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Everything posted by Rian

  1. I had dim sum at Yang Sing about ten days ago and it was very good - the tripe especially.
  2. The Fat Duck was named best restaurant in the 2005 poll, since suceeded by El Bulli. If you are going to use this criterion, Adria is now the best chef 'on the planet'. Not sure what the Queen has to do with this, other than the fact that she granted Heston an OBE, not a knighthood. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Fat Duck and admire Heston, I just don't think he should be immune to criticism. PS - I also liked watching him on the Sunday Times DVD. Possibly because a lot of it was cut from the TV series so the footage of him is more relaxed.
  3. Heston is certainly not a Sir, and the claim that he is 'officially' the best chef on the planet is debatable. According to whom?
  4. I missed the show but watched a bit of the free Sunday Times DVD. I liked it. A lot of it seems to be made up of bits that didn't make the cut for the show, but it's cool - lots of footage of the lab.
  5. Mju in Knightsbridge do it but the food (and service) are pretty ordinary so I wouldn't go out of my way. I had a cherry beer on the tasting at Le Gavroche bit I can't remember the dish unfortunately.
  6. Marina gives it 2* in today's metro. About time too. Review
  7. Defune is excellent, but can be breathtakingly expensive. Sushi Hiro is just excellent. R
  8. From personal experience I'd recommend Handford Wines, with branches in Holland Park and South Kensington. You can also order online. Voila.
  9. They do still have their set lunch menu, though I suspect it might now come in at £46 rather than £44. Jacket definitely still neccessary.
  10. The Capital is open Saturday lunch and does a £29.50 lunch menu with 4/5 choices at each course. Although it's not quite ALC standard or ambition, they don't run this alongside a higher-priced lunchtime ALC so the execution is excellent.
  11. Aikens has a scallop starter on the ALC using nasturtiam: Roast scallop and tartare with pickled carrots, nasturtiam, and lemon puree.
  12. Simone Zanoni is now heading up the kitchen at RHR, following Askew. Any reason you wouldn't try Aikens?
  13. Not quite ALC, but back again for lunch yesterday. Called first thing in the morning and managed to swing a 1.30pm table. FYI – if you are flexible with time, this is a decent bet for a last-minute table. Andy Fenn was with me and I'm sure he'll add his thoughts on what he had. Canapes: truffled cream cheese and aubergine caviar with crisps and toast. Pretty good. Spicy aubergine caviar with (I think) some sun-dried tomato. Amuse: more of a selection of tit-bits than a single taster. Lettuce puree with lobster consommé; a single split langoustine; a halved cherry tomato filled with mozzarella; a slice of deep-fried basil. On the side, two thin parmesan grissini of sorts, ends wrapped in parma ham. All of this worked as a delicate opening to the meal. Perhaps a touch too delicate for me, but I’m probably splitting hairs. Morel pappardelle with braised baby gem lettuce, parmesan shavings and julienne of spring truffle: big pile of pasta atop the lettuce, flanked by morel, halved and stuffed with artichoke and truffle. A morel veloute poured over at the table. The best dish of the day. Good bite to the pasta, dressed with shaved spring truffles. I love morels, and the veloute gave a fantastic woody aroma to the whole dish. Sole complaint was that there was only one (admittedly large) morel. Good start. Roast label Anglaise chicken breast with nut butter creamed potatoes, baby spinach and a Perigord truffle sauce: the breast had been scored and stuffed with shavings of spring truffle. Underneath, the spinach and mash, encircled by a selection of caramelised baby veg, including onions and carrots. This was pretty good, but not great. I couldn’t taste anything Perigordian in the sauce, and the truffles themselves, as per my last visit, were simply redundant. I’m aware of the mildness of spring truffles but these had imparted no flavour at all to the chicken breast, and were almost rubbery in texture. I thought last time was a one-off, but apparently not. I’d really rather they didn’t use these at all. The chicken was beautifully cooked, moist and with a great crisp skin. Didn’t taste too much nut butter in the mash but I think my palate was suffering from bombardment at Arbutus and Aikens on consecutive days. Mash was creamy though. Baby veg solid. Pear tatin with gorgonzola ice cream and walnut foam: a slice of imagination here, with a riff on a classic savoury combination. Walnut foam was a touch heavy, but that apart, this was fantastic. Really good pastry in the tart (much, much better than last time), and nice sticky pears. The real winner was the ice cream – salty, creamy, and rich with a touch of sweetness. Very, very good. In fact, I could have eaten a dish of this on its own. L’Artisan chocolate discs: white w/blackcurrant; milk(why?)w/passionfruit. The former very good, latter just ok. They now serve the ‘orgasm balls’ (strawberry sorbet coated in white chocolate) in a small, clear pot. In the bottom is a quantity of dry ice, with the balls placed on raised layer above. The lid is removed at the table and milky smoke spills out (a la the Duck), slowly revealing the chocolate. According to Nicolas the pot itself (or maybe just the lid) is an item they use in the restaurant in Japan. It’s gone down well so they’ve shipped it over. In all it’s a decent visual touch but it doesn’t add anything to the food itself. Overall, I left much more satisfied than last time. However, I would say that I had no more than a very 'nice' lunch, in the most anodyne sense. Nothing particularly exciting (gorgonzola ice cream apart), nothing reaching the highest heights. This was pretty much a solid 1-star meal with 2-star moments, at a restaurant running on autopilot. Staff are perfectly pleasant but remain at a distance, allowing little real engagement. It’s really not the kind of place you ‘connect’ with as a diner, if that makes sense. I’m glad I came back for another stab, but there’s little to compel me to return again, even if I wasn’t footing the bill. Was off the booze yesterday so got out for £45, inc. service. I’d sooner go to Aikens.
  14. What did you have in the end last night, Matt?
  15. Aaaaaah. The crunch of ear cartilage. Took me back to school. Mud churned and frozen into knives. An oval of wet leather. A scrum of teenage schoolboys and Forster, the Ganymede of the Lower Sixth, with his hand up my shorts. Happy days ← That is brilliant.
  16. I loved this, but had a single niggling concern - that the texture might be deemed unpalatable if it wasn't warm enough. Mine was ok, but I can see how it might not agree with some people.
  17. BTW, the Arbutus website is now functional, though there's less information there than here
  18. I might go for the Arbutus-Arbutus double header - I'm sorely tempted to go back tonight.
  19. As I say, it no doubt suffered in our meal by following upon a few very rich, heavily flavoured dishes. Still, I thought it lacked any real punch.
  20. I would say go for the rabbit...and get someone else to order the lamb But seriously, the rabbit is the nicer dish.
  21. The rabbit cottage pie went down very well indeed. The burger is a little out of place but is one of the lighter items and I can see why it might be popular on a slightly warmer evening. Andy was in the red striped jumper and I was sat next to him, on the banquette. I think you spotted us
  22. Since I have no such bias I will happily pass comment on last night’s meal. Overall, I would broadly agree with Matt’s Chez Bruce comparison. We really liked the room. It’s light and airy, and once you’re sat down it really doesn’t feel like you’re in Soho. As you walk in there is a bar to your right, with place settings for eating there. The main body of the restaurant is around the other side of said bar, meaning that you come back on yourself into the larger space. We had a table for four just at the top end of the bar, looking down into the front space. Once we’d settled in they offered us hunks of decent bread from a board. Given the discount we went a little bit nuts. We each ordered 2 starters and a main. My own meal went as follows: Crisp Braised Pig’s Head, potato puree, caramelized onion and garlic: Probably my favourite dish of the night. The thick slab of meat was meltingly soft, piggy, and gelatinous (in a good way). Had a nice touch of spice, too. Potato puree was good if a little stiff. I very much doubt that there is a more satisfying way to spend £5. Fantastic. Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb ‘boulangère’, lamb sweetbreads, spiced dates, radish leaves: very nice. Alternating thin layers of potato and soft lamb topped with and encircled by the sweetbreads. My only criticism was that the boulangère was a hair too ‘potatoey’ for my tastes. It could have done with a touch more seasoning between the layers but texturally it was good. Sweetbreads were tasty little mouthfuls. Probably a bad choice in the scheme of my meal but I couldn’t resist a main course of Pied et Pacquets (tripe parcels and trotters), soufflé potatoes: 2 quenelles of minced trotter alongside the 2 tripe parcels, with the potatoes arriving in a small dish alongside. The latter were akin to inflated crisps – round, crisp saucers of potato straight out of the hot oil. The crispness was welcome since the rest of the dish is rich, and moist. The trotter was redolent of the earlier braised head in its soft texture and meaty sweetness, hence my concerns about ordering these dishes in succession. Tripe parcels were relatively small in size (thank god) but big on taste: stocky and spicy, a sort of porcine oxtail. Needless to say all plates were wiped clean by the consistent bread. I also tried the following over the course of the evening. I won’t go into too much detail since I’m sure Andy Fenn will have his own comments. Chicken oysters, macaroni, broad beans, lemon thyme and hazelnuts: I got a mouthful of this and I have to say it was pretty good. I thought perhaps there was too much nuttiness, but great texture on the oysters and the lemon thyme provided a welcome citrus note in the context of my own meal. Squid and mackerel burger, BBQ sauce, vine cherry tomatoes: By far the weakest dish we had and a little out of place on this menu. There was plenty of fish in a rather pale patty, which had been laced with some oriental spice (I think a little ginger/coriander/spring onion), but otherwise it was a little bland. Needless to say it suffered by following upon the richer pork and lamb dishes. Roast Rabbit, shoulder cottage pie, hispi cabbage, mustard sauce: again, very tasty. Cottage pie arrived in a little dish on the side, and was fantastic – probably the best element. I’ll let Andy give you his own thoughts on this. Elwy Valley rump of lamb, tortellini of goats cheese, artichokes, tomato: very generous portion of bright pink meat skirted by a line of fat. This was actually one of the lighter dishes we had and benefited from the tart sweetness of the tomato. We also ordered a couple of the mango desserts, which were good, but when Alphonso mangoes are around it’s hard not to put together something pretty tasty. Overall, very impressed. For opening night, everything ran smoothly – even more impressive given our table’s slightly awkward ordering. The great selection of wines by the carafe gives you a chance to get a decent taste of a number of wines over the course of a meal, and will win them many friends. Staff were very pleasant and accomodating. We had a relaxed, tasty meal, which even at full price would have been highly reasonable (the 3 dishes I had, at full whack, would weight in around £26). I’ll definitely be back.
  23. Change of plan - now going tonight instead. Anyone else going to be around for the opening?
  24. That all sounds great, especially the pig's head. Booked in for Wednesday, looking forward to it.
  25. I was always resolutely appalled by a 'friend' of mine at university who referred to his evening meal as 'supper', so I sympathise with Tim's apoplexy. Lunch = lunch Evening meal = dinner, or tea when I'm visiting my parents oop north. As in, 'what's for tea, dad?' (since my Mum can't cook). The only circumstance in which I would possibly use 'supper', or wish to hear it used, is in reference to a bite to eat just before bed. This may be another northern thing.
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