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  1. I've been hearing about this place from various people over the last couple of months, and so when I found myself in Islington after work yesterday I stumbled in to see what the fuss was about. It's a tiny wee room on the corner of the street with no outside signage that I could see, located right next to a much larger, flashier bar. Inside, it's dimly lit with a few low tables along the walls and barstools dotted around, including 5 at the bar itself. That's where we perched ourselves and it was the perfect position from which to admire the perpetual motion of Tony, the head honcho (and newly crowned international barman of the year, no less) as he does his thing. After trying a couple of drinks from the menu (the cognac based Spitfire being my favourite) we ended up just letting Tony suggest drinks based on what sort of thing we fancied, and he came up with a string of totally perfect drinks, despite my rather vague indications of preference (I'm no cocktail expert and may also have been a little tipsy by this point!). The staff were really friendly and there was no pretentiousness or preciousness about the place at all. I can't recommend this bar highly enough, but please don't go on Monday as my girlfriend is moving to London and I want us to be able to get a seat! Also, where else should I be drinking around London?
  2. Having just moved flat and found myself a brisk 5 minute walk from Needoo (and with Tayyabs closed for ramadan) I thought it would be rude not to give it a visit. I was hugely impressed, the pickles (well, sauces really) were pretty good, especially the tamarind one, although I do get a bit pissed off when I find I have been charged a quid for poppadums which were brought without a word. Mixed grill was fantastic, especially the chicken. The lamb chops are perhaps not quite as highly spiced as Tayyabs but still delicious. Aloo Gobi was incredibly fresh and 'vegetabley' tasting, the spicing was mild and it worked really well in conjunction with the meats. Baingan Daal was superb, and when coupled with the FANTASTIC oily tandoori naan the flavour was incredible. All that lot and some chilli tikka paneer (tasty, nice texture, not all that exciting) and rice was plenty for two of us and with the tip it came to just over £30. Will be back. A lot.
  3. OK I realise I am arriving slightly late to the party, but with regards to Achatz' nod towards Escoffier in his tasting menu, I find it curious that at virtually the same time Heston Blumenthal has incorporated several recipes from British culinary 'antiquity' into his new menu at the Fat Duck. Indeed, there had been talk a while back that he would run two tasting menus concurrently, one of his original creations and one of centuries old dishes brought up to date. I wonder if these additions by two of the most forward-thinking chefs in the world are any indication of the direction cutting-edge cooking will be taking in the near future? Or perhaps I'm reading too much into it and these are just examples of chefs re-imagining classic flavour combinations (Dufresnes Eggs Benedict and Jason Athertons BLT etc etc) taken to further extremes with more 'dusty' reference points and a few more bells and whistles?
  4. You make some good points, and perhaps Sargeants creative juices have gone a bit off after working under such a strict brief for so many years (I admit that I laughed out loud on first sight of the brilldo* dish), however I think my main disagreement is that I believe it IS that difficult to follow recipes to the dot, over and over, to the standard of RHR or Claridges. Perhaps RHR doesn't merit its *** any more (and who really cares), and maybe Sargeant and Smyth aren't mercurial culinary trailblazers, but they do what 99% of chefs around the world do (repetiton, repetition, repetition), and they do so at restaurants of high quality. This, to me, implies a higher than average talent. *sorry, couldn't resist
  5. Mediocre talent? Are you honestly suggesting that Sargeant, Smyth and Hartnett are average chefs, or do you mean to say that, unlike Atherton, they aren't particularly forward thinking? I agree that it's not all that exciting to watch someone prepare a fish finger on TV, but Sargeant is clearly highly skilled. Also, I would have to say that 'failure' on GBM is no indication of anything. Chefs Byrne, Clifford and Outlaw all went out at the first hurdle this year, would you consider them to be mediocre too? I do think that being a Ramsay chef is starting to be a bit of a poison chalice in some respects, this kind of knee-jerk dismissal is surely connected to the fact that the 'big man' himself is being taken less and less seriously these days.
  6. I'm bringing my girlfriend to NYC to celebrate our anniversary next month, and hope to have a meal at wd-50 as the 'centrepiece' of the trip (we have been lusting after this restaurant for a good long while now!), but I have a couple of queries that maybe you lovely new yorkers can help me with? Ideally we would be taking the tasting menu, but my girlfriend can't eat red meat, is that likely to cause problems? Also, how much do the wine pairings enhance a meal here? The last menu I had paired with wine was at Cinc Sentits in barcelona and I really felt that it elevated the food, however wd-50 are doing a bit of a wine deal at the moment (half price bottles when you order a tasting menu) and I'm torn... Thanks in advance, and i'll be sure to post a report (possibly complete with cack-handed photographs) once I've been. Cheers, Daniel
  7. Haha, yes apologies to my East European friends, it seems that you can't move for Perogies/Pirogies wherever I've been in Canada so far, but it was a bit of a leap for me to call them 'Canadian', I stand corrected! Cheers
  8. Saskatoon berries are most definitely on my to eat list, my girlfriends family are from Regina so I'm sure I'll be heading out that way at some point, will let you know when I do!
  9. Thanks for that Kerry, I'll pay Anne McColl's a visit tomorrow... And yes grayelf, I'm looking to explore the whole culinary landscape. While it would be silly of me to eschew the stereotypical foods of Canada on principle (I'll certainly be trying my fair share of poutine, perogies, bacon etc), I want to get a rounded view on how Canada eats and drinks today, so ramble away! Cheers
  10. Hello there. I have just moved from one London to another, and now have 12 months in your beautiful country. As I am a very greedy boy, I have decided to learn as much as I can about Canada by pretty much eating my way through it! As eGullet members I am hoping that some of you can help kick start my journey! Basically I am looking for anything food related, be it high end restaurants, low key cafes, food producers/suppliers, shops, writers, anything which will help me get a good picture of what Canada is all about, culinarily speaking. I will be scouring all of the Canadian topics, so this isn't just me being lazy and trying to get all my info in one place (honest!), but i would GREATLY appreciate it if anyone could point me in the direction of things which haven't been posted about for a while/ever. Although I am based in London, Ontario I intend to make the most of the year, so location isn't much of an issue. I'll most likely be popping up on these forums quite a bit over the next year, and if any of you get REALLY bored, I'll be updating my newlyborn bl*g as often as I can! Thanks a million!
  11. Hello Olivier, Having eaten at none of the restaurants you listed I can't really comment, however I'll happily recommend a couple that you didn't mention! My standard 'fine dining' (eurgh!) suggestion to people is Foliage, a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The food there is forward thinking but not at all outlandish (for that type of thing i would recommend Bacchus, though that's not a 'splurge' meal and possibly not what you're looking for) and I found the wines delicious, though I am by no means an authority! If you can get a table by the window overlooking Hyde Park (and the weather is kind to you!) then your 'wow factor' is more or less assured. Additionally, just over the road from there is another hotel, The Berkeley, home to Petrus (another restaurant you might want to look at, though again I have never had the pleasure) but most importantly also home to the Blue Bar, a really stunning place to drink really stunning cocktails, any meal in the area should definitely be followed by a trip there in my opinion. Maze would be another one to take a look at, their tasting menu is just a long list of smallish plates that you pick and choose from, so ample opportunity to split some dishes, and more freedom than most tasting menus offer. Best of luck, if I think of any other places I'll post again (hopefully with less brackets) and I'm sure plenty of my fellow Londoners will give you their thoughts. Be sure to let us all know how you get on! Cheers, Daniel
  12. In my house it would be sacrilege not to include bread fried in beef dripping, and as for drinks it would have to be a cup of sweet, milky tea. Or an ice cold glass of Irn-Bru, although I doubt you'll find many other advocates for that!
  13. Well if you find yourselves anywhere near Gairloch in Scotland (which you really should, it's stunning) your husband could do worse than seafood at the Badachro Inn. In north-west Scotland, Ee-Usk on the pier in Oban is worth a visit. Staying with seafood, Porthminster Cafe in St Ives (Cornwall) is fantastic, and if you get a window table it's a quite beautiful place to eat your dinner. All sorts of traditional Scottish fare (stovies, whisky, fresh shellfish, cullen skink, smoked salmon, more whisky) at the Ceilidh House in Ullapool.
  14. If you're up in Edinburgh, I would recommend David Bann, as well as Ann Purna, the best veggie Indian in the capital. I'll also second naebodys suggestion of Terre a Terre in Brighton, I haven't been for quite a while but I remember having a great time there. As a Scot living in London who has vegetarian parents and a vegetarian ex-girlfriend I would recommend Kastoori in Tooting (South London), but while down south you might want to avoid Indian restaurants, as naebody said you'll more than likely be visiting a lot of them across the border!
  15. Bingo! Was in Barcelona a few weeks ago and had the tasting menu there on my first night, absolutely fantastic place, highly recommended. You're up Scott.
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