Jump to content

Matthew Grant

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Matthew Grant

  1. Thanks for such prompt replies, I have the opening date for bookings which I'm inclined to keep secret If anybody would like it PM me. A further thought, are they any other restaurants of note in the area? I'm undecided whether to base my self in Roses for a coulp eof days or just head straight back to Barcelona.
  2. Depite Lizzies disappointing meal, I'm thinking of trying to book for this coming summer. A few pieces of advice please: 1) From what I can work out there is no Carte? If we were to eat on consecutive days would I have different courses all the way through my meal? 2) I speak absolutely no Spanish or Catalan, how will I get on in the restaurant? 3) Never having eaten at a highend restaurant in Spain I'm unsure whether it is appropriate to wear a Jacket and Tie for dinner or will smart casual clothing suffice?
  3. Having just spent a couple of days at the Fat Duck, I witnessed Heston Blumnethal and his team use meat thermometers on everything. I have recently bought a thermometer and have had fantastic results every time. With this method of cooking and a little experience you know exactly what the meat is going to be like when you take it out the pan or oven. Lots of things have an effect on meat cooking times and the way that the meat feels. Heston demonstrated this to me with two scallops that although cooked to exactly the same internal temperature were very different in feel. He also suggested that different pieces of meat have different textures bought on by different breeds or by different hanging times. What happens when your piece of meat has a piece of tendon just where you are squeezng it - it is obviously going to feel harder and this would lead to possibly undercooking the meat. From now on I am a thermometer man all the way!
  4. I used to work just around the corner from Billingsgate and regularly paid trips there at 5am, just when the rest of my team was getting on my tits after a 12 hour nightshift As Basilidog says, you will probably be very surpirsed at the amount of frozen fish on offer, you should also be warned that it is not always easy to source good fish at Billingsgate unless you are buying in bulk, the other problem you will find is that if you do find somebody to sell you an individual fish you will pay a premium price for it. I know that my fishmonger visits Billingsgate everyday and is happy to take special orders for exotic fish, trouble is, most of it is going to arrive frozen. I have certainly never bought a piece of fish from Bilingsgate myself that was better than my local fishmonger could provide. It is a myth that you will arrive and pick up fantastic fish at a good price. Most top end restaurants are supplied direct form small boats or dealers at fishing ports and would very rarely see fish from Billingsgate. Also be prepared for long queues at the weekend and especially before public holidays, I mean REALLY long, police guiding traffic, queues heading towatrds the limehouse link etc. Having said all this, if you haven't been, I really recommend it, a fantastic piece of foodie theatre!
  5. We ate in the Gallery last night - not for the faint hearted. The place is cool it hurts. I've never seen a restaurant looking so white. Full of the young and beautiful, mega trendy brigade (ourselves included ), food was crap, choose 3 from 6 of the starters ("they are all designed to go together"), we ate all 6 between us and they didn't go together very well at all. Incidentally they are all cold an served from a trolley, as was the soup, an eminently reasonable £3 a bowl and dessert. Food was generally poor. Charolais beef completely overpowered by anchovy butter and lobster with lemon tagliolini, looked nice but was very small and a little overcooked. Service was amateurish but they tried so hard you couldn't help but forgive them. £170 for two with 2 glasses of champagne, £37.50 on a wine I can't remember and service. The music is a blend of electronic styles and the video art is great, as the evening goes on the tables are lowered to knee height and some of the chairs are replaced with day beds, the music goes up a notch or two and the pace increases. In the next few weeks, this will without doubt become the place to be - aside from the food it was fucking amazing. Possibly the most pretentious place I've seen in London, but it is so cool (probably not recommended for anybody over the age of 35 and wearing anything less than a £1000 of clothing) Interesting to see Gordon Ramsay come in (21:00), accompanied by Angela Hartnett and Marcus Waring, They must of eaten upstairs, I didn't see them again otherwise I would have asked for a stage at RHR and what he thought of the meal
  6. Cabrales, I did 2 half-days (I had driven down on both days which 4 more hours to my day), starting at 07:30 and finisihing around 16:30, I was then called a part-timer as I slinked away for the evening Depending on how involved you wish to get, a feel for the kitchen could probably be obtained in 1 stage. As previously mentioned it is very small (nobody would believe how small) and if you weren't active in the kitchen then you may feel in the way (i.e the other chefs will ask you to do things). As somebody who doesn't cook (or have you expanded your efforts recently?) I would suggest just one stage, make sure you get some comfortable non-slip shoes and be prepared to get equipment for the other chefs, peel beetroots juice carrots etc. Although I didn't stay for the evening (we had 51 and 32 covers for lunch respectively, more than were booked in for dinner), you may miss out on a lot of the prep work. Bearing in mind that the first service doesn't really finish until around 16:30 and service will start again just 3 hours later, you may find that you wish to see more of the prep. Incidentally on a Sunday the chefs leave around 18:00. Half day in chefs talk seems to mean an 8 hour day
  7. Cabrales, A day in the kitchen at the Fat Ducjk should not be considered as an opportunity to sample lots of dishes, I occasionally had a small taste of something such as a mango sauce (which I had just help make), a spoonfulof the snail porridge (my only complaint from my earlier meal), half a teaspoon of parfait, a small taste of the sardines on toast ice cream, the small chocolate disc covering the cauliflower risotto etc. Aside from this I was fed Bacon and cheese sandwiches one day and pasta another, all thrown together very quickly for staff lunches which are taken virtually on the move. This is not something to consider unless you main interest is learning and helping in the kitchen. I think it would be difficult to stand in the kitchen and not contribute due to the space constraints, there is not really anywhere to stand without getting in peoples way. If your main interest is the tasting of dishes and discussing them with Heston then I would suggest contacting him in advance and seeing if he will arrange a special tasting menu. I am sure he will happily oblige with any discussion you would wish to undertake regarding the meal after you have finished and they are also happy for you to visit the kitchen. A complete day would be very tiring, the chefs are in the kitchen at around 07:30, the lunch service completes at around 16:00 and then preparation continues for the evening service, the chefs do not leave the kitchen during this time (a real labour of love) and eventually finish around 23:00 - 23:30. It should also be noted that Heston was a very amiable host and very happy to discuss his work at length, however, on the second day he was busy outside of the kitchen which was left in the capable hands of Garrey. Obviously this leaves less time for chat. As for the pub next door I think it is called the Hinds Head Hotel.
  8. Andy, There are 8 chefs in the kitchen during service, it is VERY tiny, 5 in the 'front' kitchen doing the 'main' courses and 3 in the back doin pastry and Amuse. Heston, was plating up, offering advice and talking/feeding me! There is very little non-standard equipment in the kitchen, a couple of (small) laboratory water baths for poaching was about all that was on display in the main kitchen. Overall, most of the food is cooked on standard equipment but using new techniques. He si currently working on a project that could lead to new equipment in professional kitchens. I'm still not sure how they got he food out the kitchen so promptly! Times are marked down when the customer arrives and when they finish the pre starters. They then work out a rough guidline as to when they will serve each course, however, if the customer wants to slow things down, that can be done as well, the waiting staf call it and the kitchen doesn't to the prep until the customer is ready again. They are very accurate on getting the food out at the times they estimate, down to the minute most of the time. It is fantastic to watch. The chefs I spoke to had worked at various places, notably, Rick Steins, and the Mandarin Oriental (with a few stages in Foliage), a more recent arrival had spent a few weeks in GR@RHR. The difference form this an other kitchens is the style of food that is being prepared, they all seem to be able to come up with ideas that the kitchen will try (different presentration of a dish, different flavour ice cream etc.). The main difference that they all comment on is the size of the kitchen, it really is incredibly tiny. The kitchen didn't seem to ave any dishes that thy didn't particularly like preparing, I never once heard a chef complain whilst prepping a dish and they all seem to take great pride in ensuring that the finished product is perfect. Heston chats to the rest of the kitchen but more as a mentor than as a head chef, he certainly isn't as non-stop as when you talk to him one on one. I have never met anybody so excited about food and pushing the boundaries. He was very open with me about plans for the future but I will not reveal them here, I don't want to spoil the surprises! As for the rest of you: Gary - I only once saw a plate come back.... to ask for another spoonful of the snail porridge Otherwise, everybody seems to enjoy the food greatly. As for Sketch being the most important restaurant to open in London ever - a very confused look on his face, the first and only place he mentioned before we were distracted and moved on to another topic was Kensington Place - I cannot elaborate on the reasons. I had a fantastic time and felt privileged to be able to spend some time there. I hope to be able to go back in the near future once my feet recover. Whether you like his food or not (I have only eaten there once and am now his biggest fan:wub:), the effort in the kitchen to produce even some of the smallest courses is incredible. As a customer you can never imagine the work that has gone into making the finished product.
  9. No wonder they were friendly! Upon hearing your NY accent they realised that they were more than likely going to get an American size tip Circa. 20 - 25%
  10. Fay Maschler gave it a single star - Cost £450 for 2 including wine and service charge: "....Here or there, in the dessert fanfare particularly, was something that was arresting in its own right, something that stood out form what felt like being pelted with tepid mousses and flaccid proteins" She apparently felt that the meal at such high prices was particularly "...vulgar,decadent" Not a glowing review!
  11. I'm going to the Fat Duck Kitchen for a couple of days starting tomorrow. What would other people want to know if they were visiting (I already have my own list)?
  12. When I spoke to them I got the impression that there was no tasting menu. You chose your standard 3 courses (most of which are split into multiple dishes) and in addition you are served 6 Amuse bouches not listed on the menu. The guideline price was £150 per head (sorry if I didn't make this clear earlier) Much as we are all moaning about the review and the emphasis it places on the price, this must matter to us as this is the first time that I have seen a major new opening in London that hasn't been attended by an E-Gulleteer in the first few days of opening!
  13. Sorry to have confused you all! My knowledge of the area is minimal and I had no idea of distances or locations of the 3 stars (obviously I do now). The 3 stars are now out of the equation and following JD's post I have taken a look at Mougins and think that we will proabably try and stay around that area provided transport into Cannes is easy during the evening. We will be hiring a car to get around during the day.
  14. Thanks for all the help - now I'm even more confused! Is Cannes more interesting/better located than Nice? Where has more interesting places to eat and drink in the evening? Would we be able to travel to Michel Bras by train? I am braced for a barrage of differing opinions
  15. Do you think that if the restaurant survives, we will find other high end restaurants raising prices. As Andy said recently, MPW at the Oak room used to be approx £90 a head, since then 3 star prices have not reached quite the same level (although The Waterside inn approaches £90 per head), will this be a spur to a new pricing level?
  16. Bux, I think you got it! We want to base ourselves in one place and be within easy reach of some good restaurants, in hindsight a 3 star isn't a necessity but would be nice. We will probably be going in April and would prefer to be close to the coast which we presume to be a little more lively than the inland areas. I should have been more specific with the region , we were thinking more along the lines of Provence or Cote d'Azur although would consider something a little more central.
  17. We're looking to go to the South Of France in Spring and were wondering where a good base would be that would allow us to try a Michelin 3 star and perhaps a couple of 1 and 2 stars along the way.We'd also like reasonable access to the coast (an hours drive?), although this isn't essential. Any suggestions for rental accomodation with a good kitchen also gratefully received. The closer to the restaurants the better as we both like to drink and are too selfish to agree to drive the other person
  18. Ok heres the lowdown: The first 3 weeks are a soft opening. According to the receptionist you will get 4 starters, 6 Amuse Bouche, 4 different preperations of your main course choice and Dessert. As for the cost, I was advised that it would be approximately £150 per head before any drinks were added. I couldn't bring myself to book until I've read some reviews and even then I'd have to think long and hard. This is approximately double the cost of the Waterside Inn and GR@RHR and it hasn't got a star name chef cooking there - merely advising. ON the plus side it does have plenty of luxury ingredients (Foie Gras, Truffles and Caviar), presumably without surcharge. I've booked at the Gallery (£35-£40)for a Friday night, they won't confirm until 48 hours before due to the soft opening. Here is the menu for the Library, excuse any spelling errors, I scanned it and converted it to a Word doc before Cut and pasting it here. STARTERS Red Mullet Whole red mullet cooked in its own juice; velvety rock fish soup and foie gras powdered with ceps Cauliflower aioli, ricotta gnocchi Vegetables Fresh pressed parsley, coriander and tarragon juice; conserve of cucumber, preserved lemons, Paris mushrooms and young fennel Artichoke in 3 different ways Wilted young winter salad; celeriac Colombo; turnip broth with farm Cider Stems of spinach beet with a cream of sweet potato and honey Charcuterie Goose foie gras, portuguese cured pork loin and browned celery; pressed figs flavoured with sherry Flaky shallot pastry and andouillette from Vire Pigeon breast with juniper, bellota acorn-fed barn; Brussels sprouts with lardo di Colonnata Langoustines Langoustines in three ways; Langoustine mousseline with Malabar pepper, crearned passion fruit butter and little dice of langoustine Walnut shortcake; grilled langoustine and caramelized pomegranate Langoustine tartare with green mango, pressed grapefruit and ginger Crab Potted crab with pig’s ear and breast of albacore tuna from Germond; velouté of root chervil and sorrel cream MAIN COURSES Fish Sea Bass Cutlet of seabass grilled and braised in chicken broth and smocked tea; semi-confit aubergine and caramelized salsify Spicebread butter Tuna jellied with Cóte de Jura and daube of squid with berries John Dory and Scallops Fillet of John Dory in a chorizero pepper butter; little stew of red peppers, green papaya and white grapes Grilled scallops; durum wheat semolina with pinenuts and flaky muscavado sugar caramel Turbot Thick-cut turbot poached in a shrimp and prawn infusion; wilted cabbage, pears and glazed radishes Cucumber veloute; haddock with pearl barley and dried apricots Lobster Fricassee of lobster ‘Dodo’ with semi-confit fruits; the claws steeped in cider vinegar Shellfish Oysters, carpet-shell dams, whelks, cocckes and Venus clams mariniere Mackerel, broth flavoured with seaweed, with a foie gras liaison ‘Land and Sea’ Toast MEAT Poultry and white Truffles from Alba Breast of Chalosse chicken poached in Meursault; creamed ratte potatoes with olive oil and fresh butter, grated white truffles and diced scallops Lamb Fillet of Lozere lamb perfumed with oregano, seized its Vadouvan butter; endives with olives from Taggia Sheeps’ milk curds with creamed sweeteorn and shavings of Ardi Gasna cheese Lamb Sketchup Beef and Caviar Heart of Charollais fillet of beef, slow cooked and served pink; fondue of caramelized onion with watercress; oscietra caviar and salted capers Cream of avocado with pressed caviar; beetroot sorbet Partridge Young grey partridge roasted confit-style in clarified butter infused with bay leaves; marmalade of red cabbage with blackcurrants; Quetsch plums with walnuts Succulent potato cake with cured wild boar ham Farm House Veal Pan-fried milk-fed veal, dariole of cep-flavoured egg custard, baby spinach with mild garlic. Loin of veal with its kidney, braised lettuce, the juices bound with mango THE CHEESES A selection of cheeses from Maison Anthony and Neal’s Yard, served with blackberry jam, cream of celeriac and a fresh goat’s cheese muesli Crisp peanut crusts DESSERT ‘Pierre Gagnaire” Grand Dessert Rose blossom Crisp dessert Praline biscuit with tiny artichokes “Poivrade” Liquorice soft caramel Winter 2002 Sketch chocolate Ice blood orange mousse Can-span jelly, coriander and green apple sorbet Crispy “Muscovado” sugar waffle
  19. All we've got is links and hearsay! Did it open? I wanted to go before Christmas!
  20. I found the 'high end' meals a little disappointing in Prague (price wise nothing was truly high end). I'd agree that Davids is a lovely looking and intimate restaurant but we found the food to be very ordinary. We also found that it was completely empty aside from ourselves - not a good sign in a restaurant in the diplomatic quarter that only has 12 tables! however, the biggest food and drink related treat in Prague had to be the cocktails at Bugsy's. £1.50 bought some of the best cocktails I can remember! Although the Daiquiris at £2.00 a shot were a little expensive
  21. Black Truffles aren't quite ripe enough yet, early December will be better.
  22. I'm still awaiting a reply to my letter from PK although I did get a reply on the back of the copy I sent to Jean-Jacques Pergant (managing director at the Berkely) who advised that he was sure PK wuld be in contact and he would be speaking to him shortly. I'm glad that Jon can report a nice meal, interesting that portion control was a little severe especially after the huge portion of scallops that Rachel was served on our visit. It also sounds a little busier as the close approaches, they were approximately 50% full when we visited at 20:30 on a Saturday. I'm beginning to wonder whether PK was in the kitchen on the night we were there. Jon, did your waiter now the details of the specials without checking with the kitchen?
  23. Just noticed this quote from PK in this weeks Restaurant magazine: "He was philisophical about his departure from the Berkeley saying: "That's life. I'm not interested in the hotel anymore"" I'll let you make up your own minds as to whether you want to cancel now but I wish I had read that quote before my meal
  24. Anyone been to Moro, Providores or Embassy recently? Good or Bad?
  • Create New...