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Everything posted by Fibilou

  1. We just came back from lunch at AD. The lunch menu is good value at £50 inclusive of 2 glasses of wine and 1/2 bottle of water. The staff are very friendly and certain elements of the food was really good. However my main course (the basil pasta) was really poor and undercooked which I certainly didn't expect at this level. Some elements are 1*, some 2* (the mignardises) and the basil pasta would not have been 1* even had it been properly cooked. How this place got 3* is a mystery to me. If you go expecting a solid 2* performance you will be happy but 3* it was not
  2. I am entertaining some Romanian friends of my husband next week; we are having raclette as a main course but I would like to cook something Romanian in their honour as a starter. Apparently they are "good eaters" - any advice on a relatively simple starter which requires no special ingredients would be much appreciated. It also has to be quick to prepare as I have a 4 month old baby !
  3. Well, we have been and we have eaten - very well Quick review here and some pictures to follow in due course. We were planning to have set lunch but ended up having a la carte. The website hasn't been updated with the new a la carte so please excuse some of the descriptions which might be a bit wanting. We arrived around 12:45 for our 1.15 reservation, it was really quiet with just a few tables of quite a mixture of "types" - solo man, 2 tables of ladies who lunch, an old couple exchanging almost no words through whole meal, table of 5 banker types and us - young couple clearly celebrating something. Bread service consists of wholemeal triangles, baguettines and round raisin rolls with salted and unsalted butter on two glass dishes Amuse bouche - Butternut squash puree, game jelly, foam topping (can't remember what cheese it was) complete with truffled puff pastry thin. Served in a shot glass in layers, the combination of flavours & textures was excellent. I don't usually enjoy butternut squash but this was great. Starters - Crab lasagne with champagne foam & shellfish cappucino. Very flavoursome cappucino, not too rich and complemented the delicate crab without overpowering it. The champagne foam was nice but I felt it was a bit superfluous. Pasta was delicious with really vibrant pea flavour. Game consomme with scotch egg and foie gras "Croque MonsieurAnother rich but not heavy soup served with toasted sourdough, a tiny kilner jar of game rillette topped with port jelly. All the elements were delicious - the scotch egg had been particularly well prepared leaving the yolk still soft. A really fun dish - but even my husband (who can eat for England)struggled to finish it. Mains - Roast Turbot with cauliflower, parmesan and almond salad, truffle'd cauliflower purée Cauliflower salad was a real high point of this dish with thinly mandolined cauliflower served warm. Also accompanying the dish were some warm jellied balls - as yet unidentified in flavour and a croquette. Really nice variety of textures and a very generous dish with plenty of puree to go with it. Sweetbreads with spaetzle, trompette de morte mushrooms This was my husbands choice, can't remember the finer details but we fought over who would have it (we both adore sweetbreads) and he won. The spaetzle were good but I prefer mine with a slightly crispier finish. Sweetbread was, as expected, perfectly cooked. Again a very generously portioned dish Cheese - This is where the one slight irritation of the meal came. The cheeseboard here is legendary and I was really looking forward to it (which was well justified as they were well kept and the accompaniments - grape chutney, golden raisin bread and the sweetest black grapes I have ever tasted). However when I am eating in a 2* restaurant I don't expect the waitress to come over and say "Not your average Red Leicester" and something else equally patronising along the lines of "i bet you've never seen anything like this before". I somehow suspect I've eaten in a lot more 2 & 3 stars than her and I have never had anyone make such a patronising comment - especially from a girl that looked about 15 years younger than me. I was really put out by this, particularly as I have served quite a lot of the cheeses on the board myself and would never have dreamt of saying that to a guest. Anyway, apart from that the cheese selection here is excellent and includes some unusual cheeses from Spain and Italy, not just the usual French selection. She made a good selection of cheese for husband. to be continued...
  4. Going on the 19th and wondering if anyone has any menu recommendations ? Or recommendations to avoid.. Chose it on the basis of longevity meaning it must be pretty good. We usually eat at Gavroche or Marcus Wareing if having a London treat, how does Square match up (apart from the star aspect)
  5. Matcha macarons are delicious - especially sandwiched with chestnut creme au beurre Or you could just enjoy some matcha tea..
  6. well, we went there on Sunday night for our anniversary. It was excellent. We had the menu exceptionnel which was elegant & classic. canapes were langoustine mayonnaise on toast, tapenade palmiers and a croute with pancetta and chutney. Amuse was an oyster with a savoury foam. Course 1 was hot foie gras; there was a foie terrine on the specials menu and I couldn't make up my mind what to have - the terrine was offered instead no problem. Went for the hot foie and it was excellent, served with ginger bread and some mache salad. Second course was crusted topping, braised oxtail and fava beans. Third was vodka sorbet with a tutti frutti compote. Main course was duo of game (venison chop and a ballotine of pigeon I think) with a vol au vent of salsify and spinach. The venison chop was really nicely cooked. We had an additional course of cheese which was served with a choice of 4 biscuits or walnut bread. We ended with mirabelle souffle followed by the usual petits fours. There were some unusual choices available for wine pairings. The service was great. the staff are very friendly and will happily chat to you if you want to talk and leave you alone if you don't. The decor is a bit, well, odd but no more peculiar than some of the old school places on the continent. All in all it was a relaxed atmosphere, superb classic cuisine. I certainly don't want to eat dishes with 15 different interpretations on a theme at every restaurant I go to and I really enjoy the fact that both the Gavroche and the Waterside are just as much about the diner as the chef. And no, there are no plastic balls of ice cream
  7. I'm hoping to visit NY in April next year - is it really two courses for $28 for lunch ? In a 3 star establishment ? It sounds too good to be true... what are the hidden extras ?!
  8. fde, saw on the main review you're going to Chez Dominique soon. You will LOVE it, very similar style of food and presentation to Oaxen (where I am desperate to go myself) They have only tasting menus, no a la carte, just 5 course, 7 course or 9 course. A different selection of dishes is prepared for each menu - it's not just an extra 2 courses. It is simply fantastic
  9. I'm in the UK and have certainly never heard the term "dessert chef" here - it's just pastry chef/patissier or baker But the term makes me think of maybe someone who has experience in the whole kitchen that ends up through either circumstances or choice on the dessert section in a restaurant. Clearly in a restaurant you aren't making jams, gateaux, viennoiserie etc - you're just making plated desserts, maybe some breads and petits fours and if you're in a decent place you're making some doughs either for your own section or the larder and meat sections. But you don't have the wideranging experience, knowledge and production of the traditional pastry chef in something like a club or a hotel, producing viennoiserie, pastries for afternoon tea, centrepieces, wedding and celebration cakes. I do agree that it's a bit of a cumbersome term but for me it differentiates between someone who has the full classical pastry training and someone who hasn't but still works on a pastry section.
  10. I made a bay scented custard once at college - a very adult taste which was really tasty
  11. We have half board at our resort but will probably dine out a few times. Is Harmony Hall good, found it on the internet ?
  12. Here in the UK flan is used to describe a pastry case filled with any number of fillings - from savoury (spinach adn ricotta flan) to fruit flan. The food that a New Yorker would recognise as flan would be described here as a caramel custard. So here in England to write simply "flan" would be like writing "pie" in the states - not very descriptive.
  13. Taken on 27th April. Starter - Eggs en cocotte with spinach and truffle Main course of scallops Main course of libaise bread with chicken & hummus Selection of hams, salmon and cheeses Dessert of American pancakes with griddled banana and coconut From the patisserie trolley (we had to have one of each ) (black forest macaron, passionfruit jelly adn paris-brest) pannacotta with salted butter caramel, strawberry & banana cake and and a chocolate hazelnut cake Everything was delicious, from the Christine Ferber strawberry jam which we very nearly finished, to the lemon cake on the table to the pink grapefruit juice. And to underline the kindness we have always found at this marvellous establishment, I asked the Restaurant Manager in my best French where I could buy CF jam in Paris. When he realised I was a "foodie" (as we were chatting about her Alsace shop) he went to the kitchen and came back with 3 jars of CF jam for us as a gift ! A wonderful treat, reasonably priced at 70e per head including a glass of Tatti and endless mineral water. I highly recommend it.
  14. Fibilou


    my favourite rhubarb dish is lightly poached young stems poached in champagne, orange and pink peppercorns. Served with something like a buttermilk sherbet or creme fraiche ice icream it's really good.
  15. Your own Heston clone to cook it for you ?
  16. erm....erm.... erm..... tea ? Ooh, and branston pickle is good.
  17. Regis on the Rue Montmartre (near to Mova in the Les Halles district) makes great croissants, for which they have won awards - all neatly displayed in the vitrine. You can sit outside and watch the world go by with your coffee - and if you get there early enough a bag of chouquettes. the religieuse are also good
  18. Regis on the Rue Montmartre (near to Mova in the Les Halles district) makes great croissants, for which they have won awards - all neatly displayed in the vitrine. the religieuse are also good
  19. Having looked through the nationwide adverts on Caterer I was really saddened by what has clearly happened in the last 8 years. When I first started out there were 5 full time patissiers working on my section, under a (git of a) fellow who had about 25 years' experience. He was paid the same as the senior sous chef and accorded the same respect. We had a CDP, demi and us two commis. By the time I left there was me as CDP basically acting head pastry chef because they couldn't get one, a commis and an apprentice. That was in the space of 4.5 years. Now I see adverts that say "Pastry chef urgently required for 3 rosette restaurant. 2 years experience at this level would be advantageous" Advantageous ? What is going on ?
  20. Quite. I currently earn £19k in an office job which doesn't really require a lot of skill apart from supporting the police bureaucracy. It's 9-5 weekends off. What are the chances of me getting the same pay and working conditions back on the pastry section, a job which requires considerably more skill, application and hard work. Or even a decent recompense for working unsocial hours ? Hmmm, just about a big fat No Chance !
  21. this is so true for merseyside also, im looking to open a pastry led place which may double as a dessert restaurant at night inspired by my time in toronto where i use to frequent such a place and not to mention epai sucre but its a minefield, units aren`t so much the problem unless you set up in the centre of liverpool then you need the backing of a footballer who seem to sprouting up places across town. the main issue here is the lack of skilled professionals to offer quality retail and plated desserts, and for cheese good god its an artisan free zone, but perhaps if we sold cheese and onion pasties on the hoof we may survive ← Marc, is it a long commute from Eastbourne to the Wirral ?
  22. This is what I used to use. Or sometimes "is everything to your satisfaction". Once only and when they had only had a couple of bites - so you've got time to rectify something wrong. it's interesting to see the difference between peeves in the US and poor service in the UK. As tipping isn't the norm here there is a lot less pressure to sweet talk the customer and in most restaurants the service is professional, nothing more. I cannot imagine ever kneeling down while waitressing, unless perhaps I was trying to talk to a very small child. Over here most waiting staff try to interact with the diners as little as humanly possible
  23. Update - I have signed up with an agency who hopefully might find something for me Jon, I entirely agree with you. I trained under a French patissier adn have a real passion for french patisserie. My fanstasy would be to open a French style patisserie/boulangerie, but I know it would fail because I just don't think there is the market for it. It's a shame, but everyone here seems to prefer cheap, crappy, dry cakes filled with fake buttercream and splodge rather than the more sophisticated offerings. Or even just plain old stuff like DECENT pain au chocolat or chouquettes (yum yum) And Petrus, glad you enjoyed the blog
  24. I was a pastry chef for 4 years down in Sussex, have had 8 years out and am looking to get back into it. For a job which is apparently desperately underskilled adn understaffed I can't find any work within a 30 mile radius of my home apart from the job I left in 1999 which they have never managed to fill permanently ! It's very frustrating.
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