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Sacha Novak

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Posts posted by Sacha Novak

  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. 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.

  3. 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).



  4. 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?



  5. 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.

  6. 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.



    P.s The bread was stunning.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 :)

  9. Odd, was having a discussion on MSG the other day on another forum the other day - but I wouldn't worry, there's no evidence it does any harm other than anecdotes and internet scare stories!

    It does make you thirsty though, very thirsty. Other than that, 4 billion chinese can't be wrong!


    Jeffrey Steingarten!! What a great read that was.

  10. 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!!)

  11. 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.

  12. 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.


  13. I wonder how much truth there is in that. I can't comment on RHR because I haven't been to, but the other restaurants I have tried all delivered. I wonder if standards decline, or whether fashions move on; diners who return expect something different rather than food that may appear dated.

    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.

  14. I had dinner at Le Trianon last year. It was stunning(review in the paris section with pics). I have seen reviews and photos of the food at RHR and it looks like pretty much the same menu as Le Trianon. Although the dining room at Le Trianon looks slightly more special :raz:

    I love TV Ramsay and find his programs to be far beyond what any other chefs are doing. But none of that side interests me when it comes to his restaurants. His food is bloody good, simple as that.

  15. Oh I forgot the price! umm I seem to remember it being about 340 euro in total including tip.

    It was in May that we ate there.

    There were alot of people in the brasserie I must say. But yes it was in the restaurant that we ate.

    I have some photos of the restaurant if your interested?

  16. First off, please let me say I am very dyslexic and this is my first restaurant report. Please forgive me for any spelling mistakes or unreadable content. I use google to check on words I know are badly wrong but a few still get through. Plus it was my first weekend with my new camera so some of the photos arnt great.

    On my last visit to see my partner who works in paris I had the pleasure of eating at Trianon GR for lunch on a saturday. It was a wonderfull lunch but I have to say there was only us and another couple eating for the whole of the lunch service. The other restaurant was full though.

    The room is beautiful and feels relaxed but formal. The staff were all very warm and made us feel very comfortable and on many occasions made us laugh out loud.

    One point my partner always has a gripe about is that even though she is english, when she speaks french to english speaking french people they always return the conversation in english as if to say her french is not good enough. This was not the case here, they picked up straight away that she could speak french and I could not and spoke french to her and english to me. I know this is small but this made her day.

    We started with a glass of lovely champagne and ordered off the standard menu. While there is a price difference theres not alot between the tasting menu and the standard menu, we still decided to go with standard. Oh how happy we were with that choice!

    The first amuse was a mini ice cream cone of smoked salmon and (I think) cream cheese sorbet with cavier. It was a great mix of texture, flavour and lots of salty sea flavour. I loved it, the girlfriend didnt.

    Next was a potato crisp filled with (I think) truffles. I didnt get alot from it but the girlfriend loved it.

    Finally there was a Ceaser salad of lobster served with a sorbet of some description(it was over a month ago so some memorys are vague). The Ceaser dressing completly overtook the lobster flavour but over all it was very nice to eat.


    My starter was the lobster raveolie Gordon is famous for. It was, simply, one of the most delightfull dishes I have ever eaten. My only gripe being that the lobster did seem slightly over cooked but that didnt subtract from the awe I got from this dish. I really didnt want it to end!


    My partner had a stuffed chicken served cold with frozen Foie gras, She said it was beautiful but didnt get alot from the Foie gras sorbet(?) I didnt try it.


    Before the Main course was served we were given a Basil sorbet with a drop of 25 year old balsamic. It was served on a block of ice. To me it was one of the highlights of the meal. It was the most amazing flavour of Basil I have ever had, As it hit my pallet the cold stopped any flavour getting through, then slowly the flavour of basil came through stonger and stronger and it was beautiful. It made both of us smile from ear to ear.


    The main dishes im afriad to say, were the low point of the meal. I opted for the Angus beef and my girlfriend opted for the lamb. While both of these were cooked to perfection using the best British produce, they were boring, safe and un-exciting. I always choose the beef because I always dream that I will find something to compare to my homeland beef(new zealand). The quality was there, but I didnt feel overwhelmed. My girlfriend felt the same.



    Next came a pre desert of tiramisu, this was frozen and served in a golden black egg. To me is was wonderfull once again using frozen elements to slowly relese flavours. Textures were wonderfull too.


    For desert we opted for the mini desert selection of everything. I think we were a little spoilt at this stage as when they started to fill our table with food they had a big smile on there faces. There was nothing mini about this selection! Highlights were the look on my girlfriends face as we broke into the fondant releasing the amazing toffee syrip inside(she did say she had tasted better fondant though). In the photo all you see is three of the deserts, what you dont see if the basil and chocolate sorbet and the TWO rasberry soufle. The Pineapple tartare was the most amazing pineapple flavour I have ever experianced. Both me and the girlfriend were in heaven.


    If that wasnt enough, we were then delivered chocolates of every type, More chololates on silver sticks, and then a bowl of rasberry filled white chocolate with dry ice. By this time I was ready to die or explode, but my girlfriend had no problems with chomping away at the amazing rasberry white chocolate bombs.



    Then my partner was also given a chocolate and orange breoche to take home with us, This was eaten in bed later that night along with some treats from Pierre Hermé.


    All in all it was a wonderfull lunch, The maître d' was great fun and was only too pleased to talk to us. After our deserts were taken away he asked "so was it good? do you think we should keep the chef?" Made me chuckle.




    While I agree Ramsays move to france is a bold one, I cant see why this restaurant isnt full all the time. I have eaten in 1 and 2 star restaurants around the world and can honestly say this was one of the best I have been too. To me its like seeing a great gig, you go and see the band and you have a good time, but if the gig inspires you and keeps with you for days then you know it was something special. And this was, something special.

    Next stop, The Fat Duck...

  17. I'm not sure what you are asking for????

    Sorry you will have to forgive me, im suffering from a kidney stone at the moment so finding it hard to think about anything but the pain.

    by the way, has anyone ever constructed a family tree of restaurants?

    Thats pretty much what im looking for. So then I can start at the top and make my way down.

  18. Hi all,

    I was wondering If i could get some help with my plan. In the recent years I have become really passonate about food all over again and now im not too poor Im able to check out all these restaurants ive always read and heard about.

    so im trying to formulate a plan of action.

    I have started at la gavroche because in my opinion this is the start, full stop.

    So where do I go from here? I dont want to peak too soon so really I want to save the fat duck to close to the end of my plan. And In my dreams it will end at el bulli hehe.

    I dont want to make it just about the food too, For me its about the chefs and where they came from, So I wouldnt want to eat in say Marcus Wareings restaurant before gordon ramseys..

    I just wish marco puerre White was still around to complete my self set quest.

    So yeah any help will be very appreacated thank you


  19. drewf i was very interested in reading your review. I also found themini-baguettes very tough. But the salted butter was sublime :rolleyes:

    my dining partner also had the duck for the starter and being the low class idiots we are he let me have a taste and to say i was amazed would be an understatement. The balance of flavours in the whole dish was totally perfect. Infact I would go so far to say that even though I didnt order it, it was prob the most perfectly balanced dish Ive ever tasted. But to keep things in topic I shall write my review in the relivent section.

    Oh and dress code seemed to be pretty relaxed, Most men there didnt have a tie on and I even saw a man with jeans on. Although they were dark jeans.

  20. I had a feeling this may spark off a debate.

    While is pains me to have to travel to london with a jacket on,I am, in retrospect 100% happy to wear one. And Im glad I do have to wear one. This to me is much a celebration as a friends wedding. A celebration of gastronimy at its finest and also a celebration of what the Roux familly have done for the culinary world.

    I have never been able to afford such treats before and have only just started to be able to enjoy such things in my life so toinght I will wear my jacket with pride :raz::raz::raz:

    THanks for the link Corinna, I shall give a full review of my experiance. But I will be also looking for help, I am trying to formulate a plan of which restaurants to go to and in which order. I already know Im going to leave the Fat duck to last place in my plan.

    And im 100% sure im in the right place to be getting some advice.


  21. Thanks guys, I will call them now.

    Yeah I must say im VERY excited, I made the discission this year to get off my arse and start going to all these great restaurants Ive been reading about.

    So I thought it would be best to start at what I think is the begining, la gavroche! I think that will set a very good standard for the years visiting.

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