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Le Champignon Sauvage


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Well, quick update.

Went last night, it was basically incredible. Myself and the parents talked about what made it special at one point, and came to some sort of conclusion that its got to be something to do with the sheer flawlessness of everything. its not enough to describe the food, which in itself hits genius more than once, but its the small touches too. The cheese pastries over an aperitif, the pre starter, the bread, the pre dessert, the petit fours. The service too, always superb. I suppose that its like a la carte plus one.

I'll try and describe it all later, i had to write everything down last night so i didnt forget what everyone else had.

Now, i'm off to look at essence and work out when I can return.

Forgot to say, must have got a bit carried away :raz:

I went to the montpellier wine shop that was discussed previously, which I may have judged to not last very long. I really hope it does last, got my friend a decent bottle of cider, the person that served me who I think may have been the manager/owner, was very helpful and there looked to be an excellent selection of wines and various other drinks. So i take it back. :smile:

Edited by CalumC (log)
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We spent my partners birthday weekend in Cheltenham in early February in order to visit LCS and we also tried Lumiere based on Jay's review - a good combination and enough contrast not to be over the top.

Both are are very, very good. LCS has the best food, a superb meal with some first class cooking. Lumiere's food is also very good, slightly simpler than LCS, but none the worse for that.

On balance I think we had a better experience at Lumiere: the welcome, from Lin Chapman, is warm and genuine, the room modern but not cold and the service is pretty good. It was a really relaxing Friday dinner after the journey to Cheltenham. LCS's room is far to bright, they need to turn the lights down and localise the light source on the table with candles or small lamps to give the place intimacy. Service is OK but a little clunky, maybe trying to hard to be 2 star without the tradition/training you get in France, so lacks fluidity.

The wine lists at both are good, but LCS's wine pricing strategy/policy is one of the best I have seen. The reds start at ₤11 for what looks like a decent Burgundian wine, as a result I felt very confident in spending significantly more on a very good Mercurey.

We walked past the wine shop a few times and it looks interesting, it seems to have a few tables and chairs and in the evening they seemed to be serving cheese and wine - private tasting or wine bar - not certain.

We stayed at "ThirtyTwo" a great, very upmarket, bed and breakfast which was better than many hotels I have stayed in. The owners (Jonathan x 2) are very helpful and have a very good perspective on Cheltenham eating options. The confirmed Lumiere is closing as the chef (Geoff Chapman) is a passionate golfer and is moving to France to pursue a golfing business opportunity.

Edited by PhilD (log)
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[.intimacy. Service is OK but a little clunky, maybe trying to hard to be 2 star without the tradition/training you get in France, so lacks fluidity.

Do you have to train in France to be able to offer a 2 star service and have fluidity? i dont think so!

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couldn't disagree much more about the service, i thought it was excellent.

adey: I'm hoping to write it up tomorrow or monday, got a loose week next week, only in college for mock exams so i should have the time. I doubt ill be going back in the next 6 months, so ill definitely write it before then.

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Simon - I didn't mean to imply that France had a monopoly on good service (some of it is dire), I was simply making a comparison, I thought it was relevant given LCS's homage to France - name, menu, decor, wine list etc.

LCS has all of the elements that should make it an outstanding destination restaurant. The food is really very good; the wine list is excellent and amazingly fairly priced; and the room is very comfortable, well decorated, with good table spacing a some interesting art work.

It is one of the UK's top 14 restaurants (based on the recent Michelin guide) yet it doesn't seem to have the same reputation or cache that others at this level have. Why is this? Is it is because they miss the mark on some of the details i.e. the bright lighting, and the service for example?

Calum, maybe our experience of LCS was coloured by the previous nights dinner at Lumiere. I would be hard pressed to point out precise differences in the service. However at Lumiere it really clicked and we had a great experience. I expected the service at LCS to easily be as good, if not better, but it wasn't. I am afraid something isn't quite right for a restaurant at this level.

If I lived in Cheltenham, Lumiere would be a regular haunt, maybe a couple of times a month. However I don't have the urge to rush back to LCS, even though the cooking was far superior. Lumiere was ₤100, and LCS was ₤150 so price is not a consideration. I can only put it down to the ambience. I am certain that these are quite simple things to fix and it would be good to see all the elements of LCS match the outstanding food.

Edited by PhilD (log)
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I would certainly like to get into lumiere before they close up, does anyone know the exact date? I think that we've had different experiences of the same place, and i expect that its a mix of what we like personally and general unfortunate variation over two different nights. I will have to make a visit to lumiere and see if i get the same feeling.

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Right then. I guess i promised :raz:

Had a lovely birthday dinner, albeit 2 days after it last week to celebrate my 18th.

We wandered in around quarter to 8, coats taken by the ever friendly helen, unfortunately for us the sofas were taken, so we went straight to our table for a drink. The nibbles arrived, and so the food beings. There was 3 of us, so ill try and remember everything, not competely possible, but ill give it a go. :biggrin:

First, some little cheese savouries. Lovely crunchy warm cheese crisps, 3 plain, 3 with a red onion sauce compote thing. I don't like the word compote, not sure why but i guess that is was. There was a little cheese melted onto the top. Very nice start, went well with my gin and tonic. We were given our menus to peruse, a set menu and the a la carte. Being the pig that i am, i went for the a la carte, i liked the look of that menu more. The set menu had some good stuff, not that i can remember now, but preferred the other.

Next was a pre starter, which was salt cod mousse with i think a sorrel vichyssoise, it was certainly green on top, and i think thats what the waiter said. This was a very nice cool, subtly flavoured cod mousse mixing with the warmer vichyssoise. The flavours were very nice, quite an odd texture contrast, as the cod had almost a more solid texture. Anyway, very nice.

Now, the starters. I had kid canneloni with goats milk curd and landcress puree. I think this is already demonstrating why people see David so well. Landcress is one of the most common weedlike plants going, but it was lovely with this. The kid was cooked til tender and falling apart, holding a lovely bite. I believe that the canneloni was made with celeriac, as it is in Essence, with canneloni of veal breast. This gave the dish another element of interest, a bit more bitey if that makes sense. The milk curd was a lovely creamy, tangy counter to the rich sauce made presumably with kid bones, though i imagine a lamb stock would have substituted. The landcress was smooth and soft. I was happy with this, as you can probably imagine. If it was missing anything, it was probably a bit of twang.

My mum had ling with chickpea puree and chickpeas, with a lemony foam, which was almost scarlet. I have an inkling that it was made with sumac. I tried a little bit of this, was very nice. The chickpeas had a pasty softness with went nicely with the ling, which we were told by helen is a member of the cod family. It was certainly believable, but it seemed a little more interesting than cod, and of course there is the sustainablity issue at the moment. My dad on the other hand, went for cauliflower soup with cumin brown butter. Let me make this clear. Best. Soup. Ever. Warm, delicious, nutty and spiced from the cumin gradually mixing through. Gobsmackingly good.

After this was cleared away, new cutlery was placed down, a fork and fish knife for all of us. We were thoroughly confused now, myself and my mum were due lamb, my dad was at least having fish, a mistake maybe? Quirky cutlery setting? Fortunately, no... The next course was scallops with with jerusalem artichoke puree, thinly sliced apple and a little artichoke veloute, courtesy of David as a birthday present. I was smiling a bit by now. It was, needless to say delicious. Scallops are not something ive been fortunate to try well cooked. the only previous time was skewered in a japanese restaurant, and they werent up to much. The scallops were meaty and their texture went very well with the puree and crunchy apple. The puree had a savoury, almost tangy flavour, apple gave a juicy sweetness. Just gorgeous.

Moving on to main course. I had lamb fillet with smoked onion and cep puree. This was one of the best things ive ever eaten, meaty and rich, the smoked onion giving an interesting background flavour. The cep puree was incredibly strong, but the lamb stood up to it. There was a little mash potato in there too. There was a lovely sauce reduction with it, and it all came together really well. My dad had skate with wild garlic puree and wild garlic. Didn't get a taste, but ill come to wild garlic later. My mum had lamb fillet with a dumpling made from lamb shank, had a concentrated sauce. I just asked what it had with it, and she couldn't remember at all. Nevermind, i tried some of the dumpling, which was more like shredded lamb shank formed into a ball, and that was very nice.

After this, we ordered our desserts, and soon after were brought a pre dessert, which i have to admit was one of the things i most looked forward to. This was the famed geranium creme brulee, here with a greengage ice cream. The sugar glaze was part normal sugar, and part popping candy sprinkled on top. This was pretty wonderful, lovely delicate cream, crunchy sugar and a nice tangy ice cream, almost that lip smacking sour that wakes your mouth up. Which is the aim i suppose, as a palate cleanser of sorts.

My dessert was the muscovado parfait with bergamot cream, which was brilliantly tangy and fruity from the bergamot, while the parfait was enjoyable similar in flavour to gypsy tart, which is something i have not had in a long time. It reminded me how much i should make one soon. Anyhoo, It was lovely, the parfait's texture was gooey and just everything thats good about food. My dad went for the cheese, the set menu choice was between the cheese and dessert of the day, which my mum went for. The cheeses were a triple cream french brie, stinking bishop, one flavoured with black pepper and caraway and other things, and one other i cant remember. The cheeses come from the shop i mentioned previously, i can vouch that they are stunningly good cheeses. The others on the ridiculously large board (suspended on a leather strapped rack) i noticed a mimolette, which is a deep orange hard cheese, very nice indeed, Ive made the essence gougeres using that, worked very well, and also there was waterloo and wigmore from berkshire, made by the same farm. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with wigmore, one of the most gloriously unctious cheeses in existence. My mum went for the dessert of the day, which was a milk chocolate cake with carrot sorbet. She enjoyed it very much, though what i tried was not to my taste.

After this, we had coffee (very nice) and petit fours, which i am sure if anyone on here has read this thread, will know are fairly brilliant. A very nice touch was that one the bites, a rose iced cake, had a little candle in, alongside some extra chocolates, filled with salted caramel, and another with liqourice. :biggrin: There was a very nice rum baba, chocolate fudge, a dense chocolate cake piece. One was a liqourice chocolate, which i was not at all keen on, but i have something of a dislike for all things aniseed. Having said that, the chocolate mentioned above was actually rather nice.

Then, as if i wasnt happy enough, helen came to the table and asked if id like to meet david. Which is a bit like saying do cats like sleeping. Yes they do. We had a brief chat, getting to meet the kitchen team, had the setup explained in terms of their growth which was very interesting. As i mentioned, we talked a bit about wild garlic. Wild food is something ive spoken to david about previously very briefly, he mentioned how the wild garlic had come out around a month and a half early. When my dads dish came, i had been very surprised to see it there, its february after all, and garlic is a spring plant. Very unusual, climate change?

Anyway, i left david to his cleaning, and enjoyed the last few minutes of the night finishing the coffee with my parents. A few thoughts. This is basically the first time i have been out for a proper michelin starred dinner. I am, after all only 18. So in some senses, i didnt know what to expect, but in others i eagerly anticipated things that were coming, ive been strongly into food and cooking for a long time. It may be that my inexperience in dining out will effect my viewing of this meal, although there is no doubt that this food was impeccable. For example, Phil D spoke of how he preferred Lumiere. Maybe a bit more eating out will lead me to different opinions, but I think that i have eaten out enough at lower end restaurants to know what is and isnt good. My only other high end experience was lunch at Gilpin Lodge, which was excellent i might add, and a lunch at LCS half a year ago roughly. Hopefully everyone else will have some input on this.

Well, thats it. Took me a while to write that, but i enjoyed remembering the meal :raz: again, anyway. I'll get my dads picture of the petit fours :rolleyes:

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Thanks Callum. Got a better idea of what to expect.

I wish I was hanging around in fancy restaurants at 18!

So did you indulge your new legal staus with any booze, as the wine list also looks great/cheap?

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I certainly am very lucky, but i know very few other 18 year olds really bothered with food, if you put interest in then you get something out of it. I can talk about the white wine, i really havent gotten into red wine at all so i cant say much to that, my mum certainly liked it though.

The white was, as described on the lcs website

QUINCY Denis Jaumier 2005

"Situated next to Sancerre this wine has an excellent nose with elderfloweraromas with a crisp zesty palate and a lean minerally finish."

I think that the red was:

CHARLES VIENOT NV

Excellent blend from one of Burgundy's oldest négociants based in Nuits-St-Georges.

But ill check that.

Gary: I did wonder if that was the case, ive been incredibly lucky to have le champignon virtually on my doorstep.

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  • 2 months later...

Just come back from the champagne sausage. A b'day present from my brother.

There are of course many aspects to each dish and I can't remember each element (it's my age) but here goes...

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First up was a few little bread pizzas with the champagne. Followed by a velout of locally foraged mushroom and coconut foam

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next the breads, a brioche and bacon and plain white topped with poppy seeds. Then the scallops dish that feature in the book and Calum had upthread.

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I can't remember the name of the fish and what the risotto was underneath, but it had wild garlic with and was really f***ing good! As was this... this is pigs tail and rabbit cannelloni, best dish of the night for me; it left me as stupified as a scientologist. There was verjuice puree in there too.

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Followed by a duck with walnut mash, everything perfect again, but I preferred the cannelloni to this. A pre-desert of rhubarb sorbet and a crumble of space dust (a bit too much IMHO) and a brulee underneath?

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Molten chocolate tart with fennel ice cream. And finally a Mango Pannacotta with a fantastic coconut sorbet, I could have dug my thighs out in joy with the spoon at this. It was better even than the chocolate tart!

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And finally coffee and petit-fours with a b'day candle.

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I had no room left but I saw a good eclectic cheese tray being passed over to a fellow diner and wished that I could have skipped the chocolate tart and had some cheese.

Even though it could only have been wafer thin.

Service was excellent as was the food, played it safe with the wine and shared a half bottle of 1st Cru Chablis and half a bottle of Chateauneuf du pape. Then waddled back to the hotel and dreamt dreams of being harpooned by an errant Japanese fleet.

(And thanks to Andy Lynes for advising me on how to get the best out of this fleeting visit to Cheltenham, a number of months back)

Edited by adey73 (log)
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Oooohhh I am so pushing the parents for another visit before i go to uni. Looks incredible, good photos adey, what camera are you using?

Id love to get there soon and try some wild garlic creations but i think i can hold off for august.

Happy birthday too!

Edited by CalumC (log)
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Top report! It all looks fab. Its def on my list this year, if possible.  Must drop hints to my sister and see if I get a similar treat. Or a Woolworths voucher?

We both know which of those is better. :laugh:

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Funny how things are subjective. Had lunch at C.S. this month and my impression was quite different, even though I had the same amuse bouche as adey 73 - a pleasant enough velouté of St. George's mushrooms with coconut foam - and the same fillet of trout with overcooked wild garlic risotto and Evesham asparagus (can't go wrong, it's asparagus season!), and yet... they didn't seem as good as what adey 73 had. I was disappointed, since I expected more of a 2-star Michelin. Overcooked risotto?!

Here is what I had:

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the velouté of mushrooms with coconut foam

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the beautiful but not very exciting trout (Bibury brown) with wild garlic risotto and asparagus

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roasted Cinderford lamb with pea purée, morilles and smoked onion. I found it odd that I wasn't asked what cuisson I wanted, and got medium-rare, although I would have preferred it rare. But it was good.

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the pré-dessert was a failed attempt at doing something along the molecular gastronomy lines (I know, I know, many of you hate the term, but still...) On top of a rhubarb cream there was a quenelle of ice cream and so-called pop rocks that seemed to make my ears pop and tasted faintly chemical somehow. Unpleasant sensation.

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A delicious parfait of muscovado sugar topped with spice cake crumbs, and, on the side, layers of bergamot cream that were too strongly flavoured, it was too perfumey.

If I had to recommend a restaurant in the Costwolds, I would definitely say

The Manor House at Castle Combe - DELICIOUS. I posted a full report here,

The Manor House report with photos

or, for a less expensive meal, but equally delicious, The Kingham Plough, which is quite new on the scene but I am sure will start racking up awards and media accolades very soon.

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

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I can't remember who it was now, but upthread someone had a similar experience, they preferred lumiere.

I had a very similar main to you when i went, lamb with smoked onion and with mine ceps and crosnes. I thought it was delicious. They probably should have asked but i think from a culinary pov, david might feel that medium rare is the best way to eat the meat in combination with the rest of the dish.

i also had exactly the same dessert, the parfait was stunning and I can see your point about the bergamot, but i thought the two complimented each other wonderfully.

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I enjoyed the trout with the risotto, thought the duck was underwhelming and the popping candy as you say, well, unnecessary. Overall it was good solid cooking, plus the cannelloni and mango were exceptional.

Beyond the silver cutlery, I couldn't really denote the difference between this and a one star.

But unfortunately I am not as well travelled as you Alex :biggrin:

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  • 5 months later...

Champignon Sauvage, dinner - October 2008

It has been ages since I was last here - birthday last year if memory serves me right - but moving house and doing an all consuming MBA really got in the way of pretty much everything last year. With the course finished I now have my life life back and I can do things like eat out again, even write them up and, of course, waste time messing around on food sites - currently one life's many great pleasures. A week in Bristol gave the opportunity to pop over one night for much needed and much missed meal at LeCS - god I miss this place so much.

To being with was a pre-starter of raisins with a celeriac puree and, I think, hazelnut foam - there was something else in there but I can't read my notes. Superb, complex and balanced but not an obvious pairing - raisins and celeriac - but curiously not the first time I had had this combination this week. Bell's Diner in Bristol served something similar but simpler (tall thin glass with raisin puree on the bottom, celeraic puree and cube of sherry jelly) hmm... wonder who's copying who...

Scallops arrived with artichokes, atop were apple batons and herb/salad leaves all covered in the most marvellous liquorice foam - a scary substance in lesser hands. On first taste I sat frozen for several moments spellbound by its genius - the flavours and aromas were so delicately and breathtakingly balanced.

The pig that I am also ordered a second starter. Normally I avoid lobster as it usually has, to my palate anyway, an unpleasant bitter after taste. However, it was one of the dishes along with the scallops that Helen particularly recommended. For the second time that evening I sat memorised and transfixed at first taste: lobster with duck heart confit, pumpkin and nougat veloute. Yup - nougat! Here were the fireworks so often missing in recent meals such the beautifully presented but dull and instantly forgettable meal at Roellinger's three star place in Cancale a few weeks previously.

Next was another autumnal powerhouse of a plate: partridge and ox cheek with hazelnut puree, girolles & lardons. The partridge was good, very good but completely upstaged by the ox cheeks. Killer sauce accompanied it.

Pre-starter included rosehip sorbet which was good and refreshing. A triumphant dessert of passion fruit cream, coconut sorbet and mango completed the meal & by the final spoonfuls of the passion fruit cream i slumped defeated.

Anyway - going back next week - well I do have a lot of catching up to do.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi

had another great meal there last week - David cooked for us which is always a treat. A very big thank you.

Of particular note was the lobster “porridge” – wild oat risotto (?) with lobster and a miso and orange dressing. Really wonderful. Another standout dish was the venison – saddle and leg with bolognaise-like sauce made from another part of the animal – deep deep flavours which brought the dish together. Lip smackingly good. And another dish of note was golden beetroot parfait with spice ice cream – staggeringly good - as was the apple and quince crumble. Sounds plain - anything but.

Anyway – the important news is that I got to see some of the photography from his next book which is due out next year. I promised not to say anything specific about it - but do keep a watch out for it - looks amazing.

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