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When a friend offered to cheer me up after a Friday hospital appointment by buying me dinner, I was none too pleased when she said it would be in the swamp that is otherwise known as Barnes. I used to live in Barnes and the only reason anyone remembers it is because Marc Bolan died there. However, given the state of most of the inhabitants of this vile area, it is a wonder they knew he was dead

That being said, when she said the meal was at MVH ( Michael Von Hrushka ) of Birdcage fame. I was a lot more sanguine

We met at Waterloo and headed there by train to Barnes Bridge ( just look on the map for the bit that says “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” or has a big HAZCHEM sticker ) getting there for 8pm.

We were ushered into their upstairs bar which in all honesty looks like a yard sale at the Byron’s house. Definingly louche but very comfortable. The delightful staff ( 20 yr old Ukrainian twins – I could not make that up if I was directing a porn film ) proffered up glasses of LP champagne for starters and then we went downstairs to the incongruously light and airy dining room.

The set meal is a good value £29 for three courses, but that is the tip of the iceberg. I have never been anywhere in recent years where so many extra courses of such high quality were served. To say the food is eclectic is an understatement, but while in some places that mix is hideous, here it all seemed to hang together very well.

We started with a cucumber and mint sherbet served in a test tube. Crap presentation but stupendous flavour.

To follow , two spring rolls of parsnip with caramelised onions with a green chilli dip. Superb.

Still no sign of the starters as we were offered a cappuccino of chick pea with a spiced yoghurt and coriander cress ( very young shoots ) one of the highlights of the meal for me.

OK, so now to the starters. No chance fat boy!! This time we had one of the most interesting dishes I have tasted in years. A spaghetti of chicken stock with a chicken veloute. Truly amazing

Finally we got to our starters. My friend had the assiette of seafood. An incredible mix of smoked seafood soup, crab tianne with gravadlax and a sweet wasabi. I had Boudin with onion jam, garlic leaves, truffle on brioche and tapenade. These were served with excellently made but out of place breads of South Indian Idli and curry puffs, but somehow they worked.

Between the starters and main courses an interesting if not wholly successful dish of Harrissa sorbet with red cabbage gazpacho was served which I did not think worked well. The soup was much more crude than that we tasted at the Fat Duck a couple of weeks ago

Main courses were probably the most standard part of the meal. My friend had a very tasty indeed, neck end of lamb with mustard mash and I had an excellent duck confit with german white asparagus and mushroom gnocchi.

Pre – desserts were a superb pineapple semi-freddo and a dried pineapple followed by a rhubarb crème brulee and a selection of chocolate desserts ( including a superb chocolate filo spring roll )

To drink we had the champagne, two glasses each of Brundlmayor Gruner and a bottle of Gigondas

Bill for two was £120 inc service

I often come out of restaurants saying “ that was criminal” The only thing criminal about MVH is that there were only 8 people in there on a Friday night

Go there before they go bust. You wont get cooking like this anywhere else in London at this price

8/10

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If anyone eats at a posh restaurant and the menu doesn't include the word "veloute" at least once on it somewhere, can you let us know as it's against the law and we'll need to let the relevent authorities know. Thanks.

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A spaghetti of chicken stock with a chicken veloute. Truly amazing

Simon,

A spaghetti of chicken stock? Could you explain??

Was this like the el bulli spag made with stock set with agar rather than gelatin (to stop it melting when hot)?

it was. He is, it transpired a great fan

MVH seemed ( on the basis of a quick chat while he was washing some glasses ) like a decent chap and talked about all the different places he admired/had cooked in. An impressive CV.

S

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A spaghetti of chicken stock with a chicken veloute. Truly amazing

Simon,

A spaghetti of chicken stock? Could you explain??

Was this like the el bulli spag made with stock set with agar rather than gelatin (to stop it melting when hot)?

it was. He is, it transpired a great fan

It must be me, but I still don't understand the explanation :wacko:

But nevertheless a splendid Majumdarian review, full of important detail, excellent contextual interpretation, and several rude words :biggrin: Enjoyed the write-up, Simon, and I'll be going there soon.

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It must be me, but I still don't understand the explanation  :wacko:

AFAIK (I'm sure people will correct me if I'm rong) Adria's "taglietelle carbonara" is a stock set as a jelly and then cut into strips to resemble pasta. The secret is to use agar-agar instead of gelatin. Using gelatin it would just melt when warmed up; using agar agar it can be served slightly warm, but still as a jelly

cheerio

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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re.Simon Majumdar's review:

Thank you Simon for your review of MVH - however, please could you make your numerous posts more objective (and therefore more readable) by the omission of the rather tiresome inclusion of your own personal opinions of an area. i.e "swamp" "vile place" etc hardly makes for objective reviewing, nor does it reflect any particularly intelligent analysis of a restaurant.

E gullet is one of a number of websites than in principle give a platform for exchange of views and discussion, but in reality are marred in a major way by the belief of some of their contributors that they have the ability to write.

1.5 out of 10 for the restaurant review.

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re.Simon Majumdar's review:

Thank you Simon for your review of MVH - however, please could you make your numerous posts more objective (and therefore more readable) by the omission of the rather tiresome inclusion of your own personal opinions of an area. i.e "swamp" "vile place" etc hardly makes for objective reviewing, nor does it reflect any particularly intelligent analysis of a restaurant.

E gullet is one of a number of websites than in principle give a platform for exchange of views and discussion, but in reality are marred in a major way by the belief of some of their contributors that they have the ability to write.

1.5 out of 10 for the restaurant review.

Not offering an objective review. Just an opinion

S

Edited by Simon Majumdar (log)
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re.Simon Majumdar's review:

Thank you Simon for your review of MVH - however, please could you make your numerous posts more objective (and therefore more readable) by the omission of the rather tiresome inclusion of your own personal opinions of an area. i.e "swamp" "vile place" etc hardly makes for objective reviewing, nor does it reflect any particularly intelligent analysis of a restaurant.

E gullet is one of a number of websites than in principle give a platform for exchange of views and discussion, but in reality are marred in a major way by the belief of some of their contributors that they have the ability to write.

1.5 out of 10 for the restaurant review.

  • By definiton, a review is subjective.
  • Absent subjectivity, it would be impossible to have an exchange of views, since everyone's view would necessarily be the same -- the one that would be based on an "objective review."
  • Since we have been down this objective/subjective path before, it would not surprise anyone if an "objective review" became the subject of discussion, rather than the restaurant itself. eGullet might then turn into a literary criticism site, rather than a food discussion site. However:
  • The abilty to write normally precludes less than superior authors from posting sentences in excess of 40 words.

1.5 out of 10 for the misleading user name.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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re.Simon Majumdar's review:

Thank you Simon for your review of MVH - however, please could you make your numerous posts more objective (and therefore more readable) by the omission of the rather tiresome inclusion of your own personal opinions of an area. i.e "swamp" "vile place" etc hardly makes for objective reviewing, nor does it reflect any particularly intelligent analysis of a restaurant.

E gullet is one of a number of websites than in principle give a platform for exchange of views and discussion, but in reality are marred in a major way by the belief of some of their contributors that they have the ability to write.

1.5 out of 10 for the restaurant review.

Oh My :shock:

This is a joke yeah :wacko:

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Dear "Dave the Cook", in reply to your train of thought (which is somewhat confusing) and therefore not necessarily an appropriate response..all opinions are subjective (of course) but all of us who voice them have a duty of care to ensure that they are as "objective" as possible and not just an opportunity to mud fling or use the forum as a platform to express one's own prejudices.

Reviewers of restaurants are often maligned on this forum (Giles Coren, Jay Rayner, Adrian Gill) for being biased, partisan or just plain irrelevant whilst the forum itself is so BILIOUS, it justifies the name E-gullet. Even these reviewers I have just mentioned express their own bias, and can on occasion be accused of innapropriate remarks.

However, these sort of forums arent meant to be a free for all "I'm going to tell everyone what I think regardless of how constructive it is" (plenty of examples)

We participate in these forums because we are interested in food and restaurants, and because we want to learn what is going on, not because we want to read the opinions of would be writers with minimum objectivity..

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Please could you make your posts more objective by the omission of the rather tiresome inclusion of your own personal opinions of an area. i.e "swamp" "vile place" etc.?

While I agree with your sentiments, and I can't actually speak for Simon, I think his comments are slightly tongue in cheek. After all, I believe he lives in Islington, and as everyone knows, that's a complete shithole.

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Dear "Dave the Cook", in reply to your train of thought (which is somewhat confusing) and therefore not necessarily an appropriate response..all opinions are subjective (of course) but all of us who voice them have a duty of care to ensure that they are as "objective" as possible and not just an opportunity to mud fling or use the forum as a platform to express one's own prejudices.

Reviewers of restaurants are often maligned on this forum (Giles Coren, Jay Rayner, Adrian Gill) for being biased, partisan or just plain irrelevant whilst the forum itself is so BILIOUS, it justifies the name E-gullet. Even these reviewers I have just mentioned express their own bias, and can on occasion be accused of innapropriate remarks.

However, these sort of forums arent meant to be a free for all "I'm going to tell everyone what I think regardless of how constructive it is" (plenty of examples)

We participate in these forums because we are interested in food and restaurants, and because we want to learn what is going on, not because we want to read the opinions of would be writers with minimum objectivity..

Blimey, someone got out on the wrong side of the bed today!

Nonetheless, good to see you mate, and welcome again.

Eaten anywhere interesting recently?

cheerio

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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We participate in these forums because we are interested in food and restaurants, and because we want to learn what is going on, not because we want to read the opinions of would be writers with minimum objectivity..

hmmm 13 posts since september 02 would hardly count as participation.

writing reviews such as simon's, my own and many others takes a goodly chunk of time for the benefit of others on this board.

you get out of this what you put into it.

everyone has their own style and as goes for most media, if you don't like it, skip it.

0/10 so far for contibution to egullet, i look forward to your own interesting objective reviews.

and i award myself 0/10 for being sufficiently riled into replying to this :angry:

you don't win friends with salad

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We participate in these forums because we are interested in food and restaurants, and because we want to learn what is going on, not because we want to read the opinions of would be writers with minimum objectivity..

Bah. Call me undiscerning, but I liked Simon's review and I'm going to go to MVH because of it. Mostly so that I can meet the Ukranian Twins, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the food as well.

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not because we want to read the opinions of would be writers with minimum objectivity..

actually I do come here to read the highly subjective opinions of people who I respect and trust. God forbid a day when the only reviews we get on here are sterile, formulaic ones. And who are you to decide how "constructive" a review is? If you take Simon's (and many others for that matter) reviews in the good humour and generosity in which they are intended, you will learn so much and enjoy yourself even more.

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I went in September 2002. The twin waitresses were not in place on the night I ate there. The highlights were a passion fruit sorbet (free), a garden pea, chervil and pumpkin soup (starter) and a vegetable sushi roll (free).

Overall the quality was not as good as Simon Majumdar found it but perhaps they have hit their stride since then. I may go back for 'brunch' if they still do that.

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Not eaten anywhere that interesting lately Jon, had to cancel both reservations at Aiken and Boxwood for various reasons. Eat at The Ivy last night, food fine, at the Almeida, food fine, but will report on Aiken/Gilles (have re reserved for next week)

Shame about the cancellations

Look fwd to hearing your take... trust it will be suitable impartial ;-)

Do they still have the pate trolley at the Almeida? (once went in, had pate and tap water, went out. definitely value for money!)

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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