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Posts posted by PhilD

  1. For example, Rockpool in Sydney made the list a couple of years ago, and was on the rise in the rankings even though it had long closed (and re-opened with a different name, a new concept and vastly inferior cooking and service) before the list was published. It was not a matter of having closed in the intervening time; it had been closed for ages.

    Rockpool isn't/wasn't closed. It is still operating at its original site and whilst the menu format has changed over the years it has remained a high quality restaurant - ALC, degustation etc. Neil Perry opened an Oyster Bar at the front for a period, but that is now the chefs table, they focussed on fish for a period but it is now a mixed menu again. He has opened a separate restaurant"Rockpool Bar & Grill" in another location in Sydney a year or so ago which is basically a steakhouse (with 80 day dry aged beef!).

  2. These Yuppy gastropubs are getting above themselves on pricing. They have low overheads compared with the likes of Holbeck, few laundry costs, little ambiance, no grounds to maintain and just look at the comparative dishes - work has gone into the different component parts of the Holbeck menu.

    Although remember Holbeck is a Hotel, and not a cheap one, so lots of the costs are covered by that side of the operation. Holbeck is also in the the Lakes versus a pub in the home counties so obviously very different input costs (property, wages, ingredients etc). I would guess pubs don't make so much on the wine list i.e. most are low to mid priced lists when compared to mid to high in restaurants.

    So not really an apples to apples comparison.

  3. ...looked much better value than the Hinds Head. The food looked OK but basic pub grub - if your bill had been half the price it would have been about right. You obviously have to pay through the nose for HB's reputation! :hmmm:

    Pam do you really think so? I thought the Hinds Head prices were fairly average. OK a bit up on the "Brake Bros" mob but not out of line with the upper echelon of pubs. Remember it is HB's take on classic pub food and he is not trying to be a "restaurant" (after all he can show off at his other place). We used to pull off the M4 for lunch on the way into London as we found it far better value (price/quality) than anything on the motorway or waiting to get into town.

  4. We stayed in Roses as we were on a tight budget and skewed our spending towards food not beds. Lesliec's description of the town is close although it is a resort for Spanish tourists rather than lots of Northern Europeans so no hordes of drunks so not as bad as some of the Costa towns.

    The night before El Bulli we ate at "Rafa" in Roses which was very good and a complete contrast. Simple grilled seafood, there isn't a menu you simply go to the kitchen area and choose what you want, and that is what you get, no vegtables or fancy addition. You just a get plates of amazingly fresh, fantastically cooked seafood.

    The next day at El Bulli we had a dish with the same baby squid that we enjoyed at Rafa. Interestingly we felt the Rafa ones were better cooked and tasted a little better. I wouldn't make a special trip there, but if in the vicinity it is a must do, we had a very enjoyabe and memorable meal there.

  5. There is an important facet that I feel is consistently missing from M* evaluations: value for money.

    Howard good points.

    Their web site does allow you to search by price, but it isn't that granular as >35€ is a pretty big category in London. It wouldn't be that difficult for them to refine this by adding more catagories, splitting lunch, dinner and ALC and allowing a sort by price.

    Value for money could be quite tricky though because it is subjective. How about £ per star, although that makes for odd reading:

    The Ledbury £23.50 per star

    D@D £25 per star

    RHR £30 per star

    The Harwood £35 per star

    Hibiscus £42.50 per star

    Sketch £100 per star

    Benares £122 per star

    Looks like after Brett, D@D is the bargain...! Methinks this only works if Michelin include the total price of an average meal because I suspect to won't get out of D@D for only £75 per head...! But it is quite an interesting perspective. Anyone fancy a curry in Berkley Square?

  6. That'll be an oyster leaf. I had one when we ate at Antony's. Uncannily oyster flavoured, aren't they?

    It was also on the menu at El Bulli last year - with a couple of drops of vinegar and some very finely diced shallots on the leaf. It is a good fun dish and interesting to see how the dish is spreading.

  7. I agree with Andy's comment. I have been quite a few times (not post star) and whilst the service was fine it was pub service rather than restaurant standard, sometimes it was great other times a bit hit and miss, but never poor The worst was losing my reservation for ten people; but their recovery was great with Brett giving up his table for us, and we ended up having a fantastic time.

    Is it Clare/Charlotte (?) who is usually FOH, hopefully she hasn't left as she was always good, especially when looking after my 85 year old dad - so Harters if she stil there you should be fine :biggrin:

  8. The best part was Marco kicking the shit out of the guide. He is still a legend.

    Do many places in the current MPW restaurant empire appear in the guide? I haven't been tempted to head for any of them, and don't recall a lot of rave reviews. This couldn't have anything to do with his view could it?

    Legend may be an apt description i.e. a romanticized or popularized myth of modern times.

  9. I was pleased to see the net increase in the number of places with stars, and the net increase in two stars. I think that is always a good sign.

    It was nice to see some of the newer places in Paris earn theirs, and it was nice to see Sa.Qua.Na hit two. Overall a boost for modern style food. Darroze dropping a star isn't a surprise after our experience which was quite poor, some of the other drops of restaurants on the tourist trail are interesting.

  10. It gets a bit harder out in Oxfordshire, or Kent, or Derbyshire, for instance, if we want to visit the famous attractions and stay a few days, while also having one more good meal, let alone a good meal close to say, Hever Castle or Chatsworth or Woburn Abbey.

    One must do in Kent is The Sportsman in Seasalter. Local produce and exceptional cooking in a simple pub with a great host/chef.

    It is becoming the place of pilgrimage in Kent; if it had been open in Chaucer's day he may have forsook Thomas Becket's Tomb and continued on to the coast to enjoy Stephen Harris' degustation menu

  11. Nickloman,

    Thank you!

    I have a much clearer idea now, and if I have the option, will go for a minimum of 1 Michelin Star in the areas we will be visiting.


    Annie, one further point. I suggest you use the stars as guides but read up on the restaurants. The Yorke Arms post is a good example, it is a 1* pub, and there are a few in the UK. And as MalO says:

    The restaurant is rather old fashioned but in a good way. The dining room had lots of antique wood and a large real fire. The lounge was comfortable again with a fire blazing. There is even a bar area where you could sit and sink a few pints if you were staying

    He enjoyed it but we found it stuffy and a bit snotty; hushed tones in the dining room, forced to order in the lounge and taken to out table for entrees; condescending maitre'd etc. The food was OK but it wasn't a restaurant for us. On the other hand The Harwood Arms in London or The Sportsman in Seasalter also boast stars. But these are casual places with all the focus on the plate, and absolutely no pretensions.

    So whilst Michelin is good for food quality you do need to take care with style in the UK. The restaurant scene isn't that broad or mature and many places still have quite conservative service models and/or patrons who aren't that comfortable eating out i.e. the hushed reverence found in many UK dining rooms more akin to a church than a fun night out. It is better in London than the provinces and it is improving. Best advice is to use the stars but also read lots of reviews.

  12. Paul, I speak as a person with an allergy to some nuts (hospital, adrenalin the full works) and I would suggest you give up on the quest. If the person with the allergy has avoided restaurants for ten years then they are a touch paranoid and you are not going to find anything for them.

    I find restaurants very accommodating when I tell them about my allergy and they always work hard to avoid them. If you persist in the quest the best advice is to head for a top quality place where the chef is on hand to prep the food rather than anything mass market. The better (more expensive) the place the more care they take and the more certain you can be of a nut free meal. The kitchen won't be nut free, but he kitchen processes will be precise enough to ensure the dishes are. Cheaper options have a lot of bought in food, mass prepped food and/or poor chains of communication from FOH to kitchen which results in error and uncertainty.

  13. Another example is my current dilemma. I have a "big birthday" this year. My partner has suggested the Fat Duck, not least as its often thought of as "the best". But I'm simply not sure if I fancy the food enough to warrant the time and expense of getting there and eating there. Still some weeks to decide.........

    John, IIRC you enjoy Fraiche? If so I believe the FD will reward the investment. The food is good, but I think the theatre of the meal is better. Our visit for a significant birthday was memorable and it stands apart as a very special meal. I may have had better individual dishes elsewhere, but overall it was a great meal.

  14. From Catersearch

    London region

    Tom Kerridge, The Hand & Flowers, Marlow

    Anthony Demetre, Arbutus, London

    Tristan Welch, Lauceston Place, London

    Judge: Jason Atherton, Maze, London

    Central region

    Daniel Clifford, Midsummer House, Cambridge

    Will Holland, La Becasse, Shropshire

    Richard Bramble, Morston Hall, Norfolk

    Judge: Glynn Purnell, Purnell's, Birmingham

    NE region

    Kenny Atkinson, Rockliffe Hall, Darlington

    Lee Bennett, Le Pont de la Tour, London

    Tim Bilton, Butchers Arms Hepworth, Yorkshire

    Judge: Nigel Haworth, Northcote, Lancashire


    Alan Murchison, Paris House, Woburn

    Tony Singh, Oloroso, Edinburgh

    Michael Smith, The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye

    Judge: Jeremy Lee


    James Sommerin, The Crown at Whitebrook, Monmouthshire

    Aled Williams, Plas Bodegroes, Gwynedd

    Richard Davies, Bybrook Restaurant, Manor House Hotel, Wiltshire

    Judge: Stephen Terry, The Hardwick, Abergavenny

    NW Region

    Aiden Byrne, The Church Green, Lymm

    Lisa Allen, Northcote, Lancashire

    Johnnie Mountain, Mosaica Restaurant at the Factory, London

    Judge: Marcus Wareing, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, London

    SW region

    Nathan Outlaw, Nathan Outlaw Seafood and Grill at St Enodoc Hotel in Rock

    Chef 2: TBC

    Chef 3: TBC

    Northern Ireland

    Sorry, once again, no info on this as yet!

  15. Alex he went to "Thoumieux" in rue St Dominique 7eme. The old place was taken over by the Costes Bros and he is heading up the kitchen. Brasserie at the moment but apparently a chefs table is going to open upstairs. Reviews are mixed at the moment: I suspect somewhat influenced by views on the Costes Bros.

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