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Where are the interesting openings in London


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is the latest Conran Restaurant Sauterelle now open? and if so any comments? We are back in the U.K. just after New Year's and looking for some new establishments to try.

Cheers and Happy Christmas.

Stephen

Vancouver

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

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  • 2 weeks later...

At last I made it to Addendum Restaurant last night to try Tom Ilic's menu - something I hade been looking forward to for a few weeks now. Addendum, just a few minutes walk from Tower Hill station, has an imposing glass frontage and you enter through a less formal brasserie area which last night seemed to be doing OK with around 50 covers. A few steps lead to a bar area through which you find the restaurant and the better place to try Tom's cooking.

The restaurant is divided into two sections: one with four booths containing tables for 6 and which would be ideal for more discrete lunches; and the the other with a few round tables and a long banquette against the right hand wall. Throughout the restaurant and brasserie, however, there is an overuse of dark 'hotel style' wood which tends to dominate the surroundings.

I happily perused the menu whcih threw up some very difficult choices. As much as I wanted the pork cheek and chorizo with parsley mash my main course was going to be the assiette of pork for sure. So, not wanting to OD on pig I began with another Ilic trademark dish of calf sweetbreads, cock kidneys and artichoke. The sweetbreads were meltingly delicious and pink whilst the "kidneys" were wrapped in pancetta to add a punch together with creamy onions and a sauce of giroles and almonds it was a wonderfully robust way to start the meal.

The assiette of pork featured pig's head, trotter, loin and belly. Each was as it should be: the head meat moist and flavoursome; trotter unctuous; loin pink and tender; and the belly slow cooked topped by superb crackling. To have these four pieces of pork and all so tasting so differently on the one plate was a new and memorable experience - and one I shall look forward to repeating! It was a filling dish and so much so I could not attempt a dessert however tempting the spicy chocolate sounded!

The restaurant itself only had a few other tables occupied which will no doubt change once the reviews start flowing in and a bit of atmosphere to the room. However, right now, if you are having trouble finding a table in the City this is a true God send.

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  • 5 months later...
As much as I wanted the pork cheek and chorizo with parsley mash my main course was going to be the assiette of pork for sure. So, not wanting to OD on pig I began with another Ilic trademark dish of calf sweetbreads, cock kidneys and artichoke.

I had the pork cheek and chorizo on Tuesday night and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten in a "fine dining" restaurant. The cheek comes in the form of two small faggots of the braised meat en crepinette and then wrapped in wafer thin slices of chorizo. All this sits on a splodge of the garlic and parsley mash and a jus so clear that it looks like set caramel on the plate. I don't know exactly what is in the faggot, but I think it must be more than just the braised meat - whatever; it was fantastically savoury and delicious. It's also a very well judged dish - it's rich but they serve just enough so that it doesn't make the meal top heavy. There's no butter in the sauce and the mash isn't one of those butter, cream and a bit of potato jobs. It's a simple dish but incredibly well executed. It reminded me of the excitement of eating out in the early 90's in London and why I got hooked in the first place.

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  • 3 months later...

Just a note that Addendum are now advertising 30% of the a la carte (see website here) - posters for it all over the escalators in Bank tube.

Unsure if this is a good thing or bad thing. Obviously chance to get good quality nosh on the cheap (I note Addendum also got a spiffing write-up in the latest Time Out London 2007 guide)... but maybe a worrying sign they can't fill the tables!

Worth a look. I suspect Tom Ilic's piggy cuisine is better suited as the long winter nights close in.

J

PS on a related note only realised today that Tom Ilic is nephew of Peter Ilic of Le Mercury, Little Bay "how the f**k do they do edible food so f**king cheap" fame...

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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"PS on a related note only realised today that Tom Ilic is nephew of Peter Ilic of Le Mercury, Little Bay "how the f**k do they do edible food so f**king cheap" fame..."

Yep, and if you managed to get to Peter's LMNT in it's first few weeks of opening you would have been eating 3 courses of Tom's cooking for about a tenner!!

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  • 1 year later...

Tom Ilic has just reappeared at "Tom Ilic" in what was the Food Room in Queenstown Road. The cooking is as impressive as ever and the prices are almost stupidly cheap at the moment - £5.5 for the signature braised pigs cheeks and £11.95 for an assiette of pork that wouldn't look out of place in a two star restaurant. Its not the most luxurious of places to eat, but its comfortable enough. The critics are onto him already - Fay Maschler was in last night so expect a review next week I would imagine.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Tom Ilic has just reappeared at "Tom Ilic" in what was the Food Room in Queenstown Road. The cooking is as impressive as ever and the prices are almost stupidly cheap at the moment - £5.5 for the signature braised pigs cheeks and £11.95 for an assiette of pork that wouldn't look out of place in a two star restaurant. Its not the most luxurious of places to eat, but its comfortable enough. The critics are onto him already - Fay Maschler was in last night so expect a review next week I would imagine.

Had lunch there today and was disappointed. The alc isn't available and the lunch menu was very uninspiring - only three mains on offer of which I had an average rib eye steak and Mrs Winot a below average chicken dish which was overcooked. Starters were a bit more imaginative - red mullet with artichokes and smoked haddock tortelleni. The fish was superb but the dish as a whole was let down by an overly vinegary dressing. The pasta was fine. Puddings were the best of the lot - an apple cake with apple sorbet and gingerbread, rhubarb and an excellent lemon grass pannacotta. Wines by the glass were quite interesting - viognier, picpoul de pinet, something from the Cahors area.

Overall the impression was a kitchen punching below its weight. I've had better meals there in its earlier incarnations (Stepping Stone then the Food Room). I guess they have made a business decision to offer an accessible and cheap lunch menu and save the fireworks for the evening. Even so there was only one other table occupied there today. I'd be interested to hear reports of the alc, but I certainly won't be going back for its poor cousin.

Edit to add - website here.

Edited by Winot (log)
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Tom Ilic has just reappeared at "Tom Ilic" in what was the Food Room in Queenstown Road. The cooking is as impressive as ever and the prices are almost stupidly cheap at the moment - £5.5 for the signature braised pigs cheeks and £11.95 for an assiette of pork that wouldn't look out of place in a two star restaurant. Its not the most luxurious of places to eat, but its comfortable enough. The critics are onto him already - Fay Maschler was in last night so expect a review next week I would imagine.

Had lunch there today and was disappointed. The alc isn't available and the lunch menu was very uninspiring - only three mains on offer of which I had an average rib eye steak and Mrs Winot a below average chicken dish which was overcooked. Starters were a bit more imaginative - red mullet with artichokes and smoked haddock tortelleni. The fish was superb but the dish as a whole was let down by an overly vinegary dressing. The pasta was fine. Puddings were the best of the lot - an apple cake with apple sorbet and gingerbread, rhubarb and an excellent lemon grass pannacotta. Wines by the glass were quite interesting - viognier, picpoul de pinet, something from the Cahors area.

Overall the impression was a kitchen punching below its weight. I've had better meals there in its earlier incarnations (Stepping Stone then the Food Room). I guess they have made a business decision to offer an accessible and cheap lunch menu and save the fireworks for the evening. Even so there was only one other table occupied there today. I'd be interested to hear reports of the alc, but I certainly won't be going back for its poor cousin.

Edit to add - website here.

Sorry to hear that - but then nobody else seemed to be that enthusiastic about the old Food Room other than me. Maybe I'll like it.

And sorry to be incredibly thick, but what's the "alc"?

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Well, Haozhan on Gerrard Street sure looked like an interesting opening - been a good few months since a new place has had such unanimous acclaim.

Chilli salt quail was good - good chilli kick, delicate batter, slightly pink inside and great gamey taste.

Unfortunately it was downhill from there.

The soft shell crab was not good. Under spiced, over-battered.

Mains weren't much better. The tofu and scallop (raved about in a couple of the reviews) was drenched in a sweet gloopy orange sauce, so the tofu was reminiscent of a crème caramel. Szechuan vegetables suffered from the same sauce. Chicken in a hot-pot dish had the woolly texture of a high street takeaway.

Service best described as perfunctory, if not actually rude. What was odd was that the starters and mains were served one after the other, with gaps of perhaps five minutes between each. The kitchen didn't seem that busy - we were eating at about 11pm.

We wondered if the (ex-Hakkasan) chef that had wowed Mr Rayner & co had left the building - gone for an early night or perhaps gone for good.

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After some prompting gave Haozhan a spin on Fri

Good and bad - the texture of the tofu and scallop thing was wonderdrously silky and the green layer (seawood) something I haven't come across before. The sauce was a bit weird though - tasted of roast chicken crisps! On balance I'd have it again but a bit strange.

House soup was fine

Black cod w champagne butter sauce was basically braised cod in beurre blanc. Decent size portion but the cod could have done with being more browned. Probably a touch overdone.

Mixed feelings. Its interesting and certainly drying to do something different. The crowd was noticeably laowai-heavy, IMHO not a good thing (though some may beg to differ). Prices are on the high end - you could easily spend quite a bit.

The cooking is perhaps straining a bit to hard to do fusion. The slightly forced flavour combinations feel like what you'd find in a provincial restaurant with a 23 year old chef at the stoves trying to make a name for himself by having a hack at the "fusion thing". In short running before it can walk.

We shall see

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Wait, the Food Room has closed?! I'm sure I walked past it just a week or two ago and it was still there...

It's gone now click here.

Well this Tom Ilic guy'd better be good because I loved the Food Room. Mind you, whenever we went we were generally the only people in there, so I suppose I saw it coming.

Linking to the Food Room from sites such as Toptable takes you to the French Table which was, of course, its sister restaurant (they previously had a joint website).

The closure of the Food Room gives an sad resolution to my contemplation before reading this thread as to which of the two to eat at.

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i've been wanting to try hereford road of the st. john's gang in bayswater...went last night but it was a private party unfortunately. (lucky seven's provided an excellent as always burger)

i did manage to have a mini steak sandwich with horseradish while the chef told me i couldnt eat there...anyone been?

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