Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Stallmastaregarden

Restaurant

Stallmastaregarden
Norrtull
113 47 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone:- +46 8 610 1300

Website www.stallmastaregarden.se

Overview

Eva and I celebrated Midsummer in Stockholm this year. As the weather was exceptionally fine, we dined alfresco at the Stallmastaregarden (Stable Master) Restaurant.

Stallmastaregarden is Stockholm’s oldest inn, and features a hotel and several restaurants.

Stallmastaregarden Inn has been in existence since the 17th century and is one of Stockholm’s, as well as Sweden’s, most well known restaurants. Many famous Swedish chefs began their careers there. With an emphasis on Swedish produce of the highest quality together with their very own smokehouse, rotisserie and grill, traditional Swedish cuisine is kept alive with inspirations from the present day.

Ambience

The restaurant and hotel is made up of several buildings, styled in the manner of an 18th century inn.

There are a number of dining rooms available; some for private functions, a water front café (The "Lill-Stallis café" by Brunnsviken bay), a main dining room with an open terrace overlooking the water front and the “lust” house, a stand alone dining room that can accommodate up to six people.

We dined on the open terrace of the main restaurant.

The atmosphere was cosy and inviting; the fact that it was summer, and that most diners were on the terrace, gave the place a more informal and relaxed atmosphere.

Menu

The menu (presented in both English and Swedish) contained a variety of Swedish and European dishes including; a herring buffet, lobster salad, asparagus and crayfish, halibut, chicken, veal served with duck liver sauce and lamb.

The homemade bread presented to us in a bread basket, whilst we perused the menu, was of a good quality; consisting of a variety of Swedish crisp breads and dark rye breads,

Service

The staff were very friendly and helpful, they were attentive but not intrusive. As you would expect in a good quality Stockholm restaurant, their English was impeccable.

Food

I chose the smoked tenderloin for my starter. This consisted of wafer thin slices of delicately smoked beef, served with roasted cashew nuts and a Dijon mustard dressing. It was a delight to eat, the taste was sublime; it proved to be an ideal starter for a warm summer’s evening.

I chose the lamb for my main course. This consisted of a variety of cuts of lamb, including cutlets and carved shoulder.

The lamb was cooked to perfection, and was succulent and flavoursome. The lamb was served with jus, pickled onions and avocado cream; these complimented the delicate flavour of the meat without overpowering it.

The dish was accompanied by sauté potatoes and vegetables; an excellent combination.

Eva chose the grilled chicken, with morel cream sauce, for her main course. The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, the flavour enhanced by the morel sauce. The dish came with a delightful potato cake and fresh asparagus.

I indulgently concluded my repast with strawberries, marinated in Grand Marnier, served with homemade vanilla ice cream.

The meal, which included a bottle of Chablis and liqueurs, came to SEK1840 including service.

Overall Opinion

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and evening there, and will happily visit again. We recommend that you visit it the next time that your are in Stockholm.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Northern Ireland May Ban Smoking In Restaurants

Northern Ireland May Ban Smoking In Restaurants

Northern Ireland may ban smoking in workplaces including bars and restaurants.

The Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety will decide, after the summer, whether to prohibit smoking in all enclosed workplaces or to implement a partial ban that would allow smoking in some bars.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Visa Scheme Scrapped

Visa Scheme Scrapped

The British government has scrapped the short term visa scheme for people working in Indian restaurants, as a result of an illegal immigration scam involving Bangladeshis.

The scrapping will affect nearly 10,000 Indian restaurants in Britain.

The Immigration Minister, Tony McNulty, took the decision after a review uncovered fraud among Bangladeshis seeking work in the restaurants.

The Minister claims that the scheme was no longer needed, because many jobs in bars and restaurants were being filled by migrants from the new European Union states.

However, the decision was criticised by the UK's Immigration Advisory Service; it accused the minister of turning his back on the Indian restaurant industry, which is largely run by Bangladeshis.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry

A Michael Bagwell, has been arrested, on suspicion of presenting fake dry cleaning bills to restaurant managers.

Bagwell, who used the alias Mark Laskowski, took his dry-cleaning bill to seven suburban Des Moines restaurants in Texas earlier this month.

He has been charged with theft, perjury and stealing the identity of a former Georgia jail inmate. The investigation also has spread to Illinois, Georgia and Louisiana.

Bagwell allegedly went to the Lone Star Steakhouse in the first week of June, and told the manager that his wife had been in the week before and that a waitress had spilled iced tea on her. He presented a dry cleaning bill for $25.90 and the restaurant's manager, Nicole Graham, apologized and paid the bill.

She became suspicious when Bagwell couldn't remember the zip code for his address. She then saw him go across the road, to Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que, where he asked the manager to pay the bill.

Police found 14 fake dry cleaning bills in his car, along with identification cards with Bagwell's photograph and four other names.

Police said Bagwell also told officers his name was Mark Matherne, the name of a man released from a Georgia jail in 2004. The car Bagwell was driving was registered to an Illinois woman, who officers couldn't find, police said.

Trial is scheduled for the end of July.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Italian PM Insults Finnish Cuisine

Italian PM Insults Finnish Cuisine

Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, managed to upset the Finns on Tuesday by insulting the cuisine of Finland; which Italy beat to host the new European Food Safety Authority.

Berlusconi told local dignitaries, ahead of the inauguration of the EFSA in the northern Italian town of Parma:

"I've been to Finland and I had to endure the Finnish diet so I am in a position to make a comparison,"

At the opening ceremony European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, would have the chance to sample Parma's famous smoked ham, Berlusconi said; and see for himself that it was better than traditional Finnish food.

Quote:

"Barroso today will be able to taste our 'culatello' as opposed to smoked herrings from Finland,".

Berlusconi reportedly told a summit of European leaders in December 2001:

"Parma is synonymous with good cuisine. The Finns don't even know what prosciutto is."

I would advise the PM not to make so free with his insults. I have worked in Finland, and can tell him that the Finns are not to be messed with.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Singapore Food Festival

Singapore Food Festival

The Singapore Food Festival starts on 1st July, and will feature dishes from the sixties.

The event last for a month, and begins with Makan Mania hawker fare at Parco Bugis Junction.

Food Festival organisers hope that noodles, and other nostalgic food, will bring in the crowds.

Over half a million people are expected to visit the festival. It is expected to earn Singapore around $700M.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Christmas Chaos Warning

Christmas Chaos Warning

Whilst it may seem a tad early for the majority of people to be thinking of Christmas, that is not the case if you are in the pub and restaurant trade.

There is a warning that hundreds of local pubs and restaurants in the UK will be shut at Christmas, because they may miss the deadline for new drinks licences.

It seems that only 3% of licence holders across England and Wales have applied to their local authority for a licence.

August 6th is the deadline for applications.

The applications are compulsory following the passing of the 2003 Licensing Act, which transfers responsibility from magistrates to local councils.

Every premises selling alcohol, putting on entertainment or serving hot food (after 11pm) must apply for a new licence.

Councils have warned that they will not be able to cope with a deluge of late applications in July and early August, because many staff will be absent on summer holidays.

You have been warned!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Purveyors of Gandhi Curry in a Stew

Purveyors of Gandhi Curry in a Stew

An Australian takeaway firm, called Handi Ghandi "Great Curries...No Worries", has annoyed Mahatma Gandhi's family.

They are asking the Indian government to stop the company using Gandhi's name.

The company sells meat and vegetarian curries; including beef, which is sacred to Hindus and forbidden.

Tushar Gandhi, the activist's Bombay-based great-grandson and head of the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, is quoted as saying:

"It's offensive..It goes absolutely against all his beliefs. Using his image to sell beef curries and such doesn't gel".

Gandhi's name and image are protected under India's constitution. However, these laws quite clearly do not apply to other countries.

It may be that the Gandhi's family will have an uphill struggle with their complaint.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Indian Wine

Indian Wine

Following hot on the heels of the success of Cobra beer, the very popular Indian beer served in many Indian restaurants, wine merchants believe that Indian wine may be the next Cobra.

It seems that vineyards in India are starting to target the UK market.

Novum Wines has put its money where its mouth is, and has started to import wine from Sula, India's second largest producer of premium wine.

The wine is currently only being sold in Indian restaurants in the UK at the moment. However, it is soon to be available in off-licences.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dangerous Dining In Dhaka

Dangerous Dining In Dhaka

There are more than 5,000 restaurants in Dhaka City. However, the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) registration lists only 1000 of these.

The remaining 4000 appear to be "missing".

As to the 1000 "official" restaurants, there are only 18 inspectors available to monitor the hygiene standards of these.

Needless to say the hygiene in most of them is generally abysmal. It is reported that restaurant owners often do not clean plates, glasses, and spoons properly; additionally, the water is dirty.

The restaurants are reportedly serving rotten fish, meat from sick cattle, and spoiled vegetables.

Infections of Escherichia coli (E-coli), Salmonella, and Shigella bacteria in restaurant food and street foods in the city are not uncommon.

Sounds like a place to avoid.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Recipe For Disaster?

A Recipe For Disaster?

It seems that some restaurants in Britain are playing with fire, in as much as they are trying an experiment with allowing customers to pay what they like.

Michael Vasos, the owner of Just Around The Corner a French bistro in north London, tried the idea first. His customers are allowed to work out what they want to pay, without any argument, at the end of their meal.

Three other restaurants are following suit; Mju in Knightsbridge central London, Lanes in East London and Sweet Melinda's in Edinburgh.

However, Mr Vasos has a way of ensuring that people do not underpay. He gives them their money back, in order to humiliate them.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Chinese Restaurants Raided

Chinese Restaurants Raided

It is reported that authorities in Michigan USA have raided 17 Chinese restaurants, which they suspect have avoided paying millions of dollars in taxes and importing undocumented workers as a "modern version of indentured servants."

Search warrants were also issued at 21 homes of suspected undocumented Chinese workers.

Investigators believe that one family/related families own the restaurants, which are mostly in the central and west-central areas of the Lower Peninsula.

It is reported that 20 workers were living in one house with "very spartan" furnishings in Grand Rapids.

The owners are accused of understating their income by 2/3rds.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack

Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack

Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares programme, screened on UK Channel 4 last night, proved to be very interesting.

He visited Mama Cherri's Soul Food Shack in Brighton, a place that Eva and I visited a couple of years ago. See our review here Momma Cherri.

We were impressed with the quality of the food, when we visited.

It was interesting to see that Gordon Ramsay felt the same. However, as was evident, the business was failing; owing to a lack of clear delineation of duties in the kitchen, and effective marketing "front of house".

Unfortunately, this is a problem that affects many restaurants.

I was pleased to see that, after a week of Ramsay, the restaurant had taken on board his suggestions and by all accounts is now thriving.

We look forward to going there again.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Transvestite Sues

Transvestite Sues

A sociology teacher who was thrown out of two Lexington restaurants, for wearing women's clothing, is suing them.

Georgetown College for sexual discrimination.

Jeremy D. Kerr said that he regularly wears women's clothing, to demonstrate the "overall reduction of femininity in society."

Kerr first made headlines gained notice in May 2004 when he was thrown out of two Lexington restaurants for wearing a skirt and corset.

In separate lawsuits filed last month, Kerr has sued the owners of Pazzo's and Tolly-Ho restaurants, claiming discrimination and other charges.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Booze Blanket

Booze Blanket

The British Government is preparing to impose a blanket levy on all pubs, clubs restaurants and off licences in its new "alcohol disorder zones".

Home Secretary Charles Clarke had rejected calls to limit the charges to pay for extra policing in the zones of known troublespots.

All licensed premises in the areas designated as alcohol disorder zones will be faced with an average charge of £100-a-week.

Whilst this measure may be appropriate for pubs and clubs, where people go and get "blotto", I fail to understand why the measure is to apply to restaurants as well.

This will have a disasterous effect on local restaurants.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Anti Smoking Campaign Gathers Pace

Anti Smoking Campaign Gathers Pace

As the anti smoking lobby continues to push their views on the rest of society, Denmark is now edging towards emulating Sweden's ban on smoking.

It is reported that bars, cafes and restaurants in Denmark must now post signs at their doors indicating whether they allow smoking or not, under a new law that went into force on Wednesday.

Establishments must also indicate if they offer special smoking sections.

The Danes are still divided over whether to introduce a total ban on smoking in public places and the workplace.