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Corinna Dunne

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Corinna Dunne

  1. Does Versailles really mean that much to him? As far as French foodies are concerned (and I'm one of them), we're quite surprised he chose the suburbs instead of Paris. And surprised, also, he waited until 2008 (february?), to open a restaurant in France. What do you think? ← Interesting you should mention this. I was surprised when I heard about Versailles too, but there's a good train service from central Paris and it is at least a 'suburb'. The destination in Ireland is in another county, up in the Wicklow hills with barely any public transport. It is a very expensive taxi ride for most people. I mentioned the 3* hat trick because this is one of the things that competitive Gordo keeps reinforcing... but then, if we subscribe to the theory that the company could be going public... it makes even more sense to just keep talking and toque waving. Maybe it is just another bit of hotel catering.
  2. Congrats, so thrilled we’ve got a few success stories. Re where to stay, we rented a villa for a week (more like a large apartment) which was just up the hill from the Almadraba Park hotel. It was very reasonably priced and meant that we could spend even more on eating! The owners are English and arranged a taxi for us to go to elBulli. This area is called Canyelles Petites which is a much smaller cove down from Roses, link here. If you look at the 2007 reservations topic, you will probably get a few more suggestions.
  3. In a sense. Think of it more as an exercise in making GRH big enough to catch Ramsay when he falls. He will become the company figurehead, heading up a unit that sells lobster ravioli to holidaymakers while the £5 oxtail soup concept is rolled out nationwide. ← And considering his concentration in hotels (and despite his change of direction with the Connaught), maybe add general hotel catering to the strategy? Airline food next?
  4. Some destination restaurants are more important to him than others. I think he's deadly serious about his ambition to have a 3* restaurant in London (so far so good), New York (2* already, expect a major push here, hence the US Hell's Kitchen to keep him on the publicity radar over there) and Paris (big plans for Versailles). He's talked about this quite a lot and I'd say it's not just about Ramsay the brand but also driven by Ramsay the ego. He likes to be the definitive best at whatever he does.
  5. Sorry, should have got around to posting this sooner. I was in Wild Honey about a month ago. Really liked the place (different from what I expected, until I looked up the address, I thought it was in the Drones that used to be in Knightsbridge). Food was really good (plenty of it too), prices brilliant and the service was excellent. We started with the red mullet soup with green olive tapenade, nice soup, very much its own thing rather than a bouillabaisse, although Steve was unsure about whether the green olive tapenade was a better idea than say a rouille. I had the pig’s head which was fantastic, good and piggy with some really smelly crunchy bits scattered on the plate, great price too at £7.95. For mains, I had the saddle of venison with savoy cabbage and roast turnips. Perfectly cooked and nice and gamey. Steve’s shin of veal with potato gnocchi was good, but I thought a bit drier than it should be. Still very enjoyable. Just had one dessert, the wild honey ice-cream with crushed honeycomb, a simple dessert, tasted like it sounds, but it was lovely and creamy. So a really enjoyable evening, great atmosphere and I love the wine policy.
  6. When he was in Ireland, he mentioned that he would like to open a pub in Cork, not off the beaten track by any means, but it was interesting that he didn't mention Dublin.
  7. Harden’s is having a good time twisting the knife further, although I do thing that their spin about him being knocked off the top spot by… ehem… another one of his restaurants was just a piece of good PR. Doesn’t sound like a story of corporate failure to me. However… his new place in Ireland does an awful lot to subscribe to the ‘spreading himself too thin’ theory.
  8. Oh please... some synonyms for locally sourced produce... actually I'm looking for about 300 options. Obviously procured is out , locally bought just sounds like an individual's weekly shopping, carefully selected local produce is wordy.... As for fresh, local and seasonal...
  9. Talc and sherbet have a similar texture but a very different ... er ... you know. ← The sherbet was incredibly fizzy The sherbet had a fizzy mouthfeel Perhaps the offending mouthfeel is redundent if we assume that food generally goes in the mouth?
  10. Any chance of adding mouthfeel to the cringe list? And why are menus perused?
  11. Why have a profile of flavours when you can have a symphony of flavours
  12. If you have got a small garden, you could consider getting your own chicken house. Fresh eggs every morning.
  13. Well the reviews are starting to come in. Thumbs up from Aingeala Flannery and Paolo Tullio (although, despite the fact that he gives it 5* for food, reading between the lines it sounds like he’s not totally smitten and it’s not his thing). Lucinda O’Sullivan in the Sunday Indo is less impressed. She wasn’t bowled over by the sweetbreads (neither was I) and basically gave the food a ho hum rating. Which was exactly my take on it, and considering how dreadfully wrong everything went the evening I was there, it’s about the most positive thing I can say. Extremely disappointing. Perfect candidate for Kitchen Nightmares. Will post in Jan after my review has run. And the more I think about the hotel, buried in a bunker in one of the most scenic spots of Wicklow, the more bizarre it seems. Dazzling white, it is ‘Palladian ‘ at the back, but to the front, with large arched windows, balustraded balconies and an arched canopy at the entrance, all that’s missing are a few gold Rolls Royces. A desert in the middle of an oasis.
  14. I think they made a bit of a dogs dinner of the bookings process. At the launch Ramses said: “The response has been amazing. Within opening, 48 hours, we had 3,000 calls.” But reservations were being taken way before that with all sorts of mixed messages. It was like elBulli without the organisation. Requests were showered in for specific dates or left open for any Friday or Saturday in October or November. You have to pick a date, said one woman who called back, you can’t leave it open; followed a week later by, sorry you can only get a dinner booking on Friday or Saturday if you are a resident, are you going to be staying at the hotel? (no pressure!). I asked Ramsay about the Friday and Saturday booking policy at elRamsi and he said that he had restricted the bookings personally to retain quality. It’s not the numbers I explained; it’s the residents vs day-trippers issue. “We can’t deal with the residents and the locals at the same time because it’s going to be an up and down seesaw,” he said. “I’ve got to get consistent. We‘ll restrict it to in-house guests first to get over the rocky period.” Difficult to know if this is good or bad news. But if “consistency” is what he’s looking for, it’s very strange, because it’s not completely restricted, ie day-trippers can get a booking from Sunday to Thursday. In any case, he assured me that there will be no restrictions in the new year and the great unwashed will be able to book a Friday or Saturday. Worth putting this to the test and giving them a call. When asked about his pricing, he made a compelling analogy: “I bought a pair of jeans at LA airport for $350 dollars. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want the best of the best, you have to pay for it.” Now we understand. They’re Rock Republic jeans, in case you’re interested, not sure if they have a no jeans policy in ‘Dublin’.
  15. A montage of detractions I really enjoyed the programme too and it made me feel so, so hungry. That burger looked amazing. Love the way he did a slimmer bun (which I think is generally a waste of calories and appetite) and I reckon it did make the two-finger height objective once you work in the scrunch factor. I thought the point about turning the burger over frequently when it's being cooked was very interesting, I'd never heard this before (always, leave the food alone, don't mess with it), but his point made sense. I'm lovin' it.
  16. And a few pictures: The outside terrace of the restaurant which has views out to the Sugarloaf Mountain, although it's slightly marred by the JCBs finishing off the landscaping at the moment. Gordo cracks open the champagne
  17. Well, Ramsay is in town to officially open his restaurant at Powerscourt, Enniskerry. There was a photocall this morning and he took a few questions from the press. He was totally on message and loving everyone. Oozes charisma, as you'd expect. Marco Pierre White opening in Dublin? Oh yes, he smiled, he sends Marco and Frankie Dettori his very best wishes. A pizza place isn’t it? he commented and went on to say that he thinks they have a pizza on the room service menu at the hotel. And yes, he is managing the room service for the Ritz Carlton, so obviously a deal can be struck when it comes to taking on the whole kit and caboodle. He has no plans to open another restaurant in Dublin yet, he wants to get this one squared away first. This, apparently is the Dublin restaurant (even if it is in Co Wicklow... the Michael O’Leary school of geography). But he may look at the possibility of a pub in Cork. And no he hasn’t been to any of the Michelin-starred restaurants in Dublin, and hadn’t a bad word to say about any of them. He was all charm and bonhomie. What a shame, it was so much more fun when he was slagging off Guilbaud’s. He was looking very fit too, as was his gorgeous wife Tana who posed for a few of the pics. He did a piece to camera in the kitchen for the ‘People in Need’ event this weekend and is going to be a guest on Seoige and O’Sea on RTE today. He’ll be out at the restaurant tomorrow in case anyone wants to go and do a bit of Ramsay spotting.
  18. Don't rule out picking up a cancellation. It mentions in the note that it is worth checking back nearer to the time and this is not just talk. I got lucky in 2006. If you are planning to be in the area, it is well worth getting back in touch with Luis closer to the time. He is genuinely helpful.
  19. The regrets have started going out... I just got one.
  20. 25TH ROUX SCHOLARSHIP LAUNCHED WITH £10,000 PRIZE POT For those interested in the Roux Scholarship, here are the details from the press release: The 2008 Roux Scholarship is now open to entries and the Roux family has announced that this, the 25th anniversary, will see the largest prize pot in the history of the competition. In addition to the coveted three month stage at a three-star Michelin establishment, and other parts of the Scholar’s prize, the cash element has increased to £5,000 for the winner and £1,000 for each of the remaining five finalists. Entrants this year are required to submit* an original recipe to serve four people, using two fresh lemon sole (500 to 600 gms each), cooked and served either whole or in fillet, accompanied by two garnishes - one of which must be potato. “We chose lemon sole because it is abundantly available in the early part of the year, it is highly versatile and is not being over-fished,” says Michel Roux, OBE, co-chairman of the judges, “It should allow plenty of scope for creativity and we look forward to seeing the entries, and tasting some of them at the regional finals in March.” The 2008 judging panel is augmented by Tracey MacLeod, restaurant critic for the Independent magazine, who joins as guest judge. She joins Michel and Albert, their respective sons Alain and Michel junior, Heston Blumenthal, Andrew Fairlie - the first Roux Scholar - David Nicholls, Gary Rhodes and Brian Turner. Current Scholar Armand Sablon is currently on his stage at Auberge de l'Ill in Alsace , where he is working under the supervision of Marc Haeberlin and he will return to Galvin at Windows at the end of this year. As well as the £5,000 cash prize, the 2008 Roux Scholar will enjoy a three month stage at a three-starred Michelin establishment courtesy of The Savoy Educational Trust, trips to Italy to visit Caffe Musetti, courtesy of L’Unico and Champagne courtesy of Champagne Gosset, as well as a week in New York with Restaurant Associates, in addition to other prizes. The other five national finalists will each win £1000 to be used to further their culinary skills, again courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust, as well as other prizes from the supporting companies. *Full entry details plus footage of previous competitions, further details on prizes, past scholars and judges can be found by visiting www.rouxscholarship.co.uk . The entry form can also be downloaded from the site. The closing date for entries is Friday 18 January 2008.
  21. I wouldn’t agree. Yes, it is simple cooking, but it is done extremely well and the pricing is spot on. There’s something about St John. The minute you walk in, it is impossible not to smile and to get that rush of anticipation. A horrible cliché, but ‘the sum of all parts’ does seem to say it all. But I suppose it also depends on what you’re looking for. The couple sitting beside us were clearly a bit taken aback at how casual the place is, but I love the energy, even if it is a bit boys’ club and testosterone filled (plenty of flash lined city suits).
  22. Click here for the menu. The Menu Prestige (“set menu”) is €100. The same menu operates for lunch and dinner.
  23. There are 20 tables, 120 covers, plus a private dining room, chef’s table and the terrace in the summer. However, there are 200 rooms in the hotel, and there aren’t too many places to eat in the Enniskerry area (apart from the other restaurants in the hotel, no idea what they’re like), so yeah, it’s not looking good for punters at the weekend. Top restaurants in London and NY generally have a private number for the do-you-know-who-I-am?’s… it would be interesting to ask all diners for proof of residence at the weekends.
  24. The prices look good, certainly compared with Guilbaud's. Starters range from €17 - €25 and main courses are around the €40 mark. Two RHR signature dishes on the menu: lobster ravioli and monkfish with prosciutto. No Friday or Saturday bookings for non-residents until the new year, which is a bit of a pain. Some earlier discussion on Gordon Ramsay coming to Ireland here.
  25. The regrets go out first. The 'you've struck gold' emails last, generally about 6 - 8 weeks after the request has been sent in. Also worth factoring in is the following: By customers, I think they mean people 'on the journey', diners who have been going to elBulli way before it hit the headlines. So effectively, there are just 4,000 places for newcomers.
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