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Everything posted by AlexForbes

  1. Here's more on the subject, an article from Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine: "Darroze, who runs her eponymous restaurant Helene Darroze on the Left Bank in Paris, will launch her restaurant, Helene Darroze at the Connaught, in June once the redesign of the room has been completed by Paris-based designer India Mahdavi. (...) She will also be responsible for the revival of the Connaught Grill which will be returning in the autumn. (...) She will be bringing a team of staff from her Paris kitchen to lead a brigade of local chefs. (...) A protégé of Alain Ducasse, she launched her own restaurant in Paris in 1999, won her her first Michelin star in 2001 and her second in 2003." full story
  2. Sorry, PhilD, I guess she has gotten press in the UK - hard for me to keep up with all that it's published, being a Brazilian living in Canada. Still, I was surprised to find that there weren't any topics on Egullet about her. So for foreigners, I say she's still a hidden gem.
  3. Well, there you go, great article, thanks! More and more I see people are starting to pay attention to her. The time to go is now, I say.
  4. Ok, ok, I can't really say that The Kingham Plough is the best gastropub in the Cotswolds if I've only actually tried three of them, but I really doubt there's anyone out there who can outcook Emily Watkins. She's only 29 but worked as Heston Blumenthal's sous-chef for 2 years. I didn't expect much when I arrived there for dinner and then BANG!, an incredible meal. Memorable. So I was intrigued... who is this girl? And how come this kind of food - excellent - has gone relatively unnoticed? So I did some research and found out that: - The Kingham Plough, in Kingham, has only been re-opened since August '07 (in its previous incarnation it was very dingy, I hear) - as much as possible she cooks nose to tail, meaning she'll buy a whole cow from a local farmer then figure out ways to cook all the different cuts - she's only been there for a few months but already found lots of great local suppliers - the asparagus, for example, comes from 8 miles down the (beautiful) road. - I'm not the only one who thinks this girl is the real deal. Here's what the Evening Standard had to say: "The food is too good here to waste space writing about the interior" "OK I'm gushing (...) but isn't it always the place that opens with the least fanfare which invariably deserves the most" "This is the best gastropub opening for many years" etc etc etc Here's what I had: Delicious beer brewed down the road in a neighbouring village incredibly crisp croquette of escargots on top of a soft pillow of wild garlic soufflé, perfectly-dressed leaves incredibly delicious pigeon Wellington. I couldn't figure out why the meat was so incredibly tender and flavourful and smooth so I asked her what she'd done. Turns out it's cooked sous-vide in duck fat. Your typical pub pigeon dish, in other words. The pigeon was served on a bed of wilted spinach and wild garlic gnocchi. a perfectly fine Damson "Yorkshire" with ice cream made of yoghurt from the ultra posh Daylesford Organic. Only complaint: tasted little ice crystals, maybe she doesn't have a Pacojet? and then I had a taste of 3 perfectly ripened local cheeses, served with quince and damson paste and water biscuits. my recommendation: go before she gets famous and jacks her prices!
  5. Funny how things are subjective. Had lunch at C.S. this month and my impression was quite different, even though I had the same amuse bouche as adey 73 - a pleasant enough velouté of St. George's mushrooms with coconut foam - and the same fillet of trout with overcooked wild garlic risotto and Evesham asparagus (can't go wrong, it's asparagus season!), and yet... they didn't seem as good as what adey 73 had. I was disappointed, since I expected more of a 2-star Michelin. Overcooked risotto?! Here is what I had: the velouté of mushrooms with coconut foam the beautiful but not very exciting trout (Bibury brown) with wild garlic risotto and asparagus roasted Cinderford lamb with pea purée, morilles and smoked onion. I found it odd that I wasn't asked what cuisson I wanted, and got medium-rare, although I would have preferred it rare. But it was good. the pré-dessert was a failed attempt at doing something along the molecular gastronomy lines (I know, I know, many of you hate the term, but still...) On top of a rhubarb cream there was a quenelle of ice cream and so-called pop rocks that seemed to make my ears pop and tasted faintly chemical somehow. Unpleasant sensation. A delicious parfait of muscovado sugar topped with spice cake crumbs, and, on the side, layers of bergamot cream that were too strongly flavoured, it was too perfumey. If I had to recommend a restaurant in the Costwolds, I would definitely say The Manor House at Castle Combe - DELICIOUS. I posted a full report here, The Manor House report with photos or, for a less expensive meal, but equally delicious, The Kingham Plough, which is quite new on the scene but I am sure will start racking up awards and media accolades very soon.
  6. Hi Doc, somehow I only saw your Celler report today... although it's been posted for a good while. Anyways, great photos, have you upgraded your camera? Really, too bad the circumstances were against you, as I find the Celler one of the best restaurants in Spain. That's precisely why I never try to squeeze in too much when I travel - usually this sort of thing happens, and I end up to tired to enjoy the meals. That being said, just came back from 4 days in NY in which I squeezed in Benoit, Adour, Nobu 57, Commerce, Gemma, Spotted Pig and Falai Soho. Go figure! One question: did you see their interactive wine list, like a computer that shows you info about the producers? I was thinking of writing about it but can't remember the details... thanks!
  7. I am pretty sure they did waive it, but then again, I didn't pay the bill, a nice gentleman at our table invited everyone... ps. about the decor: I too found it just a tad tacky, not as traditional-looking as the Parisian Benoit, but rather a bit too new-looking and bright. The dim, black-and-white bar with checkered floor and striped walls looked much nicer, I found.
  8. I also ate there Friday night, and luckily enough, it was still BYO - the guy inviting our group brought Ruinart champagne and 5 bottles of Smith-Haut-Lafitte, so who was I to want to look at the wine list? After hearing so much about it, I ordered the chicken (the last one they had that night) and it was very good. They bring it to the table whole, with baked garlic on the side, as has been said here before, then take it back for carving. Comes with a pile of ultra-thin L'Ami Louis style fries, which were perfectly done. Charcuterie plate was another big hit - much more refined and delicate than a regular plate of charcuterie you might get at a regular bistro. My favourite main course, strangely enough, was the lobster ravioli, the delicate pillows hidden under a very intensely flavoured lobster foam, or foaming sauce, reminiscent of a great lobster bisque. Delicious. And the biggest hit of the night were the profiteroles, served fondue-style (see picture), with hot molten chocolate on the side in a little silver pan in a bain-marie, and a quenelle of vanilla ice cream in another little silver pan. Never seen so many vanilla specks on ice cream before - to die for. So forget the Baba - just go for the profiteroles! Long story short: the food at Benoit is very very good.
  9. BryanZ, as the menu explains, they are fries "L'Ami Louis style", L'Ami Louis being the cult Parisian bistro known for its delicious and exorbitantly priced fries and roasted chicken, among other things. I'm pretty sure they fry it in duck grease (at the Paris bistro). Here is a photo of the l'Ami Louis fries, taken last time I ate them:
  10. Oh, and San, the sesame cake you loved, ultra moist, etc, guess what the secret is? It's "baked" in the microwave for 40 seconds, check out part of the recipe, posted on the Madrid Fusion site:
  11. Hi Rogelio, has the Barcelona boutique opened? It is on his website... thanks! A.
  12. Thanks for posting the photo of the menu but... why is it up already if the place isn't open? Is it "sort of" open, to special guests?
  13. Hi, I think I can explain why some of these dishes look familiar. It turns out that when El Bulli opens for the season (08) they serve mostly 07 dishes, and gradually add the new dishes (08) to the menu, one by one, day by day, so that there are never any mishaps. The 08 dishes have all been created and defined beforehand at the Barcelona Taller, but Ferran feels they have to be introduced one at a time, to make extra sure the whole brigade has a perfect command of each new dish. (This I was told by Oriol Castro, his right-hand man at the Taller). Genius.
  14. Hi Mbernstein, as you've probably noticed, there is a LOT of info and photos on both restaurants in the Spain and Portugal forum, but just to add to the mix I thought I would give you the link to a report on my dinner at Can Roca, which I loved. It was back in 06, so surely the menu has changed since then, but it gives you an idea of how different it is from all other restaurants mentioned, including El Bulli. Can Roca report with photos
  15. I ate at the Parisian Benoit and loved it - but you've got to love old-fashioned and ultra-French bistro fare to get it. And here are some press photos taken by Marie Hennechart of the Paris Benoit, which give a good idea of the feel of the place.
  16. Danusia Barbara???? She is far from being an independent critic. There are 3 independent restaurant guides in Brazil. First, Guia 4 rodas, the equivalent of the Michelin. Second, Veja Rio, and third, its sister magazine Veja São Paulo I worked as a senior editor and restaurant critic for 7 yrs. at the company that publishes all 3, the Editora Abril, and was for many years on the jury that chooses Veja's top restaurants of the year, and I can guarantee they are as independent as they come.
  17. Hi, here is a very late reply, but which I think will be useful to any foreigner planning a trip to Brazil and wanting reliable restaurant tips. Annual restaurant edition of the excellent magazine IN, published in Santiago another great article from the same magazine... and VEJA SAO PAULO, the best magazine for finding out addresses and telephone numbers for any restaurant in São Paulo. Even if you don't understand Portuguese, simply type in the name of the restaurant in the search box and a short review will appear with, at the bottom, all the info you need. cheers, Alexandra
  18. Hi Docsconz, just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for posting all this. A fascinating read. Sorry I took so long to see this thread - I've been away a lot.... Again, congratulations! Excellent work! I was there that year of the food poisoning, btw. I was so sick I had to stay in bed for 3 days. Horrible. And I was bummed I couldn't make it this year, since I was in Brazil. Next time... cheers, Alex
  19. Went out to dinner with a big group of aquaintances at a newish burger joint that is right next to the Pois Penche called mbrgr. Their choice of restaurant, because of the TVs playing the hockey game (oh, great ) - I wanted to go elsewhere but was outvoted. Turns out M:brgr is also on Drummond and de Maisonneuve. Silly name, huh? They serve high-end burgers, paired with things like caramelized onions (too heavy) or truffle aioli (yum). I've been meaning to try the Pois Penche for a while, so when I realized I was eating an overpriced burger at an ultra-loud place right across the street, I wasn't too happy... Still, gotta say the burger was very tasty, as were the sweet potato fries...
  20. When I moved to the Townships, 5 yrs ago, there wasn't even one decent place to eat in Sherbrooke. Nothing. Zilch. Then came Bouchon, owned by some ex-Hatley Inn guys. Then Alain Labrie, ex-Hatley Inn chef, ex-Groupe Germain, opened his restaurant. And now Danny St. Pierre is set to open his Auguste, very soon. Here is something from a press release: "Auguste, c’est le nom que le chef Danny St Pierre et Anik Beaudoin, son associée, ont donné au restaurant qu’ils ouvriront le printemps prochain à Sherbrooke. (...) Voilà St Pierre qui déconstruit, qui débâtit les classiques. Il impose au maquereau fumé une cohabitation plus qu’aromatique avec les fèves à l’érable. Il s’amène avec une poutine inversée, un boudin au grué de cacao, un pétoncle au pop-corn ainsi que nombre d’autres petites choses croustillantes et relevées. (...) Selon Danny, la cuisine d’Auguste, prénom emprunté à un grand-père sans histoire, sera «exactement comme celle de grand-mère, mais très caféinée! »"
  21. I should post here my QC city findings, which, I have to say, are not original at all. So I will recommend Panache, at the St. Antoine hotel, because the food is great and also because the place is incredibly cozy and good-looking. It's my favourite in QC. Also recommending l'Utopie, because it's the most innovative, and the food is always exciting. Great food-wine pairings, too. Laurie Raphael is on the list also, because it's a classic, and it's funky and walking distance from the best hotels. But I do find their food outdated, and not consistent. Cafe du Monde, that giant riverside brasserie, for a fun and inexpensive lunch. and that's it! I also recommend the readers go for a picnic, and pack a baguette and delicious local cheeses like the Etoile Bleu, and nice maple treats for dessert (piece will run in late spring). L'Initiale didn't make the list because I find the atmosphere a bit cold.
  22. Hi Alex the Cook, I did not doubt that you were telling the truth, I just think that such a thing happening is improbable, not impossible. And it is unfortunate that it did, since it seems to have really got you going!
  23. The place I recommend to every single friend of mine that comes from Brazil to visit Montreal is Le Club Chasse et Peche. The porcelet risotto is to die for - not sure if they still have it on the menu. Their surf and turf - which isn't always one same meat and fish combo, but changes regularly - is another specialty.
  24. I'm writing a piece for a Brazilian magazine/travel guide about eating out in Québec City. I will mention all my favourites - Panache, l'Utopie, etc - but came here looking to find something new, a good recommendation. That's when I realized that this forum has very little info on Qc. city - it's almost all Montreal! How come? My QC city piece will mention all the other usual "suspects": L'Initiale, Laurie Raphael, Café du Monde as my recommendation for a simple lunch and even Aux Anciens Canadiens (kitschy but cozy and fun, I find), but... is there something great that I haven't heard of? Apart from Le Moine Échanson, which made it onto the list of En Route's best new restaurants?
  25. For the best coverage of the festival, be sure to read Lesley's story that is in today's Montreal Gazette. The webpage has links to lots of fun stuff like a video showing guest chef Christopher Carpentier making a salmon tartare (actually, not my favourite recipe, too much going on to mask the taste of the fish, but anyways...). Best of all is Lesley's piece on hot food trends with fun subtitles like "bunny is back" and "molecular madness".
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