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Posts posted by PhilD

  1. We are heading to Mallorca this Easter and I wanted to see if anyone had some up to date advice on where and what to eat.

    We are interested in the full range of options. We enjoy most things, from simple, unpretentious well cooked food, through to the full on Michelin experience - traditional or cutting edge.

    Grateful for any advice and guidance - flights booked but holding out on the hotel options until we have booked the restaurants. Got to get the priorities right.



  2. Rhetoric was never my strong point but it does seem that those ethical appeals here, based on personal experience of HB's food lack the requisite authority to carry the argument , while the pathetic appeals are based in a kind of laudable jingoism for the British food resurgence - but I'm not seeing a logical appeal.

    Isn't the fundamental aspect of this is that it is all a matter of personal taste. It isn't logical, nor is there a requirement for an authoritive view. I enjoyed my meal at the Fat Duck, and found it compared very well to other great dining experiences I have had. Others clearly have not enjoyed their experiences as much, and the cooking has not been to their personal taste. It doesn't make me right and others wrong as there is no absolute standard to judge against.

    I enjoy reading critism from all perspectives, I tend to learn (by trial and error i.e. following advice) which writers share my personal taste and which don't. What does intrigue me are the comments that are based on a stereotype rather than experience the dish/concept in question.

    He seems to have settled into a Willy Wonka persona which I think defiantly suits him better than the Salvador Dali persona the Sunday Times were trying to fit him up with. Maybe one day a little poor kid will open a Heston Bar and find a golden ticket, wouldn’t that be nice?
    Willy Wonka was clearly a great showman, but wasn't he also an true artisan chocolate maker shunning the mass market manufacturers? My guess is that I would enjoy a Wonka Bar more than a bar of Cadbury's as it would be more to my taste.
  3. i have never wished to "slag off " heston, he is one of the most talented and admired figures in the catering industry.  the problem i have is with his fanatical fan base that can't think for themselves and have to have their palates told by somebody else what tastes good.  it is depressing to see the cuisine of heston lauded as if it is the only way forward for aspirational chefs.  as well as being responsible for the fat duck, heston is responsible as the inspiration for some wide spread and seriously ill judged food in this country.

    as i said, food theatrician, not chef.

    I think you do him a disservice, he is first and foremost a very talented chef who cooks great food. I do agree he has mastered the theatrics and does put on a great show, but this would be rather hollow if the food was not great.

    I also think it is quite unfair to make Heston "responsible" for "ill judged food in this country". If anything I would blame the the "Gastropub" revolution for the ills of the British food industry. It seems to have set a very low bar that few places seem to reach, let alone get over. I have been back in the UK for nearly a year now (after an absence of 14 years) and I am already getting very tired of identikit meals which lack character, originality or innovation. There are excetions but I am afraid they are fewer and further between than I had expected after reading and hearing about the food revolution in Britain.

    Maybe I have not been lucky enough to cross paths with a Heston inspired chef.... :wink:

  4. Piers - we drove from Segovia (north of Madrid) to Granada in one go last September, with only a pit stop for coffee etc. From memory it only took about 4 hours and the roads are good with not too much traffic.

    We had a couple of meals in Granada which were OK. The best was a Tapas bar; we had toured the recomended areas looking for a good bar but most seemed to be aimed at tourists and full of backpackers. On our way back to the hotel we past a door that looked interesting; it turned out to be jammed full of locals and was a shrine to good Spanish wine (Riedel glasses for example). The food was good, the ambiance great and the wine excellant - lots by the glass. Assuming I have found the correct business card it is "La Tana" (C. Rosavio S.N. prolongacion C. Navas).

    We also had lunch at the Parador in the Alhambra which was quite good in a fantastic historic setting. Another good place to try is in the Albaicin the old Moorish neighbourhood that sits on the hill opposite the Alhambra. Head along the road to the left of the viewing area outside the Mirador de San Nicolas and there is a discrete restaurant (a simple door in the wall - called "Mirador de Morayma" I think) which has a really fantastic terrace overlooking the Alhambra. We only had a drinks but we stayed for a few hours as we watched the sun set on the Alhambra, the colours of the stone are memorable. Whilst we didn't try the food it looked OK and we really wished we had could have stayed because it was such a magical location.

  5. We ate at The Fat Duck a couple of weeks ago and it was a truly fantastic meal.

    Before I went I was a little sceptical given the amount of publicity and hype surrounding Heston and the restaurant. OK he seems a nice bloke when he is on telly, and he obviously has a sense of humour, but will it be any good or simply gimmicky?

    I thought that his cooking was really good, on par with other top restaurants I have tried. No he isn't infallible, for example the Manzanilla doesn't work with "Sound of the Sea", but even so he is still outstanding. The two elements of his cooking that really did impress me were the humour he brings to the meal - whimsical touches that entertain, and the way he stimulates all your senses; taste, texture, aroma, sound, and highly visual presentation. In the transition to the desert course he serves a "tea", one side of which is hot the other cold. OK it is a trick, but it works really nicely as it surprises, humours, and cleans the palete ready for the deserts. It would be easy to write this and other elements of the meal as gimmicks, however they do really work, adding another dimension to the meal.

    I suspect "Magic Water" will be something in this vein, a piece of culinary humour that takes a really good meal to the next level because it introduces great fun and entertainment into the whole experience. Food is enhanced or ruined by the elements that surround it - the environment, company, service, ambience etc. Hestons's genius is to look at a meal as a holistic experience and therefore serve very good food in a entertaining, and stimulating way. I will reserve my judgement on Magic Water until I try it.

    My experience of eating at The Fat Duck has taught me not to knock his ideas until I have tried them.

  6. Simon - I didn't mean to imply that France had a monopoly on good service (some of it is dire), I was simply making a comparison, I thought it was relevant given LCS's homage to France - name, menu, decor, wine list etc.

    LCS has all of the elements that should make it an outstanding destination restaurant. The food is really very good; the wine list is excellent and amazingly fairly priced; and the room is very comfortable, well decorated, with good table spacing a some interesting art work.

    It is one of the UK's top 14 restaurants (based on the recent Michelin guide) yet it doesn't seem to have the same reputation or cache that others at this level have. Why is this? Is it is because they miss the mark on some of the details i.e. the bright lighting, and the service for example?

    Calum, maybe our experience of LCS was coloured by the previous nights dinner at Lumiere. I would be hard pressed to point out precise differences in the service. However at Lumiere it really clicked and we had a great experience. I expected the service at LCS to easily be as good, if not better, but it wasn't. I am afraid something isn't quite right for a restaurant at this level.

    If I lived in Cheltenham, Lumiere would be a regular haunt, maybe a couple of times a month. However I don't have the urge to rush back to LCS, even though the cooking was far superior. Lumiere was ₤100, and LCS was ₤150 so price is not a consideration. I can only put it down to the ambience. I am certain that these are quite simple things to fix and it would be good to see all the elements of LCS match the outstanding food.

  7. We spent my partners birthday weekend in Cheltenham in early February in order to visit LCS and we also tried Lumiere based on Jay's review - a good combination and enough contrast not to be over the top.

    Both are are very, very good. LCS has the best food, a superb meal with some first class cooking. Lumiere's food is also very good, slightly simpler than LCS, but none the worse for that.

    On balance I think we had a better experience at Lumiere: the welcome, from Lin Chapman, is warm and genuine, the room modern but not cold and the service is pretty good. It was a really relaxing Friday dinner after the journey to Cheltenham. LCS's room is far to bright, they need to turn the lights down and localise the light source on the table with candles or small lamps to give the place intimacy. Service is OK but a little clunky, maybe trying to hard to be 2 star without the tradition/training you get in France, so lacks fluidity.

    The wine lists at both are good, but LCS's wine pricing strategy/policy is one of the best I have seen. The reds start at ₤11 for what looks like a decent Burgundian wine, as a result I felt very confident in spending significantly more on a very good Mercurey.

    We walked past the wine shop a few times and it looks interesting, it seems to have a few tables and chairs and in the evening they seemed to be serving cheese and wine - private tasting or wine bar - not certain.

    We stayed at "ThirtyTwo" a great, very upmarket, bed and breakfast which was better than many hotels I have stayed in. The owners (Jonathan x 2) are very helpful and have a very good perspective on Cheltenham eating options. The confirmed Lumiere is closing as the chef (Geoff Chapman) is a passionate golfer and is moving to France to pursue a golfing business opportunity.

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