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Posts posted by PhilD

  1. A short cab ride away, if they go straight across Hyde Park, you can find Haandi (136 Brompton Road) which is pretty decent.

    There is also "Urban Turban" in Westbourne Grove which I have heard mixed review about, some very good. It is very trendy Indian tapas concept by Vineet Bhatia who holds a Michelin star at his other restaurants including a second star in Switzerland I believe, making him the only Indian chef to have stars in more than one country.

  2. My recommendation is the opposite direction. Head for the South Coast walk. We have done a few sections, first ones were around Fowey, then the sections around Padstow (very spectacular). Our approach was to book a B&B and get the bus out to the start of the walk, then head back into town for a beer, shower and food. With Nathan Outlaw now back in Rock you have him, Margot's and No6 doing great food (and Stein if needs must) plus I am seeing good reports about Custard (although my experience was iffy).

    If you need to be North why not base yourself around Helmsley, the Star is good and they now have a new pub with different menu.

  3. AND, finally back on the menu is my favourite dessert in London - the date tart. It is a vanilla custard tart with a very thin layer of date puree on the pastry base. A while back, a lot of people got very excited about Marcus Wareing's custard tart. I have tasted both, and the Ledbury's tart is in a different league.

    That is very interesting. I wonder if the Date Tart is inspired by the Lorraine Godsmark & Neil Perry classic Date Tart from his restaurant Rockpool in Sydney (Lorraine was the pastry chef). This dessert has an almost mythical reputation across the Sydney dining scene with many chefs creating versions of it. Looks like Brett may have imported it to the UK.

  4. Anybody have an idea how Nathan Outlaw will fare in January? Not dined there myself, not for want of trying, its just way too far away without tying into some other foodie visit.

    I would expect him to be unrated given the closure of the current restaurant and the move to Rock. I can't remember how they treated Hibiscus, didn't they need to prove themselves to get their stars back?

    Now Nathan has moved there is no excuse not to head down to Padstow/Rock as it is a culinary centre: Margot's, No6, and now Nathan's which means you can avoid Rick Steins various places. As an aside my partner tried to book his new Australian venture, but the receptionist was so up herself that she has vowed never to cross their threshold; seems Rick has exported the attitude as well as the food...!

  5. ....should yield a bounty for noshing on the long flight back home, it's a great way to extend the vacation for a few hours more. Customs, alas, isn't as romantic about these matters as they might be, so more than can be eaten on the plane might be wasted (meats, especially, are verboten), but jarred foie gras and vacuum sealed cheese have been waved through before.

    ....but do we wary of the security checks, "no liquids, pastes or gels" includes a lot of food stuffs like cheese and pate. If I am carrying food by air I tend to put it in my hold baggage to be safe and ensure it isn't confiscated as I go through security at CDG or Heathrow.

  6. It is a very nice posh suburb. I did not mean to make it sound like the boondocks. :cool:

    I used to work in Neuilly so know it reasonably well. I would recommend heading into Paris for food shopping. The market is OK but nothing special, there are a few specialist food shops in the streets to the North of Avenue Charles de Gaulle in the vicinity of the town hall, there is also a reasonably upmarket supermarket under the convention centre at Porte Maillot.

    However, as Paringi suggests your best bet is rue Poncelet, it is a semi-market with some good shops. Le Dada on the corner is a good spot for a coffee or restorative ale. A good restaurant in the area (of the market) is "Le Bistro d'a Cote Flaubert" which is one of Michel Rostangs cheaper options.

  7. I see Matthew Norman has given the Modern a poor review. Is his comment on the dessert "As for my pud, warm parkin – "A northern kind of treacle tart," explained the incongruously warm and expert waitress – struck me more as McVitie's Jamaica Ginger Cake swimming in treacle" a negative? Or am I a bit odd for thinking this sounds wonderful, a restaurant version of one of my favourite cakes.

    On a serious note: Matthew's reviews do seem to be getting a little of the wall, I first noticed it when he gave a glowing review to Mat Folas' (Masterchef winner) very pedestrian "Wild Garlic". Is he trying to emulate others style of criticism i.e. content light?

  8. Ronaldo, I would go to La Alqueria in Hacienda Benazuza. It's located in Salúcar la Mayor, near Sevilla, I'm not sure how near is from El Bulli, as I've never been there, but they are supposed to use Adria's recipes and techniques.

    Carlos, it is very close in style. La Alqueria serves El Bulli's greatest hits, with menu's put together from selections of dishes from previous years El Bulli menus. It is the El Bulli hotel, owned by Ferran Adria, and usually staffed by chefs who have worked in the kitchens at El Bulli. It is rumoured that Ferran is often found in the kitchens when El Bulli itself is closed.

    However, as the OP said it is a long way in distance from Barcelona or Madrid, although Seville is great in its own right. It is also closed from November '09 until March '10.

  9. We'll go out for a couple of dinners and are particularly interested in New Years Eve dinner, which we hear is special in Paris. (Here in the US restaurant food on New Years Eve is typically at its worst).

    I fear you are mis-informed, I understood Paris to be as bad as the US (if not worse) on NYE as far as restaurants go.

  10. fingers crossed for l`enclume for 2 stars, ledbury seems to be rocking this year very positive feedback from nearly everyone i have spoken too, would like wishart to rise to 2, and good luck to artisan, love to see champ/sauv go to 3 stars too, greenhouse for 2 would be great :smile:

    I know it is meant to be about the food on the plate but my my guess is the service at LCS will always hold them back; apparently very good if Helen knows you, less good if she doesn't.

    I agree about Wishart, we had a sublime meal there, a far better standard than many other starred restaurants in the UK. It will be interesting to see how Bath Priory fares now it is under Caines, we enjoyed a very good lunch there, and it should stay starred.

    It would be very good for Brett to get a second one for The Ledbury and even better if he receives the bonus by Stephen getting one at The Harwood.

  11. We drove into London on the Saturday aiming to enjoy a leisurely lunch and were not disappointed.However there is one distinct problem,because of its location amongst some decidedly eye wateringly expensive properties.

    Parking! its virtually impossible to park remotely close.However don't let this put you off. Ditch the car!

    Quick note: no parking restrictions on a Sunday.

  12. Interesting developments in the Hong Kong guide. Lots of new one starred places including "hole in the wall" dim sum places (albeit cheffed by ex three stars). I wonder if we will see changes in the UK, less French more British? Although wise to bear in mind that food in HK is a lot more serious for the average punter than in the UK hence all the bright lights in restaurants: quality must be seen.

    I hope the Harwood gets one, my second favourite meal after The Sportsman.

  13. When we ate at the new grill in Rock (soon after it opened) they said he planned to open a more formal restaurant there in the not to distant future. At the time I wondered how he would cope with three. I suspect the sale of the hotel in Fowey was the catalyst as wasn't he a minority partner in the place?

    Padstow/Rock is now the true centre of great Cornish cuisine (with or without Rick - and Rick has opened a place here in Australia now as well).

  14. Back in February, Thom & Infrasonic replied to my query about Sweet Mandarin confirming its mediocrity. I've just seen it on the F Word where it "won" Ramsey's best local Chinese restaurant award.

    Has anything happened recently to the cooking that might actually warrant that? Perhaps an even better question is how it even got shortlisted, just from Manchester Chinese places? I've looked up the two restaurants featured each week and many have had a decent enough Good Food Guide listing.

    John, I fear you need to "take one for the team" and give it a go. I suspect they are very PR savvy and thus massaged themselves to meet the researchers criteria.

    I saw the F-Word has been pushed in the schedules due to falling ratings and they are going to reformat to appeal to people who like food; very interesting.

  15. Now I'm bemused and confused, how on earth can a restaurant gain a highly creditable six in the Good Food Guide yet it is so badly criticized?

    I was also surprised, after all wasn't this the weekend to dish it up to John Burton-Race with both Coren and Rayner having a go. Odd. Maybe the Indy mislaid the memo.

  16. So, tip to any new restaurateur who seeks a good review from a DH. Fill 'im up with free wine and give him chips and icecream
    Say what you like about the Hermanos but they know their own mind, corporate shills they are not

    I feel there is a contradiction here, and that is what disappoints me. DH used to be a very good irreverent blog, but it has subtlety changed. The boys used to be outside the tent pissing in; my read is that they are now comfortably sat inside the tent. And good for them, it is nice to see new talent gaining a foothold in publishing and journalism. However, it does mean that DH is not what it used to be and a reader needs to be cautious.

  17. Speaking of which, can anyone explain to me the difference between dry-aged and the way beef is aged by French butchers?

    I would assume the majority of butchers "wet age" i.e. age in vacuum packed bags that eliminates moisture (and weight) loss. However I always though the better butchers in France dry aged as well, however maybe for a shorter time than other countries. IMO there is an optimum time for dry ageing, it isn't always the case of longer is better. For me 21 days seems pretty safe: I have seen some aged a lot longer than that and find, for me, that sometimes the flavour gets too strong.

  18. I'm surprised there was no lamb dishes( do they have lamb in Sichuan?)

    According to Ms Dunlop in her book Sichuan Cookery: "Lamb or mutton is a rarity on conventional Sichuanese menus. It's more often associated with cookery in the northern provinces, where the culinary legacy of China's conquest by lamb-eating Mongols in the thirteenth century is more keenly felt. You do, occasionally find lamb in the cooking of Sichuan's Muslim communities, where it stands in for pork."

    I do enjoy her books, find the recipes are good, and the insights into Chinese cuisine are fascinating. But I was quite underwhelmed by Bar Shu when I visited it soon after it had opened, and was surprised she was the consultant.

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