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Everything posted by kutsu

  1. Hilariously bad meal here tonight. £300 And the best thing was the amuse bouche... 7pm sharp arrived to two other tables occupied. Amuse was a cheeze sable with red pepper Jamie dodger. Great cheese taste, a good start Took the fiver course with matching wines. First course was crab with cauliflower jelly. Actively offensive, not least due to the bit of shell I found in the crab. Fridge cold and lacking seasoning. Second starter was scallop with carrot emulsion; the scallops weren't seared properly and the carrot purée (with multicoloured carrots inside) weren't seasoned - yes, it was "sweet" but one dimensional. Onion and pear was interesting. The pear was superb but the onion was boring and one dimensional - again, just sweet. The butter sauce was simple to the point of being boring. Special shout out to the bread and butter which appeared under cooked - with the texture of a Crumpet - it hadn't been rested enough before being cut. The butter was unexceptional compared to that served in Alain Ducasse the day before. Main was silks deer - sauce was great but the meat had a great big piece of un trimmed silver skin hanging off it - no attempt to trim the meat. The potatoes were grainy - had they been passed through a tammis? They were on the verge of splitting also. Chocolate desert was good overall. Food was generally poor and the service was laughable - 6 course in less than 1 hr 20 mins, drinks missing, wrong coats, rude staff. Very poor indeed - and the ingredients didn't taste any better than those served in hundreds of restaurants over th country - only the beef genuinely tasted unique.
  2. Holy shi.. really? that's terrible. My thoughts go out to them..
  3. Is there a worse county than Staffordshire to live in for Michelin goodness? ..sigh..
  4. Thanks folks - going to see if I can get into Hedone - looks fantastic. Crap website though.
  5. After a meal with the following criteria, if anyone can kindly assist: - Satrday lunch, anytime between 12 and 2pm sitting - Must be high-end, so at least 1 mich star, prefer. 2+ - Not fussed about type or style Everything I have googled so far is closed saturday - god knows why, I'd have though sat'd lunch would be buzzing.. Thanks!
  6. Birthday lunch yesterday (Saturday 21st) was exellent. Amuse of a very tangy and, considering it was tres sunny, very welcome gazpacho. Starter of home cured beef fillet, avocado ice cream, parmesan custard, assorted tomatoes - superb, the beef with real flavour from the curing process, and the whole dish eating together very well. Special shoutout to the sun-dried cherry tomatoes - really fantastic. The wife (upgraded since last visit) had a blackstick's blue twice baked souffle - tasted nice enough, but my starter was in another league, so didn't press the issue. Mains were lamb rump & crisp tongue, goats cheese pomme puree; pan fried fish with wild garlic rissotto, red wine sauce. Both over the moon with the mains, the lamb with real "roasting" flavour on the fat, which was rendered excellently, fantastic pommes, excellent fresh garden vegetables. The crisp tongue was a revelation, unctuous and rich without being the slightest bit greasy. The wife said little other than "excellent" and refused to share her main which says it all - the fish was declared "super fresh" and crispy. Desert were cheese with great selection of crackers, and a chocolate fondant, banana caramel sauce, banana powder - superb. Coffee and fresh chocolates in the lounge to finish, with a real generous amount of coffee in the cafetiere - I took 4 cups and had an energetic drive home! All in all a great meal; we only went for the £35 lunch deal, and we were in there for just shy of 3 hours, with no intention to rush us through, lots of nice touches with the service (which IMO has come on leaps and bounds from our first visits) and superb food. Make no mistake, the cooking is as modern as anything I've had recently, which whilst it isn't in the Sat Bains or Purnell "modernist" camp, we had dessicated ingredients, powders, custards, chocolate "soil", ice creams - and everything was presented in a very modern way. Continues to be an excellent location, and I look forward to my next visit.
  7. Thanks; I was hoping for somewhere a little closer to home in the UK though, but I appreciate the reply!
  8. Anyone have any good suggestions for places to pick up some top italian / italian-style ingredients? after good olive oil, salted anchovies, mustard fruits etc - not London based but happy to mail order.
  9. To stick up for Fischers - I've eaten in lots of 1 and 2 star restaurants, but I'd still rate Fischers as my favourite restaurant. It's great; good portions, great surroundings, friendly staff - really recommend it.
  10. I know it get knocked here, and the truffle thing is dissapointing, but that food (and the pictures!!) looks fantastic. Old school, but fantastic.
  11. Good meal at San Carlo Chicceti - nice space, good, unpretentious food, tasty ingredients. Not cheap, but absolutely packed on a tuesday lunch. Food is served tapas style, fritto misto de mare, lasagne, excellent ribs. Only miss-hit was lamb chops - mega succulent, but stingy portion at 2 for c. £5.50.
  12. I'd put a Burford Brown against any egg from a US supermarket. Let alone good italian eggs, with vivid orange yolks and a superb depth of flavour. Plus the whole scenario highlighted in "Eating Animals" puts a bit of a distaste in my mouth..
  13. No star at Claridges for gordo though Is Petersham Nurseries a.. garden centre?
  14. Absolutely stunned this hasn't leaked yet - anyone heard anything "on the inside"?
  15. Stonking is very good, excellent, that type of thing. Positive, anyway!
  16. Saturday 4th Dec - Simpsons, Edgbaston - 1 Michelin Star, Good Food Guide 6/10 I love Birmingham, being just 45 minutes from my native Stoke-on-Trent (aka. worst.restaurant-scene.ever) and boasting some fine establishments. However, this was to be my first trial of Simpsons, a well-regarded restaurant with rooms in the 'burbs. Arrival was mid-lunch service, where we checked into our room. The French room is the priciest on offer at about £230 with continental breakfast, but I can honestly say that it is the best room I have ever set foot in; bags of charm, huge space, quality fittings (Nespresso machine, L'Occitane toiletries, etc) and just simply uber-comfortable. Dinner was booked for 8pm, and a nice touch was the offer for us to dine whenever we wanted as staying-guests - which allowed us to fit in some time in the German market resident for the next few weeks. Two glasses of blanc-de-blanc was served with an amuse of creamed celeriac, chestnuts and apple dice. Small, seasoned to perfection (a recurring theme) and an excellent sweet/tart combination to open up the senses. Two tasting menus with matching wines were chosen. Breads delivered were mini-baguete (chewy & delicious), a country loaf, a cumin-scented foccaccia (sublime) and a puff-pastry roll filled with black olive tapenade (umami-heaven). First course was a citrus-cured salmon, caviar and avocado puree. This was an excellent start, the salmon being delicate and "clean" tasting, with the citrus being hinted at, rather than overpowering. A minor criticism would be that it could have used a slight amount more curing in the citrus to really set the texture, it was very tasty though. Next was fois gras, pan d'epice, banana puree and pecan nuts. This was heaven, and a very high highlight for me. Fois gras was melting, with a good crust. Pan d'epice was rich and salty, being fried in what tasted like duck-fat, and the banana/pecan gave a sweet note that played with the salty bread. Absolutely superb. Scallops, butter-nut squash, fried whitebait and capers was again an excellent salty/sweet combo, the very fine tiny capers being a revelation - I'd love to find out where I could buy these. But the scallops? wow. A lovely dark crust, perfectly cooked, and a decent portion (two medium sized) for a tasting menu. Brill, creamed leeks, red wine sauce - the highlight of the meal, the brill is the best piece of fish cooking I've enjoyed, it was meaty, seasoned to perfection, accompanied by the most fruity, spicy red wine sauce that I literally wiped the bowl clean of, this was a serious piece of cooking. Main was venison, chocolate sauce and poached cranberries. Never had fresh cranberries, was very tart which offset the sauce/meat tremendously, and the venison was perfectly pink with a real bit of colour on the outside. Only criticism of this would be that a steak-knife would have been nice as it was tender but not THAT tender! Pre-dessert was a passionfruit gelee, with whipped cream. Seriously intense fruit, that tasted like a deconstructed Solero ice-cream. A composed cheese course next, Tete de Moine with carta d'musica - never even heard of this cheese (a hard cheese from the Alps, dontchaknow) but this was excellent. A taste similar to parmesan but with a softer, cold-butter like texture. There was a small carrot julliene with this that was fairly pointless, but a very minor quibble. Desert was a spiced-chai panna cotta, mango, lime and coconut sorbet and tuille. An increadibly intense, almost anise flavoured panna cotta was, at first, too strong for the accompaniments. However, this really grew on me, and the flavours began to meld together to create a sum greater than the parts. This was a serious dessert, not a "sweet" flavour, but very accomplished and highly enjoyable. It's worth noting that this was the only wine-pairing I didn't love, but everything else chosen was absolutely sublime. Petit-fours were 6 mini items, two flavour macarons, a chocolate financier, a coffee truffle, a white chocolate and vanilla truffle and a cherry cake. These were again, sublime, with the exception of the financier that tasted a little bit dry. Disgestives and coffee were served, alone with a tray of nuts that had been dipped in a hard caramel and chocolate powder - an excellent item to nibble with a nice whisky. Wine pairings were excellent (with a personal dislike of the desert wine being the notable exception), service was friendly and unobtrusive, albeit the restaurant was very very busy, so there was a notable slow down in progression of the second half of the menu, which is how I'd prefer it actually. The fish cooking here is the real strength of the restaurant, and I'm actually not a big fish fan at all. Seasoning, also, was absolutely spectacular, and the interplay of sweet/salty/sour is a real strength of the kitchen. Minor quibbles would be a fruit basked promised at check-in to the room didn't appear (in fairness, we checked in mid-lunch service, so I understand that this is a minor concern) and the front of house team need to learn where the steps are, as we watched one waiter go flying having tripped! This is a serious foodie experience, with friendly staff, and superb cooking, especially the fish. I genuinely felt sad when I left, and on the train home I mentally worked out how long I could stay for if I sold my house! Kutsu
  17. Maybe he should spend more time training his staff rather than calling you. Oh well, from all accounts it sounds like the Marcus Wearing experience isn't as good as what is still being produced at Royal Hospital Road, or indeed, at Le Gav', where they treat you like you deserve being a paying customer!.
  18. Yep, I think it's £20 for 3 courses with matched wines going up to £35 for 5 courses + wine at lunch, off a choice of 6 savoury, 3 sweet. Well, well worth it.
  19. Only a quick post, but came back from the Abode again, 4 course with wine for c. £30 a head - amazing value. Terrine of confit duck, nastrum salad and apricot - rich, moist and good quality duck; slow poached mackerel with chorizo and red peppers - michelin star quality on this one, in fact, as nice as a similar dish at Le Gavroche with sea bass, chicken with a bacon veloute was super tender and packed full of sticky richness, and a divine lemon meringue with basil sorbet. The highs in this place (the mackerel especially) are really something, and the chef is of top-notch quality. Seriously better than anywhere else in Manchester, and the value is great. Michelin should recognise this place, I previously thought the service was holding this back, but the sommelier to the servers were all very good indeed.
  20. Myself and the t'other half had the menu exceptional about a month ago, and it was absolutely faultless. We had: Steak tartare with truffle and quail eggs with celeriac rumalade - amuse Salmon mi-cuit with asparagus and truffle dressing Souffle Suicisse Scallops baked in the shell with ginger and carrot Sea bass with garlic crouton and black olives Hot fois gras with a pastilla of duck Lamb chop with courgette fritter Cheese Banana and strawberry parfait bon bons & huge selection of petit fours The absolute standouts were the scallop and the duck, but the food was the best I've ever had. Service was exceptional, wines were fantastic, my only quibble is the strong smelling flowers in the room, to which my better half was struggling with. A request to move away from them was dealt with promptly and friendly. My favorite restaurant to date.
  21. Hiya Tony! Yep, the Hole in the Wall Website is still a great place to get them, but for my money, the best I've tasted have been from High Lane oatcakes, Website & Google Maps which were also featured on the Rick Stein Food Hero program as being the best. Hope you have a fantastic time duck!
  22. Just posting from Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in support of the noble oatcake!
  23. Sigh.. a pain I know only too well living in the.. cultural hotbed of Stoke-on-Trent
  24. Afternoon all I'm off to sunny London in a few weeks, and want to book an anniversary meal for t'other half. Given the current financial crisis I'm wondering if any top-end restaurants are particular value for money at the moment? Idealy Mich' Star+. Any recommendations? Thanks!
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