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Winot

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Posts posted by Winot

  1. The other place around there really worth a visit is Flaneur on the Farringdon Road - deli/traiteur/restaurant, more french style. I've always eaten well and had good service there, though the deli is on the expensive side.

    Agreed - I've never had a bad meal at Flaneur, but the deli is sell your grandmother territory - I was in there last week and noticed that the EVOO I buy from Rosie's deli in Brixton Market for £10.50 was priced at £16.50.

  2. Has anyone been to Zetter or Malmaison recently?  I'm trying to organise an "away afternoon" for myself and two colleagues close to but removed from our office on Holborn Viaduct.  We want somewhere for lunch and then a meeting room for the afternoon.  Any other suggestions welcome.

    I decided to do Top Floor at Smiths then The Rookery for the away afternoon. Booking a meeting room at The Rookery was hard work - they seemed completely disorganised. Then on the day my colleague was ill and we had to cancel. The hotel then clobbered us with a £195 cancellation charge and wouldn't negotiate, so they lost the rebooking and the rest of our business. Ho hum.

    So round two came and I went for the simple option of the Zetter for lunch and meeting. What a contrast - wonderfully friendly and efficient and a funky place to eat (at least for lawyers). As it was a business dinner I didn't concentrate as much on the food as normal, but my pasta/pumpkin starter was a revelation made with the freshest ingredients and the other starters looked good too. Main courses were also pretty good (I had lamb) except that the meat was all slightly overcooked (medium rather than pink). Valrhona chocolate mousse did what it said on the tin and came with mixed berries of mixed quality but also a small glass of apple juice which was a completely bizarre addition and didn't work at all.

    Came away with the impression that the kitchen is good at the simpler things and at sourcing. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

  3. Excellent lunch at Arbutus today, sampling the squid/mackeral burger (more like a Thai fishcake I thought - detected coriander there - and no bap so not a burger); the smoked eel/beetroot/horseradish (large portion); the lamb (excellent accompaniments and tender meat but slightly underseasoned); and the rabbit (fantastic I thought and not in the least bit dry). All this with 250ml of Coullure (sp?) and two coffes came to £73 inc. service - excellent value for this level of cooking.

    A couple of notes - we only had an hour and were served all this comfortably with no rush, but they were practically empty at 1.30pm when we arrived (perhaps only 2/3 other tables). Also the meal got off to a bad start with Mrs Winot being told in no uncertain terms not to lock her bicycle to the railings by I assume Will Smith (mine was already there and there's no sign). He was rather taken aback when she pointed out she was a customer and was fairly contrite but insisted - fair enough I suppose but in the circumstances could have been done more graciously.

    W.

  4. Very enjoyable meal at the Ambassador last night - the squid and pig cheek casserole that Gavin had, braised veal belly for main then cheese all waashed down with a 1996 Brunello at a reasonable £38. Earthy and flavoursome - reminded me of a more formal presentation of the food at Anchor & Hope, though they manage somehow to maintain a cafe atmosphere (perhaps it's the round tables). My latest favourite place.

  5. Lunch at Bar Shu today. We started with husband and wife offal slices and cold duck with egg. The offal was superb - silky slices of meat with a sichuan chilli oil dressing. Great depth and balance of flavours but not as tingly hot as I'd hoped. The duck was fine but perhaps a tad dry.

    Mains were red braised belly pork and whole sichuan sea bass. I ordered the pork as I've made it a few times at home (mostly from the Hugh F-W Meat book and once from Fuschia Dunlop's book) and was curious to see how it compared to my efforts. Disappointed to say that it wasn't much better, but perhaps that reflects how easy it is to make - I'm no Chinese chef. In particular I thought the sauce could have been reduced more.

    The fish was perfectly cooked but a long long time coming - they apologised and said they had a big party upstairs and the chef was over-stretched. It came with a fairly non-descript gloopy sauce that didn't do it any favours. We also had fish-fragrant aubergine as a side which was disappointing - similar gloopiness in the sauce. A bit too bog-standard Chinese. Rice was below average.

    So altogether a slightly disappointing meal, although perhaps we should have ordered the spicier options - I got the impression they were toning it down (compared to my very limited experience of this style of food - twice in New York and once in Beijing). It wasn't cheap either - £73 for two for food, one beer, one glass of wine and tea (and similarly gnomic bill to Matt's). Will probably give it another try and order more adventurously, but I can't see it lasting with those prices.

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