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Winot

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Posts posted by Winot

  1. The style of the St. John's menu has always amused me as a deliberate rejection of the florid and verbose puffery on menus in more "fashionable" establishments.

    I suspect that here the description came first then the dish.

    So they're not just peas, they're art.

  2. Always been underwhelmed but this one is a revelation:

    Marques de Murrieta Capellania

    I've tried the '95 and the '96 and they have an incredibly intense sherry-like taste was rounded honey overtones. A big wine.

    Available from Oddbins (UK) for about GBP 9 a bottle.

    W.

  3. Stella,

    As far as Italian restaurants are concerned, I heartily recommend Sardo in the Fitzrovia area (45 Grafton Way, 020 7387 2521).  As the name suggests, it specialises in Sardinian food.  It's also fairly good value.

    I'm sure the board will have a whole host of good advice for you on the other topics.

    Have fun.

    W.

  4. The Foundry is a truly grim place run by little rich boys who set it up ( and a not great publishing company ) with daddy's money.  Pissy lager etc etc.  Almost as horrible as that Grand central across the road.

    Pissy lager?  Pitfield's Eco Warrior?  And I thought you were ... etc.

    Though it is grim, I'll give you that.  Keeps out the City boys though.  And you can always sit outside and gaze fondly on the Great Eastern traffic junction.

    I don't know, next you'll be telling me you don't like Smersh.

  5. Pineapple in savoury dishes.  

    Winot,I believe you're London based. At the Viet Hoa Cafe in Shoreditch they do the most fantastic soup called Can Hua (or something like that) which contains(among other things) okra,tomatoes and pineapple.Its the best thing on the menu and guaranteed to change your mind.

    Tony,

    Yes I am London based and have been to Viet Hoa a number of times but never tried the pineapple soup (for obvious reasons).  I will certainly give it a go, though I may need to visit The Foundry beforehand to get "dutched up".

    And if it tastes as I anticipate I will seek you out and you will feel my pineapple-wrath.

    W.

  6. when I got to my office, the aroma from the wine filled the entire room. You were able to smell it almost 30 feet away.

    Boy you've got a large office!

  7. If you are willing to walk or get a cab over London Bridge then I'd really recommend Petit Robert behind Borough Market on Park St.  It's great French bistrot food (albeit at double the price of France) with sympathetic service, a superb cheese trolley and armagnacs dating back to the 19th Century to make the afternoon swim by.

    W.

  8. Winot -- Were you referring to the unutilized "upstairs" area?  That area is not intended to be used, very generally.  :wink:

    Cabrales,

    No, we were seated in the upstairs area, where one other table was occupied and the other empty.  There was also one free table downstairs.

    W

  9. Paris, 1 June (escaping the Jubilee in La Republique), lunch at Astrance.  Menu du Printemps, 60 Euros.  

    Not much time to post so I'll give you the bare bones.  Also I didn't take notes so the order of courses might be wrong:

    1.  Amuse of melon puree on violet yogurt base topped with olive oil emulsion.  Tasty palate cleanser but nothing special.

    2.  Tian of crab on avocado slice with another slice draped over the top dotted with orange zest.  Astonishing clarity of flavours, perfectly rip avocado, beutifully balanced.

    3.  Langoustines (2) surrounded by coconut green sauce (cant remember other ingrediaent) -- beautifully succulent and great flavour matching.

    4.  confit of salmon (anyone know why its called this?)  with carrot and ginger grated salad -- clean flavours but good not exceptional.

    5.  Mystery dish -- frothy brown soup -- we guessed correctly that it was infused with smoked bacon and pain grille taste; apparently also rich chicken broth.

    6.  Puy lentils with fermented lential broth (frothy), chorzo cream and onion sorbet -- extraordinary dish - the chorizo cream seemed to be imbued with all the taste of chorizo without any meat, the lentils provided an earthy accompaniment and the sorbet cut right through everything else.

    7.  Lamb with date and geranium paste, mint and coriander sauce and lemon zest sauce - succulent and tasty meat, perfect saucing (mint + coriander superb combination), date number a bit sweet for me.

    8.  Madelines and fruit.  Simple and perfect.

    9.  Chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream, pistachios and pistachio spun sugar.  Incredibly choccy but too sweet for my tooth.

    10.  Jasmine flavoured egg-nog wittily served in egg shell sitting in egg box.

    Wine -- white Domaine Hauvette (Les Baux de Provence) for 40 Euros.  Floral/aromatic with good structure/acidity and finish.  Excellent match.

    Total price 80 Euros plus tip per person.

    Wonderfully relaxed experience, good service (not too intrusive), plenty of room to stretch out.  Place not full so lunch seems to be th etime to go.

  10. Thank you for all your help, and an interesting thread.  We have a reservation now at Les Jardins and rooms at the hotel for Friday evening 21 June.  I'll let you know how it goes.

    A supplementary -- is there a dress code?  I know that French restaurants tend to be a little smarter than English; is it enough to look smart or is a jacket and tie required?

    On the subject of sibling collaboration, there are of course notable examples in the world of cinema (the Coens, the Wacholskis) and art (the Chapmans) -- probably lots more.  Perhaps these art forms are more conducive to collaboration than is cooking?

  11. Thanks to you both.  My French is just about good enough to get a sense of the menu -- looks interesting.

    The baby belongs (?) to friends rather than to me, and they would certainly avoid inconveniencing other diners.  If we can get rooms at the hotel then they will try to rig up their baby monitor and leave kiddo in their room.

    Thanks also for the link to Tigg's page -- we're spending a week in Aniane (primarily for the wine) and it looks like a great resource.

  12. A group of us are holidaying close to Montpellier this June and are tempted by Les Jardins des Sens.

    Would you go for Friday dinner or Saturday lunch?

    What about staying overnight in the hotel?

    And finally, we will have a 9 month baby with us.  Will that cause any problems for them?

    Many thanks,

    Winot

  13. Winot -

    your distinction is between the patent on a strain of rice and the trademark used to name it? No?

    Paul,

    There is a distinction between those things, yes, but the key point here is that patents and trade marks are so-called "negative rights", in other words they give the proprietor the right to stop other people doing things (selling the invention/using the trade mark as the case may be).  

    The TED report suggests that acquiring the patent has given the company the right to call its rice basmati.  That is not what a patent does.  Even if the company had obtained a trade mark registration for basmati (which would be unlikely as it is a generic term), the trade mark registration would not give them the right to name the rice basmati if in doing so they infringed third party rights.

    Speculating somewhat, I suppose that the FDA (or whoever it is) might have its own rules about correct trade descriptions and that information included in the patent might have satisfied this body that the rice could properly be described as "basmati", but I doubt that the company would have had to obtain a patent to win this right.

  14. Re. Basmati rice

    The first paragraph in the TED case study is legally incorrect.  The fact that someone has been granted a patent has nothing to do with what they can call the rice.  Neither will the patent enable the owner to prevent anyone doing what they could freely do before the patent was applied for (eg sell basmati rice).  Instead the patent probably protects a novel strain (I haven't read it in detail so can't comment).

    Sorry for the pedantry but I'm a patent attorney and we get very hot under the collar at misrepresentation of the law in the media.

  15. The meal began on a sour service note. The young woman who appeared to be directing the dining room did not give me the pre-theater menu insert, even though I had specifically mentioned such menu upon making the reservation.

    What surprised me was that, when I asked this woman for the pre-theater menu insert, she harshly said that such menu is only available for those who mention it upon making the reservation. I retorted that I had mentioned it at that time, only to be met with the response that it had not been noted.  (Gee -- I wonder whose fault that was?!)

    As a general matter, the service appeared a bit strained

    A group of us had our worst ever service experience there a few years ago.  This included a long wait for dishes, dishes' being brought at different times, placing the wine out of our reach and then not re-filling glasses, and general surliness.  It culminated in one of the waiters hitting my girlfriend on the head with a tray as he walked past (albeit inadvertently).

    Needless to say, we've never been back.

  16. Brixton has increasing numbers of moneyed young people but few decent restaurants (the estimable Helter Skelter in Atlantic Road has been replaced by ... yet another bar).  

    "Highlights" include:

    Fujiyama - good value noodle bar

    Franco's - great pizza in the market but only open lunchtimes

    Fish and chips on Brixton Water lane

    Greasy spoon in Brockwell Park

    Lowlights are:

    Neon - overpriced and undergood (great design though)

    Brixtonian - has anyone ever survived the noise and eaten there?

    It has no good off-licence either.  How can a man survive (without going to Clapham)?

  17. Brixton has increasing numbers of moneyed young people but few decent restaurants (the estimable Helter Skelter in Atlantic Road has been replaced by ... yet another bar).  

    "Highlights" include:

    Fujiyama - good value noodle bar

    Franco's - great pizza in the market but only open lunchtimes

    Fish and chips on Brixton Water lane

    Greasy spoon in Brockwell Park

    Lowlights are:

    Neon - overpriced and undergood (great design though)

    Brixtonian - has anyone ever survived the noise and eaten there?

    It has no good off-licence either.  How can a man survive (without going to Clapham)?

    [sorry - meant to post this on "Unlikely restaurant hotbeds" and have copied it there]

  18. I eat on the second floor on Thursday and had the duck & papaya salad starter and the burger referred to in Cabrales' post.

    The salad was one of the worst I've ever had.  Hardly any duck, and miserable thin dried out shreds at that.  Far far too much lime juice in the dressing which completely overwhelmed the rest of the dish.  The pre-prandial marguerita was over-limed and under-tequila'ed also.

    The burger however was fine and the bacon flavoursome (although there wwasn't enough of it).

    The place was absolutely packed with young tits from the City but the music was loud enough to drown out the braying.  I felt too old to be there and I'm 30.  I won't be going to the 2nd floor again.

  19. The worse thing about the units per week test is that they make the units too damned small.  Although most people remember that a unit=one glass of wine or half a pint of beer, few realise that the beer they use to calibrate this is about 3% and the wine about 10%.  I mean, come on...

  20. I am starting to learn about wine and building up a cellar (currently about 80 bottles) and the problem I am having is finding a guide to how long different wines from different producers should be aged.  Yes I *know* this comes down to personal taste, but surely there must be some guidelines out there.  Any suggestions?

  21. A group of us are just starting to get into wine.  We have visited the south of France for the last three years (Gigondas; Les Baux de Provence; Minervois) and are heading for Coteaux de Langedoc this year.  All good value stuff.  

    From our student days of Bulgarian cab. sauv. at £2.99 we have now progressed to £10-20 bottles and the difference in quality is notable.  We are sceptical however that our palates are sufficiently refined (at least without formal training) to appreciate more expensive stuff.  What we want to do therefore is to line up three bottles at, say, £10, £30 and £60 so that we can taste what the extra money buys us.

    Ideally, we would like to go for a taste that we are familiar with (ie syrah/grenache/mourvedre).  The difficulty we are facing is that there seems to be nowhere (in central London) that sells decent stuff of this type that is drinking now.  Suggestions please of places and wines...

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