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Everything posted by bakerestates

  1. Wednesday 21 November....A12.....sidways rain......M25...gridlock.....M2....howling gale......missed turn for Favesham Road blinded by lorry mist......why bother?..... raw oyster, apple foam, ham baked oyster, rhubarb granita, seaweed, cream sourdough, onion foccacia, soda bread, pub's butter pumkin soup, cream, muchroom raviolo, pumkin seeds turbot, cured pork belly, cabbage & leeks, vin jaune sauce partridge breast, bread sauce, fried cabbage, rosehip sauce roast rack of lamb, braised lamb shoulder, smoked celeriac puree, grilled spring onion rhubarb lollipop, custard cream cream cheese ice cream, pear puree, ginger, milk snow coffee with the lighest richest chocolate mousse, apple strudles, chocolate truffles, set cream with rosehip jelly the essence of terroir, nowhere I'd rather be....whatever the weather Piers (I have photos, just dont know how to upload, fuck it, just go)
  2. Blinded by the Michelin Stars Interesting piece in today's Telegraph about Michelin. Who could he be refering to?
  3. Sushi of Shiori Based on this thread, I have had two excellent meals at Sushi of Shiori on Drummond Street.
  4. I vaguely remember The Independent’s Terry Durack favourably reviewing Bohemia Restaurant, based in St Helier at The Club Hotel & Spa some years ago.
  5. All depends on how long you want to stay in business, I guess..... A good owner or host/ess will call up the day before to reconfirm, but they always explain the policy of charging. calling up the day before is still no guarantee that there will still be no shows, by regulars and non-regulars. And as i said, it is difficult to enforce cancellation policies on regulars, not that that is what we always want to do, of course repeat and regular business is sought. I have been in business for almost 10 years and it still happens.
  6. The worst no shows or cancellations are regulars - we have it regularlly and no matter what steps we take to diplomatically avoid the situation, it is quite difficult to a)enforce any cancellation charge we might have and b) not piss them off by pointing out a no show is rather annoying when they want to book the following week. This is particularly the case when we run events that are sold in advance, with money taken, much like a theatre ticket. Our guest speaker is booked at a cost, special wine delivered that might not be on the wine list to go with a specific menu of expensive ingredients. Then 5 hours before they call, say they are ill and that the whole table of 6 can't come, please refund the money. And if you don't, and if you dont, we won't be coming again! In a small village in the depths of winter, you want to avoid this. We have also had situations with our rooms where people cancelled on a firday at 4pm before their saturday stay. They tell us they would contest the cancellation charge with their bank on the basis that 24 hours notice was ample time to resell the room, despite clear and explicit details of what happens when you cancel. In the end, the room was resold, at slightly less than full price, yet the customers premtitive agressiveness was really unnecessary. Ultimatley there should be no issue with handing over card details and accepting a charge if you don't play by the rules given on or prior to booking. Most goods are paid for in advance, before you use them. Of course it all slightly misses the point of what restuarants/pubs are all about - goodwill, conviviality, enjoyment - but unfortunately it doesn't always work both ways.
  7. Hard to think of anywhere in Ipswich itself but you should try to get to The British Larder just north of Ipswich at Bromswell (or Bromsgrove). It is just past Woodbridge Golf Club and is worth the effort. Other than that, you could spend some time in Woodbridge, lots to do and try and on the waterfront. The Suffolk Food Hall at Wherstead is good for produce, especially meat and beyond the Butt and Oyster - decent fish and chips right on the Orwell Estury , lovely views and a good walk.
  8. Four of us went to Hedone on Saturday for dinner. I had the tasting menu which on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed. The custard with seaweed to kick things off was excellent, extremely moorish and light. Similar dishes to Man - the egg & girolles and the oyster with beetroot caramel – both delicious. Although I did enjoy the Cevennes Onion (which incidentally, we have a local grower of it here in Essex) and pear (variety not given) I felt it could have done with a better balance of pear to onion. The turbot and cockle dish that Man had was served with curly kale rather than black cabbage I think. All was good but I couldn’t finish the greens, just too tough & steely for me. The turbot was pretty darn good but not as good as the turbot I had at The Sportsman last year. The beef was superb – deeply flavoured, juicy and tender. The accompaniment to the beef was three variations of chicory. One was wilted leaves, the second raw heart/root and the third, a sort of Picada of Hazelnut and pureed Chicory. I didn’t like any of the chicory parts and thought the root/heart inedible, it was mainly root. Of my friend’s dishes, I tried the Sika Deer, which compared to the beef, I found lacking in flavour, but beautifully cooked and as tender as butter - the overall combo with figs and chestnut puree was a delight. The other dish of lamb went down well but I didn’t get to try it. I had a pineapple pudding followed by a chocolate one, both good. Two others had a pear tart which had tough pastry. My wife had variations of carrot – can’t remember the detail but she couldn’t taste the white chocolate element and found the whole dish rather carroty, to be expected really! With a bottle of 2009 Montlouis from Francois Chidaine (£40), a bottle of 2005 Barbaresco from Paje (£70), 3 fizzy water and 1 coffee, our bill for four was £404 inc. service. The service was pitch perfect, especially from Aurelie. She asked me how I found the tasting menu - I conveyed my enjoyment of it and touched on the chicory and pear/onion things. Mikael tucked into a plate of something after service with a lot of shaved truffle. He had spent a bit of time with a couple of tables during our time there, all very jolly. Best new opening in London – no idea. Two Michelin Stars – I don’t care. A good time was had, lots of good dishes, a couple of misses, nothing earth shattering either way but their service and resolve makes me want to go back for more – especially for that beef. Instructions have just gone out to my butcher to add 10 more weeks to the hanging of our Red Poll!
  9. yes and almost made it a couple of weeks ago as was in the area for work but time ran out. The menu is seems to pack a punch. Hopefully will go soon.
  10. Ollicollet - i agree i may be being a bit harsh but a) i knew it wasn't on once they refused our inital request but then i realised there was no a la carte and our only other choice was the set menu of three choices per course (mains - salted hake, duck, potato terrine), their website showed no restriction on the a la carte yet we never saw it b) we demonstrated a willingness to put up with timing issues and a willingness to order and spend extra as we simply wanted to taste as much as possible and c) a lack of reponse following a polite email (and maybe the tweet). There were elements that showed skill and flair, elements that were dull and repetitive (purees on every dish) but quite simply i wanted to taste more ingredients as displayed on their website menus and Jay's review. We were the only four there, they had the ingredients of the tasting menu and set menu in their fridge ready to go, so why not just cook it?
  11. At least once a year I like to go somewhere special with my team, to sample new and exciting food. We were planning on heading to The Ledbury but a heat wave and strong dislike of the east coast train line and tube made me search closer to home. Having read good things about Tuddenham Mill from Jay Rayner and The Good Food Guide, the hour trip along the A14 was more appealing. On the whole, we all found the food enjoyable and well executed. 3 different starters – Hen’s Egg 62c, Mackerel & Chicken Wings. The only slight let down was the Chicken Wing dish of 3 boned out wings came with some wilted slightly brown chicory, tasteless matchsticks of unidentifiable apple and muted celeriac puree. Compared with the ingredients listed on their website menu and the dish described in The Observer, what we got was a bit dull. 2 different mains between the four of us plus an extra dish of Potato Terrine. The duck breast cooked sous vide and finished in the pan with duck hearts was deep and delicious, the accompanying butternut squash puree with paprika okay. The potato terrine dish looked great and had lots going on. The other main we had was salt hake. The two puddings were delicious, one a lime yoghurt mousse and the other a chocolate dish with tonka beans I think. I mentioned on my way out that things were a little slow. Not the timings between courses, just at the start and at the end and around the table. We arrived at about 1/1.05pm and didn’t go through to our table until close to 2pm. We didn’t leave until close to 4pm having skipped coffee and made our way downstairs to pay the bill as nobody was about. While our waitress was utterly charming and helpful she seemed to lack a bit of confidence in table service. Resting the wine bottle on the glass and pouring from the underside of the bottle almost cack handed, only clearing two small plates at a time (and there was a spare person changing flowers on the other tables that could have lent a hand), hesitating for us to pass water glasses to clear, generally slowed things. But I reiterate, she was charming. When ordering our food, one of us wanted the tasting menu but were told we all had to have it because of the ‘timings’. It doesn’t state this on the menu nor on their website. Most places that offer a tasting menu state who has to have it and request it is booked in advance sometimes. When we asked if we could make up the ‘timings’ from choosing extra things from the set menu, we were told no. A real shame as all we wanted to do between the four of us was all eat something different and this isn’t possible with only three choices per course. I am also still a bit puzzled as to why the full a la carte menu was not available, as it doesn’t show any restrictions on their website. So we ended up all either having to have the tasting menu or chose from a restricted 3 choice set menu. It seemed a bit short sighted that the kitchen couldn’t recognise our enthusiasm and given we were the only four there, make a bit more of an effort. I noticed on Twitter that the head chef tweeted around the time of our lunch ‘NY was amazing, still recovering tho. Been fooked for a few days. Got off the plane and into work after a night flight.’ I did send an email to Tuddenham Mill asking why we weren’t given the choice of menus advertised on their website, but four days have passed and still no response. I think this could be a meal worth travelling for but I would check what menus are available and that the list of ingredients bears some resemblance to those posted on their site.
  12. What was the dim sum? I'm afraid I can't remember now but the texture was excellent, casings light/translusent and just fresher and more flavour than I've had before. You realise "Dim Sum" is a collective term for a vast range of different dishes? It is a bit like saying I had "exceptionally good meat". Sorry.....'The dumpling casings..' Can't remember what was in the dumplings.
  13. What was the dim sum? I'm afraid I can't remember now but the texture was excellent, casings light/translusent and just fresher and more flavour than I've had before.
  14. Dinner here for the first time in about three years was outstanding (usually go for dim sum at lunch). Started with a Chicken Broth (£6.50 for 2) with pork, duck egg, mushrooms and chinese broccoli - clean deep flavour, light and refreshing. Then crab skeweres (£4.50) with fried garlic & some exceptoinally good dim sum (£6.50 for 8). Then onto the standout dish which our waiter recommended as I couldn't decide what I wanted - chili beef (£8.60) from a Sichuan recipe. Strips of beef cooked in a really hot chili broth with lettuce. The broth was a rich reddy/brown with many layers of flavour and lots of long dried chilies. Pork Hot Pot (£7.80) was about 6 slices of soft succulent pork in a ceramic dish with a rich sweet sauce. A bowl of pack choi, rice and a bottle of wine made a bill for 2 about £75. Service was excellent. At the end I asked where the chili beef was on their menu - they said it wasn't, it was from the Chinese menu for their Chinese customers. We'll order from that menu in future. I can not recommend this restaurant enough if you live in North Essex.
  15. ..this is were I get worried. Your reviews are usually spot on Gary, and I think you give a very balanced view and can certainly see through the hype. thanks, sometimes feel it must look like i/we're the cynical g*ts in the corner looking for faults, but believe me we go open minded and are looking for places for the rotation not just the thrill of the new! I agree with you RDB - Gary's write-ups always give a good impression of what's what, I always look forward to them!! Walked passed PSC on Saturday (inbetween sushi at Shiori & fusion at Providores) - looked a good space, meant to take a photo of the menu on the door. Was surprised to see the main courses at 30 quid.
  16. What a tiny place - there were 16 covers on Tuesday evening. The partition was still up and peering through the window, it looks like their plan of opening the second half of the restaurant by Easter might be a reality. Piero's son has completed his studies and will be joining Piero in the kitchen then. Our experience pretty much matched Harters. Excellent food on the whole, prepared with real care and attention. Highlights were Carne condita alla Siciliana (canni cunzata) - strips of rump steak thinly sliced, marinated in hardy herbs and chargrilled before being doused in oil and lemon. And their pasta - a sausage and radicchio farfalle, lemon linguine, clams spaghettini. All textbook examples. The only ever so slight dud was the osso bucco - I felt it had been made separately to the sauce which was a bit over oniony/sweaty and the meat a touch fridge old. But a minor gripe. Whole grilled seabass, meaty sausages with Umbrian lentils, mixed grilled of fish and sides of caponata, braised peas and delicious 'purgatory beans' dressed in olive oil were only a sample of a pretty extensive menu, particularly of main courses. For such a tiny kitchen and small number of covers, I was surprised at the number of dishes offered. What set Da Piero apart for me was the warmth of the service we recieved from Dawn, their wineware which was changed for each differnt bottle we had (4) and the overal precise and correct execution of all of the food. To have this on my door step would be a real treat. It really is the type of neighbourhood restaurant anyone would wish to have. Is it destination - if you're heading to the area, I'd make an extra effort to go there. On the wine front we had: Ca'di Frara Riesling 2009 - a light, clean slightly zesting wine from Lombardy, perfect apertivo. Collemasari Vermentino 2009 (Tuscany) - aromatic, a little oily, pure, lemon notes. Excellent with our pasta. Fanti Rosso di Montalcino 2008 - an absolute steal, a wine delivering lots of bang. Uplifting, bold nose of cedar and spice, it was quite rustic yet not rough, lots of dark cherry. With the beef it was the perfect match. Fianlly a sweet wine which Piero described as 'the finest wine ever made!' and he wasn't kidding. A sweet Amarone style (grapes dried before pressing) wine from the island of Elba, it was nectar, beguiling, lucious and on Tuesday the finest wine we ever did have and one I will definelty be seeking out. So we're really glad we made it here, a real joy.
  17. Just a quick report back on where we ended up going during our short break to the Northwest, staying in Southport. Had sushi at the Vincent where we were staying. Prepared by a Japanese chef at a bar within the dining room, we had pretty much everything from the menu. Good miso soup and really good tom yam kai with chicken. Duck salad with mango dressing nice and clean. Then just lots of maki & temaki, sushie & sashimi. The fish included seabass, eel, yellowfin, flying fish roe, salmon, scallops and prawns. I haven't eaten Japanese food too much but I felt the sashimi could have been a touch fresher. And there was a weird sauce like concoction squirted over the soft shell crab temaki, one line of pink type mayo and one line of brown sauce. The effect made the thing quite moreish in a regretfull kind of way. Service was attentive and pleasant and while the wine list had some appealing bins, frustratingly the vintages didn't always match. 2004 Turkey Flat Shiraz on the list, 2008 offered. 2009 South African Rose on the list, first bottle 2010 (better), second bottle back to 2009. Finally, the bar made excellent cocktails and had a fine selection of malts, bourbons and we even managed to finish off a bottle of Kimil? (sp) which they had had for 5 years. Certainly worth a stop if you are in Southport. The Chinese restaurant behind the Vincent, despite being packed on Sunday night, was beyond vile - words can not do justice to the awfullness of it. Cheese ball crisps offered while we sipped our Tsing Tao is all you need to know. Unfortunately due to poor weather and bad golf on Monday allied to not much being open, meant we ate at the Vincent again. On Tuesday we dined at Da Piero which I'll post on its thred. A pre-meal beer was had at a pub in Liverpool called the Baltic Fleet - down on the main road opposite the Albert Docks. They brew their own beer from their cellar brewery (due to put a glass floor in so you can see it from above). A pint of 3.8% Wapping was hoppy, clean, slightly creamy and very refreshing.
  18. Thanks Erica, looking forward to the Vincent then -shame my wife will not be joining me! Sadly won't be playing Birkdale - a new boiler, oven and wall at the pub means the £275 green fee is going elsewhere! Formby, West Lancs, Hillside and Hoylake after which a meal at dal piero.
  19. True but follwing a day at Hoylake it works. Otherwise Southport area is preferable as we like our wine.
  20. Yes had seen on another thread and are hoping to go on the Tuesday evening. I like busman's holidays! Thanks for the pointers
  21. Thanks very much for this, really helpful. We are staying at the Vincent and will be occupied on the links over lunch so all for dinner, don't want to drive too far. Thanks again Piers
  22. Will be spending 5 days in the Southport area in April. Had a table for Fraiche but unfortunately due to a change of plan, had to give it up. Can anyone suggest any restaurants/pubs? Have found Bistrot Verit and Michael's, both in Birkdale/Southport. Many thanks Piers
  23. Just the pub part so far - a beef cheek and shin stew (a little dry, lacked depth) then chocolate torte. Will try the restaurant.
  24. and our said so following an extreamly poor experience at wagamama on wigmore street over half term. They devour various dumplings and some milder noodle dishes. We had our staff party there a couple of years ago and asked them to cook a traditional feast - it was superb..multiple dishes, really memorable. Gavin - have you tried the bull and willow tree at great/little totham?
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