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Posts posted by Clerkenwellian

  1. Has anyone made it to the Modern Pantry yet?

    Yes - really quite good. Was a few days ago, so can't recall the details, but we had an excellent and unusual lamb's tongue starter, an immaculately cooked pork belly, some odd sounding but quite tasty fritters (like falafel with chunks of chorizo), an okay but somewhat bland sea bass and finished with some excellent coffee but a disappointing cheesecake. With a cocktail and glass of wine each, came to a touch under £70, including service, which I thought was fair.

  2. To be honest, as Jay demonstrated by a relatively recent review of a restaurant in Golders Green, Kosher restaurants and good eating don;t often mix.  In central London, tow worth trying are Reubens (fantstic salt beef!) and six-13 which is in a converted synagogue.  Otherwise take a trip to Golder's Green and take your pick - it is all pretty hit and miss, but sadly, unlike in the USA, it seems people are happy to pay high prices for poor kosher food!

    Unfortunately I can echo your comments about the general quality of Kosher food here.

    Six-13 has gone bust - the only "high end" Kosher restaurant in London is now Bevis Marks, where the food varies from mediocre to quite poor. Now it has no competition in the City, things can only get worse...

  3. We are considering hiring one of the following caterers for a private event: Dewintons, Last Supper, Yes Please and Bubble Food.

    I wondered if anyone here had any experience - good or bad - of any of these guys (and please PM me if your experience was too bad to post in a public forum!)


    I don't know any of those you are considering but have heard excellent reports of Red Snapper. Good luck.

    thank you!

  4. We are considering hiring one of the following caterers for a private event: Dewintons, Last Supper, Yes Please and Bubble Food.

    I wondered if anyone here had any experience - good or bad - of any of these guys (and please PM me if your experience was too bad to post in a public forum!)


  5. When any organisation resorts to going outside the law, then they have lost the argument.

    Damn, why didn't Kaltenbrunner (inter alia...) think of that argument at Nuremberg? When the law defends the indefensible, one must step outside it.

    <godwin invoked>

    Ignoring Godwin for a moment, that argument has merit if the law cannot be changed through normal democractic means. But the ALF simply can't be arsed to persuade the public and organise politically, so instead they chuck bricks through peoples' windows.

  6. Oddly, it seems to improve matters if you bowl from the pavillion end (Balans), or if you're able to tolerate the braying company of a hundred 20-something City tosspots in the same blue shirt (Smiths of Smithfield).

    The tosspots are only there in the week - come the weekends, Smiths is populated in the mornings entirely by local media types and their well behaved, if oddly coiffed, children.

    And, if "brunch" includes something as simple as a cappucino and a pattiserie, then Comptoir Gascon a few doors away is excellent.

  7. Well, Haozhan on Gerrard Street sure looked like an interesting opening - been a good few months since a new place has had such unanimous acclaim.

    Chilli salt quail was good - good chilli kick, delicate batter, slightly pink inside and great gamey taste.

    Unfortunately it was downhill from there.

    The soft shell crab was not good. Under spiced, over-battered.

    Mains weren't much better. The tofu and scallop (raved about in a couple of the reviews) was drenched in a sweet gloopy orange sauce, so the tofu was reminiscent of a crème caramel. Szechuan vegetables suffered from the same sauce. Chicken in a hot-pot dish had the woolly texture of a high street takeaway.

    Service best described as perfunctory, if not actually rude. What was odd was that the starters and mains were served one after the other, with gaps of perhaps five minutes between each. The kitchen didn't seem that busy - we were eating at about 11pm.

    We wondered if the (ex-Hakkasan) chef that had wowed Mr Rayner & co had left the building - gone for an early night or perhaps gone for good.

  8. Had a disappointing cassoulet at Comptoir on Wednesday. Had previously been for brunch, and had high hopes.

    On the positive front, the coffee was outstanding.

    But the cassoulet looked, felt and tasted like it had been kept in the oven (or under a lamp) too long - sauce reduced down to nothing, slightly shrivelled beans, dry duck. Another oddity: the single slice of bacon was cut incredibly thin - actually transparent - and was on top of the cassoulet, rather than integral to it. Basic flavour was good, but this was not what I understand a cassoulet to be.

    Not quite sure why I didn't send it back.

    Has anyone else been recently? Could it just have been a one-off?

  9. You can make a delicious, pretty and unusual tart by caramelising red onions with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar until they're really rich, soft and gooey, then putting in a blind-baked tart base, and then cooking ever so slightly until the top goes crisp.

  10. Had a wonderful meal at Sushi Yasuda on Monday.

    Wasn't surprised that it was incomparably better than anything I've had in London. Was surprised to discover that Yasuda speaks reasonable Hebrew...

  11. Even if it isn't "true or fair comment - or both", the phenomenal costs involved in pursuing a libel suit, and the financial disparity between media corporations and small businesses should continue to ensure that restaurateurs remain one of the few communities about which one can publicly say whatever one likes.

  12. Had never brined before, but decided to experiment with brined pork belly from the St John cookbook. Had a complete disaster.

    Prepared a brine (400g sugar, 600g salt, 4l water, juniper, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves), brought to boil, cooled, put belly into the pot and then left in the fridge for three days.

    Took it out, rinsed under tap for a minute or so, patted dried, scored with knife and then roasted.

    Looked great, smelt great, texture was great - but was utterly, inedibly, salty. Didn't matter so much for the crackling, but I couldn't have served the meat to my worst enemy.

    What did I do wrong? Dodgy recipe? Did I miss a step? Insufficient rinsing? Or is it supposed to be this way?

    Advice appreciated...

  13. You make it sound so horrible Tim!  Perhaps I'll run into you at one of the above places.  Or sprinting through Regent's park, depending on whose opinion I agree with in the end.

    Clerkenwellian: not a huge fan of clerkenwell, to be honest.  Need somewhere a little more villagey, rather than central. Greener.  I might consider central if I was on my own, but husband values space more than a central location. 

    Actually I live in Scunthorpe.

  14. Forgive me for a self-serving topic, but I'm in need of advice.

    I've just (as of this morning) resigned from my job, and my husband and I will be moving to London in January.  We both work, our respective offices will both be on the Northern Line (Moorgate/Bank).

    My question is, based on the fact that we both like food and wine, and like having access to nice local shops, good pub food, etc etc, does anyone have any recommendation as to nice areas to live?

    I'm somewhat familiar with Kentish town etc, and husband used to live in West Hampstead.

    Anyone have any hotspots they'd like to share with me, or alternatively deserts that I should avoid?

    Help very much appreciated...

    Are you looking for a house in a leafy lane, or an apartment nearer the centre?

  15. seared tuna on top of a south of italy zesty red sauced risotto

    Sounds lovely - what's in that?

    i would say simply a robust risotto made with tomatoes and no cream, prob not cheese either, a marinara-type sauce, garlic, oregano......possibly no onion.......not sure about that last one.....but it tasted deliciously like the mezzogiorno, the south of italy......it was topped with a slice of very rare seared tuna. very nice. why don't you ring and ask for their recipe? they might share.....esp if you don't live in london...if you do, just pop down and have a taste and see what you think might be in it......i don't quite remember any more than that as was drinking quite of bit of champagne through the evening, and did taste a number of the risotti.

    if i were living in town i'd have a bowl and make a full report. but i'm out in hampshire.....


    thank you!

  16. This summer, I visited London for the second time and had afternoon tea twice. What I really loved were the scones. They're round, not sweet, kind of bread-like, very high, and with raisins. I can't seem to find a recipe for them! Does anyone know how to make them?

    Sorry, for the bad description!

    250g self raising flour

    60g butter

    30g sugar

    palmful of currants and/or raisins

    quarter teaspoon of salt

    150ml full fat milk

    buzz the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse briefly until has the texture of small breadcrumbs. Pour into bowl and add the currants and milk. Stir until comes together into a very soft pastry (do not use the food processor at this point). Put onto floured worksurface and push into an inch high round. Cut out into scones with 3 inch cutter, brush with milk and bake at 200C until they look right.

  17. I was going to say Mr. Kong's as well, as I used to find myself there virtually once a week when I lived in London. We always ordered (amongst other things) the deep fried duck with yam paste which we loved, although on returning and sampling again I think it must take at least some of the blame for my considerably expanded waistline! There are certainly lots of interesting things on that menu, most of which I was afraid to ever order...


    The crispy pig's intestines are divine. Piggy gorgeousness.

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