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Everything posted by Winot

  1. I agree with Tarka -- Mela is great but not high end or innovative. Plus the tables are quite close together. As far as high end goes, I've always enjoyed Veeraswamy on Regent St but I know others have had less success there. I went to Tamarind once years ago and didn't think much of it. My recent trip to Painted Heron suggested great things -- they are based in Chelsea and Kennington.
  2. They have just opened a branch on Farringdon St. just off Ludgate Circus (haven't tried it yet as I usually make ny own sandwiches). You're right -- the Pret goulash is horrible. Also, the tomato soup isn't tomatoey enough and the tuscan bean stew too salty. However, the new pea and mint is excellent, the chicken and sweet potato pretty good and the late-lamented tahi chicken was great. Mmmm... soup.
  3. Scott, I'd suggest that you try to fit in two "low end" Indian/Pakistani meals to compare and contrast -- Tooting for Gujarati/Keralan and New Tayyab for Pakistani. There are others more expert than I on the board about this type of food, but the basic difference is that the Tooting restaurants tend to be vegetarian (completely wowing this meat eater) and NT is very meaty. NT is easier to get to - 5 mins walk from Whitechapel tube so you could easily do that for lunch. Can I suggest a short walk to give you an idea of how closely packed the various tribes of London are -- walk from Liverpool Street station (edge of the financial district; close to Gary Rhodes at Tower 42) down to Spitalfields Market (SJB&W); past Hawkesmoor's Christchurch and along Fournier St (amazing town houses from the time of the Huguenots) into Brick Lane (the heart of the Bangladesh community). NT is a short walk south of here. Have fun, W.
  4. The Painted heron have opened up a branch in Kennington (the site of Kennington lane restaurant). We had a quick post-pub meal there a few weekd back which was excellent -- particularly the tandoori veal chops -- two huge chops still joined (with loads of tasty fat) and tender as you like. Interesting menu - quite innovative stuff; wonder if it all works though.
  5. Has anyone tried Tyvenkokkenhanskoneoghendeselsker ('The Thief, the Cook, His Wife and Her Lover')? We're are going for a short break at the end of July and would like one stand out meal. However would prefer to avoid French cuisine as we go to France reasonably often. Thanks, Winot
  6. A cross between fusion and cushion? I think you may have it.
  7. Yes, done it lots of times (we normally go to the A&H before the National Theatre). Some tips: - Make sure you get your name on the restaurant list as soon as you get to the pub - They don't let you sit down until all your party are there unless you order for the missing people. - Let them know what time you need to be out when ordering. - Push them for the bill as early as possible : in my experience this is where they fall down and it can get a bit rushed. Mostly meat although some veg/fish. Think St. John in style. Have fun. W.
  8. Roll some diced carrots? An alternative to the random method is to build a mini-project around a country/cuisine -- for example combining a series of trips to different styles of Indian/Pakistani restaurants in London with reading post-colonial literature, a history book on migration to London, seeing some Indian films etc. W.
  9. NT's Pakistani I know, and most Indian restaurants in the UK are run by Bangladeshis. Point taken though.
  10. INDIAN The oft-mentioned New Tayyab, but it does get very busy these days. My new alternative is "East is East" on the Commercial Rd past Cannon St. on the RHS (opposite the MacDonalds on the left). Very good indeed (if not quite NT standard) and sadly almost always empty. Tooting for Keralan/Gujurati esp. Kastoori. Drummond St is meant to have some good south Indian but I've never been. VIETNAMESE There's lots of places off Kingsland Rd (Viet Hoa, Song Que) but the most authentic place I've been is on Deptford High St (in Time Out as West Lake but may have changed its name). Green Papaya in Crackney is meant to be good but I've never been. KOREAN I'm no expert but I really liked the little place on St Giles High St in the shadow of Centrepoint (in fact there's a couple of places here I think). THAI Is "Thailand" still open in New Cross? Seemed very authentic. I've never found a really good thai restaurant in the West End but Sri Soho isn't bad on Old Compton St. I'm sure others could make better suggestions. You could always do Nahm for the high-end experience. TURKISH How about some grilled meats? Green Lanes is the place to go for this; we really liked Malagel in the Kurdish Community Centre on Stoke Newington Rd. There's also all those Middle Eastern places in Edgware but my knowledge is sketchy there. Not sure I know of any Cambodian places. Saying that I wasn't that impressed with the food in Cambodia. Hope that helps, W.
  11. Go ethnic. The best cure for high-end restaurant induced apathy. My own experience bears this out -- the missus and I have a tradition of taking the other for a meal on their birthday, the only criterion being it must be somewhere we haven't been before. After a few years of ratcheting quality/price (culminating in Pied a Terre) I felt we were getting jaded and surprised her with a meal at Milan, a cheap vegetarian Indian cafe in Tooting. The food was fantastic. the welcome warm, and she loved it. It was like a wake-up call to how varied the eating out experience can be -- sometimes I think we need to eschew the high-end to focus on the basics -- i.e the food itself.
  12. Isn't ice the most expensive part of the drink? All that electricity to produce it...
  13. Bet he wishes he'd stayed there.
  14. I'm a patent attorney so ought to know! We don't represent any food manufacturers (I guess most have their own in-house depts); I don't have any insider knowledge on this particular industry, therefore. I'm pretty sure however that it's used extensively -- I've just plugged "margarine" into a free database and it's come back with 1382 hits dating back to 1908.
  15. Does "Shopped" have anything to say about whether the food industry makes use of intellectual property protection (patents) to guard against this situation? I'd be surprised if whoever owns Utterly Butterly hadn't taken out a patent application -- assuming it really is a novel and inventive product that is. On the wider issue, our household has increasingly moved away from using supermarkets and towards small local outlets, mainly for the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting small business than any well worked out rationale it has to be said. However we are lucky in that (1) we are sufficiently well-off to pay a premium for premium products and (2) we live in Brixton which has the market, two delis and a wholefood shop within walking distance. Let's not kid ourselves that this switch is an option for most people. Finally, purely from an employee-rights perspective, I wonder whether local shops always cut the mustard compared to a chain like Tescos, which is under national scrutiny when it comes to these issues and which is, I believe, generally held to do reasonably well in this respect.
  16. And so, we should be paying more for our Chinese meals.
  17. But are the transaction charges flat rate or a percentage of the total? I thought the latter, i.e. the total transaction charge is the same for a total bill of £200 no mater how it's divvied up. Or is that wrong?
  18. Basildog - I'm aware from reading these boards that this gets the goat of restaurants, so try not to do it, but have always wondered why -- is it just a time issue or is there some other financial hit? Which brings me on to one of my biggest bug-bears: 22. Bring the bloody bill when the customer asks for it.
  19. 10. Mobile phones to be impounded at door. 11. Places with wooden floors forced to subsidise those with carpets. 12. Places with wooden floors forced to supply slippers for compulsory wear by diners. 13. Background music to be selected exclusively from Mayoral CD collection.
  20. Baltic good as it seems to thin out later. Last time we eat there Ralph Fiennes and Tara Fitzgerald came in so you may even be able to celeb-spot. How about Anchor & Hope(fully it'll be empty by then)?
  21. Re. France - we went to Taillevent recently (a paris 3*) and the other guests were deathly quiet. One explanation seemed to be that there were a number of tables of business associates of various nationalities so perhaps they didn't have much to say to each other or couldn't understand each other. We weren't so restrained ourselves but didn't pick up a whisper of disapproval from the staff who were relaxed charm incarnate. I don't know what's worse, a whispering gallery or the cacophany that you get in most mid-range (London) restaurants. W. Edit - various not varying
  22. Noticed on Saturday that they have opened a branch in Clapham. On the corner opposite Bellevue/the tube next to Oddbins where Tartuffe used to be. Let's hope Balex's experience isn't the result of their over extending themselves.
  23. Winot

    Cotes de Malepere

    Just got back from a week near Mirepoix in southern France, south of Carcassonne and north of Limoux in the Cotes de Malepere sub-appellation. This was the fifth time we have been to southern France to stay in a villa in an interesting and good-value wine region. Previous visits were to Vaqueras/Gigondas, Minervois, Les Baux de Provence, and the region northwest of Montpellier near Mas Daumas Gassac. Someone else had booked this trip and I hadn't done much research. I was surprised therefore to find that the appellation uses primarily Bordelais varieties (a minimum of 50% merlot with the balance usually being the two cabernets and perhaps something like malbec) rather than the southern Rhone varieties of syrah/grenache/mourvedre which are found in the minervois region for example just to the north. The result was usually like drinking cheap claret. I wasn't a big fan. It seems increasingly fashionable to use Bordelais blends in the south in general, started I suppose by Mas Daumas Gassac/Domaine trevallon et al., but as far as I know these are outside the strictures of the AOC. Does anyone know why the Cotes de Malepere AOC decided to go for bordelais grapes?
  24. Winot

    Summer Whites

    While we're stopping by South America, give Torrontes a trty from the Andean North West of Argentina. Great summer wine, available through The Wine Society in the UK for £4.75: W.
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