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Posts posted by MobyP

  1. Had an awesome lunch here today, sitting 15 feet from Alain Ducasse and his head chef, both of whom were mopping up the sauces with bits of bread and generally scraping the enamel off the plates.

    Mikael's constant new dishes make this place very special - today I had the new oyster with watercress gelee - Mikael sous-vides the oyster - which I thought would've been a crime, but apparently not - which gives it the texture of a barely-set custard. With the gelee and watercress, absolutely marvellous. Also new, the excellent crab with cauliflower. The jammy dodger to start with (I think he should do a selection, with Oreos - squid ink sablees filled a mornay cream, anyone?)

    ETA: forgot to mention the great carpaccio of marbled, sika deer, served with mushrooms and bone marrow (I believe). Perfect.

    I had some very mimor quibbles with the bread when he first opened - probably more minor than the quibbles He had - but it has reached a three-course meal level. Half a loaf of bread and a large hunk of that butter and leave me alone, I'm entirely content.

    For a main, the pigeon. The leg was fantastic, moist and fattier than usual, the breast pornographically pink, sitting on the pistachio salsa verde with the offal sauce. I've had this five or six times and this was the best.

    For dessert, Chloe the pattissier made her carrot dish which was completely marvelous - a shell filled with a carrot mousse, what I took to be an orange and carrot sorbet, sitting on some grated carrot. Sounds dreadful, but everything was in balance and it made for fantastic eating.

    I'm lucky this place is so near, and with the correct application of compromising photographs, I can just slip into the bar without causing too much of a fuss.

  2. I've had several astonishing meals here now.

    Disclosure, I'm also a friend (from egullet days) of Mikael.

    Went in for another few dishes last night and had an amazing meal, though I'm not sure why I was actually amazed. Things have been refined. Nothing is static.

    Actually had three perfect dishes. Haven't gotten over them today.

    One of Mikael's signatures (ridiculous to say signature after such a short time open, but still) is his flans (horrible word indicating divine set savoury custard). The umami flan with nori coulis has somehow gotten deeper in flavour. Mikael often juxtaposes elements with very different seasoning - one element seasoning another only in the mouth. He's made the umami flan bolder, I think with a touch of acid. I've had it now four or five times and last night was the boldest still. Wonderful. With the nori, perfect.

    We argue about bread texture. I like a crispier crust, he likes it a little softer. Last night was great for me. Maybe too much for him. And the new raisin bread for cheese was beautiful. A nice lingering flavour without going over-long. Anyway, the bread has almost reached that place where I can't stop eating it. Not quite there, but close. I had too much.

    The slow cooked egg with chanterelles and slivers of (forgive my Norman - FUCKING) peach was another perfect plate of food. A mix of butter and vinegar. The acidity of the peach. The savoriness of the astonishing mushrooms. The use of arugula to pepper the flavours. Just amazing. Having trouble not thinking about it even now.

    Then the pigeon, another perfect dish. I don't know about people here, but I'm beginning to get a little weary of large lumps of well cooked protein and jus as an end to savoury courses. This pigeon came with a parsley/pistachio salsa verde that was beautifully seasoned and acidic, with the offal sauce that was much lighter than I was expecting, and a very indulgent new puree of smoked potatoes. It just made an unexpectedly subtle, complex, perfect mouthful of food.

    Blissful. Obviously I'm biased, but I don't think any of you should go. Ever.

    BTW, the bar is now open - or at least is occasionally. Has a kind of ALC. Very nice to sit and eat and watch them cook. Not for you, for me. You'd hate it. Rubbish experience.

  3. Hey Aaron, nice review. I'm glad I got to share your meal.

    About those scallops, (and this may be a conversation to be had amongst the terminally anal, of which I undoubtedly count myself) but I don't think those scallops were overcooked - the texture of the raw scallops were far more structured, more plastic-y, rather than the rubberyness of Scottish and Maine scallops. It is also because of the extreme freshness. I think this came across in the cooked versions too. I thought they were amongst the best scallops I've had, perhaps second only to the Ambroisie versions (which probably came from the same waters). Most highly regarded Scotts scallops have an aftertaste that I can't stand. These were by contrast, extremely cleanly flavoured.

    That said, many chefs undercook their scallops. They sear each side and have a raw wedge in the middle. Scallops, unlike tuna, can take a little more variation in heat.

  4. This worked out well, although the tube of foie collapsed slightly in the cooking. It enabled me to add a game bird gelee (pigeon, grouse, partridge, woodcock) which was great.



    ETA: again adapted Culnary Bears gibier farce (posted above somewhere), substituting some chx livers for pigeon and a little foie. Also I approximated a quatre epice with some nutmeg, cloves and a little ginger.

    Also his pastry recipe:

    pastry :

    570g bread flour

    45g milk powder

    7g baking powder

    15g salt

    100g lard (I used duck fat)

    75g butter

    2 eggs

    tbsp vinegar

    250g milk

    Put dry ingredients in food processor, blitz, add fats, blitz to rub in, add eggs and vinegar, blitz for a few seconds to combine. Add milk slowly until dough forms - you may need a little more.

    Roll out pastry to 4mm thick and line terrine. Line with backfat. Fill with mix, fold fatback over, place pastry rectangle on top and tuck in. Eggwash and cut vents.

    Cook in 150C oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. If you're using a probe, it should be about 72C internally.

  5. Take a spoon full of the stock, place on small plate, put plate in fridge. After several minutes, when cold, examine to see if stock has begun to gel or if it's still just thin and runny.

    Add experience plus gelatinous things to your stocks like pig trotters and you'll get there in no time.

  6. Bump again!

    Just read this thread through, fantastic education for me, thanks you all. I think this way of preparing meats and offal has almost limitless possibilities. What I have seen here is a very far cry from the "mock chicken loaf with green olives and macaroni" I remember seeing at the grocery store as a kid. I did not grow up in France.

    So, at the risk of riling up the haute cuisine traditionalists and the culinary Luddites out there . . . why not replace the bain marie with a sous vide approach. I could image a vacuum bag of delicious flavours coming together over time, and then maybe rolled into a crust or something. A well-evacuated bag would transfer lots of pressure to the cooking mixture, even afterward as it cools.

    Just a thought.

    My understanding is that the Troisgros boys first started using sous vide (I mean that they were literally the first non-industrial commercial kitchen to use it) as a way of controlling fat loss from their foie terrines.

  7. Ramsay is just being a moronic hypocrite on every level imaginable. The hypocrisy is nothing new - not only does he not believe in either eating only local produce nor serving it in his restaurants, he never has - but the idiocy is really insulting.

    What next? Tana Ramsay asking us to believe she actually comes up with recipes for those books of hers?

  8. If you want visceral reactions to cooking technique, more than half of the crustacea cooked at Extebarri are alive when they put them on the hot coals. I agree, stunning and delicious food.

    The salt presentation at Manresa is very old school. It seems odd for you to classify the presentation of an ingredient you hate as borderline disturbing as indicative of a restaurant, and so reason for you not to return. I personally found the squab to be ethereal. Considering how much of Kinch's food is based around his garden now, I would hope you would give it another chance in the may - september period. Though, obviously, his food won't be for everyone.

  9. Does it strike anyone else that in designing this menu Ducasse seems to be doing in London essentially what he did in New York - which is to say, play it rather safe and not venture any further out than the sausage-roll-and-pithivier brigade in London do themselves? Well, I think he takes it slightly further here than NY, but not significantly.

    Check out the menus in Paris and Monaco. Both, by contrast, vibrant and exciting. In London we get steak and chips, Venison with one old fashioned sauce and chicken with another (has anyone had the pigeon? I wonder if he's doing the 'tasty offal sauce' from Monaco).

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