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Man In Transit

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  1. I went to Alyn Williams a couple of weeks after opening. Lovely room, very reminiscent of the Berkeley actually. Absolutely stunning service - they let us sub in any ALC dishes (including a langoustine starter) or any vegetarian tasting menu dishes into the main tasting menu. At the moment they are running what I can only assume is introductory prices, £55 for a 7-course+ tasting menu must be the best value fayn dayning in London at the moment. I was consciously not taking notes but some excellent dishes: crab, ox cheek with a cold onion consomme in a martini glass, then my girlfriend had a langoustine and apple dish while I had scallops with celeriac, oyster and caviar. Then dorset snails. A red mullet with malt and vegetables was ever so slightly undercooked but would have been the standout dish otherwise. Then the classic rib of beef sous-vided to perfection. We got an extra vegetarian gnocci dish, which was stunning and actually the highlight. Very generous cheese plate, brilliant pre-dessert of granite and custard and a seventh course I've forgotten. Overall it was a superb experience, one of those head: 9/10 heart 7/10 ones. Service flawless apart from mild upselling on the wine. The cooking is also very-nearly-almost flawless and at the price point is basically ridiculous value.
  2. I believe it is now 110 euros but yes that was the meal I was planning to go for.
  3. Gareth can you expand on why Savoy didn't work for you? I'm honeymooning in Paris later this year and just starting to pull my restaurant itinerary together and he was fairly high up given everything I've read.
  4. Thanks John, I certainly know where to come for any advice on a foray into the North-West! I very nearly booked a weekend in Scotland to go to MW at Loch Lomond on your recommendation although L'Enclume won out in the end.
  5. I had a very similar experience to CheeekyMunkey - I would have given a lot to have had all knowledge of the Fat Duck erased from my head prior to going. That didn't stop it being a wonderful experience. One thing I did question, how long has the menu been essentially the same? I suppose there is no shortage of takers but I feel as though I have been reading reviews of that menu for years. You feel as though some sort of evolution at least might be appropriate. The menu at the Royal Hospital Road is still effectively the same three years after I went and that seems almost unforgiveable, Heston seems to get away with it.
  6. Thank you for the warm welcome. I will confess to being a little daunted by eG - I read a thread about Pierre Gagnaire when trying to book an engagement restaurant which scared me off for a little while as the technical and philosophical detail the posters went into was incredible. Les Pres d'Eugenie was a very strange experience, we just stopped off en route from Bordeaux to San Sebastian. The food was very good and my girlfriend maintains the croquembouche with lemon and langoustine is one of the best dishes she has ever eaten. But we were the youngest diners by about 30 years and it felt like we had stepped into some sort of reverse Narnia for three hours. Interestingly when Michel Guerard's daughters were born in 1983 and 1986, he bought large volumes of top Bordeaux. The daughters donated them to the restaurant to be drunk at reasonable prices and they are very reasonable. Lynch Bages 1986 half bottle for Eur65, 1983 Petrus for Eur880 and various other examples.
  7. I think Giles Coren is a great writer but there really is no need for him to be writing about food, they should just give him a column or five and get someone more akin to JR writing the reviews. There's no doubt Jay Rayner is by far the best of the known critics. The balance of restaurants covered and the beautiful balance in the writing of each review mean he's the only one whose reviews I can't miss. Pretty flawless judge of good food in my opinion and without doubt the one who cares the most about the food world from top to bottom. The only nagging doubt is due to Marina. She writes very well like JR although her opinions on restaurants don't chime with mine as often but then you read reviews like those of Koffmann's and the Delauney and you realise that JR could never have those experiences (notwithstanding reviews like the revamped Caprice - as he said himself goodness knows how badly he'd have been treated that day if he'd been 'normal'). She really is incredibly valuable I think and I don't believe that other critics booking under a pseudonym does any more than ever so slightly mitigate the effect of their being well-known. I read an interview with Mr Rayner a little while ago and he was thoughtful but a little dismissive of anonymity, while mentioning his great respect for Marina. I guess my point is that variety among reviewers is what makes reading about food so enjoyable and for me: Rayner's class, Marina's sardonic style and unique viewpoint, Coren's writing and Hayler's clinical and forensic reviews give me everything you could need pretty much along the lines Man outlined above. Some of the others, as implied above, offer next to nothing of value to either the restaurant-goer or the casual reader.
  8. I've browsed eGullet for a while but I can't resist a good list. 1. Akelare - Across the multiple courses of the A and B tasting menus I think I ate some of the most enjoyable food of my life. 2. The Fat Duck - first time, high expectations, easily met. 3. Mugaritz - I didn't love every mouthful but food and wine and service made this the most enjoyable 5 hours I've ever spent in a restaurant. 4. L'Enclume - two back to back meals, the second of which was incredible. 5. Nuno Mendes at the Loft Project: 12 unbelievable courses of food, watermelon sashimi, potato spaghetti, squid ink everywhere. 6. Roganic - stunning meal which prompted a long weekend at L'Enclume. 7. Viajante - my first visit in January was mindblowing. Subsequent visit didn't live up to the standard but that first time we were blown away by the freshness and clarity of flavour. 8. Marcus Wareing - only my second visit and not everything to my taste but in most respects this restaurant is a class above. 9. Pollen Street Social - we went on opening night so there were some creases to iron out but the potential of what Atherton was doing was clear. 10. Nahm Bangkok - maybe it was low expectations but this was an incredible lesson in the balancing of complex flavours. Best meal I've ever had in or from Asia. Honorable mentions: Hibiscus, The Opera Tavern, Les Pres d'Eugenie
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