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Everything posted by Man

  1. Four Rosettes to Launceston Place and Murano?
  2. If not even calling him Raynor provokes him to intervene, I guess he'll never do so.
  3. Well said, one of my persistent gripes as well. (not at the CC which I haven't tried but in so many other places). That said, I learned recently that Summer truffle proper (Tuber aestivum) is in fact the same species as Tuber uncinatum (Burgundy truffles for the French and various local types of black truffles for us Italians, e.g. 'nero del Baldo') which is much better. The difference thus is not genetic but derives from environmental factors. (Tuber melanosporum is of course yet different and the best). I think they should put 'Tuber cardboardum' on some menus to describe accurately what they serve Edit: maybe the French wouldn't say exactly 'Burgundy truffle', but you get the point ...
  4. I guess it depends what that someone is particularly interested in. If it's ambiance, I'm sure there are many spectacular/lovely/cosy places scattered all over Britain. If it's cuisine, I doubt one can do much better than picking The Ledbury.
  5. What an idiot - forgot to mention the best of them all: Dulce Patria. For me, this place has everything going for it: extraordinary presentation, precision, richness, intensity, balance, creativity. No other meal in a month in DF came close to the quality I experienced there. And the prices are surprisingly kind, too, for this level of cuisine and ambiance.
  6. I too was disappointed by Pujol. Several dishes simply lacked taste or interest (e.g. a jicama salad that might impress only if you've never tried jicama before, and a beef tostada that while pleasant wouldn't compare with the best beef tartares, and a cerdo confitado with a mole that was insufficient in quantity and not stunning in quality), while one, an aubergine 'barbacoa', was positively unpleasant, the aubergine bitter and watery. Best dishes for me were a quail en recado negro with concentrated, stunning flavour and perfect cooking, and the desserts: one, a sort of avocado mousse (cremoso de aguacate), ever so light and intense and, for me, original; and a chocolate/guayaba/tamarindo. Also the amuse bouche were fine. Overall, I found this place falling between two stools: it achieved neither the overwhelming richness and sensousness of traditional mexican cuisine, nor the precision of execution and use of stunning produce of the best fine dining. Maybe it was an off night, but on the basis of this experience I fail to understand all the accolades. A new restaurant,Turtux, opened just a few months ago in lovely San Angel by well-known chef Margarita Carrillo, while aiming at a simpler level of cooking, seemed to me to strike a much better balance between tradition and original/innovative touches. I found hers a very mature cuisine, eschewing any sort of gimmick or theater for the sake of theater, and focusing entirely of flavours and balance. Her dishes are very refined and subtle: especially lovely the delicate and multidimensional green pistachio mole accompanying a turkey (though I've had this dish twice, and only once was the cooking spot on - the execution at Turtux isn't always perfect). The desserts here are particularly lovely: memorable was a mango asado with all sorts of nuts and an orange jus, powerful but not too sweet (even here, though, icecreams are variably executed). The wine (and mezcal) list is notably good value. If in San Angel, I think for a one off meal one could also try Paxia. The cuisine here is the opposite than at Turtux, a young chef betraying a bit of immaturity with much needless theater, but obviously also much talent. I had my first live insect here (a solitary jumil happily walking on a cube of meat), and the best mole of my stay in the city. However, while the dinner was overall good, there were lowlights: a quail was cooked poorly and desserts were sickeningly unbalanced. Others. For me, for a totally traditional breakfast (or even comida) in style, El Cardenal remains the stalwart of choice, and I also liked Saks very much, they have the best fruit jugos in my opinion, and an excellent variety of pan dulces (and the savoury bread too). I felt Tacuba was a bit of a tourist trap. Needles to say, I had unbelievable simple pleasures from various street food places, a barbacoa for breakfast at a street corner in Condesa particularly sticking in my memory. The chain El Tizoncito reproduces street food in a more structured setting and their tacos al pastos are indeed phenomenal. As for margaritas, the serving style and the setting are unbeatable in the courtyard bar at the San Angel Inn, this is a place to impress your friends or partners (I was advised that their restaurant is not so good, but the tacos de res we tried at the bar featured very, very impressive produce, preparation and accompanying sauces!).
  7. Incredible how many times I've read and experienced this. For the life of me I don't understand why cooks put subpar truffle in their dishes: they are effectively putting a name, not an ingredient. By the way thanks for your quiet dedication to the cause MaLO, much appreciated. I for one am 'guilty' of having stopped reporting, it's a shame this board is dying.
  8. Quite right too! My all UK list then (again in no special order): 1) Drover's inn (Memus, Angus) 2) Koffman's (London) 3) The Kitchin (Edinburgh) 4) One O One (London) 5) Apsleys (London) 6) The Ledbury (London) 7) Medlar (London) 8) The Peat inn (St Andrews, Fife) 9) Martin Wishart (Edinburgh) 10) Helene Darroze (London) The weakest of the 10 was at Darroze, it was not a uniformly good meal even though it had pinnacles. I also tried Alyn Williams this year but wasn't so impressed as others. Drover's Inn is just a humble Scottish pub, but with the quality and freshness of ingredients, cooked perfectly, that I enjoyed on my visit(s), for me it merits to be in the list of favourite meals together with the more illustrious colleagues.
  9. I'm a fan of Arbutus even though I only go about once a year - I never had a poor dish here, no matter how cheap the menu from which it was taken. Today at lunch I had a two course meal a la carte: the S&M burger, much praise has been bestowed upon it and it is all true, even if mine today was for my taste a bit salty; and the rabbit loin with shoulder cottage pie and the pancetta and the endive, a surefire hit of a dish if cooked well, and this one certainly was. For me Arbutus lacks the environment to be the place for a great relaxed meal in the complete sense, everything feels a bit rushed and cramped and noisy and the waiters always appear a little inexperienced and I would not take a friend there unless she was a terminal foodie. But certainly the best place I know where to have a great solo lunch straight to the point.
  10. Thanks for keeping up the honourable tradition. For me, in no particular order: 1) Malga Panna (Trento, Italy) 2) Koffman's (London) 3) The Kitchin (Edinburgh) 4) One O One (London) 5) Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy) 6) The Ledbury (London) 7) Medlar (London) 8) The Peat inn (St Andrews, Fife) 9) Locanda Margon (Trento, Italy) 10) Consorzio (Turin, Italy) At La Reserva 12 (Malaga) I had the freshest fish and fantastic Iberico and Manchego, a truly memorable experience that can probably be replicated in many other simple places in Spain, but for me it just happened to be there. In Berlin I, too, had the disappointment of the year at Facil. Are Berlin starred restaurants overrated? For me much restaurant action takes place in December, so this list is provisional: places that still have a chance to enter the top 10 are Helene Darroze, Apsleys, Cinnamon Club, Koffman's (ah no he's already there), Arbutus.
  11. I've tried the Iberica branch that is at walkable distance from my London pad (the other is in Marylebone - the branch I mean, not the pad). Half-empty as expected on a Saturday night (who wants to be in Canary Wharf on a Saturday night?). Not bad at all. They are at the high end of ingredients in the London Spanish scene. We especially liked: - the trio of Ibericos, which affords really interesting comparisons between three incarnations of the delicacy, with subtly different sweetness and fat (for the aficionados they were Beher etiqueta oro from Salamanca; Jabugo; COVAP Alta Expresion-Los Pedroches from Cordoba) - the asparagi in a light tempura, very tasty and crunchy and nicely cooked. - the signature beetroot gazpacho with anchovies - and the grilled marinated Iberian pork loin, this one out of this world, the sweet marinade adding to the bliss. It's not perfect: the romesco sauce with the asparagi lacked intensity and a cheese dish was not brilliant and was too cold, but all in all very, very good in its genre. Prices are fair: the above, plus an octopus a la gallega, plus water and two glasses of decent wine, plus breads with tomatoes, plus cheese selection and one dessert, was little more than £80. To visit again.
  12. My sentiment exactly. I didn't know Tom Kerridge and from the chefsunite story I assumed he was an uncouth bully. Instead he came across as warm, sympathetic and understanding, a gentle giant. Quite a change from the usual style of this part of the competition. A 2* without pressure. And by the way his dishes looked more inviting than Wareing's to me
  13. To bring an international perspective, the activity on the main Italian food discussion site (Dissapore) shows no sign of abating. But that is not a forum, it has a collective blog format, run by a team of professionals and semi-professionals, with numerous posts by them on a daily basis, often more than one a day. Sometimes readers contribute posts. This stimulates very lively discussions among a vast readership. Individual blogs rarely if ever are good sites for discussion, but I think Dissapore have nailed exactly the right format. In the end there is only so much that one can discuss after a restaurant report, and in fact here many preferred engaging in slagging off the most prolific contributor David rather than producing substantive comments. General themes tend to be those which raise most interest and a team of dedicated 'initiators' is probably better at identifying good themes than forum participants. (Today it was easy: the Italian Michelin stars - a well deserved 3* for Crippa! ).
  14. Fresh news: finally the third star has arrived. On the basis of my experience, fully deserved.
  15. We know the characters of the pathetic play: The self-important 'amateur' blogger who announces his visit beforehand and asks for an interview. The self-important chef who is hurt by any criticism and can only react with vulgar insults. If only bloggers just turned up, took pics, ate and wrote. And if only chefs cooked, shut up and stopped whoring to bloggers and bitching about them when it doesn't work. Any blogger who asks for an interview should be banned from the kitchen, not invited in...
  16. Spanish coffee is the second major contribution to human cruelty by that country after the Inquisition (forgiven just because they also have that anticipation of Heaven, Jamon de Bellota). Sadly, even in Italy the search for a proper espresso can be daunting but in most (not all) cities one ends up finding what one likes. For the UK I agree with PS Smith that you should use an English term to describe what is sold as espresso - what one finds in this country mostly has nothing to do with real espresso (personally I have found good espresso only in some restaurants, never in any chain - but I admit I've given up searching a while ago). PS Naguere it's Bialetti not Bailetti
  17. Good luck to everybody in obtaining a truffle that actually comes from Alba...
  18. I'm beginning to like Michelin. If Gill hates them so much, they must be doing something right.
  19. I quite believe that since everything at Medlar tends to be very good!
  20. So excellently put. Can I put my hand up to having never (to the best of my knowledge) eaten in an establishment with Michelin Stars. The closest is my favourite local establishment which is "recommended". It is all a bit of snobbery at the end of the day. IMHO of course. Well personally I'd suggest not being 100% strict with the rule of avoiding Michelin starred restaurants as you may miss a lot of great cooking together with some less exciting and formulaic dishes. While I've had a lot of gastronomic joy in lesser known joints, I've also had joy in more elevated places (most recently yesterday one of the best meals of my life at a 3* one). For me it's the same problem as with investments, avoiding being caught in the bubbles...
  21. One positive aspect of a PR dominated system is that it sucks the masses towards a handful of uber-hyped places, leaving some of us to eat in peace and without queuing in other restaurants run by equally, and sometimes more, valid professionals.
  22. If it's true that Zafferano has lost its *, well it would be wrong to say I'm happy, but I think the loss would reflect a reality. I never understood that *, and especially after the advent of Apsleys the gap in standard was embarrassing.
  23. Yes we all know but it's good to be reminded with concrete examples every now and then, thanks.
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