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Posts posted by Winot

  1. Thanks for all your help. Was tempted by Pearl/Moro but have gone for Matsuri (not teppenyaki). They do a private room for £30 which seems a good deal, particularly as the bank manager speaks softly (and yes, he does carry a big stick).

    Will let you know how we get on.

    PS SamF - I thought Sweetings didn't accept bookings? Not really suitable for business lunch if so.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts.

    matsuri in holborn ?

    Nice and close -- any more details? I read it had a number of "spaces". What should we go for?

    St John?

    Club Gascon?

    I think Sinjen might be a bit much for the company, and I've been recently.

    Club Gascon is a possibility, though I'd heard reports it had gone downhill. Any recent visits anyone?

    Astonishing - someone who admits to having been to Vivat Bacchus!

    Report here.

    A friend recently had a very good meal at The Chancery (and got half price on the food through toptable.co.uk). The White Swan has always been a safe bet, although the same friend had a disappointing meal there a week or so ago. The Paternoster Chophouse could be worth a punt, especially with other people's money.

    Did the Chancery with my business partners. Report here.

    Been once to the White Swan restaurant; wasn't impressed with the service. Two hours to serve a chicken kiev. Lovely room though.

    Heard terrible things about Patenosters but prepared to be persuaded.

    How about the Bleeding Heart or Clerkenwell Dining Room?

    Hated the BH last time I went. Report here.

    Can you tell me more about Clerkenwell Dining Rooms?

  3. Good people of eGullet, I need your help. Our bank manager has offered to take us out to lunch, and I am at a loss as to how best spend (though not waste) his money.

    We are based near Holborn Circus (London). I need somewhere no more than 10 minutes away (walk or cab) that's suitably slick on the service but not at the expense of the food.

    Options I have considered but rejected are:

    Smiths Top Floor - my favoured option round here but have been twice recently.

    Cafe du marche - not quite slick enough; also been recently.

    Pearl - have been put off by the unfavourable reviews.

    1 Lombard St - ditto - unless anyone's been recently and liked it?

    Flaneur - not businessy enough

    Vivat Bacchus - went last time

    So - any ideas? Bonds/Axis/Prism?

    Thanks - Winot

  4. Quick review -- despite some negative comments on this thread I gave Sheekey's a go on Monday for lunch before seeing Caravaggio at the National.

    I started with the razor clams and chorizo/broad beans mentioned by Moby above. Fortunatley I had forgotten his comments as this time they were excellent - tasty and not rubbery; good chorizo and tender broad beans. A great combo but ouch £12.50 for a starter.

    I followed up with whole gilthead bream cooked with olive oil and herbs - very simply done and perfect results. Sides of mash and creamed spinach were good.

    To drink half a bottle of bourgougne blanc, very drinkable but ouch again £21/half.

    To finish an excellent espresso and truffles.

    I ate alone at the bar which was pretty comfortable with plenty of room. Service was efficient and just the right side of brusque, but for some may verge on rude (this was from the moustachioed chap that I assume from him manner is an "institution").

    Lovely room and lighting; great food but close on £70 for lunch for one - ouch ouch ouch.

  5. from my experience which was 1 stars in france, then UK, then 2* winteringham fields to a hell of a disappointment at 3* boyer les crayeres in reims i say work your way up, and also that don't expect a 3* to be the complete epiphany of dining as i've had more memorable meals in lower ranked restaurants  than i've ever had in 3*. (however i've not been to pierre gagnaire yet and that's probably the excpetion!).

    I had a similar experience with one of my favourite meals ever at Astrance in Paris (*) then a really disappointing experience at Les Jardins des Sens in Montpellier (***).

    However, isn't this really about the arguable flaw of the Michelin grading method rather than anything about the relative experience of the diner?

  6. One of the most amusing parts of the reservation was when Anthony Snr recognised me on the phone, and said "Well, Gary Marshall is on that day ... would you like me to squeeze you onto one of his tables?!?"

    I've been keen to visit Anthony's for ages now, but if that's the quid pro quo I may have to reconsider.

  7. Asmara is an unpretentious Eritrean restaurant on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton at the Dog Star end. It's run by a lovely couple and the food is fine but the service can be a bit slow.

    I think there's another one on the Brixton Rd up at Angell Town but I've never tried it.

  8. I personally find the statistic that Tesco sells 15% of all chart CDs terrifying and I only see the supermarket hegemony growing stronger.

    The disparity between the quality of the music (and associated service) at Tesco and that at an independent music shop is if anything even broader than the analogous disparity in the case of food. This is because the majority of the public have no desire to buy anything other than bland mass-produced product (in music or food).

    Who was it who said that no one ever lost money by under-estimating the taste of the general public?

    EDIT - written before having read Charcutier's post, who said it better.

  9. I think I should probably try and leave at least a bit of a dining lull in between St. John B&W and New Tayyab, don't you? I wasn't going to do dinner that night at all, instead doing a pub crawl/tour along the Thames that evening. But I suppose we could do an early dinner at New Tayyab and then do the pub crawl...

    Kebabs are a traditional end to a British pub crawl, though they're not usually of the New tayyab quality.

  10. We're doing lunch at St. John B&W one day, Wodka (I hope---I've not yet got a response to my email inquiry) one evening. No definite plans yet for Indian---something casual in our neighborhood would be nice. Bombay Brasserie too pricy, the new Masala Zone might be open by then but sounds like reviews have been mixed. New Tayyab seems like a trek, but maybe we'll end up in the neighborhood at some point (points of interest nearby?).

    New Tayyab isn't too far from St. John B&W. There's a relatively short walk you could do which gives an interesting perspective on the many tribes of London and which takes in both places:

    Get the tube to Liverpool St (Central/Circle Line) and take the Bishopsgate exit. You're in the heart of the financial district here (and in the shadow of the Swiss Re building aka "the erotic gherkin"). Also a short walk from Leadenhall Market.

    Walk north up Bishopsgate then east down Brushfield St to Spitalfields Market (great views of Hawksmoor's beautifully restored Christchurch at the end). St. John B&W is on Commercial St opposite the main market entrance. Not sure if the market's open during the week.

    After lunch, wander down Fournier St and check out the stunning houses built by the Huguenots (French protestants) and inhabited now by the great and the good (and the rich). And by Young British Artist Tracey Emin, I think.

    At the end of Fournier St is Brick Lane and you're into "Banglatown" (where many of London's Bangladesh community live). At the end of Fournier St you're in sight of a mosque and also an original frontage of a Jewish shop (earlier inhabitants of the East End). Turn left and you'll find some trendy shops and the Vibe Bar which is pretty good until it fills up at about 6pm. Turn right and you run the gauntlet of the curry touts. But press on until Brick Lane turns into Osborn St, then turn left into the Whitechapel Rd, where the Whitechapel Art Gallery is a hop and a step away, if that's your bag. After that you'll be in 5 mins walk from Fieldgate St, home to New Tayyab, where you can eat the finest sheek kebabs and nan bread and be thankful you avoided the reconstituted gloop of the Brick Lane curry. And if after dinner you're still after more, Rhythm Factory is just round the corner for a nightcap and perhaps a dance before heading home.

  11. In general terms, then, Berwick has some considerable way to go before becoming the Ludlow of the north-east.  I was surprised at how poor the town seemed to be, with every other shop a charity outlet or cafe, more so than sugggested by the beautiful Georgian buildings you see from the train.  If someone was going to try starting a high-end restaurant there, they'd have to be pretty sure that there was sufficiently well-off local custom to keep the place going out of tourist season.

    A post-script: Berwick-on-Tweed has the lowest average weekly income in the UK


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