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Everything posted by GastroChick

  1. Thanks offcentre I will definitely try out your recommendation for greengrocers, presently I am shopping at the Waitrose and also Taj. Despite Taj being impressive initially I have found the fresh produce not really that great, what do you think? Some of the fruit and veg looks a little tired in my opinion. Otellos foodhall is the same in that you think initially that it is great until you get home and try their fruit/veg. I have already discovered Canhams, which is fantastic although I have yet to try the real patisserie for bread so thanks for that.
  2. I have been reading with interest this thread on Brighton/Hove as I have recently moved to Hove from London. Naturally I have been trying out lots of the local eateries. So far I have been to: La Fourchette - I shared the cote de Bouef which was ok although the accompanying Bearnaise sauce was split. Real Eating Company has been a godsend for decent coffee and amazingly freshly baked bread. Riddle and Finn I have been to twice, once in the oyster bar and once to the proper restaurant. Both times the service was great and the food on the whole v. good. I'm not sure if I agree with the amount of toppings and garnishes which come with the oysters(if requested) although I was impressed by the quality and freshness. Englishes probably serves the best banoffee pie I have ever tasted, although the rest of the meal was a bit blah..... I have the following questions for any knowledgeable egulleters Is there a good green grocer in Hove? What is the best fine dining in Brighton as my parents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks and at the moment I can't decide between the Gingerman or Terre a Terre, possibly Hotel du Vin Any suggestions would be great Thanks
  3. I've just completed the Leith's one year professional diploma and can say that I learnt a tremendous amount. The reason it is so expensive is because unlike most university courses it is an intensive training, five days a week, full time and as someone pointed out it is a private college. However, considering the standard of teaching and the amount of information one learns over the course of the year, coupled with all the excellent demonstrations from eminent chefs and the contacts one makes, 15k seems like a bargain. Of course no amount of schooling can replace actually going to work in a real life kitchen, however it certainly makes the transition a lot easier. I now have my first kitchen job and can say that skills I learnt at Leith's are coming in very handy!
  4. Thanks everyone for all your recommendations. Hopefully I will be able to cover a good proportion of your suggestions on my forthcoming visit. I will report back in due course Gastrochick
  5. Hi My husband and I are traveling to the Loire and then on to Bordeaux for the first two weeks of July. I would be interested to pick any of your brains re. good recommendations that you might have for both high end dining and also more local cuisine. Presently I am considering booking dinner at Codellian Bages I hear favourable reports about this restaurant. Phillip Etchebest at Hostellerie de Plaisance also seems like another contender, as does Michael Porto from Hauterive Saint James. As yet I haven't really started researching the Loire but am open to any good suggestions. Thanks
  6. Was your experience that negative? ← Have you eaten at Stein's, if so i would be interested to hear your opinions ← Oops sorry didn't realize he was your dad silly question then!
  7. Was your experience that negative? ← Have you eaten at Stein's, if so i would be interested to hear your opinions
  8. Was your experience that negative? ← No to be fair I can't say that it was wholly negative, rather there were good points and bad, however considering the weight of expectation and without sounding churlish, the price, I left feeling a little disappointed.
  9. no unfortunately I didn't get a chance to dine at Nathan Outlaw, although I did eat at his former restaurant in Rock, L'estuaire, which in the main was good although a little overcomplicated and fussy.
  10. Just returned from a week in Cornwall which was supremely restful...... Anyhow back to the topic at hand, Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant. To say that I was looking forward to this visit, would have been an understatement, I've always admired Rick Stein and have been an avid reader of his cookery books. However I found the dining experience somewhat lacking. Firstly, the prices rival that of any top London restaurant, think Gavroche, Locando Locatelli.....We're talking £16 for a starter and mains of between £25-£35. At these prices you'd expect faultless cooking. I suppose my main gripe with the restaurant was that the dishes themselves whilst ok didn't go that extra mile in reaching perfection. My starter of lobster, with foie gras and green beans was pleasantly nice, however I felt that it was slightly underseasoned and considering it's price was a little mean with the amount of lobster in the dish. My husband ordered the fish soup with the normal accompaniments - croutons, rouille, parmesan. The fish soup was meaty, rich and robust whilst the rouille lacked any oomph. For main I went for the crab, which created quite an impression on reaching the table. My initial feelings were one of excitement, i was more than happy to get my fingers dirty and tuck in, however the crab shell was so hard, unlike any crab I've ever encountered before, that I would have needed more than the nutcracker (more like a sledge hammer) provided to make much headway. Much to the amusement of my fellow diners I frequently showered them and surrounding diners with crab shell. After over half an hour grappling with the blighted crustacean I conceded defeat and gave up. The crab meat that I did manage to extract however was delicious. The fish and chips that my husband ordered failed to provide the epiphany that I think he had hoped for. A fried red mullet dish consumed by a fellow diner looked great although I didn't taste it myself. He ate it too quickly, a good sign. After the crab debacle I was a little deflated and tired by my endevours so dessert was not foremost on my mind. Instead I opted to scrounge my fellow diners offerings. This might have been where I came unstuck because what I did try - the sorbet, chocolate fondant, and orange cake, were all supremely delicious and the definate high points of the meal. So the meal in a nutshell, I can't really think of much else to comment on, other than to say that the service was amiable without being exceptional, the room itself was inoffensive but lacking in atmosphere, despite being completely full. On a positive note for anyone visiting Padstow, Margot's a restaurant much lauded on egullet and other sites delivered an exceptional meal. I highly recommend.
  11. unfortunately only a week from next Friday, do I need to make a reservation at your restaurant?
  12. Thanks everyone for your recommendations I will be sure to check out Margot's. Slacker where is your wine bar/shop? Nathan Outlaw also seems worth the trip, the website is very attractive and the menu reads well. Andy I will report back.
  13. As opposed to baking it blind Hullo m'dear hows things going? What's happened to the GastroC blog? lah J ← GastorC blog is on hold, to be honest am just too busy with school at the moment. I am currently studying for the diploma from Leith's which is probably the most intensive course I have ever undertaken. My masters in history seems like a breeze in comparison! My nerves are particularly frazzled in preparation for the four hour practical examination tomorrow. Thanks to everyone else for your recommendations. Certain members have PM'd me about Basildogs restaurant so I will be sure to check it out. Thanks again
  14. Ottolenghi is fabulous for pastries, they bake everything on sight.
  15. Hi My husband and I are driving down to Cornwall next friday we are staying near Padstow. Can anybody make any recommendations for restaurants, food markets etc in and around this area. We have predictably made a reservation at Rick Stein's restaurant for one evening, is this any good? Some of my school friends from Leith's are doing work experience at his restaurant, over easter, so I thought I would show my support! Also we keep toying with the idea of fifteen in Newquay, however we live round the corner from the one in London and so are a little apprehensive about traveling all the way there to eat food similar to that found in our neck of the woods. Are there any authentic cornish food experiences to be had, the more interesting the better! Thanks in advance.
  16. The fact that it is your grandmothers book is the clue here....ammonia carbonate was a precursor to baking powder, I'd doubt you could still get it but I could be wrong? I think you can substitute with baking powder but don't blame me if it goes wrong!
  17. The problem with London Eating is the reliability of the reviews, there should be some kind of site where you have to register to review and your reviews are graded by the community such that you build up a reputation or similar.
  18. Is Gites de France on line? I cant seem to find it?
  19. Not sure I'm afraid what type of laksa I am after. As far as satay is concerned, the best I have tasted was on a business class flight on Malaysian airlines, bizarre but true. Although if any body else has any good recommendations.............. At the moment we are staying at Hotel Maya, I know this is a food website but for anyone else contemplating where to kip for the night I don't advise here, the rooms are tiny and ours overlooks a graveyard. Today we went for a drive with my husbands relatives and they took us to a beautiful colonial style hotel, called Carcosa Seri Negara, they kindly negotiated an excellent room rate so we are leaving Maya tomorrow. Apparently the afternoon tea is fantastic, although we will have to travel further for food. Incidentally has anyone eaten at any of the restaurants at Carcosa? Well off soon for a steam boat dinner although we are both still stuffed from all the dim sum we ate at lunch!
  20. Thanks PCL for your recommendation, we had a great time at Cilantro, the food was both inventive and delicious a mixture between Japanese and French. OUr mixed starters comprising - wagyu beef, a delicate mushroom broth, salmon sashimi with truffle infused angel hair pasta, a single oyster were all equally as lovely. For main I opted for scallops in a saffron broth, the scallops were a special variety from Japan which were tender, plump and sweet. The broth itself was meaty and fragrant and perfectly offset the delicate nature of the scallops. My husbands sea bass was cooked to perfection maintaining a transluscent centre. OUr two souffles for dessert were as good as any that I have tasted in some of the top French restaurants in Europe. I went for the Green tea flavour which worked particularly well and lent the dish a distinct Asian flavour. All in all it was a successful trip and would favourably compare to most fine dining experiences in London, Paris etc Over the next couple of days we intend to eat at the more low key kind of establishments, hawker food, dim sum. The chef at Cilantro mentioned Maeshima at the Federal Hotel and Inagiku as the two Japanese restaurants he would recommend does anyone know of these? Also where can I find the best Laksa?
  21. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, especially PCL. On your advice we have decided to go to Cilantro tonight so I will keep you posted about the meal. My husband's relations who live in KL have lined up some interesting sounding meals hakka and a steam boat experience? Obviously we will also try out the hawker food of which there is a very comprehensive thread. Last time we were here we ate at the Japanese in the Renaissance which I remember to be very good has anyone been recently? I think we might go tomorrow for lunch
  22. Are there any good fine dining options in KL a friend recommended the third floor, the chef looked like he had interesting credentials, although unfortunately it is hired out for a private function. Also has anyone eaten at the hotel Maya, this is where we are staying
  23. I was wondering if anyone would be able to advise on interesting food experiences in Kuala Lumpur, restaurants, markets etc. Currently I am staying at the Datai in Langkawi (Does anyone know of any outstanding restaurants on the this island?) and will arrive in Kuala Lumpur in about 5 days. I know that Kuala Lumpur has an extremely eclectic food scene due to the influence of so many different cultures however any help would be greatly appreciated.
  24. Despite all the glowing reviews recieved on this forum and in the press I personally found the experience lacking. Initial impressions of the dining room were that it look dull and ikea-ish, added to this was the dismal overhead spotlighting which cast unflattering shadows on the diners and the food - lighting is so important why can't restaurants get it right? There were some definate highs when it came to the food. My starter of chicken oysters with macoroni was an inspired cre ation although the chicken itself to my mind was slightly overcooked. The bouillabaise which has been much lauded was a disappointment, the soup too overly reduced giving it an overly salty taste and the rouille lacking the requisite kick which gives it such a distinct flavour. The fish however was perfectly cooked which is more than can be said for my dinner companions who also ordered the bouillaibaise however her pollack arrived stone cold raw! Which brings me on to my major grip with Arbutus - the service. She kindly requested for the fish to be cooked, considering that it didn't look like it had ever seen a pan I thought this was a reasonable request, our waiter grudgingly took away the offending fish only to return a couple of minutes later with the fish perfectly cooked declaring that the chef had deemed the fish suitable for consumption in its raw state. I found this rude and unnecessary behaviour, on the part of the waiter, as did the other five diners seated round the table. Unfortunately the fish incident set the tone for the service which we recieved for the most part of the evening which I found smug, unhelpful and rushed. When we first entered the restaurant we were left standing, waiters failing to even acknowlege us, until the maitre d eventually seated us. Despite all these negatives I might be tempted to return just for the dessert whcih was thoroughly delectable - Il flottantes. The rest of the menu also looked really interesting and I would love to have tried the pigs head and the eel.
  25. I agree re; the Olive shots, to me they look wholly unappetising and furthermore I can't understand why they ran a feature about wintery dishes in the middle of spring, I certainly don't feel like eating lancashire hotpot on a warm day. I'm not sure about the Waitrose pictures, however I have seen the cover with the child on the front and have to say I find it extremely middle-aged and uninspirational. In fact I find the whole magazine quite dull. My favourite food magazine in terms of photos and editorial content is GourmetTraveller, I wish that this country could produce something of a similar calibre. In fact somebody should start a thread about the state of food magazines in this country
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