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Everything posted by Brian

  1. Brian

    Cannes 2012

    La Palme D'Or's lunch menu (that isn't advertised on their website) offers a great option for a relatively budget friendly splurge. It's about €65 - €70 per head but includes everything: canapes, amuse, starter, main, desert, mignardises, coffee, water and wine (half bottle per head). The only thing not included is your aperitif, and it is hard to resist a glass of Champagne!
  2. I don't recall ever having seen this. Yes, macaroons and chocolates as petit fours, with the coffee, but never before the dessert proper. Did they forget Fergal's dessert, or did they serve a cheese course instead? ← The Louis XV in Monte Carlo serves macaroons and chocolates before the dessert. You get other things afterwards (nougat and marshmallow etc.), and then some madelines to take home on your way out the door!
  3. A quote from the Tony's Tips section of the site says a lot: "People often ask me for tips to help make their dishes 'extra special'. One of my favourites is simply to go for height."
  4. I visited the Tannery as an adult last November and had a very enjoyable meal!
  5. I had lunch in Martin Wishart and then the Kitchin the following day last November. Both are excellent, though I marginally preferred Martin Wishart. I still think about my rabbit main course! My other half preferred the Kitchin - I was a little disappointed but I think this is beacuse I was expecting a taste of the Louis XV. You can see the Ducasse inspiration in the dishes, but the ingredients just aren't the same quality as you can get on the Riviera. The value is extraordinary at about £20 (a little less than the Louis XV then!) for the set lunch. The decor is pretty modern (dark wood and no tablecloths etc.), but the room is nice enough and the service is relaxed. Martin Wishart's food was more modern and exciting in style, though the service, tablecloths etc. were more traditionally Michelin, with a longer and more interesting wine list. Value was also fantastic at just over £20 for the set lunch. The service struck a perfect balance between friendliness and efficiency. The Witchery is a waste of time and money - very ordinary food, no atmosphere on the night we were there (a Thursday), and fairly hefty prices.
  6. A definite possibility from where I'm sitting. FOH was *much* improved on my last visit just before Christmas. I asked about Michelin and they said that one inspector in particular seemed to have an excellent time when he visited, and told them he had been extremely well-treated. For me, the cooking remains somewhere between 1 and 2 stars (not that I'm basing that on very much experience elsewhere) but a part of me thinks it will happen for them this year. I'd still prefer to eat at Mint though... ← That inspector must have been there on a good day! I agree that the food is worth between 1 & 2 stars, but I found the front of house a bit awkward and lacking in personality (on 2 visits in 2007). It's hard to put your finger on it, but I don't feel the sense of special occassion that you should get with a 2 star meal.
  7. The search features and filters are available on the Viamichelin GPS. e.g. you can search for all restaurants or hotels in a location, and then filter the search by key criteria (e.g. stars or bibs for restaurants, and black and red houses for hotels etc.) You have to pay to download the updated guides (if you want them) every year.
  8. Brian

    Wine glasses

    Again, I reccommend the Riedels. I started with a gift set containing four each of the Chianti Classico and Bordeaux glasses, and a simple decanter. This covered most wines pretty well, though if you are a Burgundy fan, you really will benefit from the Burgundy glass. Contrary to all the advice, we put ours in the dishwasher (on a low temperature setting) without ill effects.
  9. Decent sized glasses of Champagne were 16 euro for blanc / 17 for (Lanson) Rose at lunchtime in Monaco earlier this year. 25 euro for a glass of Banyuls was an unpleasant surprise though.
  10. Can anyone suggest a strategy to get a decent meal in Venice on New Year's Eve without breaking the bank? Most restaurants seem to jack up thier already ambitious prices to outrageous levels for the night. e.g. Cafe Quadri is €375 (excluding wine!!), The Metropole is charging about €500, and trattorias seem to be looking for about €170 a head.
  11. La Broche's decor / atmosphere is modern and minimal, while La Terazza's is more traditionally luxurious, while the opposite is the case with their styles of cuisine. Depending on where your are staying, La Terazza is (slightly) more centrally located. I haven't been to Viridiana or Santceloni (yet!)
  12. I've been lucky enough to enjoy lunch in Thornton's on two recent Saturdays. There were two or three empty tables on both occasions. By contrast, Patrick Guilbaud's was booked out when we phoned about two weeks in advance. Truffle oil featured on both visits - once on a serving of gratin potatoes to accompany a duck main course (this was served closer to medium rare than rare), and on the second visit added to some savoy cabbage that sat under a breast of guinea fowl. The effect on the cabbage was pretty subtle, and worked OK, but the potato dish was spectacularly good! Kevin Thornton worked the room when the service was winding down on both occassions, so this must be part of a new charm offensive. It's a great idea and adds a little personality to the experience for diners, though I wonder what would happen if the feedback wasn't the unqualified praise he seemed to be receiving when we were there. While the food at lunchtime is extraordinarily good value, when you add in drinks, coffees, water etc. the bill starts to add up to a special occassion.
  13. Brian

    Castello Banfi

    Any visitor to Banfi should also include a visit to Biondi Santi in order to understand the different approaches to Brunello. Craig's description is right on the money - the banfi vineyards are vast (I think there are about 800 hectares under vine), and the winery is both enormous are extremely high tech. Some of the gleaming stainless steel vats hold more than a small grower's entire annual production. The wine is well made, but many criticise it as being a little soul-less. By contrast, Biondi Santi is very proud of the traditional methods used, and produces a more characterful wine, though it's appeal may be a little more difficult to understand from the first mouthful.
  14. I was drinking as enthusiastically as I was eating the night we did the tapas bars, so I can't offer detailed help here. It was very enjoyable though!
  15. When we tried to book Sant Pau for lunch on a Sunday in March we were told that the weekends were booked out until August
  16. Myself and the better half had a good meal at La Broche last October with some outstanding dishes. The restaurant is high on "concept" i.e. all of the decor (walls, floor, furniture, etc..) and the table covers are white. The staff all wore black, so the only colour is the food. I enjoyed this novelty, though I can understand why some may not. The cuisine is very refined and modern, with traditional roots. The restaurant is closed at weekends. We ate at "La Terazza Del Casino" the next night, which is owned by Ferran Adria. This is pure theatre, with several El Bulli inspired dishes - including nitro cocktails, and the melon caviar. Several of the items were fantastic, including a dish of "ham air" - jamon with a foam. Some of the items looked inventive, but tasted pretty ordinary. e.g. a "pizza" tapa - a parmesan tuile on a stick with powdered tomato and basil. I would return to La Broche before La Terazza, but I think I would be overruled by the missus! Both places cost about the same, at between €200-250 for two including fairly modestly priced wines.
  17. I had a good lunch in Reigi in March. None of the other top end places seem to open for lunch on a Saturday. Reigi is one of the less formal places that seem to be earning Michelin stars lately, and is really excellent value. The food is modern rather than traditional.
  18. Thus far I've taken the maldon salt, a raspberry syrup, chai custard and cooked it almost like a creme caramel. Then topped with a dollop frozen mango mousse. Not exactly the same, but an inspiration. The top layer of the Cinq Sentits shot is a Cava sabayon. I had a variation on this theme served as an amuse in Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin a few years ago. The layers, from the bottom, were: maple syrup / raw egg yolk / whipped cream. The top was seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I recall this version as being better balanced flavour wise than the Cinq Sentits one.
  19. Set Portes is open on Sunday from 1pm. The atmosphere is great, with tourists alongside local families. There is a wide choice of traditional dishes on the menu, including an impressive looking paella served in huge portions.
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