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Sacha Novak

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  1. I do apologies I had no clue that I had to explain my reasons for visits. Visit 1, I wanted to try it out as I had heard it had opened too much expectation. Visit 2, My mothers birthday (had an amazing desert on the first visit so wanted to try it again) Visit 3, I was on a night out with a friend and this was our pre night out dinner. And I also said nothing about not enjoying the dishes. I found it to be mostly bland and unmemorable so I would guess that is why a desert that tasted of toothpaste stood out. As long as the food is edible and the result is me not being hungry at the end, I would generally not say I didn't enjoy it. If I were to elaborate on the bland comment I guess it would stem from most of the dishes being soft textured with over use of puree's and mouses with light sauce and soft meat. On my first visit I had a desert served in a jar with smoke and it was one of the finest things I have ever eaten. I also like to revisit some restaurants to see if they improve or get worse. I will generally do this until I feel it is not worth revisiting or until I get bored of the menu. I eat out a lot. On the last visit I also found the service to be terrible with the waiter not knowing what any of the dishes were as they came out. We even started to have fun, asking on one occasion if it was salt marsh lamb, knowing it was beef. He replied with a yes.
  2. Thank you for your reply. We didn't end up going in the end but we are trying to get there again in a few weeks (hotel cancelation issues) so I will check out the food hall for sure.
  3. I have been here 3 times now and the last time I had the tasting menu. I thought the old patisserie chef they had was very good though but I was told on the second visit he had left. Other than that, I found the food to be mostly unmemorable and a little on the bland side but had the occasional wow with a couple of dishes. Oddly the most memorable thing I ate from there was a desert that tasted like Toothpaste off the tasting menu.
  4. Just saw that someone mentioned Whitby in this thread. I had some amazing Fish and Chips there but found it quite hard to find a place that did fresh fish. I went too the posh looking place on the main waterfront and asked if their fish was fresh, the chap laughed at me and said he hadnt seen fresh fish in these waters for many years!! I walked out disappointed. I did however use my iphone to google and found myself in a street behind said place and found somewhere that did fresh fish, and it was very yummy. Also, on the way back through the moors we stopped off at a tiny little bakery in sleights and got a pork pie, and this pork pie was the best pork pie I have ever eaten. In fact, I would almost be tempted to make the 6 hour return trip just to get some more!!! (ok I wouldn't even consider that, but saying I would consider it even without any truthfulness in my gesture shows how good it was). Cheers Chris
  5. We are off there this weekend and have a room overlooking the Marina. My girlfriend got it with the hope there will be some firework show on the marina but we dont even know if there will be. Its doubtful but it will be a nice evening all the same. Food wise I have no clue about Ipswich. We are planning a trip to Jimmys farm and another farm near there that do an English form of waggo beef (yeah I know I spelt that wrong). Anyone have a recommendation? Cheers Chris
  6. I was here about two weeks after it opened. We had a 1:30pm booking on a saturday so by the time we sat lunch was starting to tail off. To be honest, I found the whole experience a bit....Meh. The food was good, but not spectacular. I mean, the cooking was perfection, the presentation was very good but it just seemed to be missing a bit of....love? I had a sirloin steak which I think must of had his 24 hour slow cook process (I wanted the beef royal but they ran out). I have been very keen to try this for a while (I love my steak) but there is just something not familiar with the texture. I do 24 roast sirloin at home for my sunday roasts and its sublime, but for steak...I just dont get it. Just while writing this, I think I have hit the nail on the head. Fillet steak, I love it well rested and tender so it melts in the mouth. I like its smooth texture and its flavor. But any other cut be it sirloin or t-bone, I like it fresh off the grill and sizzling on the plate. I dont care about blood on my plate from lack of resting, I want the juices to explode in my mouth as I bite into it! This 24 hour Heston Sirloin was trying to be fillet with flavor, but it just has the wrong texture. Anyway, service was terrible. We sat for at least 15 min trying to catch someones eye to get the bill. It was end of Lunch and they were getting ready for dinner service but no excuse. My girlfriend was quite pregnant at the time and was very uncomfortable. They also made no effort to understand that she was pregnant and explain what dishes had offal or uncooked egg. The pineapple desert was good though. That and the steak was about all I remember eating! We continue to try and get a booking for the fat duck though. I am a huge fan of Hestons books and TV shows so I hope it restores my faith in him. His cooking at home book is amazing btw, Anyone read it? Best cook book I have, and I have a LOT.
  7. After loving Tom on GBM my partner booked us in to eat here a couple of months ago. The food was sublime! I also got to meet the big man himself after the girlfriend made a special request (it was my birthday). It was really odd, I went all shy and felt like a little boy meeting his idol....I blame it on the beer! We had the GBM pork dish with head and belly and the potatoes cooked in salt pastry. It was one huge feed... I had a starter and getting through the main was quite a struggle. Its one of those dishes that you just dont want to loose the battle with because its just too good to let pass. The service was very friendly and attentive and over all we have rated it best of all the eateries we have been too (Dinner with Heston, Gordon Ramsay Paris, Le Gavroche etc). The Cottage is also great. They are all right next too the main road so every so slightly noisy but that didnt detract from the hot tub They also have Nespresso machines in the rooms which is great (I always think about taking mine) Over all I would highly recommend. I have some photos. I will upload sometime. Cheers Chris P.s The bread was stunning.
  8. I have been to Alimentum twice in the last few months. My first visit was a family outing and was enjoyed by all. The food went from above average to spectacular. Sadly I cannot remember the above average (must of just been average) but the spectacular was some amazing desert in a large jar with smoke and honeycomb and some amazing main dishes which I cannot be bothered to talk about (ok...I guess I cant remember them either) The most interesting part of the first visit was an unexpected email after asking for feedback on our experience. While we did enjoy that first visit I thought it would be a great opportunity to point out a few things. One being the menus which were a written on a single page of paper, our menus had obviously been used before as they had slight greasy finger prints on them and a few other very minor things like no amuse or pre starter (It seemed like it was missing, and thats a compliment). My second visit was a date with a very lovely lady. We started this time with Cocktails in the bar. I have to admit, I found the whole area to lack any warmth or personality. As with the first visit, it felt more like a place for the staff to hang than a place you would want to spend drinking their average cocktails. We moved into the restaurant for dinner, it was nice to see the single page menu had been changed to a nice wallet menu. And I was very interested to see they had now added a tasting menu, so we went for that! Not including matching wines mind. The dishes were well structured considering they were mostly copies off the main menu. There were no real highlights as all the dishes were of a high quality but there were a few low points including a sorbet that tasted like good quality toothpaste . Service, well....it was a bit laughable. When the first dish came out I asked the waiter to explain the dish too us, he went very red and mumbled "fish and errr....." then walked away. When the main dish of BEEF came out, I asked if this was the salt marsh lamb and he replied "oh yes, it is sir". In fact, it was pretty much just the one waiter that was the soul point of our comedy. At one point he started to give us deserts which had to be quickly removed because they were for another table. To be honest, I quite like this sort of thing as it adds a bit of humor to an evening. So over all, I do recommend alimentum, because the food is great. And while the service was laughable at times, it was warm and fun. I doubt they will get a star because of the service, but if they go on food alone....I think so.
  9. I think sharks with no fins are more scary. At least with a fin you can see them coming and make some sort of swim for it. Its a scary world we live in. This just makes it even more so Interesting fact. In New Zealand the majority of fish and chip shops used to serve battered shark as the main fish. Its lovely
  10. It does make you thirsty though, very thirsty. Other than that, 4 billion chinese can't be wrong! S ← Jeffrey Steingarten!! What a great read that was.
  11. I love the salt idea! I will try it this weekend. I also put a sprinkling of MSG on my steak if I dont think its good enough on its own. I know a lot of people have an aversion to it but I think it works wonders with some foods (home cooked fries!!)
  12. I have been dying to try some proper USDA Prime beef for a long time. Most beef in New Zealand is grain fed and its a totally different taste experience imo. I find the flavor is slightly more buttery and nutty. Its what I grew up on so I guess I would enjoy it more. So im always on the hunt for that flavor now I live in England! I have found a great butcher in Marylebone that sells dry aged beef sometimes upto 40 days aged. Its not grain fed though. Its quite expensive too!! two 10 ounce ribeyes costing about £30. I heat my bbq up to its hottest temp and cover the steak in butter, the butter then melts off onto the coals and smokes the steak slightly. Then I put the lid on for a few seconds and let it sizzle and smoke, then serve it instantly(no resting!). The result is a rare steak thats chard on the outside. Its the closest I can get to the grain fed flavor with the buttery taste.
  13. I dont think the expansion that we have seen with GR, Novelli and MPW could of been made possible without the fame and the publics interest in the chef themselves. I think MPW once said that these restaurants that he opened were not successful because of the food, but because the general person who goes to these places are there because its the "in" place to go. And the prices reflect this, not the Michelin stars(I added that last part . And to become the "in" place you have to present a public image that the public want to see and be a part of. And keep it going. Heston has done a LOT of TV. But only recently has he started to show a good personality on TV, making him someone the general public want to watch, and also being in programs that have a good formula. With this public interest growing and his fame status getting higher he is able to ride the wave so many before him have. So hes becoming a "celebrity chef" and what do you know, hes opening a new restaurant (new NHS program on soon I believe?). You only need to look at the likes of Corrigan who was an unknown in the world of celebrity 3 years ago. Then a great performance on Ready steady great british menu and hey presto.... So you can say Heston hasnt sold out and he's not done a "Ramsay". But givin the chance, I bet he bloody would/will. Any chef who pops up on tv, in my book is doing what you all hate, they are self promoting for that chance to expand which = less cooking. If you want your chef behind the stove, turn off your TV, put down Waitrose Food Monthly and Stop reading the paper. Simple
  14. Gordons food is fine. The only part of his menu's that lack excitement are the main courses. His deserts are amazing. I was lucky and had the full on menu at lunch time in his Paris restaurant and was spoiled rotten(mini selection of all deserts turned into two of every desert...full size, almost..the table was covered in plates!), but apart from the theater and service and being with a young beautiful date, the food simply wasn't as good as la gavaroch a few months earlier.
  15. I tried to book maze this week for saturday and was told that only a bar table was available with full menu. I wasnt to keen on paying top dollar to eat at "the bar" so I declined.
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