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Posts posted by britcook

  1. I think that's probably a good approach --asking, rather than telling or worse, whining. 

    That's the one that usually works, when I come across a wine that is corked or oxidised I always ask the sommelier/steward/whatever his opinion of the wine and if he wants to know why he has been asked over (before he has tried it) I usually say something like "it doesn't seem quite right" and let him make the decision (which, so far, has always been the correct one - replacemet)

  2. the article from chef2chef

    they are mostly formalities, they are done for a reason and you should be aware of each step in order to recognize good wine service:

    Your wine will be retrieved, brought to the table, and presented to the person who ordered it with the label facing out.

    Check the temperature of the bottle to determine if it is too warm or too cold...

    The cork will be presented to you as soon as the bottle is opened....

    How does the wine look? Is it bright or is it cloudy or murky?

    The smell of your wine can be a good indicator of its state ...

    Swirl it to release aromas, smell it like a flower, then taste it....

    If you approve of the wine, indicate to the server that you are ready to be served. Your party will then be served clock-wise, ladies first, ending by topping off your glass.

    Mostly as it should be with a couple of trivial errors.

    I can't remember ever testing the temperature of a bottle, nor seeing it done by any of my wine expert friends.

    It doesn't actually mention pouring the tasting sample into the glass (or is this being just too pedantic)

    We'll pass over smelling it like a flower, just being twee. If it smells as it should then you usually don't even need to taste it.

    The worst thing is "If you approve of the wine". You are not testing it to see if you like it, you are testing it to check that it isn't tainted in any way and that the contents in the bottle match the label on the bottle (although the practice of label switching and putting plonk in re-used bottles of better wine has almost died out). If it passes these tests then the wine is fit to be served whether you "approve" it or not, after all it was your choice.

  3. Say you did around 20 covers per service with an average spend of £50.00 a head and you did 7 services a week for 48 weeks of the year, your gross annual revenue would be £336,000. You should be able to make £100,000 out of that. Wage costs would be minimal and as you would be "living above the shop" you wouldn't have additional housing costs. Sounds like a goer to me!

    I think you might be a little optimistic there! If you could pull £100,000 net from £336,000 revenue then there'd be many more people clamouring for jobs in the restaurant business and far fewer failures. Always assuming you could get those occupancy figures and average spend high enough.

  4. I hope that there is a chef with the talent, dedication and balls to keep the Ludlow phenomenon going.

    You forgot to to mention money. Apart from a few "personalities" chefs are not generally rich people, so just a few back of envelope calculations, assuming that somebody can raise around 20% deposit to give a loan of say $400,000. On current lending criteria of up to 4 times income the purchaser would need to be earning something around £100,000/year. Do you think the Merchant House could generate that kind of income? Of course it couldn't. That would be a net profit of £2000/week, somehow don't think a small (24 covers?) restaurant with a tiny kitchen is going to achieve that.

  5. $99 is a terrific price if you like DP, 96 was a good year and it will last if you have the right storage conditions. Over here the best price I can find is the equivalent of about $140/bottle.

  6. I don't know about foreign languages being the only culprit (assuming that your first language is English), pedant that I am I always check for accuracy of spelling and grammar in a menu and have to report that the 100% correct menu is a very rare beast indeed, even if the menu is all in English. When it then tries to incorporate dishes with "foreign" names the fun never stops. My personal favourite was a small restaurant offering, as soup of the day, Ministroni.

  7. MONO Teapots.

    If I was more pooty(my wifes petname for a compooooter)) savvvvvy I would have included some kind of link to some kind of site that shows the pot in question. But, me poooty illiterate so hopefully someone else will help a brother out and do it.

    clickety click

  8. This always goes down well

    Chicken Livers with Grapes

    Serves 4

    1 pound chicken livers

    2 oz sultanas

    3 oz seedless or de-seeded grapes

    2 tbsp brandy

    1 oz butter (preferably unsalted)

    3 tbsp Madeira or Port

    4 fl oz rich chicken stock

    salt & pepper

    Soak the sultanas in the brandy for an hour or two. Fully trim the chicken livers ensuring that none of the gungy bits or gristle remain. Cut the grapes in half. Quickly fry the livers in the butter (about 2 - 3 minutes) they should still be pink in the centre. Remove the livers from the pan and keep them warm. Turn up the heat to maximum and put the sultanas and brandy in the pan (if it bursts into flame it's OK). Add the stock and the Madeira and reduce until the sauce is quite "sticky" and rich. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Briefly add the livers and grapes to the pan to warm through and serve.

    Comment: This dish is at its most impressive if served with the right wine, the richness of the sauce and the sweetness of the wine balance each other and takes the "cloying" taste off both. The stock should be fairly strong to start with but if you wish, it can be in a fully reduced state in which case only use a couple of tablespoonfuls and the final reduction with the Madeira will be that much quicker. The livers can be served either by themselves or on one of the following:

    · toast,

    · a piece of bread fried both sides in butter,

    · bread brushed in oil and baked on a baking sheet at 220°C (450°F) for 10 minutes

    (in all the above cases trim the bread to a reasonable shape e.g. a circle),

    · croustades

    · a vol-au-vent case

    · a small dressed salad (as well as or instead of the above).

    You can use raisins instead of sultanas. All measures approximate

    Recommended wine: A well-chilled Monbazillac or a Sauternes. This unlikely combination works superbly well (see above).

  9. For actually making tea (rather than just having display items) the teapot does not seem to have that much of an impact, although the minimum workable size seems to be a two (large) cup version. The main factors seem to be the water, the tea blend and type and your technique. The only thing I ask of a teapot is that it doesn't drip or dribble when you pour.

  10. "Room Temperature means little unless you define the room: A London flat in January's "room temp" and a Dallas Dining Room in August are TWO very different temps."

    The perceived wisdom of "red wine at room temperature" was developed sometime either in the late 19th or early 20th century, probably in the UK when the room temperature would struggle to reach 60 deg, especially away from the fireplace. With the advent of central heating the average room temperature has risen by around 10 deg but the old phrase hangs around and does no justice to a decent red. In an ideal world you would store your wine at around 55 so that reds come up to serving temperature in the room reasonably quickly and whites just need a short while in the refrigerator.

  11. The thing to avoid is wines of a dominant character, such as heavily oaked chardonnays, probably the best thing is a blend either of named varietals such as Chardonnay and Semillon or a generic white wine from a well known producer such as Blossom Hill or even Gallo. It may not be great wine for drinking because it lacks complexity or character but that works in its favour when used the way you want, and it should be clean and fault-free. If you don't drink much wine freeze what you have left either in ice cube trays or small pots for use next time.

  12. Brad there does appear to be some self-contradiction in your reply, first you it doesn't need much cellaring but then you go on to say that (smaller) producers are releasing it to make room for new stock, with the inference that it hasn't been sufficiently cellared at release time, or am I misreading it?

    Personally I have found that all NV champagne benefits (or at least does not suffer) from at least 6 months cellaring after purchase, some need more. Of course that is only useful advice if you have a cool dark place to store it.

  13. OK naguere, some suggestions, all currently available in Waitrose for less than a fiver (although some are currently on offer)

    From France

    A classic Burgundy, Macon Villages £4.99

    2 from the Loire, Waitrose Loire Chardonnay, £4.49, Domaine Petit Chateau £4.49

    and 1 from the Oc, Herrick Chardonnay £4.23

    From Chile

    San Andres £3.99, Casillero del Diablo £4.99, both in the more "tropical" style

    And finally the joker in the pack from Sicily Inycon unwooded Chardonnay £4.99

    For the question you didn't ask I would also recommend "Les Fleurs" Chardonnay-Sauvignon blend, also from the Oc (made by the Grassa family), on offer at 20% off making it 5.59/bottle. Very approachable.

    The reason I recommend Waitrose (other than the fact it does excellent wine) is if I'm not mistaken the magazine on the table is Waitrose Food Illustrated. And you're spot on with leafy, Leckhampton Road is my preferred approach to Cheltenham, very attractive.

  14. From the picture which shows stamped pint glasses and the reference to Witherspoons, Cheltenham I figure that Naguere lives in or around Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and he is referring to JD Wetherspoons on the Bath Road.

    For expanding Chardonnay horizons I would suggest that said friend get down to the local Waitrose and check out their selection of Chablis and white Burgundy. Probably a bottle of the Herrick Chardonnay as well as a couple of American Chardonnays (they will be pretty generic, individual vineyards are hard to obtain it's more Gallo etc.). Should give an idea of where the preference lies.

  15. It's a case of "Do You Feel Lucky?". The advantage of ordering from a web supplier like Virgin is that you can often get a bargain or interesting wine that is not available anywhere else but the downside is that you have no idea of what the wine is like until you open it. I have had no bad wines from them, just the occasional one that lacked a little whatever, but was still drinkable and reasonably priced.

  16. I've been using them for a while and in general they deliver pretty much what they promise. I am particularly taken with the Escalonia Tempranillo 2000, the Marie-Louise Parisot Bourgogne (red) and the Cave de Lugny Bourgogne Blanc. The only real disappointments have been the 'Three Gables' range which seem a little less than described. With £20 off a case plus a free 13th bottle (of their choice) it is hard to go wrong.

  17. Unless you have a particular wine in mind why not buy a box of wine? Maybe not the greatest stuff in the world but easily transportable and probably OK for a picnic. For the sparkling wine decant as late as possible into a plastic bottle that has been used for a carbonated drink, probably the easiest would be one that had been used for sparkling water.

  18. Let us not forget in these affluent times that it is not that long ago in historical terms that famine and starvation were fairly widespread rather than the localised disasters they are today. If you are starving then simply put you will try anything that looks vaguely edible, you figure if you don't eat that strange plant or animal then you're going to die anyway, so what if it is poisonous? Now the processed stuff is a total mystery because that's not hunger driven.

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