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Jon Tseng

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  1. If not Waitrose (which has a very good cheese selection; note I think vacherin mont d'or is back in season atm), then just hit the Selfridges Food Hall up the road. Its a little pricy but would be by far the best selection in the area. If you go and hour/half and hour before closing there's often some stuff reduced too. Also worth getting some steak from there to do at home. The butchers concession is run by Jack O'Sheas which does some of the best dead cow in London. J
  2. Phoenix Palace down Glentworth St does reliable Chinese take out. And Dinings on Harcourt also do take out for excellent modish modern Jap. Or any of the dazzling array of Lebenese places (Maroush I II III IV XVI etc etc) do take out, obviously. Not sure about delivery though. England has never got into the same culture of delivery food that NYC has. Don't give up on Waitrose ready meals though. Bear in mind the British supermarket has evolved the cook-chill meal into a high art (noticeably wider and deeper selection vs. marts in the US or France). All you need is a microwave! J
  3. Rick Tramonto's "Amuse Bouche" also worth looking into, if you can find it.
  4. Dunno... Looks like its an import though. I think Grub Street are mainly a UK imprint, so no local US publication? You might want to try putting an order in on Amazon UK and getting it shipped to the US if its a local UK edition, though it may take longer to arrive? I've had hard to print books shipped from Amazon.com to London so I assume vice versa works. Also will allow you to take advantage of the strong dollar. J
  5. Oh sod that. Why don't you just pop down to Waitrose on Marylebone High St every night and get something tasty. Can't think eating take-out every night is particularly healthy! And the grub there is yum! Or if you must, Deliverance (https://www.deliverance.co.uk/) is normally quite a safe bet. They have various different culinary options. There are also some schemes like Room Service which try to offer take-out from various restaurants, but timings can be slightly flaky because they are just acting as a middle-man. Ta J
  6. Ha, and bang on cue... "Hakkasan is the first and only Chinese restaurant in Europe with a Michelin star..." Grrr. Bloody clueless resto PRs. The even seem to forget that their sister restaurant Yauatcha has a star!!! J
  7. PS It's slightly ironic PaT loses a star on the chef transfer, as the complaint was always that Tom Aikens on "inherited" his two stars from Richard Neat back in the day, rather than winning them himself...
  8. Heh. Confirms what I thought about Ynyshir. Three demotions and two promotions in eight years. Tough life! Oh and also next time someone mentions the old "Hakkasan was the first Chinese restaurant ever to get a Michelin star" line this is the website which tells you that actually no, Michelin were dishing out etoiles in Chinatown back in 1974 (Lee Ho Fook... I kid ye not!!!)
  9. Things that occur to me: 1) They list the head chefs for the *** restaurants (not the name on the door) which I don't remember seeing before. That's welcome as these guys (and ladies) are underrated. After all who remembers who Rob Reid and Paul Rhodes nowadays? 2) Shame seeing Ynyshir Hall down again. If my memory is right that place seems to go up and down more times than a yo-yo. 3) What happened to the espoirs? Has Mich given up on them? (They have always seemed a bit random) J
  10. One point with Chinese cooking - timing is more important. Because many things are cooked quickly in the wok then the margin for error is much lower. Or if you are steaming a whole fish, for example, there is a much narrower window between what the Chinese would deemed undercooked and iredeemably overcooked. Which Western cooking does sautee big lumps of protein from time to time, a lot of the saucing can be built up in advance, and there is a whole gamut of roast and braised food where timing is less of an issue. Chinese cuisine also has some braised dishes but very little that is roasted or cooked in the oven. Not saying this is more difficult, but the skills required are different. J
  11. Would be lovely in the winter... Soupe a l'oignon followed by jarret de veau braisee. Maybe a little much in the summer. Although one is french and one italien I don't see any particular stylistic problems matching them. It's not as if you're serving sushi followed by a garbure... J
  12. Stylistically the two restaurants are quite similar; I think claridges would be the closest to rhr of the others. BUT bear in mind claridges is much bigger. Off the top of my head I think it has roughly twice the covers. This makes it very hard to maintain the quality of RHR. A felix said I don't think the price difference is that heinous. I'd stick with RHR. J
  13. Yup. What's so remarkable about their list of restaurants, pray tell?
  14. As people said, RHR is worth it for the set-piece siege-gun three star experience. It isn't the most original cuisine on the planet, but I think they guard their three stars jealously. I wouldn't bother with the other ones; I think they tend to offer a fairly identikit offering (posh protein + slick silkily reduced sauce + veg) but lack the exacting standards of the flagship. Otherwise I would go to Maze as I think its the one restaurant in the group where the food has its own distinct personality. As people have said Pollen St Social (founded by Jason Atherton the ex-Maze chap) is just as good if not better, but it may be harder to score a reservation. J
  15. I very much agree with Felix. Looking at the CC blog I think they have both a lack of technical knowledge and of dining expertise. Take this review of Ducasse at the Dorch http://www.thecriticalcouple.com/1/post/2011/05/alain-ducasse-at-the-dorchester-not-crispy-not-crackling.html for example. For some reason they complain about the bread being cold. Again it shows a lack of experience - in many high end restaurants the bread service is cold rather than fresh from the oven. That's just the style of service. You also get the bread cold at ADPA... Then they complain about the amuse-bouche being served in a porcelain eggshell. They clearly haven't noticed that Ducasse's motif for the entire restaurant is, er, an egg shell. I mean there's an egg shaped screen about three metres long across the restaurant entrance (http://foodsnobblog.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/evid_ducasse_1800.jpg). May as well criticise the Fat Duck for having pictures of ducks feet on the menu! As Felix correctly calls out in the comments section of the article they incorrectly cite a technical error with the jus (if you don't believe its deliberate, check out multiple pictures of the same thing in Ducasse's Grande Livre). Bizarrely they try to contrast it with a Gordan Ramsay's demi-glace (regular observers will notice our Gordon likes his slickly-reduced demi-glaces). Why not compare it to a bechemel or a choron for all the relevance that has??? It is fine to be critical, but I simply do not think these are fair criticisms. What I think is quite telling is in the original Gidleigh Park post when he's taken to task for leaving a couple of millimetres of praline off the top of a dessert ( ). They seem to think it is the obsessiveness of presentation which makes a two-star restaurant. I think this is where their lack of fine dining experience gives them away. It is interesting to note that they blog shows little outside of the British Isles, apart from a couple of the Spanish trophy destinations. I wonder what they would think if they were presented with Bernard Pacaud's slovenly presented tarte fine au chocolat ( ). Does this meet the exacting standards of three stars??? J PS Gosh I am becoming a really grumpy old man in my dotage, aren't I?
  16. Come on chaps. Is it just me or has everyone been under a rock for the last year? This is not avante-garde cooking. It is very common to have Iberico pork (which I think is what they are serving at Corner Room - check out how dark the colour is verses normal white pork) done pink in the middle. An example - I picked up some skirt and some pluma from Jack O'Sheas the other day (Selfridge's concession, not the main shop) and this was exactly what the chap was telling me. Don't by any means cook it all the way through. So I didn't. Delicious. Another example - the Opera Tavern has been attracting raves for its Iberico Presa (). Again exactly the same thing - the meat is cooked rare inside that (plus the luxurious marbling) it was makes it unctiously delicious (although I have to say the burger is wildly overrated; not a scrap of foie gras in sight). Another example - iberico pork pluma cooked rare at the recently opened and well-acclaimed Jose (http://www.swedishmeatballeatslondon.com/2011/06/jose-bermondsey.html). From a safety point of view it is perfectly correct to serve good quality pork rare or medium. The reason we have pork overdone is to do with historical issues around the trichosis worm which is largely minimal nowadays, certainly in well sourced meat. If in doubt you can always freeze the meet and defrost before cooking which will kill any worms. From am empirical point of view I would take a tender, juicy rare piece of pork versus a hard well cooked pork chop any day. But then again some people prefer chicken breast over chicken thigh too. No accounting for taste. In fact what people should be outraged at is that pork isn't cooked rare or medium more often. For the record until this year there were only two places I have ever been served pork done nicely medium, as it should be. The first was Evans Gourmet Cafe on Lake Tahoe (lovely place. I'll even forgive them lobbing a strawberry into one of the mains). The second was Le Gavroche. And if its good enough for Michel Roux Jr then its good enough for me. J PS I dropped by the Corner Room for a lovely spot of brunch a month or too ago. While finding the room is a complete pain (despite it being in a supposedly boutique hotel the buildling bears a frighting resemblance to a former local government office building), the food is delicious. I had some asparagusy egg salad thing, the aforementioned pork and bread pudding and some crema catalana to finish. Lovely place for a weekend bite. PPS I do agree on lamb belly though. Horrible cut. Often hyped as an underrated or "forgotten" part of the beast. Don't believe a word of it - its either irredeemably greasy or tastes of boot leather.
  17. No way. Fifteen quid is way lower than the supp you'd pay for alba truffles. I would consider forty quid supp the starting point at a decent starred place. Fifteen definitely points to summer truffles rather than melanosporum or magnatum. J PS Does the angle of the table really matter than much?? If the table is wobbly or creaky maybe, but a couple of millimetres more sauce pooling one side would make zero difference to the taste of a dish. I'd venture to add the amount the food cools while it's being photographed would have a bigger impact on flavour (one of the reasons I never get round to photographing my food - I'm invariably too hungry...)
  18. For what its worth, I don't think you find reliably marbled beef in London, at least nothing like the USDA Prime you have stateside. As people have said, there isn't a particular breed thats bang on for guaranteed marbling. Even wagyu - I've been at a butchers and seen local beef with better marbling that the 150 quid a kilo wagyu next to it on the counter. The key factors I would consider would be: Breed, feed (grain rather than grass), time of year. I think the most reliable place for well marbled beef is Jack O'Shea's, particularly round Christmastime. But not always. I've had wonderfully marbled beef from the Waitrose meat counter, and even occasionally in vac-packed rib-eyes from M&S or Sainsburys/Jamie Oliver. It's pot luck really (one good thing about supermarket vac-pack steaks is you can go through the whole pile and check which one is precisely the most marbled. Other people have had great marbling from Northfield Farm in Borough Market. As I said its sort of pot luck. One worthwhile tip though - Moens in Clapham sometimes stock Wagyu rump which is wonderfully marbled and a damn sight cheaper than rib-eye. They used to sell it for high-twenty quid a kilo, but last time the price had gone up to more like forty. Still cheaper than rib-eye where GBP150+ is the going rate. J
  19. Oh wow fascinating. That's a blast from the past all right. I still remember him banging on about those black sea turbot back in the day! Hope the ones he's found in England are up to scratch! J
  20. Go to texture for sat lunch. Or book into viajante and just take the courses.
  21. On the Sliders I agree with David. Tasty but the burger one lacked fatty moistness. I think I recall having similar issues with the Hawksmoor burger. Bottom line: Just because you chuck in bone marrow (which was pretty indiscernable in both burgers to be honest) it doesn't mean your burger's going to be any better. One more observation - staff all very dressed up in speakeay-vibe t-shorts, extra short jeans etc. Helps add to the atmosphere and overall effect. I noticed something very similar at Gilbert Scott recent - staff all dolled up in faux period bracers with what appeared to be bicycle clips on their forearms. My thought was it was more like the staff were wearing a costume/fancy dress rather than a work uniform. An obvious extension if you're running a "concept" restaurant I guess. In both cases mentioned it works very well. J
  22. Good book. Very reliable. Excellent recipe for foie gras terrine. Some of Mr Ps more recent ingredient focused books (Duck, Shrimp etc.) have been a bit disappointing. But Glorious French Food is a good choice if you want a structured and up-to-date introduction to cuisine. J
  23. Oho sadly not. There is good street food to be found provided you are prepared to a) check well in advance, b) trek halfway across town and c) be prepared for occasional disappointment. So not that much different from Michelin starred dining then. A case in point was last Saturday when I spend much of the morning trekking up the northern line, across the central line sitting on a bus and schlepping down a canal to get to Broadway Market (http://www.broadwaymarket.co.uk/) specifically so I could track down Yum Buns (http://www.yumbun.co.uk/) who claim to make Momofuku-style pork buns. In reality it wasn't a patch on the real thing - three quid for a small slice of pork belly, a dab of hoison, some cucumber slices and a bit of spring onion. Having had the real thing and done the recipe at home many times I was left thinking "is this it??". Waste of a Saturday morning. Similarly Banh Mi 11 on Broadway Market attracts raves but myself and my friends agree, the ones from Banh Mi Bay in Holborn are by far better (although from a shop not a cart). My suspicion is that at least half of the street food hype is generated by journos who want something to write about. The problem is while a lot of the nuevo street food is perfectly decent by the time its been written up on half a dozen blogs/broadsheets you turn up expected the moon, which makes it very hard to exceed expectations. J
  24. I assume mincing the b*stards and turning them into sausages or terrine would be a worthwhile option. Might be too much work though! Lots of options though. Duck sausage studded with foie gras and sour cherries anyone?
  25. Tesco Finest Pork and Apple. A legend in its own bun-time. Also brilliant disembowelled and used in sausage rolls. For some reason equivalent offerings from Sainsburys and Waitrose aren't quite the same.
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