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JMillar

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  1. I'm sorry but with all respect to a fellow boy from Bridge, Andy Hayler - NO NO NO and NO again. Notority for Eating in 3* Michelin restaurants, yes. A blogger yes, a critic hmmm I'll hold my tongue. Put it this way the sooner they pull him from master chef pro the better. Just a touch pompous in my view. If they need a blogger get doshermanos on instead I say. By way of background a year or so back I ate at Nathan Outlaw the same evening as Mr Hayler and he panned a Crab risotto with orange, or should I say by his own admission "was not convinced by" Whilst I concede food is subjective thing he was just plain wrong on that one. Marina hmmm again much loved I know but I share the Koffmann feeling upstream Anyone who hates AA Gill (and there are many) should read Table Talk for the review of the rainforest cafe alone - It made me look at his reviews in a different light and I can ignore his welsh hating for the quality of his writing even if his loves lean a little towards the Corbin and King establishments and their type. I'm not sure if Tracey Macleod has been mentioned ? I think she is underrated by many but again her views are pretty on the money. As an aside I enjoyed the minor Twitter spat with Gauthier (he not her)Gauthier Spat Nice come back I'd say And finally for Jay yep without trying to sound sycophantic he is usually pretty spot on even if he does have a strong bias for all things porcine and Szechuan - not a criticism I hasten to add. He was the first critic I started to follow regularly so there is that but I am appreciative mostly perhaps for a throwaway comment he once made about stealing a Calvin Trillin quote. This in turn introduced me to Calvin Trillin's writing - I would like to think I'd have stumbled across "An attempt to compile a brief history of the buffalo chicken wing" Calvin Trillin Buffalo Chicken Wing eventually .... but what if...and for that Jay many thanks
  2. Mr Rayner speaks http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jan/18/michelin-guide-restaurants
  3. for my money I'd try one of the Hix places or Hereford road you'll be surprised you might get a table even at this stage I'd leave Les Deux Salons bed in in any event not firing on all cylinders just yet.
  4. Dining room - nice looks the part but nothing spectacular - also far too bright in my opinion. Some may also feel its a bit loud? It doesn't feel as French as Galvin for example. When we were there we saw Anthony Demetre perhaps as you’d expect in its opening weeks and the quality of the food is being clearly given a good steer. Dishes - Slow cooked ox cheeks, parsnip purée served in a shallow Staub sauté dish – all very nice. The cooking excellent and the beef was meltingly tender. A rather mean portion of parsnip puree and some carrots languished in the jus. My issue with the dish was how it was served. After being presented with the said staub you then have to decant the whole meal including a the said parsnip puree into a wide bistro bowl not nearly as easy as that sounds- in the end the whole just feels clumsy and overthought. Just plate the thing up in the kitchen or do it tableside but do away with all this fuss. Perhaps more importantly the tables aren’t big enough for all these dishes. Sides – Gratin Dauphinois – I have eaten these with great please in Arbutus yet by comparison these are a shadow of their illustrious brothers here. A mini frying pan portion about 10mm deep at best and at £3.50 you might well feel a touch fleeced. They have put a lot of guff in the media round their burger and its well cooked but it lack a bit of soul. Its nothing special distinctly average am afraid. That said I will be interested to hear reports about the ‘Josper charcoal Grill’ once that is up and running. (the menu was limited in the 1st week) That may change things. Menu meant to be French brasserie – ok so you have the Andouillette de Troyes AAAAA, and I fully expect Mr Rayner to wax lyrical over that in the coming weeks but there are some obvious classics missing. Cornish plaice stuffed with shrimps and kaffir lime doesn't feel "French brasserie" the dish was perfectly cooked and elegant yet some might find the Lime too overpowering and it feels a step too far away from the brasserie. It would be more suited to Wild honey or Arbutus a Skate au beurre noir? or a sole meunière instead perhaps ? Wine – a decent enough list and follows the successful formula of carafe’s or bottles. That said nothing mind blowing and a Rioja, Capitoso Bodegas Altanza, was thin and distinctly average. There are better out there. Desserts were good floating islands, rum baba, Paris Brest with praline cream all tick the right boxes. The soft serve Ice cream seemed a little off piste but pleasant enough. We also walked past a rather fine looking cheese selection (Mont d’or, Roquefort a Valancay) not cheap but maybe you are paying for quality. Price - the restaurants in the group pride themselves on good value and you could in theory do a lunch here with wine for less than £35 a head however I'd say a typical spend is more in the £40 a head bracket. Once the critics get their teeth into this I expect mixed reviews.
  5. If you are ever in the camden area again - its worth checking out the restaurant Market. Their slow cooked pork cheeks and morcilla is an absolute beaut.
  6. I thought precisely the same. Fay Maschler reviewed in the Evening standard too earlier in the week. Though his take on the rice may put some off ( I disagree with him on that incidentally - on the occasions I've been it was excellent) Those 8 seats will be tricky to bag for a while I suspect
  7. I've seen them in Borough market at Booths but otherwise and Indian Grocer in the east end or up north I'd say is a cheaper bet
  8. Actually I was refering to those who do have the money and who use Egullet as linking board to their own blogs and there are a few! Of course there are reviews of Viajante elsewhere. I believe there'll be one in the Evening Standard tonight. I was starting a topic to garner the views of those on Egullet who are usually an informed bunch. I've heard the recession demands "a new direction, this is old hat" argument and I have some sympathy for it, but what are you suggesting in its place? I think everyone accepts we are in challenging economic times but it doesn't necessarily equate that we should consign oursleves advocating a new conservatism in food does it? Chef's will always strive to create and seek a new direction and you assume Mendes' own direction is already passe. Mendes is undoubtedly bringing some of the change that we've seen in Europe to London. Yes he's not alone in this pursuit and whether it will continue this way is difficult to say but there are many who will view this as exciting progress. Like I said it might not be up everyones street, or I suspect Sunbeams, but I assure you there are plenty who will coo and genuflect. Furthermore I'm not questioning his savvy on location, its both near the city and Shoreditch and so should do well. Moreover as you'd expect of an old town hall the building is beautiful. My point was it'll be a destination place regardless of location. As for come dine with me, it creates stars? interesting.
  9. Before the inevitable food blaggers post a topic (and links to their blogs) on Viajante I thought I'd pen a few thoughts on the meal last night Nuno Mendes trialed many of the dishes at the supper club The Loft he's now opened Viajante in the old Bethnal Green Town hall and it currently offers a 6 , 9 and 12 course tasting menu. Viajante In terms of decor its modern and the open kitchen will no doubt delight many who get to see Nuno Mendes and his team hard at work. The lighting is subdued which had the advantage of preventing the girl next to us from producing any decent photo's of the dishes(or so she said to her party.) That said we had to endure a series of constant flash photography, I suspect that there will be more of that to come. My overall impression was good and the dishes were presented beautifuly. I am not sure they are going for big strong flavours and the emphasis was on subtley elegance and restraint rather than all out fireworks. Does everything work? Perhaps not, some of the flavours were muted and just didn't shine through. That said, I'd expect that and it was an interesting meal nonetheless A razor clam starter was beautiful but the dill garnish overpowered what was a subtle dish The stand out dishes for me Thai explosion amuse The Spring Garden - Vegetable starter Beetroot, Pickled Roasted Pureed and Jelly The beef with miso and burnt fennel though the Vegetable jus was weak and miso a touch too strong Lemon Thai Basil pre dessert The Cep chocolate truffle petit four There is certainly a deft hand when it comes to the treatment of vegetables too they were all delicious. The team were charming throughout though some may find them aloof and the chef himself is not averse to serving as and when required which is perhaps fitting in such an open kitchen. Those things that didn't work so well for me The Carrot sorbet dessert - whilst very good the carrot top granita added little and it all felt a biot busy - pared back a little it could be very good Dill - I am not sure if they had a strong batch but it kept cropping up everywhere and was a little overpowering and out of place at times The Pork shoulder - deliberately underseasoned to account for the caper garnish it was just a little dull and bland. Though it was cooked to perfection nonetheless. Whilst it is perhaps easy to pick fault with such an avant garde offering their ambition is clear and you have to wish them all the best for it. The offering is new and relatively unique in london so it will intrigue many into giving it a go. Whether everyone likes it I'm not so sure and the location might be seen as difficult. That said I am sure people will travel for cooking of this standard. And they told me that they were almost booked up for the next 2 months, which I suppose bodes well.
  10. Would second the thoughts on Wild Honey Also Hereford Rd is not far over in Notting Hill and very reasonable too Italian and high end Locanda Locatelli Seafood J Sheekey in central London and of course Scotts which is in mayfair
  11. Given MSK is vehemently "TRADE ONLY" does anyone know of any alternates? MSK "]MSK Ingredients MSK have a wide range of useful products but they are expensive and often sell items in volumes far that greater than needed by individuals. I'm interested in fruit powders, amongst others, and a UK equivalent of L'epicerie would be good. Any thoughts?
  12. Yet more MSG conspiracy theorists.... I'd expected the people of Egullet to be a little more learned. For the definitive take on MSG I would implore anyone to read Jeffrey Steingartens book in particular the chapter "Why doesn't everyone in china have a headache?" or indeed even the below http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2005/jul/10/foodanddrink.features3
  13. Ahhhhh Momofuku you have to love that book no? FYI these might help too http://www.mountfuji.co.uk/ http://www.japancentre.com/ Not sure whjere you are based but there is also a Korean leaning Asian Grocers near centre point in London that will help with much of the ingredients in Momofuku. http://www.cpfs.co.uk/
  14. Many thanks - I think you may be right Hiroyuki, this is perhaps more a Korean specialism, and yes the pre cut are probably a whole lot easier! Helenjp thanks for the tips I will give it a go !
  15. Andrew Edmunds ? they only take bookings a week ahead so might be worth trying them
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