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Everything posted by beandork

  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.
  16. The gods must be smiling on me at the moment. Within a couple of weeks of moving into the town centre of Bournemouth a french brasserie has opened up only 50 metres from my front door, and having already popped in there for breakfast and lunch I can say it's not bad at all. Which is a welcome change, because the vast majority of Bournemouth dining is rubbish. The interior is the old Echo newspaper building on Richmond Hill and it's a large space. The interior balances a chequered floor/black furniture minimalism with a row of chandeliers and candle lighting suspended from the ceiling, and the seating ranges from tables to benches and booths. The menu is extensive, from brasserie fare to some luxurious high end stuff. If the rest of Bournemouth's dining is anything to go by, adventurous menus scare everyone away so there's plenty of usual stuff such as pastas, steaks (albeit done very well, had some of the g/f's carbonara and it was perfect). They haven't stooped to putting pizza and wok noodles on the menu, thank christ. It's the higher end stuff which has me happy. Whenever I need my foie gras fix, the only recourse I know of around here is Jimmy's and their £35 chateubriand and foie which, although nice, is hard to struggle through alone and as it's for two I can rarely encourage anyone else to hit it with me. At the Print Room, there's three foie dishes : seared, in a ham hock terrine with truffle, and served with a beef tournedo and girolle mushroom sauce. The seared entree is £10, so I can see myself jumping into that almost weekly and dying of cholesterol related illnesses by the end of the year. I had both the foie dishes, and both were perfect, just what the doctor ordered. Or would advise against. Anyway, other dishes include pancetta wrapped scallops with cauliflower puree, lobster thermidor, turbot, sevruga and beluga caviar. The only trouble I've had is the service is still settling in, which is understandable as they've been open for only two days. They have that damn UK trait where you sometimes have to wait for up to 15 minutes from asking for the bill to paying and leaving. Some of the staff seem a little aimless, and when I advised one of them on leaving today that we'd had a toddler at our table that had marmaladed the arms of one of the seats and that it would need a wipe before the next party, it required multiple explanations before he understood what I was saying. There needs to be a floor manager with a bullwhip stalking the floor in these opening weeks. Anyway, main reason I post this on egullet is that it's 'training week' at this location until friday 14th this week, and all food is half price. So my seared foie was £5. Lobster thermidor at £12.50. I asked a waiter if that meant that the sevruga caviar service with vodka, blinis, quail eggs, etc, would be £35. "Technically, yes" she said wincing, obviously aware of what a brutal blow to the profit margin that would be. I suggest anyone down in Bournemouth for this late summer checks it out, and if you're here over the next week come plunder the menu with me. edit: interview with the interior designer and menu here
  17. I was given a vac-packed entire lobe of fresh foie gras for my birthday. The present was all the more special for having come from my girlfriends food-phobic brother, who considers anything other pizza, spaghetti bol, and chicken with the skin off 'weird'.
  18. The Ship in Distress is good for seafood, definitely recommend it. A short drive to Lymington will take you to the Stanwell Hotel, which has interesting food for very good prices plus a nice location. There is a fixed menu for sunday lunch which usually has some interesting choices and three courses for 17-19 quid. I've had stuff like baked mushrooms stuffed with ham mousse there, roast beef with enoki mushrooms, smoked duck...good stuff. There's a place in Bournemouth Gardens, name is 'Beurre -'something. Good food, interesting menu, reasonable prices, can get busy. There's a seafood restaurant on the beachfront to the right of Bournemouth Pier which does good seafood, although it's a little pricey. Sorry, I'm a bit rubbish with the names! - at least there's barely any restaurants down where this one is. Isabella's in Parkstone is good, can cost a little but does pleasant french based cooking and has gorgeous little booths. I don't recommend Jimmy's for the food but they do a dish which is sheer decadence - foie gras and chateubriand. It's served with potatoes sauteed in the leftover fat from the foie. If your hearts are up for it, drop the £30 for two and hook in. It is by far the most go-for-broke dish in Bournemouth.
  19. I had an interesting meal at Bell's Diner in Bristol recently. The menu was adventurous and some of the courses were hit-and-miss, but it was a cut above the usual and didn't cost that much considering the jellies-and-foam fare ...I had problems finding much else in Bristol that was extraordinary, you might be best taking the short trip over to Cheltenham or Bath.
  20. I have a pea puree which I look for any excuse to make, it tastes like luxury stick one cup of chicken stock, two peeled and crushed garlic cloves, and a knob of butter, and one or two 'arms' of a star anise into a saucepan and boil. When it starts reducing, add 1/3 a cup of frozen peas. After around 3-4 minutes, remove from the boil, remove the star anise and garlic and puree then put back on a soft heat until it has perfect consistency. The anise flavour sits perfect between the sweetness of the peas and the meatiness of the stock. Something different from mint, in any case.
  21. Any reason the UK & Ireland names are missing? ← yeah, they saw what happened to the webmaster a few posts back and have decided to lay low!
  22. Amen...Paul Bocuse, past lifetime achievement award winner, is described thus: "Having put their fraternal bond to the ultimate test for four decades and come through with flying colours, the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, can truly claim to be lifetime achievers..." I love lists. Can't wait to read the blurb for each place. Noma has flown straight into my radar.
  23. If MPW on hell's kitchen is anything like the mention of his name on this thread, he'll merely need to stand there while the contestants tear each other apart when does the show start again?
  24. I went on saturday feb.17th for a birthday lunch kindly provided by my girlfriend ("Hey babe, I've booked us LCS up in Cheltenham...it's your present to me for my birthday"), and had a great time. We were amused to see foie gras protestors outside the Blanc brasserie, and so decided to have the foie, lamb's tongue and walnuts starter to commemorate their efforts. Normally we both order different dishes each for every course but neither of us could say no to the foie. I was impressed by the generosity of the servings, it's the first time I've been able to get properly stuck into the stuff without having to portion out modest nibbles. Forgot to mention, the amuse was butternut squash veloute with almond foam. Although I didn't taste much off the foam the veloute was like pouring gold down my throat. Nice, in other words. For main, I had the lamb, jerusalem artichokes, liquorice...the liquorice and artichokes were a great combo, and I had that lovely sensation of a new taste lighting up a previously dark part of my brain. The girlfriend had pigeon (i think) with lentils, lardons and water chestnuts and the poor thing could barely finish half her meal due to the entree onslaught. I helped best as I could and was astonished at how piggy the lentils tasted - in a good way! I was torn between the infamous cheese board and dessert, and ended up running with the cheeses, most of them on Helen's recommendation. The petit fours did a good job of 'dessert replacement'. I was stuffed and while rolling through town afterwards I felt like one of those geese whose engorged livers I had feasted upon. It was all seamless, tasty stuff, the service was perfect - professional but warm. If I had any quibbles, it's the lack of a tasting menu. I wanted to try everything on the menu and it's beyond torturous keeping to an entree and main.
  25. on the pub front, there's a few pubs around the queen victoria market which do acceptable meals at terrifyingly low prices
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