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Everything posted by naebody

  1. Perhaps there's a moratorium on pun names after the genre was perfected by Fishcoteque (opposite Waterloo Station).
  2. Sorry sorry sorry. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, or perhaps I'm using too many words. To clarify my clarification: I think Geales, as a chippie, to be judged against other chippies, is not particularly good. And I'm not the only one.
  3. No - that's not true. Numerous posts previous will show that I'm a big fan of Aikens, while I have no particular view on Hollihead. This isn't anti-celeb. Neither is it class war. Just to clarify: 1) I consider Geales crap because, in my experience, the quality dropped to somewhere between middling and mediocre as soon as the last reviewer had filed expenses. This may reflect the limitations of working for an absentee boss, or it could be because of the rather peculiar Notting Hill demographic. Maybe the brigade is having to work so sharply below ability that it has come to treat the enterprise with a certain amount of contempt. In truth, I don't really care about the reasons. I just don't think the food is up to scratch. 2) I consider it overpriced because a single fish, a shot glass of chips and some babyfood costs £13 plus 12.5% service charge. And I consider it mean because ... well, look at the website's "what's on offer" page and then convince me that's good value. 3) I consider it pointless because, when you get into the £25-a-head bracket, there are already a hundred places doing convenience food such as fish and chips to an acceptable standard. It's the sub-£10 bracket that has all-but vanished from central London over the past decade. 4) I consider it cynical because, as you rightly point out, a good plate of fish and chips does not require a good chef. We can probably assume Aikens and Hollihead won't be manning the wire traps of a Saturday night, so whatever skill or technique they lend to the enterprise must be limited to menu writing and process designing. Yet, as you rightly point out, anybody who gives a toss about the product can get these things right all by themselves inside ten minutes. I accept that having a high-achieving chef on board may lead to a better quality control. But there's no evidence of that happening (see point one). All the points above lead me to conclude that their involvement can only be to attach a premium brand to a basic product in order to squeeze out a higher profit margin. It's no different from Adidas by Stella McCartney, an LG Prada phone or an Anya Hindmarch carrier bag. (And I don't think it's classist to point out that Geales' customers tend to wear Adidas by Stella McCartney and carry LG Prada phones in their Anya Hindmarch carrier bags.)
  4. No. Stay away. It's crap, overpriced, mean, cynical and pointless. I've nothing against this movement to save fish & chips from the depths of the kebab shop freezer. What I find offensive is this idea that the likes of Hollinhead and Aikens are somehow rescuing the form. They're not. They're just questing around for a scaleable business plan to push veblen food at aspirational markups. We're being played as brand-obsessed simpletons, and I for one hope they both crash and burn. If you want a proper Blackpool-grade fish & chips, go to Fryer's Delight in Holborn. If you want Blackpool-grade fish & chips served in fittingly threadbare splendour, try Sam’s in Golders Green. And if you want posh fish & chips, just bite the bullet and go to J Sheekey.
  5. Just been browsing. Worst offer I've found so far is, incredibly, from Foilage (pdf). Menu at £125 (vs. £60 usually), and includes one glass of pink fizz, a red rose, some chocolates and "a personalised menu signed by the head chef." "Happy Valentines, love. Here, Chris Staines has written on a menu for us."
  6. !!! Do bears shit in the Vatican? First up, are you sure you want to spend an evening in the company of people who believe restaurant dining and romantic gestures are only required annually? Can't you call an amnesty and go out on the 13th or the 15th? I know it kind of misses the point of St Valentine (if there is one), but the benefits are immeasurable. For example: 1) The atmosphere won't be so oppressively forced; 2) the good tables don't require a cash bribe to snag; 3) you'll avoid being railroaded into a "three-courses-and-glass-of-champagne" menu that's as cynical as any Hallmark card; 4) there's a much slimmer chance of having your conversational flow broken by roving violin players and red rose pushers; 5) the presence of something other than two-tops injects life in the room that's sadly not present when couples are forcing smalltalk to pass the time until they're drunk enough to embark on the nasty. If, despite all that, you must dine on the day itself, Square Meal has a long (but in no way comprehensive) list of places doing a gouge menu. You may want to view that as a list of venues to avoid. There's no indication of a Valentines theme on the website of Magdalen, which has good food and a nicely cosy vibe, so you may be lucky. Otherwise: have you considered sushi? Nothing says romance like brusque Japanese waiters, big knives and cold fish.
  7. Actually, having been a big fan during pages three through six of this thread, I've had repeated disappointments. Recent visits have featured some worryingly slapdash cooking, mistakes that shouldn't have reached the pass, and cheap ingredients that tasted like substitutes rather than inventions. You'll still chance on a damn fine dish that justifies the kitchen's reputation, but on average the difference between Arbies and the mid-market competition has narrowed. And, as the cost per head crept from sub-£30 to £40-plus, I'm finding myself a lot less forgiving when it misfires. I was under the impression that the only fixed criteria for winning a star was consistency. On that basis, perhaps Arbies' award arrived much too soon.
  8. Arg. Must stop playing this. Is that Holland Park's late, unlamented Chez Moi?
  9. Oddly enough, Ukrainian money consider sushi to be the very pinnacle of sophistication. Perhaps there's some exciting fusion possibility you're missing. Sauerkraut teriyaki, perhaps. Or borshch miso. By the way, am I right in thinking you're there as a hired gun for Leiths Food Solutions? If you're on Leith's payroll, it's probably best if you just listen to whatever nonsense the owner says and try to reinterpret it into something within a short walk of edible. Let's be honest, there's only so much you can do with the place from behind the stove, and the Leiths bigwigs will be wise enough to get cash upfront without making any rash promises. Meanwhile, if you're getting paid by the shop, it may be prudent to keep your eye out for other opportunities. Otherwise, there's a risk that your next assignment will involve forraging for insects in an windowless Odessa basement while handcuffed to a radiator.
  10. I'll have to give you it, although the timing's a bit out. Mirabelle, from 2002 (pdf). Over to you, Ali G.
  11. Right. This one should hold for a while. ......... Terrine of duck à la Roannaise, sauce cumberland Côte de veau aux morilles, essence de morilles Lemon tart
  12. Argh. I teally intended to stop wasting time on this game, but it keeps drawing me back in. Ledbury?
  13. Blimey - very impressive. Thought that one would last at least a day. Menu's from 2000, which I guess would be just after Shane Osborn took over.
  14. OK - this might be a bit more of a challenge. Chosen around a theme of "X with Y and Z sauce": Tortellini of Wild Mushrooms with Chicken and Truffle Sauce ... Roasted Rib of Veal with Braised Carrots and Onions with Rosemary Sauce ... Fig Tart with Port and Cinnamon Ice Cream, Cinnamon and Anise Sauce
  15. Only what AA Gill has reported: ... there's plenty more where that came from too. Please stick with the name, if only so I can continue to say: "Are we not hungry? We are Divo!" every time I walk past.
  16. I'm taking it as I want another shot. Purnell's, in Brum. (ETA: Or perhaps Jessica's I guess.)
  17. Are you thinking of Riddle & Finns? I think it featured briefly in a soul-destroying episode involving the late Ruby Tate.
  18. Yup - an easy one even for a Monday morning. That menu is from 2000 (link) and, oddly enough, sounds a a lot more on on-trend than their current offering . But I guess zeitgeist was never really Rules's first concern. Over to you, C.
  19. Warm Salad of Smoked Haddock, Quails Eggs, Potato & Truffle ... Roast Teal, Puy Lentils & Foie Gras Sauce ... Sauternes Crème Caramel, Armagnac Prunes
  20. That'll be The Ivy, unless I'm very much mistaken.
  21. Looks a bit like like Aikens until you reach the Baileys cake and "artisanal" cheese, both of which have the unmistakeable tang of a provincial hotel ...
  22. Was initially thinking American, but then Granny wouldn't have made an apple "tart". So possibly somewhere in Provence. Bistrot d'Eygalières?
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