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La Becasse


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La Becasse, the new restaurant that will take the place of Hibiscus in Ludlow will open 11 July. According to the person who took my reservation today, the restaurant is still a building site. As they've been closed for refurbishment for a while now I imagine it will look quite different when its finished. The restaurant's website (click), is just a holding page at the moment so there's no indication of menus or price. They've got a very tough act indeed to follow but I'm looking forward to seeing if they can pull it off.

eGulleters far cleverer than I (that'll be, um, just about everyone then) won't have needed to google La Becasse to discover that it means woodcock, and will have immeadiately clocked the connection to L'Ortolan, chef Alan Murchison's other restaurant.

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La Becasse, the new restaurant that will take the place of Hibiscus in Ludlow will open 11 July. According to the person who took my reservation today, the restaurant is still a building site. As they've been closed for refurbishment for a while now I imagine it will look quite different when its finished.

I hope it doesn't look too different as the wood panelling was a real feature of the place. But come to think of it- I seem to remember Claire saying that it was listed and so when they renovated the old bar area- they were only allowed to cover parts of it up instead.

Looking forward to what you have to say, as we will be in Ludlow later in the year.

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Just booked for the food festival so will be hoping to go then!

Adam

A shame Adam - we usually go for the food festival, but can't take the house we usually do, so we have decided to postpone till later in the year. Thinking about going to Abergavenny festival the following weekend instead.

Edited: for shocking spelling.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh sod it. Booked into the same place too for the food festival.(Remember not to mention it here or my nice friend Russian friend -Sergei will be inviting you for some "interesting" Sushi sometime soon.) :wink:

No chance of eating at La Becasse this time though as we will have the little one with us- but look forward to meeting you and hearing about it Adam.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Le Becasse website has now gone live and Mark Palmer gave them their first national review this week click.

I had an excellent meal there on opening night but simply have not had the time to write it up. I will soon.

My interview with Alan Murchison will be appearing in a Restaurant magazine near you soon. I'm thinking of issuing the tape recording, made in the upstairs breakfast room of Ludlow's quaintest tea shop, which contains more swearing than Derek and Clive's entire back catalogue, is far funnier but unfortunately unprintable in its uncensored form.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went here at the weekend for a fantastic lunch. Excellent Rabbit & Foie Gras terrine, and Smoked haddock carpaccio for starters. Mains of halibut, pork & lamb (3 seperate dishes!) were all superb and excellently presented. Best bit was the desserts, with peaches poached in thyme, and a licorice pannacotta with a carrot sorbet.

The service was excellent, and you certainly can't argue with £24 for a 3 course lunch of this calibre. Only slight critisicm is the slightly oppresive air in the place. It's a small dining room, and the oak panelling and dark carpets make for a slightly claustrophobic atmosphere, but this is a minor issue.

Will definately be going again to try out some more dishes!

Lee

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  • 5 weeks later...

I enjoyed an extremely high quality dinner at La Becasse on Saturday night. They were experiencing their busiest weekend since opening; unsurprising as it was the middle of the Ludlow Food Festival.

I'm still a little unsure as to my feelings to the dining room. The place is still beautiful - it would be hard not to be, and the stone walls and wood panneling from Hibiscus' days remain. However, they've added a purple carpet that makes the whole place seem a little small. It does seem more formal than Hibiscus.

They have extended the restaurant slightly, with room for another three tables. A courtyard area has been cleared for pre-dinner drinks and they are planning to turn an upstairs room into a champagne bar. Anyway, onto the food.

Canapes were home-cured olives, a chicken satay thing, which was well spiced with the peanut sauce inside, a salmon mousse with roe and cheese sable biscuits. All very nice. The appetiser was a celeriac veloute with curry, that although being served at the temperature of molten lava, was lovely once you could safely drink it.

We both opted for the menu gourmand, eager to try as many of the dishes as we could. The menu had changed the day before, with Will Holland, the head chef, wanting to make the best of the start of the game season.

The first course was the only disappointment. A ballotine of organic salmon, poached for an hour at 45 degrees, was served on a base of puy lentils, beetroot and horseradish foam. Sadly, there was no salmon flavour and the horseradish lacked any punch. Lentils were good though :smile:

Next up was a game terrine with brioche. This really was fantastic. Huge pieces of venison, rabbit and some other stuff made up a rich terrine, finished with liver and cornichons. The accompanying madeira jelly and brioche made up this amazing dish.

A somewhat left-field dish next on what is otherwise a quite French menu, was a Thai-style nage with sea bream, scallop tortellini and coriander. This was Thai spicing of the highest caliber. The scallop was delicately poached and still beautifully firm and sweet.

The highlight of the menu for me was the main course of pancetta-wrapped venson loin, served with beetroot, whimberry sauce and fondant potato. A rich sauce added to the sublime combinations of flavours. The venison was the right side of pink and beautifully tender. This runs a close second to the amazing things David Everitt-Matthias does with venison at Le Champignon Sauvage. I could have eaten this all day.

Pre-dessert was a slightly pointless apple crumble in a shot glass. Nice but didn't show what the restaurant was capable of.

For dessert, my girlfriend opted for the liqourice panna cotta with carrot sorbet and I went for a chocolate ganache with praline sabayon with tonka bean ice cream. These were both excellent and showed some real inventiveness.

The food is of an extremely high standard and easily 1-star cooking. Everything about the place says "we want a star" (they have the face cloths to dry your hands on in the toilets, that seems to be mandatory for Michelin) and I don't doubt that they will achieve this in next year's guide. This is very much Will Holland's menu and apparently Alan Murchison has only been there for 3 or 4 days since opening. My only slight concern is pricing. They've set their stall very high for a new restaurant and the wine list has pretty much bugger all under £30.

I do wish them extremely well and as Lee says, the lunch menu is very good value. I will return and it is pleasing that Claude and Claire's old place is in good hands.

Adam

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Thanks very much for the write up Adam. Mmm- Thai curry spices creeping in. The previous incumbent used to do that on occasion and I just didn't get it. :smile: Sadly, an irksome combination of my senility and the fact that I had been off line for a week before the festival, meant that I had clean forgotten Adam was going to be in Ludlow at the same time as us; meeting only on the last day. :sad:

Very glad you enjoyed the food though, which seems to be the common consensus. Having been to Ludlow at least three times a year since 2002, we have naturally become friendly with some of the locals. All of whom who had been to LB thought the food to be -good to excellent, but all agreed the wine pricing was ridiculous for a provincial restaurant. Sadly, that applied to both wines by the glass as well as from the list. Which rather begs the question; Why the hell would you do that and shoot yourself in the foot so soon? I know of one group of "ladies who lunch" who won't be venturing back as their bill was inflated considerably by the wine pricing. One presumes that on a wet Wednesday afternoon in the Marches, the "ladies who lunch" demographic would be type of customer one would depend on, so I hope they sort this out soon.

We will venture there at some point I know, and even though I am unlikley to chose it, not until there is a bottle of wine on offer for less than £25 + 12.5%. Bah Humbug mode off*

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since when has chassagne -montrachet been under £25? :laugh:

You are right, of course :biggrin: - I haven't ordered abottle of house wine since the 1980's. Irrational perhaps, but I just liked to be offered something reasonably priced............ and then chose the Chassagne Montrachet. :wink:

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Hello Chris - actually I rather liked that watermelon palate cleanser. Different strokes I suppose?

I forgot to post- but we met Claire and Claude at the Food Festival in Ludlow a couple of weeks back. Bookings are being taken from the 18th October ( I think) and opening on the 24th October. Will confirm and re-post on a more appropriate thread.

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Hello Chris - actually I rather liked that watermelon palate cleanser. Different strokes I suppose?

I forgot to post- but we met Claire and Claude at the Food Festival in Ludlow a couple of weeks back. Bookings are being taken from the 18th October ( I think) and opening on the 24th October. Will confirm and re-post on a more appropriate thread.

Yes I suppose, although I was with 5 other friends and nobody else liked it! It was quite funny because when Mr. Bosi came out at the end of service to have a chat nobody was brave enough to tell him....

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