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Matthew Grant

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  1. I went back to Wild Honey for the first time in a while on Saturday, I'd forgotten how nice the room is. A slightly more serious version of Arbutus but undoubtedly Antony Demetre's style of cooking (ably executed by Colin Kelly)! Chicken wings with morels had boned chicken wings with good crispy skin, good quality morels with excellent flavour, accompanied by a Madeira sauce which provided a light sweetness. Veal ravioli with Chard caught us by surprise, the “ravioli” actually being thin slices of veal wrapped around the filling. A USDA approved Rib of beef was served with a lovely thick slice of Pommes Anna, its juice and Béarnaise sauce. I only grabbed a quick mouthful of this, I’m a fussy beef eater and tend not to order steak in restaurants but this was a lovely piece of meat, thick slices cooked medium rare. I had the Bouillabaisse which is still as good as ever and, IMO, a bargain dish at £19, a meal in itself. We shared a few cheese, the best being a Chambertin that was just about perfect. Desserts included the cheesecake with raspberries, I’m not sure where the raspberries were from but they were very good, the star dessert though was the Mara des Bois strawberries, incredibly sweet strawberries accompanied by a milk ice cream. Fabulous.
  2. Can't you edit posts any more? I meant thigh not breast meat (the thought of pressing breasts seemed more appealing at the time though thighs are good to press too ) Also I "We also did receive any petit-fours whether this was a service error I'm not sure." should have read "We also didn't receive any petit-fours whether this was a service error I'm not sure."
  3. I just had another (redeeming) thing to add regarding service, the member of staff who dealt with a wine quibble we had, handled the situation very well.
  4. I thought The Hart brothers may have revitalised it. Ducasse has nothing to worry about.
  5. A very average/poor meal here on Saturday. Asparagus with Hollandaise was ok. Unfortunately the Beef Wellington suffered from that typical beef wellington problem of a soggy base only this time the undercooking of the base was mainly caused by the pastry being around an inch thick (not an exaggeration) leaving a horrible uncooked gloop. A shame as the beef itself was pretty decent. I pointed out the pastry problem after I had eaten the dish (we were with friends so didn't want to create too much of a fuss) and he barely raised an eyebrow let alone cooment that he would let the chef know. Treacle tart was poor, it had a crispy top for fucks sake! What's that all about? Service was amateurish, cutlery being changed after plates had been served, "whose is this?" questions etc. etc. I'm pretty sure our waiter and his mate we more concerned with their pretty hair, where they were going to go drinking afterwards to practice their chat up lines: "Yeah man, I work in one of the best restaurants in London." A lie is never the best basis for the beginning of a realtionship.
  6. Ducasse on Friday night, I booked this a few weeks ago when a friend rang me to say that it was the best meal he had eaten this year. It wasn't without fault , the wine list is ridiculous, the wine train was a little ho-hum and it shouldn't be at £80 per person for 5 glasses. Service was very good, discreet and friendly at the same time. The gougeres were good enough and generous enough that we had to ask the waiter to remove them before we filled ourselves up. Bread was fantastic though again I had to hold back for fear of ruining the rest of my appetite. Both the sourdough and baguette had great flavour, and beautiful crusts alongside a nice chewy dough. Bread was served with reasonable butter and Fontainebleau which seemed unnecessary. The amuse was a "Delicate crayfish veloute, royale of foie gras". Served at room temperature the veloute was wonderfully silky and indeed "delicate" allowing the foie gras element to come through without overpowering. It was served in a beautiful ceramic egg. Rose of Marinated scallops, lamb's lettuce and celeriac, black truffle sauce. Really good scallops sliced thinly, a distinct truffle sauce, partly dried tomatoes added the sweet element along with a celeriac puree which added a nice peppery hit Roasted Chicken and Lobster, sweetbread, creamy juice. I was curious about this dish, it sounded like it shouldn't work and for me it didn't but not for the reasons I expected. I expected the meat elements to jar but they didn't manage that, they were, if anything too understated and just didn't come together. The dish also suffered from a lack of seasoning which when adjusted improved the sauce immeasurably (in fact the sauce was very nice). The other problem with this dish was that the chicken was a little tired, I'm guessing it was breast meat that had been pressed and the skin crisped up on top but it had the appearance of something that had been sitting around a little too long. Braised Halibut, citrus and swiss chards, egg plant condiment was a masterpiece in saucing. The citrus elements were extremely well balanced with roe, grapefruit being the flavour to the fore but again never overpowering the fish. I swapped the Halibut for the Fillet of Turbot “Matelote”, potato gnocchi. Again this dish had a problem with a lack of seasoning which once corrected made for a fantastic dish. The Gnocchi were light enough that I question whether they had potato in them! The Turbot was from the thin end of the fish but was still perfectly cooked and very good quality, it stood up well to the Matelote sauce which had good acidity, crispy bacon slices completed the composition. Roasted Rack and Saddle of Lamb, spring vegetables had very good pyrennean lamb, we were advised that this would be served cooked a little more than pink as they thought this was necessary and after tasting it I certainly wouldn't argue, good crisp skin and well flavoured lamb, among st the best I have tasted in a London Restaurant. I again had swapped in a course from the ALC, Roasted farm house veal loin from Limousin tender potatoes, choron sauce. Oh boy this was great - once I had added a little salt . Again the veal shone, beautifully cooked and well flavoured, showing how good veal can be. The Sauce again showing elements of acidity from the wine vinegar, the selection of vegetables was hard to discern as they all appeared to have been chopped up they added a nice crunch and again a little more acidity which counteracted the rich dark sauce. The thinly sliced potato fondants were also a treat of which I could have eaten more. Up until this point I had been kicking myself for not splurging on the gourgeres and bread a little more but the rich sauces rapidly filled me up and I was going to struggle a little from here. A little more on the sauces, a lot of the dishes have sauces poured at the table and a big serving as well, no drizzles or dots of jus, lovely big plates of proper sauces which is just as well as they are fabulous and have exceptional balance. This is something that just isn't fashionable any more but here they demonstrate that they still have a place in fine dining. Cheese was a plated course, the highlight of which was 4 year old Bernard Antony Comte, even so this wasn't the best kept piece of BA cheese I have tried. The four cheeses,a fresh(ish) goats cheese, Comte, Roquefort and another I forget were all served with accompanying relishes. Roquefort had a lovely pear chutney(?). The goats cheese and pepper dressing etc. Personally I would rather see an a cheese trolley, I'm not one for eating my cheese with anything other than a piece of bread. Very good macaroons and chocolates followed. All made on site, the ganache was particularly impressive, the macaroons the best I have tried in London. Finally praline chocolate biscuit, milk/salt ice cream. This is an obvious nod to the famous Louis XV dessert. It is a beautiful concoction, slightly heavier than its Monaco counterpart but never the less a very good dessert. The milk/salt ice cream was a delight, a light salt caramel flavour. A very good dessert. We finished with peppermint tea which was charged at a hefty £5 each which seemed a little mean. We also did receive any petit-fours whether this was a service error I'm not sure. I must admit it didn't really occur to me until later. Overall an excellent meal, hopefully they can sort out the seasoning issues ( a minor though annoying problem that Inotice Felix had as well). In comparison with other 3 stars in this country it was easily their equal (I say this having avoided UK 3 stars for the last 3 or 4 years) and will surely gain a third star this year. It struck me that they were using excellent ingredients to create a fine dining meal, of course this is always the way it should be but I often feel that some kitchens are taking short cuts with the quality of their ingredients. Is it the best meal I have eaten in London? I'm not sure, it would certainly come close but I am trying to compare it to meals that I ate maybe ten years ago and that is difficult to do. I will return, sooner rather than later.
  7. I was planning on La Galinette but I had my fill of fish so decided against it, maybe I should have stuck to my plan
  8. In Collioure I can recommend La Balette whcih was recently awarded a Michelin star (and is slap bang next door to the Neptune which lost theirs). Crappy room though but it might be nice if the weather is warm enough to sit on the terrace. No major fireworks but solid cooking. Service seems nervous and unorganised. I've made the place sound really awful but it really isn't that bad and the cooking is pretty solid including a good "anchovy sushi" dish. For something a little more casual you could try Casa Leon (rue Riere) which served a very nicely cooked Turbot and grilled prawns. For something a little different (though not too much) Le 5eme Peche has a Japanese chef with seemingly decent pedigree including stints at Michel Bras and Le Grand Vefour amongst others that I can't remember. I hesitate to use the word fusion but as thats what they called it we'll let it go. Again lovely fish with a few hints of Asia thrown in. Otherwise most places are the same old menus in a different typeface but they are on the whole busy enough that the fish is likely to be fresh.
  9. Matthew, I seem to be following your lead. Last year San Sebastian this year we are heading to the same area for a week or two prior to an assignation in Roses. I will be very interested to see what you turn up, you SS recommendations were spot on. ← If you were really following my lead you'd only be heading to Roses for a quick dinner at Rafa and giving the other place (I forget its name) a miss
  10. Thanks Graham, we'll try it out. Did you eat well anywhere else in the region?
  11. Has anybody got any recent updates on this area. We'll be staying in Collioure for a week but are happy to drive out for lunch. Has anyone tried Le Relais des Trois Mas which recently one a Michelin star?
  12. For another bad advert we could add Ramsay/Wareing and Vongerichten
  13. Is he now? I only know of Chris Staines, having not myself eaten in the MO's other, no doubt wonderful, dining options. I don't think anyone has their knickers anywhere but around their waist - this is merely idle chatter - but it seems logical to assume that HB would not want to be on a double bill. That you have not read of anything to suggest that Foliage is shutting down is not actually proof that it isn't, by the way. Historically that sort of sensitive information is not normally broadcast until the deed is done S ← I haven't suggested that Foliage is or isn't going to shut down. I was merely noting that everybody seemed to be assuming that Foliage would be shutting to make way, this might well prove to be the case it might equally be the case that Hestons restaurant may well be in a different room and Foliage will remain where it is. As Gary mentioned upthread, I had only previously heard of a more casual venture for HB, I don't see that this would clash with Foliage.
  14. Now you've let the whole world know we'll never track them down
  15. He is the head/executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental London. Before anybody gets their knickers in a twist I haven't read anything to suggest that Foliage is shutting down, they do have other dining options at the hotel. http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/dining/
  16. Crystal Palace? please send me details of where I can find them as I'm only a few minutes away!
  17. OK, I get what your saying, hwoever, I think most people though correlate it with best food, hence peoples bemusement at places like St John getting onto the list.
  18. That distinction doesn't make sense to me. The quality of a "meal" also includes "food, service, ambience, decor etc. etc." How do I determine "best restaurant" other than by asking where I've had my "best meals"? How do I designate something as "best restaurant" if I've had anything other than my "best meals" there? On the general issue of the validity of the list, of course all such lists are flawed in various ways. This one, overall, is probably better than most. It relies on a relatively knowledgeable group of people, which is a better approach than Zagat's random selection. And the system of three restaurants in the region, two restaurants outside the region of each respondent provided a mathematically somewhat valid means of comparing across regions. This system doesn't require 8,000 people to dine at El Bulli. It requires a handful to eat there and rank El Bulli ahead of other restaurants. Then when all the numbers are crunched El Bulli comes out on top. Still, as with any group effort of this kind, the outcome represents a lowest common denominator for the group. ← At the risk of reviving this thread (pleasingly short this year). My best meals are certainly not all at my favourite or "best" restaurants (although there is some correlation). e.g. I had a fantastic lunch at Louis XV a couple of years ago, fabulous food. Is it my "best restaurant"? No, is it my "best meal"? Well it might be somewhere near the top. Conversely, my best restaurant might be somewhere like the River Cafe (I'll avoid saying Arbutus for obvious reasons ) where the friendly service, nice ambience and decent food always come together for me to make it a fantastic restaurant. While the food is decent it is no way comparable to my best meals. To me Best restaurant does not mean best meal. It's not just about the food.
  19. I'm sure I heard her describe herslef as "one of the best chefs in the world" earlier in the week. Personally whenever I've been stuck in the sun for a couple of weeks surrounded by sand ( slightly different for the servicemen I know ) if I start craving anything it isn't fine dining. The first thing I might reach for would be something like good old fashioned fish and chips or a decent pie. Actually something not far away from Danny's cooking though at the same time I recognise that the "3 star meal" (open to debate) is a higher level of cooking.
  20. I'm pretty sure I was one of them this year. A long time ago I got an email from some food-world big-shot asking me to vote in the S. Pellegrino awards thing. I didn't even realize that was the same thing as the old Restaurant Magazine awards. I guess it got rebranded at some point? Anyway, I was assigned to a region, in my case something like "US: East." I then went to a web interface where I was able to select the 5 best meals I'd had in the past 18 months, 3 from my region and 2 from outside my region. This are the instructions I was given, if you're curious: ← I think its important to note, and I've said this before in previous years. You aren't asked to vote on your best meal at all. Re read it. You are asked to vote on the "best restaurant". This could encompass a whole load of different criteria including food, service, ambience, decor etc. etc. Surely this is how we end up with such an eclectic and diverse list?
  21. Top Tip: For all the people relatively new to the board can I suggest that you read the following threads You might be able to save yourself some typing by cutting and pasting other members previous posts 2008 2008 (again) 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 Perhaps we should make this thread a sticky so we don't have to bother next year
  22. David, you may not have joined EG at the point where I posted the Marco videos: Marco
  23. Use the bones to make croquetas. I agree that the Wild Beef stall does have excellent mince, you can make great Burgers with it and is often on special. I think that part of the problem with the perceived value is with what people are comparing it to. IMO the pork at Ginger Pig is excellent value and its pretty hard/impossible to find a comparable pork product around where I live. Same with the beef at the market, try finding rare breed beef hung for 6 weeks in your local butcher and see how much it costs. The trouble is you probably won't find it so complaining about the price is a bit of a non-argument IMO. Vegetables aren't so easy to defend however. Booths never seems particularly excessive and is often cheaper than my local greegrocer which users a lot of the same produce. Turnips is sometimes ridiculously priced. Look at the price of the Heritage potatoes there and then head across to Booths to compare!
  24. Matthew,you seem to be the man in the know. Not been to Wild Honey yet, although I did try for an on the day table about a month ago. How do the two compare? and who is normally in the kitchen at Wild Honey? Obviously now with Demetre in the kitchen, food will be superb, how has it been recently as the thread is inactive? ← Anthony isn't in the kitchen at Wild Honey all the time, Colin is well able to take care of things there. Anthony spends time at both restaurants each week as far as I know. I just happened to hit Arbutus on a night when he wasn't in. The food is the same in style though the restaurant itself is very different, a lot more club like with its panelled walls and it feels ever so slightly more formal e.g they have a cheese trolley rather than the individual cheeses they have at Arby. I haven't been for a little while, I'll try and rectify that soon!
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