering its opposite a nicely established branch of Black & Blue, one has to wonder what the people who opened this place were thinking. I think another point about London dining these days is that apart from relatively high end to properly high end, or the absolute other end of the spectrum (chain restaurants and ethnic haunts) there are very few places worth eating out at. I enjoyed the relaunched Cecconi's concept, and The Wolseley as a concept, but not for the food, but what I lament are the dirth of decent gastropubs, or call me old fashioned, bistrots. I dont know about most other peoples expectations, but I find it very hard, without cutting corners or forgoeing a course, to eat for around 30 pounds a head at dinner. 20 and below is do-able, 50+ is doable, but what about quality in the middle ground? Or am I really missing a few obvious places? I have recently doubled my cookbook collection, particularly volumes about France, cos it just doesnt seem easy enough to find the simple cooking delights that a good, simple (local) restaurant used to be able to provide. Near where I live (just off Gloucester Road, a not un-central location) we have the aforementioned Black & Blue, the Green Door, Texas Lone Star (rubbish) Bugis Street BRasserie (ok Malay/Singaporean cafe) then up Gloucester Road towards the park we have that aweful Meditarranean Kitchen place, the french asian fusion place l'etranger, Launceston Place, Wodka...sounds like a lot I know, but none of them are particularly worth a second visit apart from Black & Blue and Bugis St. Dont get me started on High St Ken and the Earls Court areas. One of my fave places is in Ealing, a place called The Walpole, which is open during the day as a cafe and on Friday and Saturdays as a dinner place. Great place to eat, anyone else tried it?
  22. I have been to Zuma more than once, and Roka once. First impressions of Zuma were indeed that it was Nobu-lite, but being in Knightsbridge and having the kind of decor it does, just going for a more monied and slightly less foodie market - the press interest, particularly regarding the Russel Crowe instead in their lounge area only added to this. I remember a few dishes - this was a while ago - like the soft shell crab with wasabi or was it yuzu mayonnaise? The crab was greasy, but this dish would have worked if executed properly. Same with the tempura selection I felt (this was at lunch time, 80% full on a weekday, soon after opening) - too greasy altho would have been good tasting - veg/seafood were well treated, batter and oil let the thing down. The large grilled shrimp with yuzu dressing was the biggest let-down - massively over-cooked, dry shrimp with a dressing that was far too tart. On subsequent occassions, the most recent of which was at the end of last year for Sunday lunch, the cooking has been better, and my dish selection has varied to include more of the various different menu sections. A lamb chop dish I remember being wonderfully tender and well flavoured. Sashimi/sushi creations have gained in confidence massively. Roka was a dinner thing for me and a very enjoyable experience, with lots of sake, so cant comment accurately about food (it was a Friday night thing, but the korean pork and cabbage was well executed). But I did enjoy the evening and the buzz overall, a different alternative to Friday night at nearby Hakkasan, which for food and drinks has, to my mind, great Friday night potential. The unfortunate fishbowl effect of Roka is a little disappointing, I can imagine it being worse at lunchtime. From that point of view I enjoy an outing at Hakkasan more. Maybe cos its older as well, but Hakkasan has relaxed into its party role on Fridays, yet I dont feel that the cooking suffers as a result, altho getting a waiter/wairesses attention does. The waitress at Roka I do remember not being very adept at answering questions about ingredients and preparations, but was kind and courteous to a bunch of students that ordered more sake than food. Raj Edited to add: I do agree with Jon's comments about pricing - its very easy to order a lot of dishes and remain underfed, at which point you order more and are then faced with a scary bill.
  23. I like Simple French Food by Richard Olney. Its not a technical manual, but in terms of setting up approaches and philosophies its brilliant. The intro to the chapter on meat braises/daubes is worth the price of the book alone. Definitely one that you can grow with. Raj
  24. Agreed on the cringeworthiness. The whole set-up, MO of the show seems to be off the topic of food, like food is just a background to reality TV competitiveness and humiliation. And the judges dont seem to help that along at all. What do you folks consider to be a good show about food tho, or what would u all like to see in a good food show? More educated discussion/exchange of ideas (like a talk show with food as the subject - Top Gear for food?) or more recipe-based stuff, but maybe something that was like Ever Wondered About Food with Paul Merret? Except maybe we could have different chefs cooking up different variations on a theme? Cheers Raj
  25. I second New Tayyab in Brick Lane for Indian food, London style. Southall is good for canteen/catering quality Indian, and on good days, the food at Gifto's and Tandoori Kebab Centre can be great. But they are patchy. For Indian veggie, the equivalent would be Sakonis, or of course there are the Rasa restaurants for South Indian food. From Chiswick to Hammersmith, theres a good South Indian veg place on King Steet, I think it was called Samudra, not sure. Nice, and cheap also. If you would like to try high end Indian food, my current fave is Amaya, although Cinnamon Club and Benares are also very good. High end Indian in London would be worth trying, particularly Amaya...I just came back from India, and the nature of the cooking at Amaya is really something worth sampling even after this. If you want lunch time Indian like working folk do, you could try TiffinBites on Great Portland Street, its a nifty little concept, foods ok. British food - St John, and also if you want eels, then why not Sweetings? I like the place anyways, the very definition of old school. I second reccommendations for The Wolseley. Brunch on Sundays at the new Cecconi's was quite fun last week too. For a more scene-oriented weekend lunch, you could try places like the Electric Brasserie in Notting Hill. Disoriented suggestions, but use eGullet, Squaremeal.co.uk and others and you will find all these places I'm sure. Good luck, hope you have a great time. Raj
  • Create New...