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Everything posted by PhilD

  1. PhilD

    French Beef

    I also found this article which is quite exhaustiive on the subject: http://www.hertzmann.com/articles/2006/steak/
  2. I thought she had had quite a lot of coverage in the review pages of the weekend papers, I recall a number of articles a few months ago. I see Gary attached the one in The Guardian. Good to hear she is living up to the reviews - must plan a trip.
  3. I started in the 7eme, on rue du Varenne (next to Hotel Matignon) and would agree with your assessment. However, I then moved to the corner of Bld St Germain and rue du Bac and thought it was perfect. Good local shops, close to Bon Marche (not as expensive for a daily shop as you imagine especially if you don't get to tempted), and close to lots of good restaurants and bars. Then of course there is the area of the 7eme around rue St Dominique - another flavour again. In between I had an apartment in rue St Honore (near Hotel Costes) and found this to be quite dull - except for Marche St Honore, Le Rubis and some of the food shops in rue du Marche St Honore that is. I think it is hard to generalise about areas, all my friends loved the areas they had chosen, for surprisingly similar reasons - shops, restaurants etc. Everybody's area had the best cheese shop, the best market etc. A good rule of thumb though is to assess how close you are to ten good restaurants. Every area will have one or two, so ten should be a reasonable test, ruling out areas like the 17eme, or the depths of the 16eme. I suspect cost will be your main driver, it was very expensive to live in the 7eme and you would get far better value in an area like the top of the 9eme off rue des Martyrs could be good (near Spring).
  4. Is it the turkish bread with the really open texture? We used to buy this a lot in Sydney and it is really good for toast or griddled for bruscetta as it crisps up really well. I wouild love to find some more. I find a a lot of british breads, including british version of continental breads, quite poor. Usually thre texture is wrong, too dense, not enough air in the mix. Is this a artifact of industrial production?
  5. Are you looking for a critical restaurant guide or simply a listing of restaurants? (Pages Jaune is pretty good for that.) I am certain there are a 1,000 restaurants in Paris that could be listed, but are they all of a quality that makes them worth listing? I would be suspicious about quality control with a list that long. I personally cross reference a number of sources when I select restaurants, I find the combination of guides and the web quite useful. Michelin as the foundation and blogs for the colour - although you need to ensure the reviewers on the web have the depth and breadth of experience (postings) that makes them knowledgeable and thus relevant, and you need to make certain they share your taste. Michelin reviews and assesses lots of restaurants to come down to the 100 or so in Paris that they believe meet their food standards. Plus they rate a further 200 to 300 as restaurants of with nice decor, historical significance etc. To me 100+ restaurants, with good food, in a city (especially quite a small one like Paris) seems to be pretty good. London in comparison has about 60. You also mention your memory of the old Michelin guide having "hundreds or thousands of very brief entries" - are you confusing the Paris guide with the Guide to France? The France guide has approx. 1,800 pages with roughly 10 entries per page. This would give you the thousands you refer to.
  6. I drove past it a least 6 times o our last visit - wish I had stopped now. Looks like a good recomendation for our next trip.
  7. I wasn't aware that Michelin ever listed "all" the restaurants. It only lists those that that it's inspectors consider to be the "best in every category of comfort and price". I am sure you know this but the knives and forks are an indication of a "pleasant restaurant" i.e. one with good decor, service, etc. It doesn't indicate the quality of food. Food quality is indicated by either a bib or the stars. Thus a nice place with good food will have a bib/star and some crossed knives and forks. ← Michelin reformatted their Paris Red Guide 2 or 3 years ago. Prior to that there were only short cryptic entries for each restaurant and there seemed to be a lot more entries than now. Now there are only one or two entries per page with lengthy descriptions. I have not actually counted up the number of entries in the 2008 Paris guide versus the 2001, for instance, edition but I am sure it has been cut down quite a bit. ← My quick count of the restaurants rated for food gives 109 in Paris (9 x 3 star, 15 x 2 star, 38 x 1 star, and 50 x bib). Assume the other 241 from the 350 in the guide (in the OP) are there for good decor, service etc. It seems to be a reasonable number/ratio. I can't imagine the number of restaurants rated for food in Paris has declined substantially over the last decade. I used the '08 press release which I read alongside my '06 France guide which seems to work quite well.
  8. Are there are two Gordon's out there? On the F Word we get the dumbed down Gordon for the mass market, which unfortunately detracts from his skill. But every now and then do we see the real Gordon? i.e, his praise for Jason Atherton on the last couple of GBM's appears genuine and sincere, and his analysis of Jason qualities appears very well considered. Is his dreadful media personality hiding quite a nice bloke..? (his new restaurant in Paris also seems to be getting the thumbs up from the French board so it looks like he knows what he is doing in the kitchen - I have yet to try a GRH venue).
  9. I wasn't aware that Michelin ever listed "all" the restaurants. It only lists those that that it's inspectors consider to be the "best in every category of comfort and price". I am sure you know this but the knives and forks are an indication of a "pleasant restaurant" i.e. one with good decor, service, etc. It doesn't indicate the quality of food. Food quality is indicated by either a bib or the stars. Thus a nice place with good food will have a bib/star and some crossed knives and forks.
  10. Sarah - I though I had replied - must have pressed the wrong key. The Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay is pretty good, maybe not to far to trek if you cut through Wellow. It is a refurbished pub with distinct Michelin star aspirations (it is already rates a rising star). We ate there on Friday and had a good meal, we have eaten there three times and really enjoyed 2 out of 3 meals. Cost is approx £80 for two (passenger and driver - so not lots of booze). The owners are really friendly, and they are trying hard, with nice little touches to the service. We have also tried The Talbot Inn in Mells a couple of times, the first meal was good, but the second was pretty poor. On balance we have abandoned it - a shames because it has many of the qualities that should make it good. In Bath you should try The White Hart (my local) in Widcombe, it is still a good pub, even though it is 90% food now. The cooking is good, with an interesting menu that changes frequently, mains are in the £12 range, so the food is well priced although the wine mark-up are gruesome (good Buttcombe). Quite a lot of openings in Bath over the last few months - we haven't caught up with many yet, but have enjoyed Cassinis, had an OK meal at the Circus, and a fairly average one at Brambleys (it was their first week). And of course there is Elisha Carter at Charlton House - which isn't far from Frome. We liked the cooking didn't enjoy the restaurant.
  11. We are thinking of heading to St Ives for the weekend. Does anyone have any updates to this thread? All recommendations gratefully received.
  12. They did try - we went for all the dishes we really liked the sound of and our waitress told us we'd stumbled on a lot of sweet ones. ← Do they still do the tasting menu? We found that was very well balanced.
  13. you might be disappointed....from my limited experience (twice) Elisha's food deserves much more than the mediocre surroundings and service in which it is presented. IMO he should find a better sponsor for his obvious talents... ← Our experience mirrors yours. We ate at Charlton House a few weeks ago and whilst we thought the cooking was good a lot of the others factors that make up a good meal were missing. Entirely agree with the "mediocre surroundings," which is especially weird given it is owned by Mulberry (a british design icon)?. However, my main criticism was the balance of the dishes in the degustation menu - too much "garnish' for the protein. Almost as though the costly component of each dish was scaled back to fit it into the menu format. It was "good" to see Elisha promote Spelt and all the other products of his patron (Roger & Monty Saul)...! I was thinking of trying CH's GBM dishes, but at £66 a head, but my CFO won't agree - especially as his manner and healthy menu irritated the hell out of her - not all publicity is good.
  14. Thompson no longer has any involvement with Sailor Thai. ← Andy do you know when he sold it? My '07 SMH Good Food Guide has him and his business partner Peter Bowyer down as co-owners (Chef Ty Bellingham). I knew he was no longer actively cooking there but had inderstood he was still involved.
  15. How far removed is the food from a basic great Thai place? Is it flashy and modernist and idiosyncratic, or is it familiar stuff just done really really well? ← I last ate there a few years ago, but was a regular at his main Sydney restaurant (Darley Street Thai) before he moved to London. If the cooking at Nahm is still the same, it is reminiscent of the recipes in his second book Thai Food (his first was called Classic Thai Cuisine). My take is that his goal is to produce really authentic Thai food, using classic Thai techniques rather than trying to fuse it into a modern take on Thai. How far removed from your basic great Thai place? Unless you are very fortunate I would say it is very far removed it is definitely not a variant on fish cakes and green chicken curry. Is it the place to stage? Maybe a better bet is to try for a stage at his Sydney restaurant Sailor Thai (I am pretty certain he still owns it and is executive chef). Sydney has a very vibrant Thai scene with some other chefs coking very very good thai food for example Martin Boetz at Longrain, who is more modern and innovative, or Sujet Saenkham at Spice I Am for very authentic Thai cooking. The range of Thai cooking in Sydney is outstanding, maybe not better than Thailand itself, but probably more accessible. Plus Sydney has some other chefs pushing the boundaries of their home cuisines - for example Kylie Kwong or Kuke Nguyen.
  16. ← Marc - thanks for the recommendation. The fish was very good, spanking fresh haddock in extremely crispy batter (some of the best I have had) and great grilled scallops. The only weakness seemed to be the chips which were not great - bought in? There is a nice grassy area with tables which will be great in the sun - a bit chilly with a cold wind though. The courtyard is more sheltered but seems to close when the shops close. Very close to the M5 so an easy/quick detour.
  17. ...and always better to catch a rising star than a falling one...!
  18. Heading down the night before - hope to be in town by abit befiore 9:00.
  19. We are heading down to Padstow (from Bath) for May Day and wanted to stop enroute for food as we fear we will arive to late to eat (and Margot's is full - so not worth rushing). Any good places enroute for some quick food - fish and chips would be ideal....? Thanks, Phil
  20. I always thought they had two - not reached the heady three star heights yet.
  21. PhilD

    Caffè Minotti

    Well February 20th, Wednesday, in Figaroscope, Emmanuel Rubin’s "C’est nouveau: awarded a broken heart to it sayingthat the new team has made an old place worse, pricey and pathetic. ← I tried the old place a few years ago and it was already pricey and pathetic - unremarkable food for the price and decor that should have worked but was ruined by the chilly, super cool staff. Disapointing to hear it hasn't improved.
  22. im finding this week very boring, anthony last week i thought was cutting edge modern, but this week i havent seen anything modern at all, what was that prawns with pea puree and carrot foam all about???? ← Anthony is but one representation of modern food. I think both Tom and Mathew show different interpretations of the theme - to me it isn't old fashioned. I am quite confident I would have enjoyed all the dishes I have seen this week - I have been presented wit far worse in the UK. Not certain I can call it this week - suspect Matthew will get it.
  23. Bordeaux Quays is a modern building on a wharf in central Bristol, downstairs is a bar, brasserie, and bakery/deli, whilst upstairs is the restaurant. Last November Mathew Fort in The Guardian gave it a 9.5/10, but Jay Rayner in The Observer back in '06 rated it badly. Intersting. The restaurant has lots of open space and is comfortable, with an open plan kitchen towards the back. The menu is quite short but with some interesting dishes, the wine list is good. The front section (longer than a lot of restaurants full lists) has lots of wines by the glass, carafe (375 ml) and bottle. The back section has their "reserve" stock by the bottle - not surprisingly quite a lot from Bordeaux. We kicked off with a choice of good bread, and were offered free large bottles "house" sparkling or still water...! A very positive start. My partner chose Rillettes for her entrees which were fine, they came with a onion/parsley based salsa which was OK but she would have preferred the traditional cornichones etc. I has a Paysanne salad, which came with shredded duck confit, gizzards, liver and some pate. Nice and meaty, but could have had a few more leaves to get the balance right. Mains were Halibut on a bed of green vegetables (asparagus, peas, spinach etc.), my partner really enjoyed this and thought the flavours were good. I had Hoggett, two good meaty rounds served on a bed of kale with a caper sauce - overall not a bad dish although the caper/garlic sauce was very aggressive and tended to dominate. We drank a glass of very decent Chablis £8, and an OK bottle of Brouilly at £28. We skipped coffee and desert. The bill for two, including a "discretionary automatic" service charge of 10% was £100. Overall it was OK but not great. The cooking is as good as my local pub (The White Hart in Bath) which isn't a bad thing because it is a pub with very good food. However, it is about 40% more expensive, part of this can be justified because it is a restaurant, however I felt the food was punching a little below its price point. The service was mixed. All the staff were very friendly and looked after us very well. However there were long waits throughout the meal, and the areas where empty bottles and plates were placed were not cleared quickly. Overall this gave the impression of a restaurant that is only just keeping it together. The restaurant space is impressive, lots of glass and masses of space. The downstairs are is bustling and quite full, whilst upstairs initially feel quite sedate and classy, but upstairs does feel like it’s a restaurant that needs to grow into its space, adding some more tables and tightening up the way space is used would make it feel complete. At the moment it feels they have just moved in (it is a few years old), i.e. some of the fittings and features came from their last place and don’t really fit. Quite strange. So is it Jay or Mathew? Well both, some good and some not so good. When it works it is quite pleasant, but it does have some misteps in the cooking which it shouldn't have - especially at £20 a main course. We will probably give it a shot for a weekend lunch as he windows, and water views will make it nice, but the jurys out for dinner.
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