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Andrew

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  1. The Million Dollar Critic

    I haven't seen the programme but his reviews are an excellent read and normally 'spot on'. Andrew
  2. Although I have had some very good VD meals in restaurants my main objection is paying 50% more for the same meal I can have the night before or the night after in the same restaurant. Andrew
  3. Hello from London

    Welcome from North London. Enjoy this great resource. Andrew
  4. Last summer we had a lovely meal at La Barbacane which has 1 Michelin Star and part of Hotel de la Cite, one of the few hotels within the old city walls. The food was very good and if the weather is good you can eat outside in the lovely gardens. Andrew
  5. Belfast

    I realise it is ages since my query over restaurants in Belfast and I have been there a couple of times since. I thought I'd 'report back' on a couple of meals during my last visit. Lunch at Mourne Seafood Bar was relaxed with really good quality produce. A starter of salt and pepper squid with chilli jam, mayonnaise and nappa slaw was disappointing. The squid was excellent and the batter perfect but the salt & pepper flavouring lacked punch as did the chilli jam (£7). A fish casserole was excellent. It was full of muscles, salmon, hake and crab claw. The fresh tomato broth had a excellent flavour with perfectly cooked potatoes and fennel in it. One of the best I've had anywhere and great value at £11.50. The service was friendly although the 1970s rock music in the background slightly weird. Dinner at James Street South was very good value. A tasting menu for £45 (5 courses) was good and the £20 for the accompanying wines was amazing value. The food was good without being amazing and the service excellent. A cold crab lasagne with a lemongrass crab bisque had a good depth of flavour, this was followed by wood pigeon with treacle barbecued celeriac which was weird but worked! The main of lamb with vegetables with a side of shepherds pie was ok, the ingredients were good quality and it was well cooked but it was just trying to be something more than it delivered. A cheese course had some very good local chesses and an average rubeceon. I didn't like the sound of the apple dessert so they happily changed it for anything else on the menu and the pink champagne granita with raspberry sorbet was a refreshing end to a good meal. Well worth visiting if your in town. Two of the better meals I have had in my last few visits to the city. Andrew
  6. Paella

    It almost certainly the size of the pan as against the size of the electric ring / gas burner. For the paella pan to be authentic it should be quite large, even if it is only described as a four portion pan, its base will be to large for the heat to be distributed evenly. Apart from buying a never oven with a large (wok style) heat source you could try buying a very large paella pan and positioning it over 2 - 3 burners. The only other thing I can think of is to stir the rice once or twice during cooking to try and get it evenly spread. Not ideal as you may well loose that lovely crispy effect on the bottom. Andrew
  7. Any updates would be welcome. We are visiting for a couple of nights in the summer and would be interested in some recommendations. Given the limited amount of time we will have and that we will not have a car anything close by / short cab journey would be welcome. Thanks Andrew
  8. Casamia

    Since my last post (about the autumn menu) I have been able to revisit (twice), once for the winter menu and then the spring offering. As must be clear from the fact I have been back I am a fan! Each time the food has been top quality. After my 'winter' visit I came away having enjoyed all the courses except the fish course. I did wonder (given my experience during the 'autumn') whether the way they cooked fish was not for me. Well that theory was blown away in the 'spring'. This time the John Dory with cider and greens was top quality. If you get the chance to visit, you should go. I will certainly be going back when they release the summer menu. Andrew
  9. Went to book yesterday and found that the hotel (and consequently restaurant) is closed until the 'fourth quarter' of 2014. A real shame as the food was good. Andrew
  10. Morgan M

    Morgan M in Barbican has closed. Their website says that they will be reopening at a new venue in the new year. It doesn't surprise me they have closed, the last time I went there we were the only table in the restaurant and the service was appalling. The shame is the food was really good. Andrew
  11. Casamia

    Much has been written about this restaurant and the two brothers who head up the kitchen. Even more remarkable than the column inches is the fact it is all positive. I have wanted to visit the restaurant for some time and finally made it there last week. The concept is that the menu changes with the seasons. I believe they also change the décor. The degree to which the décor changes I’m not certain but the pictures hung on the walls were very autumnal so I assume they change. I understand this year they are having a fifth menu (over the Christmas period). The menu consists of a no choice tasting menu. They do ask when you book if you have any dislikes / allergies so I assume any real problems with the menu can be picked up then. The menu on the evening I visited was different to the one on their website and the one that has been so eloquently written about by various bloggers and professional critics. Given the number of reviews and descriptions of the food I’m not intending to give a full account but concentrate on the highlights, a few ‘issues’ and differences with the advertised menu. The restaurant is just outside Bristol (an £11 cab ride from the centre) and is tucked away with an understated entrance. Front of House was excellent. The restaurant use to be owned by the current chef’s parents. The father was around for the whole evening and is clearly very proud of his son’s achievements. He acted as an excellent host. He was supported by excellent staff who were both friendly and knowledgeable. A nice touch is that all the food is served by the chefs who explain the dishes they have prepared. The night I visited the two brothers were not there, they were in Moscow cooking at an exhibition event. Whether that made a difference to the quality or the actual menu I don’t know. From the ‘advertised’ menu brassica salad was replaced with an excellent crab cake with apple and fennel. This was a really well executed dish, with some amazing flavours. I can’t believe the dish it replaced was any better. It was one of my three favourite dishes. The other two being the smoked salmon and the truffled duck egg. For the fish dish the hake was replaced with cod but the rest of the dish seemed to remain the same. This was my least favourite dish. I really did not like it and found the ‘leek ash’ over powering to the degree it over powered the whole dish and made it taste burnt. I did wonder if the quantity of ash was the result of some heavy handed action by a less experienced chef and had the head chefs been on it would have been more subtle. Having said that, given the quality of the rest of the food it may just be that this dish was not for me! For the main course partridge was replaced by pheasant and later on there was a total change of desserts. Blackberries and oats was replaced by pear and bay and the plum soufflé was replaced by the ‘signature’ GBM apple pie. Normally the apple pie is offered as an additional dessert. Personally I was disappointed the advertised soufflé was not being served. I am a lover of soufflés and had read very good things about their plum version. The quality of the apple pie was not a surprise given how well it did in the GBM. The quality of the cooking is of the highest degree, there is some real innovation but not for the sake of it. Everything they do has a reason and the execution is top draw. I have no doubt that this restaurant is ‘going places’ and there is no reason why they can’t build on their burgeoning reputation. For me the test is would I go back – there is no question. I’m looking forward to trying their winter menu.
  12. A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

    Why not do a nut roast with a cranberry sauce, not sure how available the ingredients would be in India. Here's one version http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/luxurynutandseedloaf_8883 Andrew
  13. Finally got to visit this excellent restaurant. Went there for lunch and we settled for the excellent value set lunch at £35 for three courses (including a couple of 'freebies'). The food is beautifully presented and of the highest quality. Absolutely superb value. My starter of the chef's pasta of the day was the best pasta I have had in a long time - rabbit tortellini with wild mushrooms. A main course of lamb was good but didn't quite reach the heights of the pasta. Dessert was a modern take on tiramisu. My guest had a pumpkin and ginger soup, sole and chocolate & passion fruit. The food was of a very high standard and I definitely would return to try the tasting menu and some of the signature dishes.
  14. Casamia

    This restaurant has been getting increasingly good reviews. Has anyone been here recently? Andrew
  15. If you could go to any restaurant anywhere in the UK which one would you choose? This is not a totally hypothetical question. I have to take someone, who is visiting the UK, out to eat. They are visiting various parts of the UK as part of the trip so the area does no matter. The only proviso is that it has to be possible to get a table so the Fat Duck is off the list! Andrew
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