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Ahhh; you Brits...Why do you insist on eating your young with such tedious regularity? A nice local boy from a working class background brings home three stars for the home team and you line up to piss on him. Rising beyond one's station continues to grate--even a couple of lovable yobs like the Majumdar boys turn up their noses at the impolitic Mr. Ramsay and the even-more-unbearable (to them) Marco. Those two put your once much maligned isle on the culinary map. All over the world I meet young chefs who came out of their kitchens--and owe their success and their skills (by their own admission) to one or both. (Mario Batali--arguably--being one example). Hospital Road is a great restaurant. Claridges--for a hotel--is at the very least--undeserving of such venomous contempt. (One would think that finding oneself in agreement with Michael Winner on anything would be reason enough to reexamine one's position.) That you anticipate disappointment at the Connaught--before nibbling so much as a breadstick suggests a suffocating snobbery at odds with the pure pursuit of pleasure. Some jumped up wine waiter looks at you mugs cross-eyed and you're ready to firebomb both place and all associated with it. And Marco may be a huntin's and pimpin' Mac-Daddy in a wide brim hat now--but he paid his fuckin' dues. See you at the Wenlock where we can continue this discussion in an environment more conducive to me pummeling you about the head and neck.

abourdain

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I have made no judgements about The Connaught. I am depressed about what they will do to the room which I loved in all its old style glory, based on what they did to the room at Claridges ( fine old dining room to whores arsehole in one easy makeover )

Claridges was shockingly bad. By all accounts, we were not the only one to think so.

My one experience of RHR was superb and I have always said so.

These two guys can cook. No argument. I ate at Harveys and it was one of the great meals of my life. I have also eaten at numerable other MPW places and they have all been grim, every last one of them. Kinda colours my judgement.

I suspect your views have been coloured by Gordo's offers to take you ringside at a big fight ( probably on a night when he should be overseeing the kitchen ) or MPW's promise to lend you his "insto pimp" outfit.

I will give The Connaught a try with an open mind. Given that I actually had a good meal at The Almeida this week ( a Conran place ) then anything can happen.

See you next time around at The Wenlock. The only place where the words "Bourdain" and "mild" are used together.

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Rising beyond one's station continues to grate...the impolitic Mr. Ramsay and the even-more-unbearable (to them [the Majumdars]) Marco. Those two put your once much maligned isle on the culinary map.

So you claim "putting your country on the map" as an aspiration so lofty as to require the clouding of your honest judgement ?

If maligning British cuisine is an honest and truthful activity, few Britons would want it otherwise. At risk of being battered for the generalisation of nationals traits, I guess that it is indeed in the British nature to be able to indluge in honest self-assessment and self-mockery. That is , perhaps, a facility that would travel well to other countries.

I have read enough on this board, and in particular Simon's and Robin's posts, to accept their judgement on Ramsay's @ Claridges. Interestingly, you have never posted otherwise on their thread on the subject, and you don't deny here that they are right. So presumably you just believe thay should keep quiet about it because you happen to admire Ramsay. Strange attitude !

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"So presumably you just believe thay should keep quiet about it because you happen to admire Ramsay. Strange "

Good Lord, no! That would deprive me of the pleasure of listening to them (and agreeing or disagreeing). The Majumdars every utterances are always worth close consideration and scrutiny--even when they're playing air guitar and yodelling along with Hocus Pocus on the Wenlock bar. My comment was inspired as much by their apparently instinctive distaste for all things MPW or GH--as by the physical transformation that comes over the two at the very mention of their names: Their eyes bulge from their skulls, mouths twist into expressions of rage and the tiny vein over Simon's left eye begins to leap and throb uncontrollably--this is usually followed by threats of violence and a calypso rendering of Stairway To Heaven. It ain't pretty--believe me. I suggest only that when overcome by these alcohol fueled episodes of aggression--that their energies might be better directed at that winsome, Flubber-lipped Sainsbury's flack who so stains the honor of their great nation. Certainly, my own critical judgement is tainted by my association with my fellow band-mate, Freemason and Tri-Lateral Commission member, Ramsay( our medley of Hermans Hermits hits at CBGB got raves) --and (in MPW's case) a preexisting appreciation of Isaac Hayes' work as a dramatic actor (Truck Turner, Escape From New York)--but I think benefit of the doubt in GR's case--and an acknowledgement that maybe MPW has done his part--and maybe deserves a little slack if he wants to spend the rest of his life making real estate deals and shooting birdies is appropriate. Majumdars quiet?--about Anything? The silence would be awful--and the world would be a lesser, less interesting place. Ahhh..fuck it. They should go ahead and trash who they choose. I enjoy this.

abourdain

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preexisting appreciation of Isaac Hayes' work as a dramatic actor (Truck Turner, Escape From New York)

Dammit Tony, you just had to go and make me cough up my breakfast laughing. Now I gotta go put a set of chandeleirs on the hood of my '87 Cadillac just because you mentioned that.

I'm the king of new york, Motherfucka! I'm A-NUMBA-ONE!

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Good Lord, no! ....

OK, Anthony, I'll take your second post at face value. But let's be clear what you've done.

Your first post was intended to make a serious point. You made sweeping statements, all astonishingly ill-informed, about the British attitude towards success, and Simon's views on Ramsay and White.

Your second post is designed to suggest that you were kiddinbg all the time, just jesting. But you weren't, were you ?

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Just jesting? No. But I suggest that my comments were as ill-informed, as hyperbolic, and as heartfelt as just about everything else I've ever written or said--which is to say--all of the above. I am not afraid to be contradicted, nor proven wrong--in fact it is one one of my principle pleasures--particularly when a Majumdar is doing the contradicting. To lecture a Brit--especially sharp-tongued, opinionated--and far more experienced at Brit-chow specimens like the Glimmer Twins is to stick one's paw directly into the rabid wolverine's cage. I fully expected to get chomped.

But I still think many UK egulleteers and foodies (in general) are too quick to do MPW and GR a disservice by dismissing them so readily. Theirs are careers (as Simon readily admits) of considerable accomplishments. (That MPW has never even been to France is alone--remarkable) Whether my take on the issue is delusional is certainly open to question. I look forward to further debate face to face with the aforementioned brothers after GR opens in New York.

As to how ill-informed I am about UK kitchens--I refer you to the earlier debate on whether the chef "should" be in his kitchen at all times--and whether it makes a difference in food quality--a document of at-times amazing naivete so disconnected from the reality as to suggest widespread glue-sniffing. I happen to believe that London--in particular--is one of the most exciting and interesting cities to eat in the world--and in the midst of a whirlwind of both triumphs and growing pains of professional cooking. If I bridle at the Majumdar's occasional scorn for your home-town heavy-hitters--and find both MPW and GR gentleman of substance-then just wrap me in the Union Jack, feed me a fucking pint or two--and kick my sorry Yank arse down a flight of stairs. Simon certainly would not hesitate to do so. (If he could reach my arse).

...semper fi, bro'.

abourdain

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  • 3 weeks later...

On Thursday night we made the decision to go to Islay for the weekend. After much car travel we made the ferry with a few minutes to spare and ended up having a lovely time. However, trying to get food was a problem. Islay is an island of the coast of a larger island. All the wet stuff surrounding these island is full of fish and other goodies.

Why can't I get any of this to eat in the UK? We looked high and low of a fishmonger thay sold fresh of the boat fish. No luck. At the end of the weekend we went to Port Ellen (where the ferry docks) for a final meal. The place has a small fleet of fishing boats, the docks are full of crab and lobster pots. Local pub next to these sold scampi/haddock and chips. And that wasn't good. We had a long discussiohn over our 'lunch' about how this was the blight of the British attitude to food. We then went down to the docks to catch the ferry. Comming off the ferry were several lorries - to pick up all the seafood and take off to some location to be sold to the French and Spanish.

Back of the mainland we tried to get into the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar. Several surly people told us that is was closed (what the ment was that we needed to make a booking). From what I could see it looked souless and very over-priced. I wouldn't go back there.

However, had a truly excellent Pub meal at the George Hotel in Inverary. Not a gastro-pub, but a truely good pub meal. For starters we had homemade smoked salmon pate and deep fried king scallops with chilli sauce. Both excellent and there were five scallops plus roe for each portion. For main we had grilled salmon with scallops and prawns, all good. Wine list was varied and interesting. So for four people who had starters, main and desert plus whisky (excellent range at pub), bottle of wine and large glasses of desert wine (muscat from Portugal) the total cost was seventy four quid including VAT. Bargin. Also child friendly.

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  • 9 months later...

Re: the very first post in this thread - Jay Rayner steals Simon's ideas once again :biggrin:

In his 'Food for the thoughtlessness' article, Jay says "Personally, I think the Thai vegetarian schnitzel recently offered by one major pub chain ought to be declared illegal. " Tsk.

The whole story

Edited by Mrs Woman (log)
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Sure, I stole the reference though, as I've already said to Simon in a PM, I hardly regard this as the theft of the century. the Thai vegetarian schnitzel was the perfect example of a dire trend. I put it in my piece. So shoot me.

Also at the risk of being overly defensive I think I have name checked egullet in print more often than any other journalist in Britain.

And don't attempt to reply with some witty put down. i'll only steal that too and pass it off as my own.

BTW - it seems the people of the Black Country hate me. i made the news pages of the Wolverhapmton Express and Star today and the evening bulletins on Birmingham based Heart FM, just for saying the food up there is crap. Then again perhaps it's just a slow news day.

J

Jay

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The noteworthy thing about Jay's piece is that it's an accurate recap of England's gastronomic scene. Nothing new, but then there's nothing new to report. As to his "theft", he may direct his detractors to the opening of Rudyard Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads:

When Homer smote his bloomin' lyre

He had heard much on land and sea,

And what he thought he might require

He went and took, the same as me.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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BTW - it seems the people of the Black Country hate me. i made the news pages of the Wolverhapmton Express and Star today and the evening bulletins on Birmingham based Heart FM, just for saying the food up there is crap. Then again perhaps it's just a slow news day.

You mean they DON´T think its crap? Sad, sad.....

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No, no. They don't. the local MPs keep challenging me to come and have a meal with them. This all very worrying. The idea of being forced to sit with some self-serving politica while eating shit is just too much. What terrible thing did I do? What crime am I being punished for?

Re John's post: you're absolutely right, of course; nothing has changed really, but it's worth saying every now and then. QAnd also, as I said, I never miss an opportunity to put the boot into the dry dock.

Jay

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Now In am not talking about places like The Eagle/Fox/Sutton Arms etc etc which are to all intents and purposes restaurants that are located in pubs.  I am talking about bog standard pubs offering food ( although that is a loose description ) which has been portion controlled ( thanks be to God in some cases ) vacuum packed and pre cooked.  It is always nasty and rarely edible even after a few pints

For example, last night I had the misfortune to go to a pub called The Cardinal in Francis St, Victoria.  The pub itself was a typical identikit Sam Smith's pub but the beer was reasonably well kept and not ludicrously expensive.    After a few pints, I was hungry and drunk enough  to consider looking at the menu.  One item leapt out at me and made me recoil in horror

A THAI VEGETARIAN SCHNITZEL

I do not think there are enough words to describe on how many levels that is an offence against humanity.  I was almost tempted to try it just to see what appeared.

Main offender in this area seem to be Wetherspoon pubs whose menu's can only appeal to the turps drinkers amongst us as they know they will throw it up later in the evening so it will not do any lasting damage

Why can't pubs stick with nuts and of course Pork Scratchings?  Am I missing something, surely there must be ordinary pubs that can do decent food rather than ripping people off with this crap.

S

basic laws of economics - supply and demand - and most demand lacks palate.

unfortuantely its only going to get worse - unless the trend reverts - as food is more mass produced, more genetically modified, more freeze-packed to enable worldwide delivery, and so long as large multinationals continue to market the way they do.

-che

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Also at the risk of being overly defensive I think I have name checked egullet in print more often than any other journalist in Britain.

For which we are grateful Jay.

Good spot by Mrs Woman, well remembered, but to contextualise this, a leading UK food and drink editor/restaurant reviewer told me that his peers and collegues speak of "little else" other than eGullet. Jay is here regularly, under his own name. Where are the rest of them (Circeplum excluded of course)?

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