Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by genuineness

  1. Don't forget the Saute Langoustines with Parmesan Gnocchi and Truffle emulsion. One of their singular best dish.
  2. So phoned yesterday to try to get a table at the Latymer. Apparently they had tables available but only for people who were staying at the hotel. I suppose that kinda makes sense - the restaurant is funded by the hotel so has to have a certain number of tables for people who are staying at the hotel.
  3. Just following up on my previous post - the blog write-up is done, now with lovely DLSR photos (albeit I am crap at using the camera). I don't think I need to say much other than this was one of the most memorable meals I have had this year. Here is an excerpt: So why is it worth travelling all the way to the corner of the country to eat at a gastro-pub, what with the many excellent ones we have in London? The one word answer to that question is ‘Passion’. When most chefs appear on TV to talk about seasonality and sourcing local products, it does not hold a candle to what chef/ owner Stephen Harris is doing. Whilst some 3* restaurants in this country are not even bothered to bake their own bread (I am looking at you Fat Duck and Gordon Ramsay) they not only bake their own bread, but also churn their own butter, grow their own vegetables, rear their own pigs and cure their own ham. A cynic may claim that all these DIY stuff are gimmicks. I mean, churning your own butter? So with that in mind, I set off to see whether ‘the juice is worth the squeeze’. . . . Coming to Sportsman, there was a lot of hype to live up to, given the good reviews that they have received as of late. I was honestly blown away by the food put in front of me. Ok, so this is not 3* cooking but the beauty of the meal is that everything is simplistic and effortless. The food is not fussy nor is it pretentious. There are no foams, no triple reduced sauces and no pretention. Chef Harris has wisely kept things to a bare minimum which allows the beauty of his produce to sing. This is definitively food that you want to get stuck into. On reflection, the tasting menu at £55 was an absolute bargain given the amount of food and its quality. The only problem with the Sportsman is its location which is pretty hard to get to without investing some effort. With the newly developed bullet train line from King’s Cross to Ashford, perhaps foodies should set up a petition for a similar line to be built between London and Whitstable. Here is the link but obviously don't feel obliged to click.
  4. Revisited Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester for my graduation dinner. It was a very disappointing experience altogether and a stark contrast from my first visit in February. The food was fine although asides from desserts and the barbajuans, nothing really came close to a 2* level. Worst yet, they deemed it appropriate to send out an overcooked piece of steak - a basic error that should not happen at a gastro pub let alone one harbouring 3* hopes and charging ridiculous amounts. Service on the night was frankly all over the place and deserves a special mention. By that, I don’t mean that anyone was rude to us but there was a distinct lack of care and attention to detail. I was first to praise their service so it pains me that I have to crucify the poor service this time around. When you are dining in a private dining room (the table Lumiere), it is only natural that you are detached from the main dining room where you could easily flag for attention. It was a bit surprising that no one was assigned specifically to our care. If a humble Chinese restaurant like Pearl Liang can afford to allocate us a dedicated server for the entire evening I do not see why this was not the case here. We were simply brought the food, left to eat it, and they would then come back perhaps 30 minutes later to collect the plates. This meant that most of the time we were done eating a good 10-15 mins before they would collect the plates. No checking with us if everything was ok or if our wines needed topping up. In my case, they didn’t even bother to enquire if there was a problem when I left half a piece of my over-cooked steak on the plate. Nor do I enjoy getting up each time I want them to clear the plates or top up my glass of wine. With all these delays and slow service, the entire 6 course meal (7 if you include the chocolates and macaroons) took a ridiculous 4.5 hours. To give you some perspective of this, a meal 2 days later where I enjoyed no less than 15 courses took 5 hours. Oh and please don’t remind me that they did not bring the bon-bon trolley around (this depite all of us having coffee or tea). Did they just assume I wasn’t aware of it despite the trolley conveniently placed next to the room or that we were too full? You can read about the meal in its entirety (as well as more of my ranting) here. I really hope that someone at ADAD reads this (and I know most restaurants out there read blogs) and whips the service back into shape as I actually enjoyed the food here the first time around.
  5. Hmm, I quite like the Glasshouse too. My least favourite of the bunch is The Square, although I feel I may be in the minority with that one. I never have figured out why The Square deserved one let alone two stars based on my visits there (although the food was OK bar the incessant use of cappuccino'ing every sauce, the service was what really let it down for me, for example staff including maitre d' not knowing anything about the miniscule cheese selection). H ← Howard, may I ask when was your visit to the Square? I recently visited last Monday and the service was exemplary although while chatting with the maitre'd he did admit that before he arrived, service was in shambles as the restaurant went through a period of multiple short-stay maitre'ds which may explain the very poor service. They also hv cut down on the number of sauces with foam in them... unless of course you go for the lasagna of dorset crab with er... shellfish cappucino
  6. david i Loved your comment 'this is cavemen territory'. made me LOL
  7. Had an excellent lunch at the Sportsman, and they truly lived up to their reputation. The place has been getting a lot of hype recently of course, and unlike many places this was certainly one of them that more than lived up to the hype. I was actually quite worried that I would not have enjoyed this meal as much having just returned from a marathon that is Christian Bau. Silly me... this was a class above most 1* restaurants in London and would put some 2*s to shame. My guests (travelling from Australia and Malaysia) remarked that this was by far the best meal they have had in England so far. The Surprise Tasting Menu: 1) Rock Oysters, Home-made Chorizo 2) Pork Scratchings, Apple & Wholegrain Mustard Dip; Pickled Herring, Gooseberry Jelly, Horseradish & Soda Bread 3) Bread - Sourdough, Red Onion & Rosemary Foccacia, Soda bread; Homemade Smoked Sea Salt Butter 4) Baked Oyster, Jersey Cream, Gooseberry Granita 5) Native Lobster Soup 6) Salmagundy 7) Seasalter Ham (cured in December 2007) 8) Turbot Braised in Vin Jaune with Smoked Pork 9) Crispy Lamb Belly, Mustard, Mint Sauce 10) Roast Rack of Milk-fed Monkshill Farm Lamb, Braised Shoulder, Broad Beans 11) Elderflower Iced Lolly with 'Cake' Milk 12) Local 'Fruit Salad' 13) Rhubarb Sorbet, Shortbread, Jasmine Tea Jucket with Raspberry Sauce & Breakfast Cereal, Raspberry Tart, Chocolate Brownie 13 absolutely breath-taking courses for a mere £55... an absolute bargain if you ask me. The highlights were the pork scratchings (so good I had seconds), salmagundy, turbot and the elderflower iced lolly. Moreover, the mark-ups for wine are a breath of fresh air coming from London. 1999 Dom at £135?? That is pretty much retail! We certainly drank very well here! Of course, getting here from London is a bit of a trek. How I wish I lived in Faversham and could eat here everyday. (Probably post a review on my blog when I am done digesting every single tasty morsel)
  8. Gagnaire's food is very cerebral for sure... makes you THINK long and hard about what you are eating. Mind you they hv had a recent change of chefs but they are still cooking Gagnaire's food...
  9. for £50 the le gav set lunch is hell of a deal. I suppose if you want tapas style food you can head down to Cambio de tercio for actual tapas or Sketch (set lunch £35).
  10. Pretty similar - they may omit one or two more luxe ingredients [e.g. a plate of duck for dinner would contain some foie gras which is omitted in the (cheaper) lunch menu] or 'upgrading' the dish using a more expensive cut of meat.
  11. Agreed, the savouries are rather hit and miss and depends on how lucky with what you order. Apart from Saturday night and possibly Friday night, the restaurant isn't that packed. You can pretty much get a table at a second's notice on most nights bar Saturday - although to be fair the restaurant caters for a larger amount of covers than most. Btw, if you look online, there is an offer for 20% off dinner.
  12. I don't recall ever having seen this. Yes, macaroons and chocolates as petit fours, with the coffee, but never before the dessert proper. Did they forget Fergal's dessert, or did they serve a cheese course instead? ← I was having a conversation about this very topic with Mr. Hayler as I found this practise of serving chocolates and macaroons as a 'pre-dessert' to be rather odd and only practised in certain French restaurants in London (e.g. Ducasse, Ambassade de L'ile). Apparently this practise is quite common place in France but probably an alien concept over here. I guess British restaureteurs prefer to squeeze their customers off as much money as possible (I am referring of course to the practise of offering petit fours only if you have coffee or tea).
  13. and to expand on this a bit, there is also the problem of inconsistencies especially at 1* level because the 1* rating is very broad. For example, St. John's, Sportsman and Tom Aikens all have 1* but what you I would expect in each of the restaurants differ dramatically. Perhaps the questionnaire could be expanded on to cover 1,2 and 3*s because what most ppl would expect from each would drastically differ.
  14. If I'm not mistaken, it is common practice for restaurants in France that little chocolates and macaroons are brought to the table as 'pre-desserts' before your actual dessert arrives. This allows you to nibble away while waiting. At ADAD, they further 'barrage' you with a bon-bon trolley if you have coffee/tea. By the by, I felt that the desserts were probably the strongest element of my meal - the Rum au Baba was definitely at 3* level and the macaroons were definitely some of the best I have tried in London. (Perhaps the pastry chef had an off night.) If anything, I found the savoury courses rather weak but I did make it a point to let the chef know about this and I guess they must have taken my comments on board. (In case you are interested to read my experience, it is on my blog - follow my signature) I guess I will have to wait and see - I am revisiting the restaurant next week.
  15. Funny you should say that because the ice cream cone is indeed a pre-dessert at Tristan's restaurant. If it had won it would have been an utter travesty.
  16. Mediocre talent? Are you honestly suggesting that Sargeant, Smyth and Hartnett are average chefs, or do you mean to say that, unlike Atherton, they aren't particularly forward thinking? I agree that it's not all that exciting to watch someone prepare a fish finger on TV, but Sargeant is clearly highly skilled. Also, I would have to say that 'failure' on GBM is no indication of anything. Chefs Byrne, Clifford and Outlaw all went out at the first hurdle this year, would you consider them to be mediocre too? I do think that being a Ramsay chef is starting to be a bit of a poison chalice in some respects, this kind of knee-jerk dismissal is surely connected to the fact that the 'big man' himself is being taken less and less seriously these days. ← Heh I do apologize for my small bit of controversy. Would these chefs have won a Michelin star if they were not working under the Gordon Ramsay brand? While it is rather grey as to what is or isn't a Michelin star restaurant there are of course a few chefs who have been completely ignored or overlooked in terms of One, two or 3 stars. Smyth claims to be a 3* chef, but is she really one? Heck, is RHR even worthy of its mighty 3*s? What I am trying to imply is that these chefs seem to be stuck within the formula that is the Gordon Ramsay brand, with only a few, like Atherton who even dares venture beyond that. The statement that Clare made to the effect that she doesn't believe in 'sous vide' cooking is pretty shocking. Yes, it takes a certain amount of skill to be able to cook the way they do - but similarly, it is NOT difficult to follow recipes to the dot. It is the same way how our country is able to churn out doctors by the bucket load - as long as you have half a brain and are able to follow protocols you are considered 'safe'. On the point on Bryne, Outlaw and Clifford - the chefs simply used the competition as a free opportunity to advertise their food. The chef who designed a dish from scratch to look like cow pat or a dildo on the other hand however deserves a hundred lashings.
  17. So what does this imply??? That Ramsay chefs are really not all that and are hiding their otherwise mediocre talent behind the Ramsay name??? Hmmm... At least I am one person who is of this opinion. Someone like Jason Atherton may be an exception to this rule.
  18. It think its the complete opposite. In previous years, most chefs simply cherry picks their best 4 dishes on their restaurant's menu to showcase on GBM. If it wins and goes through, they have a cash cow on their hand. The BLT starter is a great example of this - it was on Jason's menu long before it was featured on the GBM. The fact that they changed the theme of this years show made it more than an inconvenience for the chefs, especially those cooking haute cuisine, while benefitting those who's style is more simplistic and rustic. Chefs in the former category could either design dishes from scratch or completely ignore the theme and just demonstrate their best 4 dishes for free publicity (e.g. Clifford, Bryne... and I suspect Welch). Designing a dish from scratch in itself tricky, because many great dishes are what they are through small evolutions from the original.
  19. Hardly exciting yet again... how many more renditions of spargus and egg are we going to get?? Seems like Andy Hayler tried Welch's rendition but was none too impressed...
  20. yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths ← Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food. Food1 - Wishart would be my 2nd best meal, we had a superb meal there as well, and I would agree that it also deserves more. We had a dire experience at LCS, all I really remember is the frosty reception, the amateur service and very brightly lit dining room. As I said above the psychology of dining has a major impact and LCS was all wrong that night. I was reading Mattbites recently and he linked to a bloggers code of conduct which makes the valid point that we should visit a restaurant more than once or twice before making a definative comment. I wish I had both the cash and time to do that. A number of visits would even out and peaks and troughs in the kitchen, hopefully balance any emotional highs and lows, and ensure spouses are not unwell. I am keen to revisit LCS as our experience seems very different to some (but not all); did we simply catch the FOH team on a bad night? Nathan may be in the news this week, but I had been hoping to get there for 18 months and had been following some good reviews like Duncan's. On this visit he was on top form, it is a pity he is so far away from most people as it would be good to get a broader range of opinions. ← In and ideal world, going to a restaurant at least passing judgement would be ideal. This is especially true with restaurants which I had a less than stellar experience from and perhaps deserves the benefit of the doubt. However, I doubt many professional critics (you know the likes of AA Gill, Fay Maschler etc.) follow this 'code of conduct' and give restaurants the benefit of the doubt? On the other hand, some restaurants simply do not offer enough incentives in terms of a constantly changing menu to make it worth going again. A good example of this would be the Fat Duck (and come June they won't even have an ALC menu available come July). After all, you can only his snail porridge that many times....
  21. I'm very much looking forward to reading your review. Will you try to have a word with the great man, if he can find the time? Enjoy. ← It was a really great meal - full report here. I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star. The Brill dish is similar to the Turbot he did on the show. It is really, really good. The meat course was also very good, but interestingly one weak spot was the use of gels in the desserts which was one of the weaknesses the judges highlighted - they really are not very nice. But that said his Peanut Mouse was a superb dessert. We didn't manage to speak to the big man but it looks like they are doing pretty well. Apparently they served 22 set menus on Saturday in a restaurant dining room with approx. 30 covers. They have been pretty full since the beginning of March and this weekend they were full (with some added tables) and turning lots of enquires away. The hotel manager told us that Nathan has been offered a few other TV slots, and he really enjoyed doing the show. Hopefully we will see more of him....although we don't want to lose him from the kitchen. ← According to your review Michelin are spot on with their opinion of Nathan's cooking skills, and he may perhaps gain the other star? Its interesting to note your comments about tasting portions, I know entirely where your coming from. When I taste some delightful morsel, only to have it evaporate,so to speak, before I can fully appreciate its magnificence, its a complete let down. More and more my wife and I want proper plated portions to fully appreciate the dish. I know tasting menus are designed to show the range and quality of what the chef can do, however after two or three forkfuls some dishes do not deliver, quantity wise. Subject to how the menu reads I think we shall go down the "carte" route and perhaps add a dish or two. I notice by your photographs that some of Nathan's portions looked pretty much on the small size. It is sometimes frustrating when you have exquisite food that leaves you somewhat panting for more Its fantastic that Nathan is busy, due to the seasonality of his location, its extremely important to make the most of the good times. Long may it continue. ← That is exactly why I am never keen on tasting menus... Off the top of my head, it is only the Square and Le Gavroche who have offered decent sized tasting portions (and in the case of the Square... overly large ones) and tend to go for 4 courses instead (split with the other half we can form our own 'tasting' menu)
  22. Chris Staines has left the building... I mean resigned from Foliage.
  23. I'm rooting for Nathan, but I won't be surprised if Shaun wins. Nathans weakness is his mains which seems like a mish mash of ideas put on a plate. Really depends on how much the judges like Pork and Scallops, but if last year's feedback was anything to go back... Nathan would have the slight edge.
  24. Whose home are those supposed to be a taste of? Edit: Oh, I see: Fish & Chips versus Prawn (or at least Lobster) cocktail. But what on earth posessed Shaun to choose a dish he can't taste? ← I am puzzled as well... the number one rule as a chef is you need to taste your food be it to check your seasoning as well as the overall composition/ balance of the dish. Its not like he is competing in Iron Chef now is it?
  25. I also thought I read that when MPW was in residence his restaurant was in another part of the building i.e. not in the Foliage space. Didn't the Dorchester have two top chefs with Ducasse and Byrne up until recently? ← That is indeed true.. MPW's original restaurant is now used as a ballroom.
  • Create New...