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    bournemouth, UK
  1. If you make it down to Falmouth I have a cracker of a recommendation, but I'm almost conflicted about publicising such a hidden gem... ...oh, what the heck. I stumbled across a small cute wharf place called The Wheelhouse that does shellfish, portugese cataplanas style. The menu is a simple chalkboard of shellfish done in a couple of ways, with prices varying daily. Seating is a mixture of tables and benches. Myself and a friend lucked onto both the place and a table (it was packed), and gorged ourselves stupid on crab, mussels, and prawns. We had champagne sorbet for desert, the whole meal (plus some pints, bread and mayo) came in at 35 quid or so. It's closed sunday, monday, tuesday, and it's best to book by calling ahead. If the idea of eating your body weight in shellfish interests you, then I recommend it. Ping me if you can't find the number online.
  2. I usually like Westbeach in Bournemouth - http://www.west-beach.co.uk/ I also recommend Stanwell House in Lymington, namely the Bistro (you have to walk past reception to get there). I haven't tried their Seafood restaurant and I've always avoided the light lunches, and have been pleasantly surprised by some of the things that have turned up on the Bistro menu (ie; sweetbreads, pigeon salad, chicken liver stew) - http://www.stanwellhousehotel.co.uk/resources
  3. For the cauliflower, remove the stems and keep the florets. Put the florets into a freezer bag with a few knobs of butter, suck the air out best as you can and tie them up, then put the bag into a pot of simmering water for 20 minutes. In the meantime put the stems into a small saucepan of salted water and boil to create some cauliflower flavoured water (only really needs to be done for about 10 minutes). Put the cauliflower florets and butter into a blender and blend. It will probably get stuck due to not enough liquid so add the cauliflower water a few teaspoons at a time and keep blending until you've got a smooth puree. Trust me, the cauliflower taste won't be particularly subtle
  4. I last went a couple of months ago. I opted for the lunch deal at the The Lecture Room and Library, which is upstairs. It's something crazy like £35 for a variety of freebies, followed by a fixed 'entree' course which is a serving of four dishes. Then you have a main option, and either the cheese plate or dessert (which is 3 separate desserts). Tack on another £10 if you want a half-bottle of wine, coffee and petit fours. It's probably the best way to see if it's for you. I've taken a peek at the ala carte menu a few times but the prices are beyond me unfortunately. The service has always been great, and I feel the food has recently taken a turn for the better under the new chef. Some of the standouts from the meal were a parmesan risotto for main, and a dessert which included an apple and tarragon sorbet. I'm not sure how involved Pierre Gagnaire is. I know that last year he made a publicised appearance at the place, where he ran the kitchen for a week or two. You're right, the patissierie is lovely, great place to hide from the crowds! The art tends to change fairly often there, so not sure if I've seen the two dogs you mentioned. The art does tend to be pretty edgy though, and I've seen the odd mildly smutty piece in view during the day. I go for the food, I stay for the smut.
  5. Bell's Diner gets my vote. Went there last week and had the 3 course bistro menu with amuse for 16.50 and would have been happy paying twice as much. I had been to the place two years ago, and the recent meal was vastly superior. Don't think the bistro menu is available over the weekends, but still.
  6. The last time I ate there it was one of the breakfasts and it was over 7 quid, no drink included. It was sufficiently ordinary to curtail any further culinary expeditions for me at Little Chef. The price was a little bit of a shock for myself, as I happily plunder my town's greasy spoons for cooked breakfasts and get at least the same plus a tea or coffee for 5 quid or under all up. The quality at LC was not great enough to my mouth to justify the extra cost. Anyone eaten at the Popham LC? Anyone want to take a hit for the team? It'll be interesting to see if the 3 month trial is a success.
  7. Surely this is not a "problem". ← It is a problem when the director was talking about how he wants Heston to bring "fireworks" and a new evolution in roadside dining, when the Little Chef customers seemed to want something the simplest of no-frills food. That bit where he said "I was rather disappointed with the meal, it was like something I could have got any other celebrity chef to have done" was a jaw dropper, for so many reasons. I travel around the UK a bit and have always avoided Little Chef. Apart from the grim cafeteria McInteriors, the food is overpriced and the coffee awful. I don't have a problem with eating ordinary food just as long as I don't have to pay extra quid just for the joy of it being in a service-station.
  8. Apologies for my super-slow reactions...I had a great meal as well at Anthony's at Flannel's a couple of months ago, and thought the lunch was great value...I can remember a perfect mushroom veloute starter and an extremely cute quail main. The bizarre thing about it though is that the place also does standard baguettes and salads for the casual shoppers so while I was tucking into this lovely lunch, a couple of ladies were nibbling sandwiches the next table over.
  9. Thanks for the review! Something I always find gets lost in any talk about Sketch is their lunch deal which I reckon is one of the better value ones in London (Foliage being another of my favourites). Although the 'gourmet rapide' menu reads 3 courses for something like £35, if you order the desert selection instead of cheese and count all the plates that land on the table over the course of the meal including amuses and petit fours, there's usually at least 10 plates worth of food to work through. They say the cheap lunch offer is for people too busy to stop for a proper lunch. I fear the amount of food you'd get in a proper lunch.
  10. Amen to that. The funny thing about it is that even though a lot of modern cooking techniques are in display throughout the book it still feels like cooking grounded in Britain, not Mars. Good luck, and can't wait to see the pictures!
  11. Most expensive was £250 for two at Fat Duck two years ago. I'm fortunate in that neither myself nor my g/f are big wine drinkers - we tank out at one glass - as wine seems to double the cost of meals for a lot of people. Best cheap meal ever would be at Vue de Monde in Melbourne, about 5 years ago. The chef had returned from europe working with MPW and the Rouxs, with his balls on fire and the notion of recreating an antipodean Harveys. I think 3 courses with a glass of wine was between $AUS26-29. At the exchange rate back then, that works to around 10 pounds. The food was excellent - got the same vibe I get eating at Foliage these days. The meal started me on fine dining, and I went back twice within 5 months. Lunch there now costs over $70 for 3 courses.
  12. Phwoar. Could do with a brandied ortolan with some seared foie and a glass of freshly squeezed veal juice RIGHT NOW. Maybe with a torchon of engorged egulleteer liver on the side. Someone remind me to get the windows reinforced tomorrow.
  13. There are a couple of specific points where I don't see eye-to-eye with the anti-foie lobby. a) The argument that production is cruel is based on the force-feeding-with-a-funnel process, I assume, and having seen a duck's gullet and how different it is from a person's I suspect there's anthropomorphism at work in coming to the conclusion that the process is brutal. b) The anti-foie lobby in my experience leaves no room for ethically produced foie-gras, meaning that there is either a trend or a misconception at work in their current efforts against foie c) And when I point out to the few anti-foie people I've debated with that the production and supply of ie; chicken is unambiguously cruel and on a much, much, much larger scale I'm usually told that they wish to see that out of business as well! At which point it seems apparent that this is a wedge issue for the vegie-munchers, who have managed to reign in enough animal-rights counterparts to make foie the big issue that veal was a few years ago before they lost interest. Add to that I HATE bullies, and I become very suspicious of anyone pushing for the banning of foiegras.
  14. Ocean Bay restaurant is O-K, nothing super-spectacular. Best bet there is for dinner, as the lunch menu is pretty basic: http://www.oceanbayrestaurant.com/menus2.html
  15. You'd be flat-out trying to find a fishmonger at all in this town. Your best bet would be Fishworks in Christchurch, 10 minutes drive from Bournemouth, I think they function as a fishmonger as well as an eating outlet. Try the fishmongers out on Mudeford Quay (15-20 min drive from Bournemouth) if you fiend for the getting-your-hands-on-the-still-twitching-catch thing. Only other fishmonger I know of in the area is a place in Christchurch road near Pokesdown station, but their name escapes me and I haven't been in the place before, so can't really give you much information on that one.
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