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Ambassade de L'Ile


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Hi,

Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex who runs the 2 Michelin star Auberge De L'lle in Lyon has just opened up a new restaurant in South Kensingon on Brompton Road.

http://www.ambassadedelile.com/

it seems odd there's been no fan fair, unlike The Connaught's new restaurant opening.

anybody been there/heard good things?

Fergal

Theres an opening party I'm going to on July 7 although I assume it is already soft open. I think no fanfare is a good idea these days, it's best not to overexcite expectation.

S

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naturally dos hermanos have been and weren't very impressed.

why naturally...? am going imminently and was vaguely tempted to go a la carte or shortened-tasting-menu in light of the comments. (is it bad etiquette to link to another board?)

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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not naturally they didn't like it

I was going to say that's part of the Dos Hermanos job description, but that's probably not fair - especially if the restaurant is within walking distance of their home! (I'm being facetious of course, especially as Hermanos senior came all the way to Hove to eat, and wrote a glowing review to boot).

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Hi,

Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex who runs the 2 Michelin star Auberge De L'lle in Lyon has just opened up a new restaurant in South Kensingon on Brompton Road.

http://www.ambassadedelile.com/

it seems odd there's been no fan fair, unlike The Connaught's new restaurant opening.

anybody been there/heard good things?

Fergal

fan fair doesn't just happen.

people pay a lot of money for PR experts to create a spontaneous public reaction; most of whom have wasted their money :laugh:

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Hi

fan fair doesn't just happen.

people pay a lot of money for PR experts to create a spontaneous public reaction; most of whom have wasted their money :laugh:

Or fanfare either, but I don't think PR money is wasted unless you hire a bad PR. There are good and bad PR companies just as there are good and bad everything. Ramsay part owns a PR company doesn't he? A PR cant turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but can at least get the place trialled. Of course if you go to St John's you may well be eating the sow's ear while paying out of a silk purse.

As to being first in to a new restaurant that's trainspottery with a knife and fork. Dress code for restaurants should be 'No anoraks'.

S

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think the first night , early sitting was 3 seperate bloggers.

You can always tell, they are the ones taking pictures of each dish with a flash and thus seriously trying the patience of everybody else

Grrrrrrr

S

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Hi

fan fair doesn't just happen.

people pay a lot of money for PR experts to create a spontaneous public reaction; most of whom have wasted their money :laugh:

Or fanfare either, but I don't think PR money is wasted unless you hire a bad PR. There are good and bad PR companies just as there are good and bad everything. Ramsay part owns a PR company doesn't he? A PR cant turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but can at least get the place trialled. Of course if you go to St John's you may well be eating the sow's ear while paying out of a silk purse.

sorry, but that's silly. you're assuming that if you hire a good PR company then you get a good service. which is completely at odds with the general industry feeling.

many people are very dissatisfied with the service they're getting - but there isn't much choice in the matter. it's a necessary evil, hell it's probably not evil, but you seem to be suggesting that everything is rosy and everyone believes they're getting good value.

which ain't true virginia. Santa Claus does not work in restaurant PR. :raz:

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I thought that it was a neccessary evil- to quote Pretty Women "BIG mistake" "Big, huge, massive" !!!!!!!! They were good, but nowhere near that good for what it cost me in the end.

http://www.allium.uk.net

http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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As to being first in to a new restaurant that's trainspottery with a knife and fork.

does wanting the 25% discount mitigate against this sort of thing...?

anyway, ahem, interesting meal here yesterday... and overly long write up below, but mercifully no photos (agree about the flash).

The room is certainly striking -- walls and ceiling all dark purple, very dark carpet, internal dividers 'tiled' with padded white squares and flanked by mirrors, white tablecloths, white leather/chrome chairs, a general eschewing of natural materials and an emphasis on white/purple contrast. the surroundings are not entirely inviting, there's something too forward, uneasy and incomplete about them, but perhaps credit should be given for avoiding yet another smart wood, white-walls and beige-banquettes scheme.

In spite of the temptations of the a la carte (a consensus seems to be emerging that this is the way to go at present) I failed to resist the tasting menu... preliminary crispy vegetables and 'tempura'd herbs were good, herbs could have been crisper but were pleasingly strong-flavoured. Amuse of clam in saffron sauce was superb (served on rather nice truncated teaspoons) and a gingerbread-around-crabmeat sandwich was lovely, a great combination though the sabayon seemed rather under-flavoured, and thinner gingerbread would have improved the texture and the flavour ratio.

Foie starter was delicious, a quivering dome with a white foam/froth and a spear of asparagus inserted to create a disconcertingly mammary whole... the pattern for the evening was rather set though, incomprehensibly rich with generous use of butter and egg. the portion wasn't small either. I'm congenitally incapable of remembering details of wine pairings I'm afraid, but the sommelier chose an excellent sweet wine to accompany, compatibly rich and deeply flavoured (could stand up to an amontillado).

Langoustines were memorably presented in a silver box designed to imitate a rectangular sardine can, complete with silver scrolled-back lid, accompanied by Iberian ham and melon roasted with black pepper. This was very good, a nice texture variation and not-overplayed sweetness from the melon, and all ingredients and execution hard to fault. This was followed by more shellfish, in a buttery veloute with a flavour dimly redolent of soft cheese. The scallop was good and went well with the veloute, the oyster was really strong in flavour and quite wonderful with the scallop, but to my mind the oyster did not work with the veloute, which was too rich and mild for the intense seaweed and blackcurrant overtones of the oyster. When I spoke to the chef later (who, reassuringly, was enthusiastically visiting all tables for feedback) it seems that this, along with most/all of the other courses, is a classic from their 2* in Lyon, so perhaps I'd be in the minority on this.

Next course was a white fish, not one I was familiar with (as usual the name escapes me), with various mushrooms and a long, thin shard of crispy skin, the latter projecting vertically from its former contents. The lightly cooked fish had cooled rather by the time it was served. I enjoyed the almost 'earthy' note in the fish, which complemented the excellent mushrooms well. However, it was another rich course with a cream-based sauce, no vegetation and no particularly contrasting flavours, contributing to the vein of over-richness and similarity running through the menu.

The next course did little to change this: a thin piece of veal served on mashed potatoes with a token (and not particularly attractive) few rocket leaves and a 'confit' cherry tomato resting on top. A good, strongly flavoured but not outrageously salty demi-glace type of sauce accompanied. Again, the ingredients were good and their natural flavours were strong and only enhanced by the accompaniments. The mash was not gluey, but (once again) was extremely buttery and rich. Had previous courses contrasted more, I would have been in a better position to enjoy this further extravagance.

No pre-dessert as such, but as I'm never keen on the usual 'refreshing' over-concentrated mango/orange/passion-fruit sorbet/mousse/foam/air/jelly/shot I was not too bothered. Unusually though they did bring the petit fours before the desserts, and they remained there when they later brought the coffees. The petit fours were raspberry popcorn (nice intensity to the raspberry powder, but overall pretty pedestrian), macaroons (chocolate was nice but a bit chewy, raspberry not a patch on Sketch, too jam-like rather than fresh-raspberry-like) and sable biscuits (fine but unexceptional). The dessert was good but not particularly outstanding or memorable, based around apricot halves with rosemary, though the rosemary seemed rather underplayed to me. They did later bring an additional pair of tiny ice-cream cones, whose ice-cream's anise/liquorice flavour was a tad over-pronounced for me.

Coffees were excellent of course (and why not at the price?), service throughout was faultless, pacing was good (with a long but welcome pause before the main, to finish the admittedly unrequested-yet-charged-for top-up of the white that came with the last of the fish courses) and presentation was generally restrained and judicious, though not a major feature of proceedings aside from the langoustine course.

Overall there wasn't that much excitement, an avoidance of striking flavour-marriages (many will no doubt be delighted to hear) and rather less variety than I'm accustomed to in a tasting menu; also, for me, too much richness -- from after the amuses through to the main course I rather felt I'd been delivered a treatise on butter. Of course I'm as keen on butter as the next pikelet-eater, but I'm also keen on vegetables, and not just as an ingredient for stocks. Greenery through the main service was confined to one spear of asparagus (only really the tip) and about 3 rocket leaves, which even in for classic french cuisine would seem rather conservative. Given the comments on Andy Hayler's site, I think if I do go again it will be for the a la carte, which may allow my vegetable predilections to be better satisifed, and will also open up some more interesting options than on the tasting menu.

Edited by adt (log)

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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  • 1 month later...

Or fanfare either, but I don't think PR money is wasted unless you hire a bad PR. There are good and bad PR companies just as there are good and bad everything. Ramsay part owns a PR company doesn't he? A PR cant turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but can at least get the place trialled. Of course if you go to St John's you may well be eating the sow's ear while paying out of a silk purse.

sorry, but that's silly. you're assuming that if you hire a good PR company then you get a good service. which is completely at odds with the general industry feeling.

many people are very dissatisfied with the service they're getting - but there isn't much choice in the matter. it's a necessary evil, hell it's probably not evil, but you seem to be suggesting that everything is rosy and everyone believes they're getting good value.

which ain't true virginia. Santa Claus does not work in restaurant PR. :raz:

I'm assuming if you hire a good anybody, PR, car mechanic, rent boy, etc you get good service. I think one has to work on that assumption until proven wrong. Many people seem dissatisfied you say, well I don't know how many people you have talked to. Perhaps so, I don't know. Like any other service PR has happy and unhappy clients. I am not sure what Santa Claus has done to be dragged into this but as a small boy I was often dissatisified with his service but I kept on believing in him all the same. The alternative was too awful to contemplate.

S

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Well I had the a la carte lunch there

Suoerb, quite superb

Anyone who tells you different has a tin tongue. I don't care about the decor and as for the price, you can pay twice as much at ducasse and it's not even half as good. If you don't have the money, well too bad. That's life. Or go for the £30 de jour lunch menu. You can afford that, surely?

May I add the 'ambassador you are spoiling us' gag now?

S

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I see the earlier comments about PR - yet I seem to have read a lot about Ambassade de l'Ile and it has had some pretty good reviews. It seems to me that the general consensus is that the food is fabulous, but the prices are also correspondingly high. The decor seems to have had an inordinate amount of coverage - maybe that was also a good PR ploy?

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Or fanfare either, but I don't think PR money is wasted unless you hire a bad PR. There are good and bad PR companies just as there are good and bad everything. Ramsay part owns a PR company doesn't he? A PR cant turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but can at least get the place trialled. Of course if you go to St John's you may well be eating the sow's ear while paying out of a silk purse.

sorry, but that's silly. you're assuming that if you hire a good PR company then you get a good service. which is completely at odds with the general industry feeling.

many people are very dissatisfied with the service they're getting - but there isn't much choice in the matter. it's a necessary evil, hell it's probably not evil, but you seem to be suggesting that everything is rosy and everyone believes they're getting good value.

which ain't true virginia. Santa Claus does not work in restaurant PR. :raz:

I'm assuming if you hire a good anybody, PR, car mechanic, rent boy, etc you get good service. I think one has to work on that assumption until proven wrong. Many people seem dissatisfied you say, well I don't know how many people you have talked to. Perhaps so, I don't know. Like any other service PR has happy and unhappy clients. I am not sure what Santa Claus has done to be dragged into this but as a small boy I was often dissatisified with his service but I kept on believing in him all the same. The alternative was too awful to contemplate.

S

which is a nice way of you saying, you don't actually have anything to go by.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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which is a nice way of you saying, you don't actually have anything to go by.

Do you?

Perhaps you'd like to explain why you're so down on PRs with some concrete examples. You've made some fairly sweeping statements. I'm guessing you once hired some PR and when it couldn't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse you threw your toys out the pram.

S

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  • 4 weeks later...

Went there for dinner yesterday - I called at 6:30pm and secured a table at 7pm. I was glad to be met by at least one person I really did know who commented that they were glad to have prised me away from Eric Chavot, so no prizes for guessing where they'd worked before.

As I sat down, immediately I realised I was at the wrong height - too low!

I was presented with an enormous menu - A2 sized when open I'd say. Luckily the choices were rather more limited than the size of the menu suggested. A difficult read especially when you can barely see over the table anyway. They say on the menu that it chanes every month.

I decided to go a la carte, predominently because there was no matching wine option directly presented with the five or the seven course dégustation options.

I had a glass of Ruinard Blanc de Blancs (£18) as an aperitif to go with the signature tempora'd basil and veggie crisps. It was a tiny glass of Champagne too. I'd guess that they squeeze 8 or 9 glasses out of a bottle there.

It was a toss up between the Meille Feuille of crab with mustard sabyon (£25) and the sea urchin with scrambled egg (£26) for starter. In the end chef sent a tasting portion of the Meille Feuille and a full sized sea urchin. I wish it had been the other way around. The Meille Feuille was gorgeous - you could taste every ingredient, it was so superbly balanced. The only negative was the thin biscuit on top that I thought wasn't quite right - it was too crisp, so as you dig into the course everything fell apart around it.

The sea urchin was nasty. I just didn't like it. I tried, but no, the only thing in this dish was not at all to my taste. I ate the whole thing just to check I hadn't missed anything. Yuck.

For middle course I had a super lobster on linguine with a fairly spicy Thai soup (£39). Also in there were sweetly marinated baby tomatoes. Really tasty, but you need to be careful with the wine selection. For all the above courses I had a L'Esprit de Chevalier 2001 white Bordeaux (£60).

About this time chef came round to introduce himself, an effort that is to be applauded I feel. It is confirming that there really is someone in there that cares.

My main was grouse (£36). Another great dish, which I paired with a Beaune Grèves Vigne De L'Enfant Jesus 1999 red Burgundy (£135), which was perhaps a little too fruity for the grouse, but it was my choice.

I also had a small cheese selection (£20): there are about 30 cheeses in all brought over on three tall trollies that always looked like they were a bit rickety and might fall over at any time. Indeed a Beaufort and another hard did end up hitting the floor at one stage as they were wheeled around in the deep shag pile.

For dessert I had a soufflé supported inside an apple called "Pomme confite 'd'un autre temps'" (£19). Nicely done, but not greatly memorable.

I finished off with a fresh mint tea (£5).

A nice touch was that there was a choice between Badoit and Hildon for sparkling water.

The loos - well I guess I have to talk about the loos, well the gents anyway. What is this fetish about poncy loo decor? As I walked in the sink started up with a small fountain that, even if you didn't really need to go as you entered, would have psschologically ensured you'd need to now. The problem was that the only thinng that was lit was the fountain, and it was now a game of stick the tail on the donkey in an effort to relieve myself.

The wine list was shockingly expensive, almost up to Ducasse at the Dorchester standards. Taking a typical example, Vin de Constance, for any one of half a dozen recent vintages, were all at £190/btl: I make that a seven to eight times gouge!!!

For the first hour I had to suffer the mid atlantic twang of a self important, but seemingly out of work, trader trying to impress a pair of French bankers three tables distant. If the poor suffering Frenchmen have any sense, they would leave him to suffer by himself without allowing him to indulge his arrogance on their own financial organisation. The table next to me commented, "who was interviewing who?" which I found very apt under the circumstances.

Apart from the insufferable ex-trader and the sea urchin, I really rather enjoyed it. That was, until the bill arrived. I am sure that there are other places providing better value in town to spend one's zero bonus this year. Clearly the ex-trader didn't know where these were either.

Cheers, Howard

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