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    Bridgend, Wales, UK

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  1. We ate lunch there today. The dining room, and serving-ware are old school, but I like that. Food isn't trend setting, but not old-fashioned. I don't get to eat out much, so meat-fruit, foie gras ice-cream are new to my palette. We tried the taster menu which judging from what others were eating appears to consist of 7 full size plates of food, although it didn't feel over bearing. The only hole I could pick, if I was looking for holes to pick, were repeat ingredients. OK February isn't awash with in-season veg, but jerusalem artichoke as an amuse, and then as puree on two dishes seems overkill. And toasted "granola" turned up on nibbles, amuse and main. Still, I'd happily go back. The "lunch for less" deal looks a steal. As mentioned the wine list looks very sensibly priced, although no bargains on the half bottles. I might perhaps uncharitably describe it as a poor man's Le Manoir in terms of ambience, but really it's a shrewd man's Le Manoir. Half the price or less for really only a small step down in quality. I felt very satisfiied.
  2. sheepish

    Dinner! 2012

    My lung repertoire isn't extensive. But chopped, simmered with some stock veg for about 90 mins. Then added to a hot and sour soup for a few mins. And served on rice noodles. I think anyone who says lungs are their favourite thing is lying, but this wasn't bad at all.
  3. Very interesting. Butchered 3 hoggets yesterday - I think those fellas, well the one on the right looks like a fella :-), are at least a year old, but maybe that's all. The gyro meat is a new one on me but I shall be giving that a go with some belly, which i generally mince but not for something as interesting looking as that. Offal the day you slaughter is never strong tasting in my experience, but you sound like you have a lot more experience than me :-). Hearts will certainly not be strong. Got some lungs simmering as we speak. Only find kidney or liver getting a bit ripe, but then only after a week or so.
  4. I usually leave it until September. I was going to say game in the height of summer just feels wrong to me, but fortunately summer isn't reaching any heights this year! There are rumours of 30C in London today. I can assure you that weather hasn't hit Wales. Always eaten at home because 1) I can roast a bird pretty well myself. 2) I don't know of anyone in south Wales who servers it. 3) I can afford much better Burgundy at home :-)
  5. Had lunch here last Saturday. The ten course job. I think on balance I was disappointed. Tartare of venison with coal oil was memorable, for the smokey flavour on raw meat, but the venison itself was a bit lacklustre. Like having a steak tartare made of fillet, rather than something with a bit of taste. Carrot foam and ham fat at the start was nice - although had some chewy bits on top which did nothing for me. A bit of crispy bacon would have worked a lot better in my book. Other than that, the golden egg thing tasted of thick chicken stock (of the Marco-Pierre White advertsied variet) to me, not impressed. The smoked eel and pork croquettes would be nice with a pint, but too rich and fatty as a pre-dinner nibble. Bread was memorable for being very ordinary. The Great British Menu smoked salad dish was just OK - I think I was probably expecting more after the judges rhapsodized about it. Nice light zingy deserts. Service OK, but they weren't on top of topping up - although we were only on bottled water. They did admit to being a man down. Its a very small place. I'd go as far as to say cramped. Glad I've been to see what all the fuss is about. But now I don't really know what all the fuss is about.
  6. I was there on Friday evening. My two pence. Had a really lovely night.Tasting menu and wines. Location is nice, room is stylish. Nice buzz. Staff were excellent. Very relaxed Aussie waiters, and enthusiastic German sommelier. Food was very good. But just that. No faults anywhere but for me, no real standout, "wow" dishes. I think, if I was a foodie blogger type I might call it "assured". Certainly wouldn't see this as a 3* place. Would recommend it for a great night out, but in my limited experience of London high end dining, I'd go back to the Square, which doesn't have the atmosphere, but has more "wow" in the food.
  7. Way behind again here. Hush puppies? Those are shoe where I come from. Wasn't sure where they were in the pic, let alone what they were? And hard cider? What does hard mean in that context? Ta
  8. That toasted sandwich. Can you help for those of us unfamiliar with American brands. I can spot sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese (is that sort of generic Emmental style?). But what's in the front packet? And the bottle? Ta
  9. Tripe tacos. I think I'm in love! Tacos and barbeque I just never see in the UK commercially. They must be out there, but no where near me. Very much looking forward to seeing the brisket result. Egullet taught me the joys of pulled pork, coleslaw, vinegar sauce and cheap white rolls. I've only ever brined brisket for boiled beef, but have a slab in the freezer and want to see what to eat it with now I'm definitely going to smoke it.
  10. You need to find someone who raises pigs, or a butcher who knows someone who does. Any contacts through a farmers market perhaps? Problem is modern pig breeds have been engineered for lots of lean meat. You can make pigs fat but you need to feed them a lot. And pig feed is expensive. And most folks have been brainwashed into thinking fat is bad. So pig growers aren't growing fat pigs. To get decent backfat you need fat pigs, otherwise you can scavange fat from pigs but it won't be in the nice big pieces you want. Good sausages need fat and butchers I've talked to are loathed to give up much of what they have, because fat pigs are rare and they want the fat too. There's a fair bit of fat on the head, and it's fine to add to make fatty sausage meat, but I find it a bit soft for using in salami or cutting to line a terrine.
  11. Eh? How does that work? Stun pig. Lift with a gambrel through hocks. Slit throat. You don't touch anywhere near the bladder before that.
  12. This is great. I was in Lebanon about 10 years ago. Stayed in Beirut and drove around. Never been scared driving before or since :-) Road markings and traffic lights were definitely just there to trick foreign drivers into taking notice of them. Either that red Merc taxi is unusual or the drivers have been replacing the smashed off door mirrors since I was there. Any chance of a trip to Byblos for a spot of fish? I recall eating most evenings at a smart row of cafes and restaurants that must have been in walking distance from the Virgin Megastore, because I know we parked there a couple of times. Too much mezze every night. Pretty vague I know, I've been looking on a map but can't work out where they must have been. Will keep watching, and checking out the price of flights there.
  13. Chris. All amazing. Love those supermarkets. Very naive I know, but I didn't have the US down as a great place for supermarket produce. Never seen anything like that range in the UK. London has some good places, but it takes 20 minutes to drive a mile there. At least I can show our friends in France it's not just the UK that's awash with needlessly big cars and pick-ups :-) Anyway I noticed your hob. Is that induction? For someone so into cooking I'm interested as to why you have that over gas?
  14. For my money, frying is done long enough to coat each grain with oil so the rice goes from a cold lump to warm individual grains. I don't want the rice crispy.
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