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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Curry Honour

Curry Honour

The mayor of Westminster, central London, unveiled a plaque yesterday on the wall of 102 George Street.

This was in honour of Indian businessman Sake Dean Mahomed, who set up Britain's first curry restaurant in 1810.

The Hindoostane Coffee House was said to sell food "unequalled to any curries ever made in England".

Mahomed was born in 1759, and came to Britain in 1784.

The restaurant went bankrupt in 1812.

Britain now has around 9,000 curry houses.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Rib Room Revisited

The Rib Room Revisited

Eva, myself and our good friends David and Gabi dined at the Rib Room and Oyster Bar of the Carlton Tower Hotel on Saturday night.

Eva and I have been there before (see the review here), David and Gabi have not.

We are more than pleased to say that the food, service and ambience were every bit as good as on our first visit.

-Salmon, delicious.

-Duck, delicate and flavoursome.

-Beef, unctuous and magnificent.

-Trifle, huge.

-Chocolate cake, awesome.

A good time was had by all.

My compliments to the Rib Room, and my thanks to our friends who paid the bill!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Maggie Jones's Revisited

Maggie Jones's Revisited

Full marks to Maggie Jones's off Kensington Church Street London, for being consistently excellent when it comes to food, service and ambience.

Eva and I dined there last night, again, and had another splendid evening.

Leek and cheese tart and smoked salmon stuffed with crab were followed by roast duck and stuffed rolled pork.

Top marks!

Long may they continue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Palm Beach Innovation

Palm Beach Innovation

Hats off to the authorities in Palm Beach.

Palm Beach County restaurants may soon be asked to put a notice on their menus, alerting diners that their latest health inspection reports are available on request.

That doesn't sound like a bad idea, why not implement it elsewhere around the world?

Most certainly, fast food establishments should be targeted.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kidsbeer

Kidsbeer

Kidsbeer, a Japanese soft drink bottled and formulated to look like beer, may soon be hitting the supermarket shelves in Europe.

However, not surprisingly, watchdogs of underage drinking say they will fight it.

The drink comes in a brown bottle, and is advertised with the slogan "Even kids cannot stand life unless they have a drink".

It is the colour of lager, foams like beer but tastes like cola.

It sounds absolutely ghastly!

It was introduced in Japan two years ago, and is sold by more than 150 restaurants and supermarkets in Japan.

Tim Loughton MP said that the drink's expected arrival was "an alarming development."

Friday, September 16, 2005

BOGOFF

BOGOFF

For those of you unfamiliar with the expression, BOGOFF is short for "buy one, get one free".

This is frequently used by supermarkets and fast food chains, such as pizzarias, to market their products.

However, in Ohio, the use of this phrase has caused a legal despute between "Master Pizza" and "Pizza Pan".

"Master Pizza" has advertised many buy one, get one free specials. However, "Pizza Pan" restaurant chain are now disputing their right to use this phrase.

It seems that Pizza Pan has trademarked the slogan "Home of the Free Pizza" and, they say, the concept of buy one, get one free.

Now this dispute is heading for the Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

This phrase, as already noted, is widely used throughout the world.

I doubt that "Pizza Pan" have a leg to stand on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Britain's Curry Crisis

Britain's Curry Crisis

Britain now has nearly 10,000 Indian restaurants, serving two million curry meals a week; having a "curry" is now a weekly tradition for many British families.

However, the growth of the "curry" industry in Britain now faces a threat from a shortage of labour.

The 10,000 curry restaurants in Britain require 20,000 chefs and 40,000 helpers, as a minimum. Unfortunately, these requirements are proving to be too much for restaurants which are struggling to recruit trained/experienced chefs and assistants.

Immigration policies have been toughened up in the last few decades, and the recent terrorist bombings have made immigration authorities reluctant to give out new work permits or renew existing ones.

Such is the crisis that the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs, which represents 2000 South Asian restaurants, has appealed to Home Secretary to relax immigration rules.

Namita Punjabi, owner of the Chelsea-based Chutney Mary Anglo-Indian restaurant, is reported to have said:

"It is very difficult to get good cooks. We normally just can't find them in this country. And remember that India is the size of Europe. Each area has its own specific types of food. As a company, we can't look for talent in Britain it just doesn't exist."

It may be that the traditional "curry" house will have to start increasing prices, in order to stem demand.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The End of River Cafe?

The End of River Cafe?

The River Cafe, in London, a popular Italian restaurant could soon be under new management.

Ruth Rogers, who has run it since 1987 with friend and joint proprietor Rose Gray, is disputing a rent increase proposed by the landlords of the building who are a pension fund run by Ruth's husband Roger.

The fund is administered by a law firm, who act as trustees.

The trustees are seeking annual rent of over £100K, the current rent of £87K.

The length of the dispute has caused the site to be now offered for sale to other chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Banglatown Curry Festival

Banglatown Curry Festival

The Banglatown International Curry Festival is launched again this Sunday, in Brick Lane London, and will be celebrating its fifth year in 2005.

It will go on for two weeks, and is a celebration of everything that Banglatown has to offer; giving visitors an opportunity to try a variety of dishes.

The launch coincides with the Brick Lane Festival, and more than 60,000 visitors are expected to attend to experience the global mix of food, music, history and culture.

Visitors are given the chance to experience the very best of the curry capital of Europe.

Over 45 restaurants will be offering special deals and family menus to encourage customers to try dishes, and for families to dine together.

Eateries will be offering al-fresco dining, and food stalls on the weekends. International music will be played live in Allen Gardens and the Vibe Bar courtyard during the first day of celebration, and both weekends will see live music and street entertainment up and down Brick Lane.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

School Fat Ban

School Fat Ban

The image of school dinners, once associated with chips stodge and stew, is going to be given a makeover.

Burgers, chips, sticky puddings and other fondly remembered food stuffs will be banned from British schools. This follows a government edict, that says that food fed to children should not contain more than 10% fat.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, will announce the plans to eradicate junk food from school canteens when she addresses the Labour conference in Brighton next month.

Experts are recommending limits on the number of times per week that ice cream, chips and other fun food will be served.

One idea is that they should be served only once a week, to try to wean children off them. The trouble with this "noble idea" is that the fat children, being targeted, eat this stuff at home all the time; there is no chance of weaning them off it, until the diet at home is changed.

Additionally, unless you lock children in the school during lunchbreaks, they will simply go out and buy chips and burgers elsewhere.

A well meaning idea, no doubt, but destined to fail.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Gate Gourmet Faces Investigation

Gate Gourmet Faces Investigation

Those of you who are worried about the catering arrangements on BA, may have further cause for concern.

It is reported that gate Gourmet, the catering company in dispute with 670 dismissed workers and sole supplier to BA, is under investigation over allegations that it deceived British Airways about the cost of catering on its flights.

Nesco, a former supplier to Gate Gourmet, has accused Gate Gourmet of making it sign a contract under which it made payments to the company's European headquarters in Switzerland.

Gate Gourmet received a rebate of £90K for every £3M it paid to the supplier.

Nesco is in dispute with Gate Gourmet over allegations that it was the source of E. coli bacteria found last year in meals destined for BA passengers.

Lawyers for Nesco wrote to Gate Gourmet in December claiming that the contract requiring rebates was a "sham", designed to conceal from BA the true cost of in-flight meals.

Jameel Dada, the managing director of Nesco, said that he was planning to sue Gate Gourmet for £1.4M for payments that he claims have been withheld.

Gate Gourmet said in a statement that it has:

"legitimate, group-wide purchasing arrangements designed to ensure that the group is able to benefit from and centralise its volume purchasing power. All transactions are legitimate and booked and taxed appropriately."

If I were BA, I would be looking for another supplier.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Halal Burgers

Halal Burgers

Those of you visiting Paris, with a desire to eat a halal burger should pop into Beurger King Muslim (BKM).

This is a new fast food burger restaurant, opened in the northern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois last month, catering for those who choose to eat halal.

The beef and chicken are halal, and there is also an imitation of bacon made from halal turkey meat.