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  1. Sufficient Harden's Guide reporters thought highly enough of The Vineyard at Stockcross to give it 56th place in yesterday's Sunday Times Food List- Britain's 100 Best Restaurants. The Sunday Times online copy is hidden behind a paywall. Bloomberg published The Food List online at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-30/fat-duck-beaten-by-gidleigh-park-in-top-u-k-restaurant-list.html The Sunday Times carries more information of restaurants on the list. The "Diners' Verdict" of The Vineyard seems somewhat lukewarm considering its league position: Daniel Galmiche's takeover of the stoves of this modern (" rather Hollywood") country-house hotel has yet to enable it really to square up against its top-price peers; 'one of the UK's best new-wine wine lists" is, however, an undisputed attraction.
  2. I was favourably impressed by Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant (www.verveine.co.uk/ ), Milford on Sea at a mid-week lunch last week. As its name suggests the village is on the coast, on the southern edge of the New Forest. Its about half an hour by car from Bournemouth, nearer an hour from Salisbury. Verveine was busy at the lunchtime service. The restaurant is entered by passing through the wet fish shop at the front and past their small kitchen. It opened in Feb 2010 and I was told they were turning customers away during the summer. Hence the co-owners are considering plans to extend the restaurant, probably by covering an enclosed patio area at the back. Chef/co-proprietor David Wykes trained in Michelin starred kitchens in France (Nice) & the UK (Oxford). My selections from the Prix Fixe menu were packed with flavour and gave clear evidence that he has the skills and invention to make good use of the fresh ingredients. Unsurprisingly the a la carte and specials board majored in fish dishes. The chef was supported by a good team of two in the restaurant; their service was very friendly, enthusiastic and efficient. Well worth a visit IMHO.
  3. I notice that South Lodge Hotel is a 'New Entry' to the 2011 GFG with an impressive score of 7 courtesy of The Pass, one of its two restaurants. Its called The Pass because the whole restaurant is a chef's table with kitchen images beamed to TV screens for the benefit of wall facing diners. The guide describes chef Matt Gillan as 'spectacularly gifted'. Has anyone experienced his cooking here or elsewhere? I'll report back on my mid-October lunch at The Pass (booked before the 2011 GFG publication).
  4. You're correct of course John. The Marquis is described on its website as a " boutique hotel" or "restaurant with rooms". I put my mistake down to the bus I caught from Dover; it's stop in Alkham is still called the " Marquis of Granby".
  5. Three pubs I've lunched at in recent weeks and have been impressed by are: The Red Lion, East Chisenbury, Wiltshire. It has a Michelin ‘Bib Gourmand’. http://redlionfreehouse.com/ Limited choice of 3 courses for £15, or alc The Swan at Southrop, Gloucestershire. Recently voted the GFG Restaurant of the Year. http://www.theswanatsouthrop.co.uk/ 2/3 courses for £14/£17 with two choices per course from the more extensive, and expensive, alc menu The Marquis at Alkham, Kent http://www.themarquisatalkham.co.uk/ Michelin rising * 2/3 courses for £15.50/£19.50 with at least four choices per course I've posted a longer comment on the Marquis on its eponymous egullet thread.
  6. In my continuing quest to track down the best QPR lunch menus in England I ate at the Marquis at Alkham mid week. The Hotel/Restaurant is situated in the picturesque Alkham valley. The restaurant design is modern with the benefit of natural light. The welcome was warm and friendly; service was attentive and efficient throughout. The best feature of the Marquis is its food. The table d’hote lunch menu,19.50GBP for 3 courses, offers 4 or more choices per course. For me the problem was what not to choose. The cooking and presentation were of high quality. For a benchmark I lunched at Michelin starred Simpsons in Birmingham last week. I felt the food quality here was as good. Their wine list exceeds a hundred bins with over twenty available by the glass or half bottle carafe. Mark ups on the wines I recognised were very reasonable. Local ales also feature. I'm envious of the fact that when we lived in East Kent we had to cross the Channel for a good restaurant meal. The Marquis would provide a worthy stop off or overnight stay (although I can't vouch for the Hotel side of the business) for anyone crossing to or from France.
  7. Michelin Stars: The Madness of Perfection BBC Two, tonight at 9pm BBC website promo: "William Sitwell investigates the passions, pressures and obsessions behind that apparently all-important description, 'Michelin-starred chef'. 'It elevates your average stove monkey to superior cheffy status; it puts you in a completely new culinary class. But how relevant is Michelin? Do we want poncey food? Or can you get a Michelin star for a good steak and chips? Is the Michelin Guide harmful in its influence? And does the path to Michelin-starred perfection lead to dangerous obsession?'" Sitwell seeks the views of chefs (Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White and others) and spends a day in the kitchen with Marcus Wareing. He also sheds light on the Michelin inspectors and interviews one 'in shadow'.
  8. Had the superb value lunch at Van Zeller's a couple of weeks ago. Best lunch of the year so far.
  9. According to the following from Gauthier's blog ( http://gauthiersoho.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-week-it-has-been-at-one-point-i.html#comments )Alexis is about to leave/has already left Roussillon and will open up elsewhere in May. Has anyone picked this up on the grapevine? "What a week it has been; at one point I thought that we would never sign. Then on Friday, I received a call from my lawyer saying that we had exchanged contract. The only thing that can stop us now is Westminster council not granting us a new Licence. Retrospectively, I feel that the deal has been very smooth and I am glad that I can start planning the opening of my restaurant. 12 years at Roussillon is a long time but I could have gone on for another 25 years. It is a real pity that my business partners did not share my enthusiasm, hopes and desire for the future. They were too busy planning their own exit strategies. It took a long time for me to realise that but it is never too late. So I could go on and develop on how I have been taken for a foul; how I have been taken for ride; how I have been lied to; how they lured me into thinking that they were truly interested in taking Roussillon to another level....That was just bullshit! It is better not to look back- I have learned from my naivety and can move on. My timing is very straight forward- the restaurant is going to open in exactly 77 days= 4th May 2010. 77 days to concretise my thoughts. I have a very clear idea of how I want my restaurant to look like. I also know too well that he has to be THE restaurant I would love to visit on a regular basis. I always think that if you are true to your feelings, patrons will feel comfortable to visit you. I'll develop on the real identity of the restaurant in later blogs."
  10. There's a piece on the walkout in today's Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article7021182.ece. Interesting to read the online reader comments. There are currently 11 of them with a majority supporting owner Paul Castle's decision to dumb down the Goose menu.
  11. On the evidence of my lunch there on Tuesday, Croydon now has at least one decent restaurant in Albert's Table http://www.albertstable.co.uk/. It was also impressively busy for early week in January (Its at 49b/c South End so Matthew's statement may well still be true.)
  12. Rudding Park Hotel, where of course the Clocktower restaurant is based,is the best hotel in the country, and ranked sixth in the world according to Tripadvisor’s analysis of guest feedback comments on its website. http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2010/jan/20/tripadvisor-london-hotels
  13. Cue collective in-drawing of breath from the many around these tables that I have led astray... Au contraire Bertie. You led my family to the true path with your recommendation of Farsyde in Ilkley on another thread. Is Gavin Beedham still turning out quality Prixe Fixe lunches? In which case I may head there.
  14. I can't believe no-one has eaten out in Harrogate since August 2007 ,perhaps the experience wasn't worthy of reporting on here. Any advice on where to go for a mid week lunch in a couple of weeks time would be appreciated. Brief online research has put Van Zeller and Clocktower in the frame.
  15. I expect Roussillon, le Gavroche(London) and Simpsons(Birmingham)to retain their existing 1,2,1 stars respectively.
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