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Jon Tseng

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Everything posted by Jon Tseng

  1. Really? Was sure both things happened around the turn of the millennium. While I can't argue from knowledge, the New York Times seems to tally with the memory. ← LTC dropped a star immediately on the move. As NB says, move to the berkeley doubled the covers but quality suffered.
  2. good book. contains a lot of temps timings and background wisdom it would take ages to figure out yourselves. i got mine from the resto. also costs an arm and a leg there as well. i'm torn about the qpr too. on one hand its not actually that big a book. on the other hand some of the information it contains is absolutely unique.
  3. and the oikish Guardian readers are being beastly to him - how could they? ← I'm not being beastly. he *does* look like marco pierre white and neither am i an oik. incidentally this must be the first year no ones started up a "RHR is going to lose a star" rumour. so on that basis it probably will. not. J
  4. Found an old copy of this for a few dollars the other day, so thank you for pointing this book out. Recipes look good and straightforward enought to make. I love the very dated photography in the book. ← Good going. vol 2 is also worth getting (mum swear by it) - can normally be found floating around amazon and abebooks. vols 3 and 4 less worthwhile. J
  5. Let's not get carried away here. The positive is that the recipes are very true to the restaurant. Some of the entrees as described are almost spot on dishes I've had a RHR. In that respect its an interesting attempt to document the effort behind a *** restaurant without shortcuts (reminds me of the horrendously convulated preparations in the Charlie Trotter books). The downside is the horrendously corporate tone, which also unfortunately somewhat echoes the RHR experience. The first half of the book (lovely photos by the way) reads like a corporate brochure ghost written by a somewhat anonymous uk food journalist (errr, it is actually). What grates is the hagiographic style. The neophyte reading this would come away with the impression GR is gods gift to cookery. He's good, but he'd not that good. Overall the book feels a lot like GR @RHR has become nowadays - an establishment which has undoubtedly high production values, but has become increasingly corporate at the expense of creativity and personality. This is a book which could have been written by a committee*. That's not to say it doesn't have its merits, but if you want a better feel for GR the chef rather than GR the corporate machine check out some of the earlier books, particularly when he was writing with Roz Denney (I recommend Passion for Flavour and Chef for all Seasons). J ps forgot to add there aren't actually that many recipes either. about 45-50. compare the alain ducasse grand livre recently reissued at the same 40 quid rrp which has around 500 *** recipes!!! * errr actually looking at the credits on p256 I think it was! have just realised this is the first cookbook I've ever read which has a Publishing Director, a Creative Director, a Project Editor, two Recipe Research & Testing staff, a Photographer, TWO food stylists (one of them admittedly the head chef at Claridges) and two production staff. Plus an anonymouse UK food journalist to ghost write the first half.
  6. Jon Tseng

    Trotter gear

    If any of you are ever in London they sell packets of genuine St John branded trotter gear in Selfridges. J
  7. CIA aimed at professional chefs. LCB aimed at home users. Both good in their respective spheres. That pretty much sums it up.
  8. Ermmm, if you're looking for Bernard Loiseau books in French isn't the French Amazon site the obvious place to start??? CLICK.
  9. I think RHR has a chef-patron (GR), an executive chef (Mark Askew) and a head chef (that delightful ulster lass who was splashed all over the OFM this month). Having said that the standards remained consistently high on my last visit - a reminder I think that process is important an ingredient to success as personality in the kitchen. Remember Escoffier* was famed not only for his peaches and ice cream, but also for the fact he was the person who formalised the brigade structure which is still used in most large kitchens today. J * I think it was Escoffier. It was either him or Careme but I think it was 'im.
  10. Umu is probably your best bet. It'll cost you though. Not sure how authentic though - proprieters MARC specialise in high end stuff rather than Japanese per so. Otherwise I assume all the swish places in mayfair which Japanese diplomats frequent but slip under the radar might do something. J
  11. Laowai? ← Foreigner? ← http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laowai
  12. Nobu is a chain restaurant and the food is lovely.
  13. After some prompting gave Haozhan a spin on Fri Good and bad - the texture of the tofu and scallop thing was wonderdrously silky and the green layer (seawood) something I haven't come across before. The sauce was a bit weird though - tasted of roast chicken crisps! On balance I'd have it again but a bit strange. House soup was fine Black cod w champagne butter sauce was basically braised cod in beurre blanc. Decent size portion but the cod could have done with being more browned. Probably a touch overdone. Mixed feelings. Its interesting and certainly drying to do something different. The crowd was noticeably laowai-heavy, IMHO not a good thing (though some may beg to differ). Prices are on the high end - you could easily spend quite a bit. The cooking is perhaps straining a bit to hard to do fusion. The slightly forced flavour combinations feel like what you'd find in a provincial restaurant with a 23 year old chef at the stoves trying to make a name for himself by having a hack at the "fusion thing". In short running before it can walk. We shall see J
  14. You need to be careful whether you are talking dining clubs (a la mosimanns), modern or showbizzy private members clubs (home house, groucho etc) or traditional st james members clubs. On the subject of the latter I've been to the Carlton Club. Only ate off the late night menu but the food is relatively dire. I'm a member of the East India Club and the food is reliably decent. Used to be terrible but they changed the chef five or six years ago. Traditional English standards in the main. The other benefit is they serve vintage port by the glass at roughly close to cost (it was Warre's '77 but they've probably moved onto a different vintage by now). J PS you also might want to think about Mortons, the members club in the Greenhouse/Umu stable. I've never been but imagine the food would be top notch. The current Greenhouse chef Antoine Bonnet was chef at Mortons before he moved across to replace Bjorn vanderwhathisface.
  15. Alternately chuck some good quality double cream in an ice cream machine* and leave it to churn for 15 mins. Hey presto. * Use a cheap one and dont chill the bowl in the freezer.
  16. The Greenhouse is the obvious choice in this category. If you want centrally located top-notch neo-classical haute, slick front of house and a killer wine list without having to book seventeen years in advance and sign your life away, its definitely the place to go. Incognico is an interesting one. It was great when it first opened (esp the 12.50 pre-theatre), then has apparently gone downhill the last few years. As I recall it was the first bistro deluxe years and years before the regelade, galvins, arbutus and their ilk started muscling in on the scene. I'd like to revisit it at some point to see how its done - almost did it the other weekend but got chucked out when the kitchen closed at three and my date still hadn't turned up. The menu does look very uninspiring though, although keeping the foie gras and orange on as a special is a nice nod to the past. J
  17. Not all, depends on establishment. Would tend to be done more in old school places.
  18. I shouldn't worry about rules and niceties. It's quite simple really. Treat staff and felllow diners with decency and respect and you'll get on just fine. See. Not that hard. J
  19. Original comment was meant to mean seats, not covers. Itend to elide the two terms together. Forty is a number I've sort of had stuck in my head for a while; don't quite know where it came from. Though in retrospect that may be on the low side - I certainly wouldn't expect to see many restaurants of any stripe with fewer than 30 seats unless they are uber tiny Japanese places. Seventy def sounds too high to me for an average. I certainly think there is a certain size (70-80 seats or above) where it is difficult to maintain *** quality. Two notable examples of this from London are: - Tante Claire, which lost a star after it relocated from Royal Hospital Road to the Berkeley Hotel; part of the problem at the time was certainly the fact that it doubled the number of seats in the new premesis. - Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, which ostensibly serves a similar menu to Royal Hospital Road, but never quite matches the quality level (rated * rather than ***) - again part of the issue (in my opinion) is that its simply a much larger number of settings. J PS I'm reasonably sure Gordon Ramsay doesn't have 75 seats. One of my bad habits is counting the number of seats at high end restos - at RHR I don't think I've ever got about 40-50. NB they do turn tables, however.
  20. 80 covers is high for a top-end *** joint. Harder to maintain consistency with that volume. 40 is more like the norm. J
  21. Although too be fair it makes a change from the "oh its sous vide so its really tender isnt that great." "no you pillock because sous vide food generally has all the texture of wet candy floss" which is oh-so-common nowadays.
  22. Has it improved since it opened a couple of years ago? Two early visits were marred by astonishingly slow service and I haven't been back... ← The dim sum has definitely picked up its act in the last 18 months or so. It's now some of the best in London. Notable also for the vegetarian selection. Evening food I don't know - never go as it looks wildly overpriced for what you get. Annoyingly, they still charge an arm and a leg for tea, and claim not to serve tap water (they finally relented when I picked up the tumblers on the table and headed off to the loo to help myself). J
  23. Recent Chinatown experiences: - Bar Shu (sichuan) is slightly different (but pricy) - Chinese Experience is reliable (but a bit sparse) - Four Seasons (new branch in chinatown) is sposed to be good for duck, but I thought it was so-so when I went. The crispy belly pork is to die for tho, esp if you takeaway and have it the next day. - C&R just along the way is dead cheap and authentically malaysian. Takeaway nasi lemak from their kiosk opposite also worthwhile. To be honest my most promising recent chinese experiences have been two stops along at Shanghai Blues for their lunchtime dim sum. Its really good. J
  24. A quick lunch there today. It's good, no doubt and ambitious. Operating at a high 1* standard at least - we shall see how it settles. The food is very smart, very well executed, goes togther and on the lunch menu is pretty reasonably priced. Highlights were pork belly (which avoided the twin pitfalls of being too fatty/melty and too dry) and the parmesan crisps which came as canapes. A couple of observations: - Very surprising to see this sort of food coming out of Manoir alumni. It's about as far as Le Manoir (trad french in tiny portions at extortionate prices) as can be. - With all due respect "Texture" should mean "crispy and crunchy". An old canard here - like many western restaurants which claim to explore texture there is very little attention paid to chewy/gelatinous textures which are a staple of Asian cuisine. Lots of crunchy, lots of crispy, lots of melty jelly. A small point. - This is a very well resourced operation. Not surprising FoH is slick - they had a big brigade out there even on a slow Sat lunch service. They are doing great things here, but bear in mind they have great resources from the looks of it. - Its not all rocket science - also an eye on seasonality and good ingredients, in particular exemplary tomatos with the egg. - Over the last year and a bit we've been blessed in London with a bunch of really good mid/upper mid openings - Magdalen, El Faro, Rhodes new place and this one spring to mind. Long may it continue ta J
  25. Viewers with long memories will of course remember Lordship Lane first won two stars for the original Chez Nico. I have never been to the Franklins in Dulwich but the edition in Kennington is an excellent local Brit place. The cheese shop on Lordship lane also has a commendable selection, with a nice range of groceries on the shelves to boot. On occasion i have found excellent well marbled ribeye at the organic butchers. Also do not forget Hope and Greenwood sweetshop up the road. 1950s kitsch think Enid Brighton. Hopefully opening of the new branch in Marylebone does not dilute their energies. Also consider Belair house down Dulwich village way. Actually I think the menu looks a bit dull but chef from L'Etranger (an underrated fusion place in Kensington) is consulting, which is a good sign. regards J
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