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Everything posted by TheBacchus

  1. Quick update to say that Demo was superb and very much a solid 1* restaurant. Asparagus flan (like a custard) with roast quail to start followed by Knuckle of pork flavoured with foie gras . Dessert of rhubarb with chocolate pot and an financier Small place, nothing fancy and i think thats what makes you all the more surprised that the cooking is as accomplished as it is Recommended!
  2. Menu has changed for Spring/Summer. We've been open 6 months and have started to really find our feet so i think this menu has started to allow us to be a bit more adventurous without going too far. Its interesting how more people come to the restaurant when its raining than when its sunny - 3 no shows last Saturday when it was lovely outside. So never ones to beaten we are currently finishing our 'alfresco' dining area at the back of the building which will be ready in 2 weeks. It seats 12 outside so it should be good for summer. Tasting Menu - £40 Red snapper tartare, edamame, lemon, fake shark’s fin, dashi foam -- Pork jowl, black radish, langoustine, leek puree -- Free range egg, lardo, hon shimeji, black olives -- Warm cod, black paella paint, tomato hearts, potatoes, garlic -- Lamb shoulder, fragrant kappa, goat’s cheese, hazelnut powder -- Black olive financier, roasted pear ice cream, pine nuts A la Carte Starters: Paradise prawns, seared pineapple, green olive sofrito, iced coconut 12 Rabbit mousse, potato leaves, cherries, hazelnuts, sprouts 10 Skate and avocado roll, caramel, curry crumble, orange, passion fruit 12 Artichoke and honey-wine soup, pine nut ravioli, eringe, yogurt 10 Milk yuba roll, japanese mushrooms, leek puree, sprouts and flowers 7 Mains: Warm cod, black paella paint, tomato hearts, potatoes, garlic 16 Sesame crusted squab, cured foie gras, berries, milk skin 19 Textures of Spring, herb gnocchi, almonds, sprouts and flowers 12 Seabass, black olive migas, mange tout, spring onion 17 Sirloin steak, mushroom puree, crispy bread, nashi pear, burnt onion jus 19 Side Orders: Truffle potato puree 5 Potato puree 3.50 Japanese mushrooms 3.50 Spinach catalan 3.50 Desserts: Coconut quindim, ginger honey foam, lemon, passionfruit 7 Warm chocolate cake, green tea, rose sorbet 8 Pannacotta sorbet, apple confit, lemongrass bubble bath, apple soup 6 Black olive financier, roasted pear ice-cream, fig puree, pine nuts 7 We are keeping the lunch offer too: Express Lunch - 2 courses and coffee for £20 Monday - Friday 12-3pm
  3. Chez Dominique is superb. The new restaurant is, IMO, as good as any restaurant in London right now. Their 2* rating is bang on - and a fantastic mix between traditional and modern techniques with more than a nod to the local environment. I agree that service is a little stiff but i think that its more the clientele that make it so. In London you can go to Pied a terre, Square, Claridges, Foliage (similar standards) and still see people casually dressed, relaxed, enjoying themselves. Helsinki as much as i love it simply isnt used to this style and standard of dining so whenever ive ben to Chez Dominique everyone is scared stiff of putting a foot wrong or doing something that isnt 'decorum'. last time we were there a table next to us had a son about 16 yrs old. The dad kept gritting his teeth and chastising his son with 'dont do that', 'stop doing it that way' etc etc the poor lad looked a nervous wreck! We are going to Demo tonight which still proves to be a popular Helsinki restaurant after 4 years and has been recognised by getting their 1st michelin star Mecca is good (and used to be co-owned by Hans Valimaki of Chez Dominique) and is pushing the avant-garde in Helsinki as is de rigeur of any European capial right now
  4. YES! Warbutons Toastie - extra thick, a few of the captains fingers and branston pickle. If feeling particularly fiendish throw a dollop of mayo on as well
  5. Hadnt seen that Naebody. There must be two restaurants on Hoxton Street though because we do 2 courses and coffee for £20 so i'm not sure how they were "fleeced to the tune of £90 for two courses"? humph..... I've found that most top places will accomodate, especially at lunch. I understand at dinner but babies are usually in bed by then anyway so dinner is rarely on the agenda. We are off to Anthony's on Saturday lunch who have no problem with us taking the little 'un
  6. I went to Giraffe today and i think its great. Wasnt that busy at lunch in Islington, maybe 10 covers so didnt experience the high pitched scream fest but the staff were excellent and the burger with chorizo was no better and no worse than ive had in any 'mid-tier' restaurant chain (i.e. not fast food/not fine dining) I dont think our 5 month old was too interested in the balloons etc either but they managed to keep me quiet with a colouring book whilst we waited for the food so no complaints there As an aside we got turned away from our first restaurant this week with the baby - a good quality 1* place that we tried to book for lunch but they wouldnt have it. We said we'd happily leave if she cried (she never does) so as to not annoy other diners but to no avail. So, I asked if they knew who the hell she was but they werent interested in that either Oh well, sod em
  7. Technology triumphs over tradition eh - i'm quite surprised at the judges. i really thought they would've gone for galton Does anyone know what the egg dish was that sat did that oliver peyton mentioned?
  8. As a concept i love Canteen - old school traditional food in a contemporary but comfortable setting. For me though the food is a letdown and at the price point its at this makes even more resonance. Having said that i still go back every couple of month hoping that i find something that isnt dry as a bone or overcooked as is usually the case. Last week i had roast chicken and potato gratin which at £10.50 is pretty good value - but then you have to factor in your sides - seasonal greens (cabbage) and cauliflower cheese at £3 each and your roast chicken (single leg and thigh) has just become £16.50. So it better be good. It wasnt. It was ok for a £10 roast from the pub but not for a £16 roast from a smart city restaurant. A starter of duck rillette with picalilly was really good though - i could easily have taken a pot of that stuff home with me for supper! To be fair - they do 600 covers on a Sunday alone (it seats less than 100) when Spitalfields market is on which is a huge number of covers to do and i'm not sure how you keep quality standards up at that level so perhaps that plays a part Definitely agree that if hubby wants 'not messed with food' then St John is the place to go but i certainly dont think you will have a bad time at Canteen
  9. We get ours from MSK olive oil works great as does thai basil oil. You have to get the quantities just right or the texture becomes too dry and sticky. Here's a fun tip for dinner parties - cook down an ingredient with a strong flavour such as mushrooms or anchovy and reserve the cooking liquer. Blitz the ingredient in a thermomix set on a low heat setting (a blender will do at home) and add the liquer until the consistency is liquid. Add your tapioca and you have your 'food powders' Put the powders in small 'dipping' bowls on the table along with the bread and butter and let your guests dip or sprinkle the different powders on their bread at the start of the meal and guess what the food they are
  10. Hello everyone! We celebrated our first 6 months open yesterday - i cant believe how quick its gone. Reading back through these posts I probably owe quite a few of you a thank you for helping us 'polish' up on a lot of the things in the restaurant from menus to websites (although i'm still keeping chicken skin John!) Anyway I thought i'd give you an update on all things Bacchus: -- We started opening Monday to Friday for lunch. We offer 2 courses and coffee for £20 from the regular a la carte menu -- We've completed our first ever video tutorial on the website which is how to make one of the starters from our menu: Langoustine, Catalan mix, garlic foam and citrus Its hardly BBC budget but we thought it was a fun idea and people might be interested in it so we gave it a go. We're planning to film something every 4-6 weeks and sometimes it will be a recipe, sometimes it might be a technical piece on a gadget like the water baths or pacojets. Requests are most welcome! -- After giving the website comments some thought i realised i might have been a bit stubborn about it so we designed a HTML site to go with the flash version. Sorry if i got on my high horse a bit -- We also put proper pictures of the dishes on the website -- Menu is still the same prices, all mains less than £20, desserts less than £10 and wines starting at £20 (although we added quite a few to the list at the higher end of the scale due to demand). All in all a really good first 6 months and we are looking forward to the next 6. Thanks again to everyone who has helped us and supported us so far Phil
  11. Depend if you need to catch the last tube home mate... ← Fair point mate - maybe we need a Bacchus bus......? hmmmmmm
  12. Absolutely! Last week we did a mid-course of 'salmon and guiness ice cream' - went down a storm! And john what do you mean go on for hours? I mean really, i'm offended, we simply want you to enjoy yourself for as long as possible...nothing wrong with that is there?? Hi to Trucie too - glad you had a good time at Bacchus - i love hearing peoples thoughts on the dishes you'd be amazed if you knew how far opinions varied. There are one or two on this very board who think we are trying to re-incarnate the devil with the egg dish yet you (and most others) loved it. The squab dish is dividing people too but its about 75/25 in favour and the review in the independent last week raved about it so its staying for now! For those that havent seen it yet the full dish is Sesame crusted squab, cured foie gras, berries, milk skin Did you have the soup? Thats a new one on the a la carte thats really really good: Artichoke and honey-wine soup, pine nut ravioli, eringe, yogurt Regarding the tasting menu i havent spoken to anyone front of house about it but i suspect it was more to do with the numbers in the restaurant rather than the time of night. We do a sitting at 9.30pm so the kitchen would have struggled to get 7 tasting menus out at the same time as the other tables booked in around that time. Anyway, sorry you didnt get chance to try it - let me know next time you plan to come and visit Ok, back to the grind stone
  13. Based on experience alone last year - Gary Rhodes least favourite
  14. Matthew sorry - i've just re-read my ramblings and i didnt make it clear you are quite right. The £30 is based on per hourly rate. ie. 6 hour shift You cant pay less than minimum wage and then use the service charge to make up the difference (although i know of several that do!!) Anyway, a bit off thread now so sorry...
  15. No. How could we use tips to bring up the level of wages? If the situation ever occurred that we had to top up someones wages the reason would be because there are no tips. If 2 waiters worked on a monday night and there were no customers we would still pay them the equivalent of £6.50 per hour for the hours they have worked All money comes into the company bank account from the credit card company including the 12.5% service charge that gets added to your bill. At this point a lot of restaurants will simply keep the service charge and pay the staff £6 per hour * hours worked. The staff are taxed and end up with a net amount. We dont. We work out the share of service charge that each member of staff has EARNT and we add to it what equates to minimum wage. They are taxed as normal in the correct manner and end up with a net amount. It simply works out more favourably for the staff this way Think about it. If i hired a waiter and paid them £6.50 per hour and they worked 40 hours in a week. Thats £260 per week. I then take 12.5% service charge from all my customers and split this up between all the waiters. If we take £20,000 in a week thats £2500 worth of service charge. Divided by 6 waiters and they would be on £36,000 per year.....i dont think there are many waiters earning that in Britain! So whats the alternative? Well surely that would be the business keeping most of the service charge because there's no way that restaurants who pay their staff an hourly rate give them all the service charge so they must keep it themselves for the business no? If you look upthread you'll see thats where this discussion started - how much of the 12.5% service that most restaurants charge these days goes to the staff. Well, in our case, the answer is all of it. Is that not a good thing?
  16. Sorry you're absolutely right - i neglected to say that there is a minimum threshold for wages so should it ever be the case (please god never) that we have an empty restaurant then the FoH staff would all get there wage topped up to make it an acceptable (and legal!) amount RE hours we run a lunch service M-F from 12-3 and dinner 6-12. I'll give you an example - lunch today Very quiet with only 20 in and average spend per head around £50 - takings = £1000 therefore 12.5% service = £125. There is FoH manager on a salary plus 2 servers who will share the £125 plus £20 for working the shift (lunch is £20 and dinner £30) Total earnings for them today = £82.50 each before tax amd NI equivalent of £10 per hour Dinner tonight we are fully booked with 75 covers - same process means a likely service charge of £468.75 to be divided between staff (75 covers @ £50 per head) We have 7 servers working so each would get around £30 + £66.90 Total earnings for waiters tonight = around£96.90 each before tax and NI. They will start at 4 and work til about 1am I think this is entirely fair and we have even given the staff a say on it and they voted to keep the system as it is. As far as i'm concerned they earn the service charge and as far as paying customers are concerned i think they are far happier knowing that if they pay the service that is going to the hard work of their waiter rather than lining the pockets of the owner. Unfortunately there are some businesses that abuse this and thats sad I think people know me well enough by now to know how open i am about these things. I am so because i think it is the only way that more people will become educated on this side of the industry and it will, hopefully, improve the quality of restaurants and standards of the industry in this country. It still amazes me when you go to France and some other countries and see the job as a career whereas we still see it as a job for students and back-packers...
  17. Just to add a real life situation to give some weight to the discussion we pay all the front of house staff £30 per shift for an 8 hour shift and the TOTAL service charge from the evening is divided by the FoH staff. Since we opened the average wage for FoH staff is working out around £300-350 per week which is equivalent of £17k a year. Compare this to a restaurant (as many do in London) paying their staff £5.50 per hour and i think we offer our FoH a good deal. Add to this a good training scheme (all our staff have now had first aid training and basic wine training) and it really isnt that hard to attract good quality staff who want to stick around and work with you All the kitchen is on salary as is FoH manager but all waiters are on the service charge scheme From what i can tell this is a fairly common setup in restaurants - when we were setting up i checked with a number of good, reputable places that will remain nameless who all operated the same system There is an interesting discussion here as to the use of a service charge: The wage bill for a restaurant aims to be around 35% of sales, food is 30% and overheads anwhere between 10-20% - leaving 15-25% profit I cant speak for other restaurants but for me the wages WITHOUT service charge is 35% which basically means i've hired as many staff as i can for the money - the idea being that as a customer you will get better service If service charge didnt exist in the UK then basically the prices would have to go up or the number of staff would have to go down
  18. Tom you're dying for me to break and stick the prices up arent you! Fraid not - pricing still the same and will remain so. £40 for the 6-course tasting, £55 for 9-course Aventura menu and on the a la carte there isnt a main course over £20 I was having this conversation the other day about prices and i think it would be hard to justify putting the prices up much more because in doing so i think it would be fair for customers to expect more for their money. At that point we start moving away from the concept of Bacchus in its current form and it simply wouldnt work as well For example, if we were to start charging more i myself as a customer would expect a bigger, wider ranging wine list, higher standard of bathroom facilities and higher end quality of ingredients such as foie, truffles etc to appear more readily on the menu. But then, what would be the point of being located where we are as 'Fine dining in trainers' when clearly we wouldnt be. In short, we have to limit ourselves as to how far we go and this, ultimately, includes price
  19. Hi beepop Welcome to the forum Havent come across the wine but will be sure to check it out. Thanks for the tip! Phil
  20. And getting back to more important matters - here's a look at the new menus for 2007 with some completely new additions and some refined dishes...comments on these are welcome and sarcastic responses will be witheld for a short period...honest Starters: Scallops, hon shimeji mushrooms, dashi, mint Rabbit mousse, potato leaves, cherries, hazelnuts, sprouts Langoustines, catalan mix, hot garlic foam, citrus Artichoke and honey-wine soup, pine nut ravioli, ceps, yogurt Milk yuba roll, japanese mushrooms, leek puree, sprouts and flowers Baby squid, potatoes, garlic, chervil, black paella paint Mains: Warm cod wrapped in chicken skin, sofrito, candied garlic, tomato hearts Belly of pork, soy milk glaze, charred green onions, enoki, seaweed Winter roots, cauliflower puree, herb gnocchi, vanilla and hazelnut oil Salmon, black olives, date and hazelnut puree, pate de brique Sirloin steak, grain mustard, nuts, red beets, spinach catalan, truffle potato puree Side Orders: Potato puree Japanese mushrooms Truffle potato puree Spinach catalan Desserts: Polenta cake, mascarpone, orange granita, rosemary, cinnamon Warm chocolate cake, green tea, rose sorbet Apple pannacotta, ginger bread grounds, lemongrass bubble bath, Thai basil oil Black olive financier, roasted pear ice-cream, fig puree, pine nuts Tasting Menu: Sardine, rhubarb puree, citrus, rosemary-sake spray Pork jowl, black radish, langoustine, leek puree Free range egg cooked at sixty five degrees, dashi, chicken skin Salmon belly, black olives, date and hazelnut puree, pate de brique Lamb shoulder, figs brulee, hijiki paste, hot coffee Black olive financier, roasted pear ice cream, pine nuts
  21. I'm sorry i've held out long enough here. It appears that no matter what you do there is always someone ready to tell you you're wrong which is fine but when you are as wide of the mark as this i'm going to have to defend myself... A significant proportion of our potential customers? I'm sorry what the hell are you talking about? Flash. You're all absolutely right, gosh how careless of me - the world wide web only has 97% penetration of Flash so it must be the other 3% are obviously trying to access the Bacchus website. And, compared to Windows Media Player plug-in at 59%, Real-Player plug-in at 56% and QuickTime player plug-in at 41%, Flash is streets ahead. And as for updates which on most peoples computers are set to automatically be done on a daily/weekly level or as required i'm pretty sure it not too much of an ask... And as for this accessibilty, visibilty, form function nonsense that is EXACTLY the reason i and thousands other use flash instead of HTML. The thing people dont like about flash is when there are long flash intros and where the websites are too fancy and are difficult to navigate. The Bacchus website is laid out exactly like a HTML website with simple straightforward information - i dont think its fancy at all and its function is purely to allow people to either: a.) See a sample menu b.) Find our address; or c.) make a reservation online And seeing as over 50% of our ENTIRE bookings come via the website, i'd say its done a pretty good job of being functional first. And, if you want to get technical about it: Flash is slow to download? Tosh. This is the biggest myth going. Flash is designed to be both quick and effective Better user experience Flash gives you the ability to display data as part of an ever-changing process without having to reload or refresh the page! That’s right -- the data can change without even so much as a flicker from the browser so this means a better user experience and better accessibilty Font embedding With Flash you have the ability to embed any font you wish and have it display in the client browser regardless of whether they have the font installed on their machine. You no longer have to convert fonts to images in order to maintain the font for display on varying user systems. So for those with eyesight problems - viewing Century Gothic in a size 12 font is far better than having the font changed to Times New Roman because you have a limited font package on your pc Greater Control Flash’s vector rendering processes give it the ability to adjust the entire display size based on the browser size and, in doing so, keep your images and text clean and unpixelated. (Hey guess who this will appeal to?) Plus, this will become more of an advantage as people begin to more frequently surf the Web from sources other than desktop computers, such as PDAs mobile phones. I'm not saying everyone else is wrong but jeez come on - give us a break will you - its not our fault youre not allowed to get updates at work, and as cruel as it sounds i admit that when i designed the website i didnt take into consideration the 2 million people with serious eye sight problems in the UK but i promise that doesnt mean that they're not very welcome anytime they like
  22. I've checked and cant find any reason as to why you cant view the website. its built using flash only instead of HTML so ensuring you have the latest flash drivers from here http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/ If that doesnt work, try using an alternative browser like Firefox Good luck! PS. If it still doesnt work then let me know and i'll email you copies of the current menu
  23. I cant believe you included Sundmans!! ha ha thats brilliant I'm there on Saturday - the smoked deer is amazing!
  24. Up until Thursday yes then i'm off to Finland for a week and back to Burnley for a week Restaurant is open until Saturday then open again on Weds 28th until Saturday 30th. Also open on NYE but not as a restaurant. Staff decided they wanted a party so i let them - to my amusement they have made flyers for it with the tagline "Bacchus - NYE 2006 - Fine drinking in trainers..." Its £15 in with a buffet and will be both the restaurant and the lounge upstairs open Then closed again until the 3rd Jan I'll be back sometime around the 5th but am away quite a bit throughout Jan on business
  25. For me there's two categories Best execution (quality of food alone) The Fat Duck Tragabuches (Rhonda, Spain) Chez Dominique (Helsinki, Finland) Best time in a restaurant (whole package) St John 21 (New York) Verre (Dubai) And before anyone is sarcastic i'm not including Bacchus - not because i dont think its up there but because im not a total knob
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