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Everything posted by Simon_S

  1. And marrying the subject of restaurants and toilets, we have this place in Taiwan. Si
  2. I think it's to stop people shooting up in the stalls. I dont quite know how it works but a lot of train stations in Melbourne have them for that reason. ← You're right, that's exactly what it's for. The UV light makes it difficult to find a vein. I should point out that I have no direct experience in such matters! Si
  3. You'll find some pretty good breads at the Avoca Handweavers cafes/shops (at Enniskerry near Dublin, Kilmacanague, Avoca, maybe others?). They're quite touristy, and you'll probably be surrounded by fellow Americans, but I'm fond of their cheese bread and pistachio bread. Si
  4. Simon_S


    Hi Danielle, I've recently returned from a trip to Lyon, and given the chance I would go back tomorrow. There's such a range of restaurants and good food on offer that you will literally be spoiled for choice. While there, we ate at the 1-star Nicolas le Bec, 2-star Leon de Lyon, and the 3-star Bocuse, along with a couple of bouchons. I would say a visit to Bocuse is worth it for historical reasons only, and only if you have deep pockets. All four of us were very disappointed with our meal there, both in terms of food and service. If you're looking for food with a light touch, this is not the place! Leon de Lyon provided excellent food, and relaxed, friendly but attentive service. The cooking here is quite "classic" and while certainly filling, it was not particularly heavy. Highlights for me were rabbit (presented in various ways), and a really excellent dessert of roasted pineapple. Highly recommended. On balance, I would say my favourite meal in Lyon was at Nicolas le Bec. We ate there on the first night and it really was an excellent experience from start to finish. The food was creative, reasonably light and has provided me with some excellent memories. We went for one of the taster menus (Menu Epicure) and the highlights for me were the turbot with morels (not halibut as shown on the English translation of the menu), the duck with truffle and (rarely for me) the desserts. In fact, the mashed potato with olive oil (served with the duck) is reason enough to go. Heartily recommended! Apart from that, there are many excellent bouchons at all price ranges, which you really must sample. You definitely won't starve!! Enjoy your trip. Si
  5. You're almost certainly correct. The tagline is "Stop asking about Michelin", which I think says it all. Si
  6. Hi Corinna, don't I know you from somewhere?! (I'm Diapason elsewhere...) It is possible, and perhaps likely, that the sommelier was nervous, and this nervousness came across to me in a manner not intended. I suppose for me, the interaction with the sommelier is a crucial part of the meal. They're probably the member of staff I will converse with the most during a meal, and I think it's safe to say that I'm depending on them to plug the many many gaps in my own wine knowledge. When that didn't happen, and when glasses remained empty, I found it disappointing. In general, my problem with the evening was summed up by your comment above: "the passion in the kitchen doesn’t seem to resonate out the door and there’s no sense of excitement or anticipation". Coupled with lax service and a couple of FOH issues, it spoiled the event a little. The food was good, although Hazel (my SO) and I agreed that it was not as good as on previous visits. There was nothing "wrong" with it per se, but for me it was just slightly lacking in that "wow" factor. Alas, I simply can't remember what we ate. I know that our guests (who had never eaten in a restaurant such as this before) were totally blown away, so the kitchen must have been doing something right. You know I'm surprised I can't remember what we had now that you mention it. I'd normally remember at least *something*. Maybe that's indicative of the problem. You know, in light of this discussion, I think I'll have to cobble some pennies together and try to get back there for lunch. Everyone deserves a second chance after all, and I still think Kevin Thornton is probably the best chef around. Ironically, I don't think Thornton's has ever received so much publicity. I believe he is on the front of tomorrow's Irish Times magazine, with an accompanying article. I wonder is it good for business in that strange roundabout way...? Si
  7. Hello all. I'm a recent joinee to the eGullet community and I feel a little bad that my first post in this forum should be a rant, but nonetheless, here goes. I ate at Thornton's at the end of last summer and it was really a rather poor experience. The food was good, and to be honest the room doesn't bother me at all (even though we were in the graveyard section) but the service wavered between merely adequate and abysmal. The first time I ate there the service was perfect: friendly, attentive, helpful and efficient without being overbaring at all. It was one of the best meals I ever had in terms of the marriage of food and experience. Since then it's been downhill (not that I have been all that often, but the fact remains). On our most recent visit, having been seated we were left for a significant amount of time without menus, an offer of an aperitif, or indeed any acknowledgement of our presence whatsoever. It was extremely difficult even to get the attention of a passing waiter, which stunned me at a restaurant of this calibre. When we eventually managed to order some drinks and were handed some menus, I started to relax and thought things would probably look up from there. That proved false. While the food service from then on was mediocre (3 of the 4 of us served and forced to wait for the last guests dish to appear, for example) the sommelier in particular I thought very poor. She was totally without recommendation at the beginning of the meal, despite my prompting of the sort of thing we might be looking for. In fact, I got the distinct impression that she felt superior to everyone in the room and couldn't be bothered serving such hoi polloi as ourselves. During the meal, it was virtually impossible to get any attention, and at one point all 4 of us at the table were left with empty glasses for a long period. Our wine had been left on the other side of the room, and I didn't feel it appropriate to walk over to collect it, but towards the end of the meal I was virtually forced to do exactly that. The final straw came when we ordered off the cheese trolley and I told the sommelier we would like to accompany it with some port. She said "okay" and started walking away, and when I called after her to ask what ports were available, she said she didn't know, because she was new. I'm sorry, but if I'm spending 800 Euro on a meal for 4 people I expect better than this. The meal was made extra disappointing by my memory of past glories there. Prior to the night in question, I had spent a long time raving about the restaurant to our guests, and it was quite embarrassing to find myself apologising to them repeatedly. I may return to Thornton's for lunch sometime to see if things have improved, but from what we experienced, serious changes in attitude and/or personnel are required to restore this restaurant to it's former lofty position. Rant over, I'll try to be more positive in future posts! Si
  8. Time will tell whether that new home will be in this country or not. I'm in no way connected nor do I have any inside info, but I wouldn't be hugely surprised if Kevin Thornton looked elsewhere. Personally, I'm glad Thornton's lost the star. In my view it was totally deserved, not for the food, but for the experience of dining there. I will put more detailed thoughts in the Thornton's thread. Si
  9. I hope nobody minds if I revive this thread, especially since this is my first post to the eGullet forums, but I feel that here is the most fitting place to make my debut. I will be in Chicago visiting friends for a few days in mid-March (coming over from Ireland for Paddy's Day) and was considering trying to find a top-notch restaurant for my girlfriend and I for one of the nights. This thread, and the others on eGullet, have ensured that the choice was a no brainer, so yesterday I called and made a booking for Alinea. Suffice to say, we are both incredibly excited. The person I spoke to while making the booking was extremely friendly, and I got a table at exactly the date and time I was looking for. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread, and to Chef Grant, for providing the wealth of information, pictures and descriptions. It's really made me realise what a fabulous resource this is. I have been lurking here for quite a while, although mainly on the European forums, and the information and knowledge I have gained has been invaluable. My girlfriend (Hazel) and I are in the middle of an excellent period of foodiness. We made the pilgrimage to Paul Bocuse in Lyon a couple of weeks ago (it was extremely disappointing) along with Nicolas le Bec and Leon de Lyon while we were there, we will be eating at El Bulli at the end of April, and are intending to travel to Monaco in June/July where we may dine at Alain Ducasse. However, I am as excited about the trip to Alinea as any of those other restaurants. We will, of course, be taking the Tour with the wine pairings -- I just hope we're up to the challenge. In any case, I'll report my experience when I get back. Once again, hello to all, thanks to all, and hopefully you'll be hearing more from me soon. To all those at Alinea: I can't wait to get there! Si
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