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Le Champignon Sauvage


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  • 2 months later...

I will be getting me a copy of that then - Essence is still one of the best books I have come across being both inspirational and with recipes that work. You can also take individual components of any dish and work them into your menu.

I am soooo overdue writing up one of the best meals I had last year which was, of course, at LCS. Will aim to get it up this weekend finally!

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, and still am a big fan of "The Champion Sausage".So called by the local taxi drivers,for reasons known only to themselves.

Over the past decade or so I (we) have made the 200 plus mile round trip by car.

Sometimes staying overnight,but mostly driving back after the meal.

It would be wrong to say we dined frequently during any given year,However we are certainly fairly frequent disciples.

Last July I telephoned to book a table and was told by Helen,they were closed because of the floods.Not because of any water ingress just that the water was turned off for health reasons .period.

A week or so later she called back to say they were now open,so I promptly booked for the following evening.

Upon arrival, and during pre-dinner drinks I was full of praise for their exceptionally user friendly wine list,provided by Robin Jones from Croque en Bouche,Which incidently was a very,very good michelin restaurant before becoming a wine merchant.

As is usual I listen to recommendations and generally choose game or meat options,mosty preferring complex,strong flavours.

On this occasion I was persuaded to try a fish course mainly because it sounded exiting and complex.

As it was the dish was unusually bland,with no zing.

When Helen asked if I had enjoyed the dish I said that I normally don't choose fish,as I prefer more gutsy flavors,and that I was disappointed.

I did not make a fuss whatsoever,I just put it down to experience.

It was all fairly low key and that was that.

We waited for the bill and eventually it arrived,not from Helen,one of the other young waitresses.

We waited in the small reception area after paying and leaving a suitable tip.

It seemed an age and Helen still did not appear from the kitchen.I asked one of the waitresses to ask her to come so we could say goodbye.

To this day we received no goodbye.

On the long drive home I kept mulling over the conversation,I didn't ask for a reduction in the bill or another dish,why the cold shoulder?We had just made the journey to Mecca

Not sure about that long journey anytime soon.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I'm surprised by that; Helen was delightful when we were there last month and I can honestly say that she gave some of the best service I've ever had in this country.

And the food was incredible, which reminds me, I desperately need to write it up.

Adam

Hi Adam, As stated we are big fans hence the frequent journeys to pay homage.

I guess that I hit a nerve,and she went on the defensive,its a real shame,but sometimes these things happen.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I'm surprised by that; Helen was delightful when we were there last month and I can honestly say that she gave some of the best service I've ever had in this country.

And the food was incredible, which reminds me, I desperately need to write it up.

Adam

Hi Adam, As stated we are big fans hence the frequent journeys to pay homage.

I guess that I hit a nerve,and she went on the defensive,its a real shame,but sometimes these things happen.

That would be a real shame if that was the case, but from my experiences of both David and Helen, I would be very suprised indeed if this was due to any comments you made about the food. Helen (and David for that matter) have always been the consummate professionals and incredibly charming every time I have been. I certainly wouldn't let it stop you from going again, there is more than likely a very honest reason for you not getting your goodbye.

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

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Helen (and David for that matter) have always been the consummate professionals and incredibly charming every time I have been.  I certainly wouldn't let it stop you from going again, there is more than likely a very honest reason for you not getting your goodbye.

Well she was pretty cold when we ate there last year - it wasn't good FOH service at all. Problem is that is all I really remember a year later. However, I do plan to give it another try because I seem to be in the minority.

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Just back from lunch - and it was very good. More notes to follow, but in the meantime, in the spirit of public service re: the following ...

Amazon is now listing David's new book "Dessert"- due out March 20th.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dessert-Recipes-Ch...35394499&sr=8-2

... um, it's out now ... and it's absolutely stunning. Some classics, some new ones, , some of the recipes and photos actually made me want to go and be in a kitchen very very soon - and am particularly tickled by the vegetable section. Can't say any more, need to go and caress my copy of the book.

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Just back from lunch - and it was very good.  More notes to follow, but in the meantime, in the spirit of public service re: the following ...
Amazon is now listing David's new book "Dessert"- due out March 20th.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dessert-Recipes-Ch...35394499&sr=8-2

... um, it's out now ... and it's absolutely stunning. Some classics, some new ones, , some of the recipes and photos actually made me want to go and be in a kitchen very very soon - and am particularly tickled by the vegetable section. Can't say any more, need to go and caress my copy of the book.

"Essence"is already a must have for any foodies bookshelf.

Part of its success is the use ability of the recipes.

Sounds like"Dessert "will be the same!

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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does it have the Mango Panna cotta recipe, that I had up thread?

Got a semi just thinking about it.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Much to my shame, having been unable to spend much time on blogs over the past few months, I am incredibly tardy at posting a couple of reviews. To add to my shame, these are not really just normal review, but they are in fact reviews of two of the best meals that I was lucky enough to have last year! An annual visit to Le Champignon Sauvage has become something of religious pilgrimage for me - one that really needs to occur more than once a year, as once is never enough, usually leaving me with a serious case of cold chicken afterwards - even as I write, I am having pangs of desire to put on my jacket, pack up my laptop and get in my car to head straight down to Cheltenham for a fix of David's food. Alas, sanity prevails and I will remain just where I am with the wonders of a prêt a manger Swedish meatball wrap for lunch rather than the ethereal delights that await any person lucky enough to eat at this wonderful restaurant.

My last meal at LCS was a particularly special one, not least because it was my wife's first visit as a special treat for her birthday (I usually keep her locked in a cage being fed on dry bread and water!). David had very kindly agreed to cook for us, so I knew we were in for something really special, so as we set off from London to the B&B that was to be our base for our trip.

We arrived in Cheltenham at around 1pm in need of a spot of lunch. Now, I am not sure quite how I manage this, but it seems that every time I have been to Cheltenham I have managed to pick the culinary equivalent of a pub toilet after a heavy night as a lunch spot. The last time I was down, I had such a terrible meal of flaccid battered calamari and a pasta dish which was so bad, that I almost wept for the crimes against food that were being committed at this particular restaurant. The past had actually all but disintegrated into mush and water that I was compelled to head down to WH Smiths to buy a "my first cook book" to take back and hand deliver to this particular restaurant in the hope that this could save others from the distress that I had been faced with. Now, to be fair, looking back at it, the fault for this terrible lunch was entirely mine. I really, really should have known better, but for some godforsaken reason I actually chose to eat at the Bella Pasta on the high street - why oh why the inclination even popped into my head I really don't know. Perhaps it was because it was past lunch time when I arrived in Cheltenham on this occasion and I was so hungry I was even contemplating chewing on my own arm. In retrospect I probably would have enjoyed my arm more Now, you might think I would have learned my lesson from this experience, that I would have done my research in advance or, at the very least, have avoided places famed for poor food. Sadly, the truth is, I must have deep seated desire to punish myself with a bad meal before enjoying the delights of LCS as this time, having spent a good 45 minutes walking up and down the high street in search of inspiration for lunch, I ended up making a bee line to the Wetherspoon's pub (yes, the one right round the corner from Bella Pasta!) for lunch. Now, if steak cooked to the point where it resembles leather and chips that have more in common with mashed potato (without the potato flavour) is your kind of thing then it would have been a truly delightful meal. Sadly for me, this is not really my kind of food, and so, alas it was another terrible lunch. Oh well, maybe next time I will just take a packed lunch!

By the time we reached LCS following a lovely walk from the B&B we were both absolutely ravenous. We were greeted by an ever efficient and truly charming Helen who took us to our table - a two-top by one of the windows. Personally, I am rather fond of the room, the tables are well spaced and it is incredibly bright and airy with lovely details all around without being overly fussy. Before I get on to the meal, I have to make an apology for the fact that I am bound to miss some of the details (despite having made notes straight after the meal and having vivid memories of each dish) of the incredible meal that David served us. Suffice it to say that it was truly exceptional, and my concerns that it could not live up to previous meals at LCS proved totally unfounded. In fact, I would go as far as to say it gets better and better - consistently excellent. Quite how it has not yet received 3 Michelin Star status is beyond me - the wife still maintains it is the best meal she has ever had. Seeing Ducasse at the Dorchester receiving 2 stars and a rising 3 star status in the 2009 guide only goes to show how wrong Michelin can get it at times. Having had one terrible meal at his London incarnation and one very average meal there - both costing more per person than the entire meal for both of us at LCS, it leaves me wondering rather cynically if David might not be well advised to change his surname to a something more Gallic. To me, every meal that I have had the privilege of having at LCS has been the unequivocally of 3 Michelin star cuisine and is, in my humble opinion, one of the best restaurants in the UK.

We started with a glass of champagne each - the perfect aperitif and a great accompaniment to the canapés which were served. The canapés, as usual were cheese gugeres and a kind of mini pizza topped with a rich, wonderfully reduced tomato sauce and unctuous caramelised onion. Served warm straight from the kitchen, these really are superb, the thin butter pastry melting away in your mouth leaving your pallet alive and primed for the food to come.

Next were the excellent breads - made daily on the premises and served warm with a rich, slightly salted butter. Quite how the tiny brigade (just 4 people including David!) manage to find time to make these as well as to prep all the ingredients that is needed for the intricate dishes that are served at LCS is beyond me. It actually leaves me wondering if David has been consorting with Santa Claus and has found a way to slow down time to allow them to get all their prep done before diners arrive! There was a choice of three breads (and being the pig that I am I tried all three!), white, poppy seed and my personal favourite, the shallot and bacon brioche.

The amuse was a pumpkin mousse with candied pumpkin, dried fruit and a coriander foam. This was very autumnal dish with a lovely earthy flavour coming through the sweetness of the pumpkin and dried fruit. The coriander gave a slightly zesty edge, cutting through the richness of the mousse, whilst pumpkin seeds and the candied fruit provided some interesting textural qualities to the without overpowering the natural flavour of the pumpkin.

The first course was a single plump scallop, beautifully seared with a sliver of belly pork, broccoli puree, roasted peanuts and a peanut foam. Not ingredients that I would naturally put together, this dish fulfilled on every level. Like with the amuse, the textural qualities of the dish were very interesting, traversing from the crunch of the nuts, to the soft buttery texture of the scallop and the pork to the smooth puree. The dish had complex layers of flavour, starting with the sweet, slightly caramelised flavour of the peanuts, then the sweetness of the scallop blending and that wonderful belly pork and ending with the slightly anodyne flavour of the broccoli. Certainly a very pleasant change to the usual scallop, pork belly, cauliflower combo (no matter how nice it is!)

The second course was native lobster marinated in miso with an oat risotto. I was worried that the miso flavour would overpower the mild flavour of the lobster, but yet again, David had balance the flavour so well that the salty-sweet flavour of the miso worked in harmony with the lobsters subtle flavour. The oat risotto was rich and creamy and added a nutty quality to the dish.

The third course was for me, perhaps the most shocking dish (in a good way). When Helen presented us the dish and explained that it was "Zander with a boudin of tripe, hibiscus jus, carrot puree and vegetable jelly beans with lady smock" I was slightly nervous. I have only ever had tripe 3 times prior to this occasion, and every time had been an unmitigated disaster. What can I say, I simply don't like the stuff, not how it looks, the taste, the texture and certainly not the smell. Whilst I have the upmost respect for David's cooking I really couldn't see what he could do to tripe to make it in any way enjoyable. I had images of myself as a small boy the first time I tried tripe. I must have been 8 years old and had been invited to the house of a boy in the year below me at school. His mother was a lovely German lady who for some reason thought I might be a good influence on her son and that somehow having a friend in the year above would benefit him, so she arranged with my mum for me to go over after school one day. Quite why she thought I might have any positive effect on this boys life was and remains beyond me, however that evening certainly left an impression on me! When we sat down to the table, I was served a large white plate with three things on it - only one of which I recognised as being sauerkraut (no, really, they did serve me sauerkraut!) Of the other two items on the plate (other from a pool of salty water that covered the base of the plate due to the lack of draining the food after boiling it), one looked rather like a peeled, boiled egg, and the other a wrinkly piece of fat. I bit into the egg only to realise that actually it tasted nothing of egg, had a rubbery texture and tasted rather ureic. I decided I was not a fan so moved on to the wrinkly fatty thing. The smell of this was really quite unpleasant, but compared to the taste in my mouth it was perfectly acceptable. As soon as it entered my mouth I wanted, no I needed to get it out again. I had no idea what I had been fed, but one thing I was sure of, it was the worst thing that I had ever tasted in my life. I tried so hard to resist, but I was unable, I had to run to the bathroom where I promptly threw up rather vocally all over the floor. Quite taken aback, my new friend's lovely German mother "vot is vrong, you not liking zee boiled tripe unt kidney?". Needless to say, she reassessed her judgement about me as a suitable play mate for her son and I scarcely saw him again.

For me, I still have nightmares about that meal and the arrival of a boudin of this creation of the Devil had me fearful that I would end up embarrassing myself by having to run to the bathroom to deposit the wonderful food I had so far consumed. Nonetheless, I will try anything once (or 4 times in this case) in the name of gastronomy. The Zander was absolutely beautiful - its a fish that I rarely see on menus, but it was meaty with dense sweet flesh, perfectly seasoned and cooked so that the the flakes separated with little effort. The boudin was surprisingly delicious, a revelation in fact. None of the awful, faecal flavour that I have experienced in the past, nor the rubbery, slimy texture. This was tender and meaty with a pleasant offal flavour that when combined with the sweet hibiscus source was lifted to a new dimension. The vegetable "jelly beans" looked just like that and were indeed a sea vegetable that had a slightly bitter sweet taste and popped on biting in to them (a bit like a very fresh grape), squirting a little bit of salty fluid into your mouth. The combination of this with the fish and the tripe was really quite inspired and utterly delicious. The final touch, the Lady Smock, which I had never had before but had read about in Essence, was the final touch to the dish. It had a peppery flavour (not unlike rocket, only stronger) and caused my tongue to buzz, rather like the effect of a good Szechuan pepper corn. The flavours and textures all worked so well that not only was it delicious, but a very interesting dish to eat, with no two mouthfuls the same. You have to give homage to a chef who is confident enough in his ability and understanding of flavours and techniques to serve a controversial and widely disliked ingredient like tripe on his menu fully in the knowledge that it would be delicious. Whilst I do not intend to cook it at home any time soon, nor am I likely to order it in any restaurant, I would happily eat it any time David chooses to serve it at LCS.

The penultimate savoury course, a rabbit tortellini with vanilla puree, apple and radish was another big hit. The pasta was paper thin and cooked so that it retained the faintest hint of bite. The rabbit was full of flavour and incredibly tender, the vanilla puree had both a cleansing affect on the palate thereby enhancing the flavour of the overall dish and the combination with the sweet apple and the rather sharp, crisp radish brought the whole dish together. The presentation was also absolutely beautiful as with every course that came out during the course of the evening. The only downside is that when I was telling my sister about the meal, my 4 year old niece overheard and was so abhorred by the idea that I ate rabbit (she has one as a pet) that she gave me the cold shoulder for a couple of days - oh the sacrifices we make in the name of gastronomy!

The final savoury course of the evening was a partridge breast with braised partridge wrapped in cabbage, pickled pear and caramelised chicory. The partridge was a fantastic specimen - hung for just long enough to acquire a good gamey flavour without becoming overpowering. The breast was so succulent that I wonder if it had been cooked sous vide (I think I did ask the question but that it wasn't) and the accompaniments of the sweet pickled pair and the bitter chicory were the perfect soil for the rich meat. The braised partridge was absolutely stunning, I could have eaten a plate of it - the flavour was so deep and indulgent with the cabbage serving to give it a freshness so that it was not too heavy. Cooking like this really is something to wonder at!

The first desert that was served was a hibiscus and raspberry jelly with a lemon mouse, strawberry sorbet, gingerbread crumbs and a touch of popping candy. As with the savoury courses, so much attention is given to the deserts at LCS, they have multiple components that work so well together. So often chefs try and put too many items on a dish and despite each individual item being a delight in themselves, the whole is less than a sum of the parts. At LCS, that is absolutely not the case. The citrus of the mousse cut through the sweetness of the jelly and the sorbet, whilst the gingerbread gave a comforting warm tingle at the back of the mouth. The popping candy came through only at the end of the mouthful, almost like an echo of the mouth puckering effect that strong citrus can have. The whole dish was light and came together like a great symphony.

The second desert was a pumpkin brulee with cherry stone ice cream (no, I had never thought of using a cherry stone or any other stone for a sorbet for that matter, but boy did it work!), chocolate shavings and a touch of popping candy. Helen suggest a glass of Banyuls to accompany this and the final desert - never one to pass on a desert wine we went with her suggesting which was a fantastic accompaniment for both dishes. It was interesting to see pumpkin come up again at this stage of the meal - it was like going full circle back to the amuse and worked very well. I am often disappointed with brulees at restaurants, as too often the sugar layer is burnt to smithereens or is a soggy mess of only partially melted sugar. This specimen had a crisp sugar layer that looked like bronzed glass - it cracked into shards when tapped with a spoon making a very satisfying sound. The cherry stone ice cream had a slightly bitter taste with a background flavour of cherry.

The meal, despite the number of courses (which for me was spot on) was incredibly well balanced and each dish was a multi-sensory experience without the need for gimmicks or iPod's (although they have their place too, as Heston has so well shown). It worked so well with the slightly nutty pumpkin, taking the edge off the sweetness of the dish and giving it balance.

The final desert and indeed the final dish of the meal was a chocolate and black olive fondant with fennel ice cream, and a tuille of sugar and dark chocolate. I could wax lyrical about how the olives gave depth and moistness to the fondant, or about how with the lightest tap of the side of my spoon it split in half oozing its rich, sticky filling onto the plate, or about the lovely contrast that the anise flavours of the fennel ice cream, but I wont. The components of this dish speak well enough all by themselves - it was the perfect finish to a flawless meal.

We finished the meal with coffee and petit fours in the bar area. Despite being full we still managed to put away a fair few of them (how could we resist) and we were joined by David and Helen for a good old natter about life, restaurants and David's new book on deserts (as with his last book essence, one of the best books out there with inspiring recipes that actually work!). Having had many meals out last year at a number of restaurants, many of which are were very good and indeed well renowned for their food, I have rarely been shocked or inspired. So many restaurants, whilst having faultless execution and delicious food, have become almost homogenous, refusing to take the risk of introducing new flavours or combinations at the risk of alienating diners (and perhaps Michelin?). Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it does make dining out less interesting with the same or similar dishes and plating appearing all over the place. It was therefore refreshing to visit LCS where the food is not only superb but also stands out from the crowd, highlighting the chef's excellent palette and cooking ability. David combines flavours and textures that I have never seen or tasted before - certainly not together on the same plate anyway! It is also a testament to David that he is always in the kitchen, if he is not there for any reason, the restaurant closes - I only wish some other chefs were as committed to their trade rather than ditching the restaurant in favour of television cameras and book signings.

We finally decided to leave to let David and Helen finish off and go home (at gone 1 in the morning, they must have been shattered!). As I settled the bill, I was again reminded of the incredible value at LCS - the multi-course menu, 2 glasses of champagne, a bottle of Saint Veran and a bottle of Givry pinot noir, as well as coffee and petit fours for less than £200!!! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, especially as the wine list has wines starting as low as £12!! Is this perhaps the best value 2 Michelin starred restaurant in Europe?! I certainly am yet to find anything approaching the value and with such un-greedy mark-ups on the wine list (the cash cow of most restaurants).

Whilst the style of food is vastly different, I can't help finding myself putting both LCS and the Sportsman together in my head. The reason for this is not only that both were in my top 5 meals of last year, nor the fact that both have very, very late write-ups from me, nor indeed that both were the locations for celebratory meals for me and my wife this year. For me the reason that I put these two together is that both David Everett-Matthias and Stephen Harris have inspired me with their food, both have their own unique style, both are passionate about what they do and go to extreme lengths to source the best local ingredients and both offer incredible value for money in a relaxed surrounding. These are chefs who I firmly believe are doing what they do because they love to cook and love to give their diners not only excellent food but an experience to remember. Neither chef is after fame or riches (although I am sure neither would complain about the riches!). And that to me comes across so clearly in their food - the passion is there. It sounds rather corny, but they are restaurants where, to steal the phrase from Raymond Blanc, leave you feeling richer for going there - I can't wait to go back again!

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

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That was a fantastic review ravelda, I loved the section on the tripe dish. You've made me realise just how desperately I need to go back, time to start saving i think.

On the topic of your prior lunch, I apologise on behalf of cheltenham. It takes a knowledge of the place to find a decent lunch unfortunately. Should you go back, I can recommend Maison Chaplais (down the road from LCS, towards the M5 in a small area called Tivoli), Jack's on Bath Road and Laze Daze, which I get the feeling some may disagree with a little, nobodys really talked about it here, but it feels like an opinion divider. Good 2 for £10 lunch imo.

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We were at Le Champignon in January for my other half's birthday. We had a similar meal to Ravelda, as David had also agreed to do a surprise menu.

I think we started with a veloute of jerusalem artichoke, but I have to be honest and say I can't remember precisely! The bread, which as mentioned, is fantastic. The onion and bacon brioche is reason alone to go to LCS.

Our first course was the lobster, glazed with miso, on the oat and bread risotto. There was a very strong hit of orange, which was a little cloying, in all honesty, but the sweet miso worked with the succulent lobster claw.

Scallop, belly pork, peanuts and peanut foam was up next. The only problem with this is it isn't quite as good as the old signature dish of scallops with ras el hanout caramel, which was a dish of such perfection that I stopped eating them in other restaurants! The belly was rich, fatty and flavoursome. The peanuts added a great textural contrast and the foam continued the flavour.

Rabbit ravioli with loin of rabbit and kidneys followed. Perfectly made pasta, plump with rabbit were combined with the tiny, perfectly cooked kidneys and loin. A fine example of what David does so well - combining different cuts of an animal.

We also had breast of partridge, although ours came with confit duck hearts. This was a dish of incredible quality. The partridge was moist and flavoursome. The duck hearts provided a rich, meaty contrast.

Our main (yes, the others were essentially starters) was an asiette of mutton. This was LCS at it's absolute best. A canneloni of leg meat, the pasta replaced by thin slices of celeriac. A patty of shoulder was herby, rich and earthy. The loin was served rare. Accompanied by ceps, parsnip and celeriac puree.

This dish was phenomenal in the flavour it delivered. A much under-used meat was the absolute star of the dish and the different cuts delivered layers of flavour.

The pre-dessert of rose geranium cream came, and desserts proper began.

The first was something I wouldn't have ordered but having had, was amazed by. Passion fruit cream with mango and coconut sorbet. A cylinder of passion fruit cream had been gently caramelised on top and was gentle in acidity. This was served with caramelised mango, mango puree and a quenelle of coconut sorbet. The combination was genius. A mini-tropical paradise on a plate.

Final dessert was a black olive and chocolate tart, served with fennel ice cream. Words can't do justice to how good this is. The dark chocolate is given extra depth and earthiness by the black olives. The fennel ice cream has a beautiful, gentle anise hit and sweetness to offset the richness of the chocolate. Matched perfectly with a Pedro Ximenez sherry.

To anyone who hasn't gone to LCS, then you need to. David is one of the most creative chefs working in the UK. He uses local ingredients and wild herbs in a way that I haven't seen from anyone else. His dishes are 2*cooking its very best in the UK. The wine list is phenomenal value and the front of house is superbly run by Helen. I truly love this place!

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Rather than merely writing a gushing “wow, book looks great – best food porn in ages” I thought I should give a recipe a try out. The apricot & pistachio cake looked so inviting – it also looked like one of the easier ones.

So - got the ingredients together then, oops – that's not 75g of apricots but 750g. Back to the shops. Ok now ready. Damn – that’s icing sugar for the pastry not caster. Will it work – let’s not risk it – back to the shops. (Note to self – read the sodding recipes next time – all of them...)

Apricots soaking nicely – don’t have apricot brandy so used white port instead. The only thing I had was calvados which seemed too strong.

Pastry is coming together nicely. hmm – don’t have 3 hours – let’s put it in the freezer instead. Oh – just realised i’ve used self-raising not plain – bugger - not starting again or going back to shops. There’s a reason why I don’t do desserts. Not a good start.

Frangipane – reworked the order a little to fit around use of thermomix - worked a treat. (also just realised I could have made icing sugar out of caster sugar – not really good at this cooking thing...)

Apricot puree – done - tastes great. Superb syrup from the marinade.

Pastry chilled – could have done a bit longer but suppose better than dealing with solid block. Hate this bit. Anyway – huge amount of pastry for one tin – also seems to be huge amount of filling. So – quickly prep another smaller tin.

Pastry in – blind baking – fine. Edges & sides rise a little – but rework with back of spoon. Looks ok – lot bit better than expected.

Apricot jam/puree done and first layer of frangipane filling. Apricots layered – slightly overlapping. hmm – that’ a lot of fruit. Just jam on small tart with some diced apricots. Both now covered with filling. Look good. Now very worried about self-raising vs plain flour thing. Too late now ‘suppose

Pistachios scattered on top & in they go. v pleased to have remembered to pre-heat the oven.

40min come & go but tarts nowhere near ready. Move them around the oven – little one now on top. Another 20min – little tart looks done – hurrah - but its another 30 min for the big tart – very worried that outside fucked but centre still gooey. Too much moisture in apricots - dunno. Did i miss a step – frantic reading of recipe – no, all steps done. Now fretting . god i hate making cakes – why didn’t i try the ice creams first (pop corn or croissant?) sound completely barking mad & completely irresistible.

Big tart now out & looking very impressive. Little tart didn’t last long – devoured while still warm. Tasted absolutely delicious – thankfully not too sweet.

The big tart – yes – i put in way too much fruit – and the edges were a little dry – but over all i’m fairly pleased. Here’s photo. Yes- that is a lot of tart...

gallery_1946_1763_11700.jpg

Anyway – don’t let my being a crap cook put you off – the tart is delicious & the book quite wonderful. Now, where did i put the pop corn...

Edited by tony h (log)
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  • 5 weeks later...

um, still haven't done notes from the March visit since the photos need a bit of work, but in the meantime - had another great lunch here last week. David cooked for us, which meant lots of lovely food - always a good thing in my book. Pics and notes below:

Amuse - salt cod mousse and vichysoisse and angelica (??)

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I thought this was delicious, although it was too salty for one of the group. Which meant more for me - hurrah!

Assiette of pigeon - tartare, cured breast and rillettes - with fig puree

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For me, one the highlights of the meal. The tartare was the standout, velvet texture, just rich enough and great flavour.

Seared Scallops, pigs head, pickled pears, topped with crispy pig's ear

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Very good.

Butter poached skate and peas, poached hogweed and purslane

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Good - but very very rich.

Cannelloni of celeriac, oxtail and coxcomb with pom pom mushrooms and lady smock flowers

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Roast kid, Bolognese of heart, kidney and liver, wild garlic gnocchi and chervil tuber puree

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A superb main course - a classic LCS dish using both flesh and organs of a relatively unused beast and other lesser known ingredients to create a dish packed full of flavour and excitement.

Pre-dessert - pandanus leaf pannacotta, Chinese rose jelly and orchid root foam

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Beautifully balanced, and so scrumptious that I scraped the glass clean!

Lemon meringue pie, lemon jelly and sorrel icecream

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Very impressive, particularly the sorrel icecream. Given that I was stupid enough to pass over this on my last visit, was delighted to see it on our menu. And it’s in the new book, hmmm … wonder if I could try to make it.

Apricot cake, toasted almond icecream and milk puree

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Icecream was excellent, and cake was good - but very rich and sticky. Not that that’s a bad thing at all, but it was the reason why I couldn’t finish my last mouthful!

Petit fours

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…. And that’s it. At least until next time. :)

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Just received a copy of Dessert from the girlfriend who was kind enough to go with my dad to an event David and the restaurant did last week, consequently taunting me about how much free dessert and wine she had enjoyed. I was kicking myself for not going down just for it. However, the signed book more than made up for it. Its one of the most original concepts of cookbook that I think I have seen, the recipes and photography look fantastic and I can't wait to try them out.

David: A. Congrats and thanks on convincing my girlfriend of your food, it means I can bring her next time. She had previously been a bit afraid of some things i'd described to her as some less foodie type people can be.

B. Its true, i'm always on here! Can't help it. :biggrin:

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Chocolate Brownie (top right/bottom plate)

Shortbread - (top/bottom plate)

Cinnamon and chickory milk (left/bottom plate)

Duck egg and rhubarb custard tart (top/top plate)

Lemon Meringue (bottom right/bottom plate)

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