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Everything posted by Simon_S

  1. Interesting stuff, Ian. Now that you've taken the risk, I may have to check it out. (Totally agreed about the produce, btw. And thanks for the "don't make friends with salad" earworm which will be with me for the day!)
  2. My most disliked current trend is foraging, and it seems to be popping up on menus all over the place. I don't want to eat a plate of stuff that I could pick in the laneway outside, and I don't think it's in any way interesting to eat foods that most people walk on merely because it's "foraged". If it tastes great then fine, but if it doesn't add anything to the dish other than massaging the chef's ego, leave it off the plate! Rene Redzepi has a lot to answer for.
  3. First I heard of this place was the review in the IT on Saturday. That doesn't mean anything since I'm a bit out of touch, but I'd be interested to hear how you get on.
  4. My earlier post was (rightly) deleted, but the standard issue noodles that are available all over the place here look very similar to the ones pictured halfway down this review I found on Manchester Confidential: http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/Food-and-Drink/Chinese/Bo-Wa-review While I agree that they're not always the same, the standard-issue "sides of noodles" in these parts really are quite consistent, and I'd say this goes some way to explaining the misunderstandings in this thread. They may not be authentic in any shape or form, but they're so ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants in the UK and Ireland that it's normal for here. Certainly they vary in terms of ingredients/dryness/sauciness, etc, but in general the overriding flavour is pretty similar. I doubt there's very much to them, tbh.
  5. Magret? (We actually brought home some supermarket magret after our recent trip. Both in terms of quality and price it was a bit ahead of what we can get easily here.)
  6. Escargots? Frogs' legs? Dave, I've been enjoying your blog very much. We were holidaying near Montguyon a few weeks ago, and your photos are making me very nostalgic. The problem with such a holiday is that the brief glimpse into this attractive way of life makes it difficult to return to normality. You're not helping at all!
  7. I know exactly what you're talking about, kingchristo, but have been through this frustration before! The soft fried noodles that are completely standard across the UK and Ireland, right? The ones with the beansprouts, occasionally scallions, and not much else bar the noodles?
  8. Putty Man, I like a lot of your arguments here, and I think many them ring true. That said, I'm not sure that Michelin's inconsistency in the UK and Ireland guide is all about elevation of the unworthy. Especially at the 1-star level, I've eaten quite a few meals at restaurants in France that I am *convinced* would not receive a star in Ireland if you transplanted them in their entirety. Of course, Ireland doesn't have a culinary tradition, nor does it have any kind of buzz that would register with Michelin at all, and historically it seemed that Michelin were barely conscious of top-drawer cooking in Ireland. For a long time I believed that it was much harder to get a star in Ireland than in France, and certainly much harder than in NY. The recent elevations here possibly hint at a shift in this policy, but actually they just make things more confusing IMO. We'll see how it plays out. I can't comment widely about the UK aside from noting that my rare meals in Michelin-starred "buzz" restaurants have been disappointing.
  9. I think in the case of the Greenhouse it really was just too soon. They only opened in, what, April? Can't imagine they were actually expecting one. If they're not in next year, that will be a surprise/disappointment I think. I'm surprised at Lock's, I have to say. I liked the restaurant certainly on my one or two visits, but it was never on my Michelin radar. Must go back.
  10. It might take a while to separate the wheat from the chaff in Dublin restaurants. Welcome to our fair city!
  11. Depends on the restaurant of course, but it's certainly more prevalent at lunch since the recession took hold. My understanding is that margins are very tight at lunchtime so it's all about keeping costs down. I'm not in the business, so maybe others can chime in. As for dinners, I haven't really experienced the set menu on such a widespread scale, or at least not without an a la carte option too. I certainly wouldn't consider it "normal" at dinner (outside of early-bird deals), so I wonder if you've just been unlucky? It's a while since I've been a student in Dublin, so I don't know where people eat these days! Have you noticed this in cheaper restaurants, more expensive restaurants, or across the board?
  12. Pierogi, that's spot-on! We have a 10-month old who I hope will go through this process in due course. It's exactly how I was raised, and I also learned quickly that if I wanted the treat I had to keep up my side of the bargain. The only problem now is that so many parents have ruined it, you may not be allowed into the restaurant in the first place.
  13. I think the law of diminishing returns can apply, but these days I'd sooner save up my shekels for one occasional blow-out meal rather than lots of mid-range (and frequently disappointing) meals. I agree with the mid-range canyon mentioned upthread, and since I eat pretty well at home I'll also either lean towards ethnic or multi-course taster when out. While paying several hundred Euro/Pounds/Dollars for a meal is immoral to some, I certainly don't consider it so. Food is one of very few things I can experience at the very top level, where I can actually see, taste and experience the state of the art (if such a concept exists for food). Some top-end meals have been sufficiently impressive that the happy memories will last a lifetime. I firmly believe that money spent on experiences is money well-spent.
  14. I may have misled you there! I'm not sensitive to the mustiness myself (although thinking about it again, I could easily imagine that the Shropshire blue is the mustiest of all) but I thought it might be a "different" kind of blue cheese, and might give a different perspective. I doubt very much you got a bad one, so you can probably just chalk that up to experience. I'm glad you're making progress, though. Enjoy that stilton!
  15. Best of luck, Fat Guy, hope all goes well at the new venture. If you ask me, you were starting to look a bit too thin for these parts anyway...
  16. I'm no chef either, but I have a guilty pleasure of Mild Curry flavour Supernoodles lovingly served between two slices of bread. In fact now that I think of it, most of my guilty pleasures involve carbs in bread.
  17. That's the one I couldn't remember yesterday. Good call.
  18. You could try a blue brie if you're looking for something a bit different, and you might find that Roquefort or Stilton offer something different again, but I find both of those more challenging than Bleu d'Auvergne and Forme d'Ambert.
  19. I never really "got" blue cheese until I tasted it with Port, but now I consider that to be one of the finest flavour combinations on the planet. That said, the mustiness doesn't bother me, so I don't really know if it will do the trick for you. I assume the Bleu d'Auvergne was in tip-top shape? I find blue cheese can get unpleasant if it starts to sweat at any point.
  20. I really like Bleu d'Auvergne and Forme d'Ambert, but if you're struggling with the musty edge, you might try something like Shropshire Blue. I find it easier to persuade people to try that one.
  21. Really? Can't speak for London but in Bristol every supermarket had them when I was last there. ...and I can get them easily in Dublin too. I'm sure there are lots of things that I can't get here, but I don't know because I've always lived here and haven't had to look for them. Still, I remember on early trips abroad being shocked, SHOCKED, to find that the default flavour for crisps (potato chips) wasn't Cheese and Onion throughout the world. They're probably available now, of course, but they're never the same. And then there's red lemonade.
  22. I don't understand why they persist in choosing chefs based on their entire menus in the regionals, but then judge each course separately in the finals.
  23. Have to say, I think Phil Howard has come across incredibly well on the show. I've never eaten at his restaurant and never met him, but for some reason I thought he'd be a tosser (perhaps because he reminds me so much of Hank Azaria's character in Run, Fatboy, Run). I'd certainly like to eat his grub now. Oh, and while I'm disagreeing with you, KaffirLime, I thought they picked exactly the right menu in the end. It's certainly the one I'd most like to eat. I somehow doubt Alan Murchison will be returning next year...
  24. Next time you're in Dublin you need to try the Greenhouse. I'll start a thread about that eventually...
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