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London Calling - What's New and Interesting?


nikkib
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What, of the spate of new restauarant openings in London would get your thumbs up as "your favourite"? am all out of ideas and have my first night off since may (!) on monday and want to go somewhere new and interesting(ish) that is not going to break the bank. Don't want anything too formal, more relaxed than anything (but not too casual) with some lovely food and delicious wine - where to go?

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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How about The Giaconda Dining Room on Denmark Street?

I went a couple of weeks ago for lunch, and agree with our Jay, who reviews it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/200...ts.foodanddrink

Talking to Tracy, Paul's other half, after lunch, she said they've had a very quiet start (been open since June) as they refused to take on an expensive PR person. Must say, if you told me one of Sydney's star chefs was going to open a place in Soho I wouldn't have expected veal in tuna sauce, and eggs in creamed spinach on the menu. It's very much comfort food, but at a comfortable price and produced by people who care.

A Good Place. (Though the wine glasses are too small.)

Sarah

edited for speeling

Edited by battleofthebulge (log)

Sarah

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I had a meal at The Giaconda a couple of weeks ago. All in all it was very pleasant, but not destination cooking. I can't really fault anything in terms of food and service though, the pigs trotter salad was delicious and the steak frites was very well cooked - charred on the outside and blue in the middle. The room itself is slightly odd, as are the toilets which necessitate you leaving the restaurant to go into the main building in which it resides and trekking down some steps into the basement.

Well worth trying if you are in the area, especially as prices are so reasonable, but not somewhere I would say is worth making a special effort to get to.

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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I have been away recently and missed a lot of the more recent openings, but I can suggest Ambassade de l'Ile, which opened fairly recently (July). In my opinion, the cooking here is excellent and menu always interesting.

Food Snob

Andy Hayler (who has more resources than me to visit any new restaurants) also rates the Ambassade, and the new Connaught place.

Myself, I'm in love with the relaunched Bacchus, and not least because it's so damn, damn cheap.

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yeah, i will definitely be checking out ambassade and the connaught but feel like something a bit more casual on monday - am booked in for giaconda dining room now - will report back next week

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Soseki: http://www.soseki.co.uk/

Made it in for the soft opening: excellent cooking, and, if the service has improved (waitresses were still not familiar with dishes etc.), an amazing all round experience. Maybe a little bit pricey compared to other similar offerings, but definitely worth a look. Set menus at £45/£50 with optional wine pairings, also £25 "quick" menu and "western" menu which just looked a little bit strange...

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Has anyone made it to the Modern Pantry yet?

Yes - really quite good. Was a few days ago, so can't recall the details, but we had an excellent and unusual lamb's tongue starter, an immaculately cooked pork belly, some odd sounding but quite tasty fritters (like falafel with chunks of chorizo), an okay but somewhat bland sea bass and finished with some excellent coffee but a disappointing cheesecake. With a cocktail and glass of wine each, came to a touch under £70, including service, which I thought was fair.

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Where can one eat well for £30 a head, with 5 guests including a veggie and two strong meat lovers?

Hi Roger,

Does that include wine or not? If it does, I would suggest Lebanese or Chinese. Oh - or even Yauatcha.

How about Bacchus Pub and Kitchen, if you are prepared to brave Hoxton Road?

If it doesn't, and you want central London .. hmmm .. Magdalen? Giaconda Dining Room? 2 Veneti? Perhaps tapas at Salt Yard?

(also presume you want 3 courses?)

Sarah

edited to add another suggestion

Edited by battleofthebulge (log)

Sarah

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Hi,

I recently had a pretty decent meal at the new Andaman by Dieter Müller.

The menu is basically an ALC and a multiple choice, small dish tasting menu, which does actually work well. Dishes were simple, but had the occasional nice twist; the food was surprisingly intense wth flavour; and service was good. It's only the soft opening right now, with the official one in a week or two.

What I would actually like to find out though, was whether anyone knows of any interesting new restaurants that are soon to open...for example, I believe another German, Joachim Wissler of Vendome, is planning one.

Cheers,

Food Snob

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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Hi,

I recently had a pretty decent meal at the new Andaman by Dieter Müller.

The menu is basically an ALC and a multiple choice, small dish tasting menu, which does actually work well. Dishes were simple, but had the occasional nice twist; the food was surprisingly intense wth flavour; and service was good. It's only the soft opening right now, with the official one in a week or two.

What I would actually like to find out though, was whether anyone knows of any interesting new restaurants that are soon to open...for example, I believe another German, Joachim Wissler of Vendome, is planning one.

Cheers,

Food Snob

September is the cruellest month for openings. So many.

S

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Was that a tasting menu you picked yourself or did they choose it?

One thing what immediate jumped out at me was it if it is their choice it sounds pretty unbalanced. A watermelon soup amuse, and two consecutive soup-based starters? Two consecutive dishes featuring prawn/langoustine?

I'm not personally doctinnaire on menu structure (I'd be happy to order foie gras for starter and main if thats what I felt like eating on the day) but most decent ***s are careful to avoid that sort of replication.

One other thing - we've had a wave of Continental chefs opening up at the very high end in London this summer - Ambassade, Darroze and now this place. They are all trying to come into the market as outsiders at a high price point heading into the first recession we've had in twenty years. To be honest that strikes me as financial suicide.

I wouldn't be surprised if only one of the three was still operating this time next year.

Sounds good otherwise though!

J

PS one more thing. could someone please explain the logic of sticking a thai prawn curry soup and a faux chinese duck consomee together on the same plate? sounds like a fairly unthinking "oh they're both vaguely asian dishes so they go sort of together" approach to food. imagine if you were served a dinky duo of rabbit rilette and fish and chips in a restaurant in hong kong... :-0

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I picked the dishes myself, ordering a 4-course Amuse menu plus an additional starter and main from the clasic selection (pea-mint soup and cod)...but reflecting on it, it was rather 'badly' structured (by me).

That said, I do have a penchant for seafood though and I was also influenced by Muller's reputation for seafood and soups - actually, normally I would not even consider ordering soup!

I have had the same thoughts as you regarding the bad-timing of these high-end openings, but I think the reason is that such restaurants have probably been in the pipeline for a very long time and were at a stage where it was too expensive to delay/cancel their plans. For example, I think Ansanay-Alex began planning Ambassade two years ago.

Food Snob

Edited by Food Snob (log)

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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PS one more thing.  could someone please explain the logic of sticking a thai prawn curry soup and a faux chinese duck consomee together on the same plate?  sounds like a fairly unthinking "oh they're both vaguely asian dishes so they go sort of together" approach to food.  imagine if you were served a dinky duo of rabbit rilette and fish and chips in a restaurant in hong kong... :-0

Thought that too!!

I asked the maitre d' at the time, but he returned with only a mumble about how they work well togerther.....

Food Snob

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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I picked the dishes myself, ordering a 4-course Amuse menu plus an additional starter and main from the clasic selection (pea-mint soup and cod)...but reflecting on it, it was rather 'badly' structured (by me).

Ah that makes it clearer so it was your fault not theres! ;-)

As far as I can see it Darroze almost certainly has a guaranteed deal for a couple of years (unless her business manager is a complete idiot) and anyhow the Connaught will always need a haute flagship of some description.

My suspicion is Andaman will struggle (slightly asiany fusiony haute might still be an original idea back in the fatherland but it is absolutely nothing new over here) and may well evolve towards serving more straightforward club food to make margins (I observe that Texture has now moved away from a tapas style lunch offering to a more trad prixe fixe).

Ambassade I am most worried about, if only because there isn't a hotel standing behind it. As far as I can tell from the decor, vibe and style it is really pitching towards the expat French crowd who live in he area. That's a target market which is very exposed to city banks and financiers - if they retrench then parts of the expat market will quite literally pack up their bags and leave. What could help them is the fact that the space could probably be partly used as bar/lounge/club which will bring in cash. Plus I assume with falling property prices rents should be coming back (or at least not going up). But I really do worry about this place, which is a shame because of the three Ansanay-Alex is clearly the guy who's gone most out on a limb to make it over here.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Precisely lol

Agree with your Darroze comment.

Regarding Andaman, it's still early - it has not even officially opened. For that reason, I think it a little harsh to judge it. You are right about the cuisine and also concept (open kitchen) probably being more original back home than here...

I hope you're wrong about Ambassade though; the decor may be somewhat suspect, but as much as everyone seems to hate it, they love the food. I also feel that AA is too 'serious' about his cooking to let his restaurant be used as a club/lounge. Though, bear in mind, there are some serious big French guns backing Ambassade, therefore, there may not be the same pressure as there would otherwise be...

Food Snob

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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Regarding Andaman, it's still early - it has not even officially opened. For that reason, I think it a little harsh to judge it.

Food Snob

A very fair point. I always have a go at Fay Maschler for passing judgement ridiculously early - should listen to my own advice more often.

I suspect my opinions on continentals trying to do fusion is forever scarred by my experience at Lucas Carton (in the senderens days) when the amuse was a single pork shumai dumpling. I think it was his idea of being "exotic". Doling out flippin' dim sum.

The vanilla flavoured lobster noodle wasn't much cop either.

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Hi J,

Sounds...interesting.

I like exotic, I like trying new things, but only if they actually work.

Putting random ingredients on a plate and labelling it exotic, creative, fusion, etc is just foolish...

BTW everyone, for the record, my original post was to find out what new openings are planned for THE FUTURE, not to ask people's opinons on those restaurants which have already recently opened...

Food Snob

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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