Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

Text

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.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pomegranate

Restaurant

Pomegranate
10 Manchester Street
Brighton
BN2 1TF

Phone 01273 628 386

Website www.eatpomegranates.com

Overview

Eva and I visited Pomegranate in the Kemp Town area of Brighton the other week.

Pomegranate is a contemporary Kurdish restaurant, that serves a range of middle eastern dishes.

Ambience

The restaurant is on two floors and is very cheerful, modern yet cosy and charming (it has exposed brick fireplaces and wooden floors). The walls are decorated with a number of pictures painted by Hassan Tunc, who is also the owner and head chef.

His wife, Zelal, is in front of house and provided us with a very warm and charming welcome.

The Tuncs have run Ararat restaurants in Dallas and Austin in Texas; Hassan is also well known in the art world with a gallery in Seattle, Washington, also training as a chef in France.

Menu

The menu offers a variety of middle eastern dishes including; Tabulli, stuffed peppers, shish kebabs, lamb and beef with pomegranate.

Service

The service by Zelal was charming, friendly, efficient, and extremely attentive. Nothing was too much trouble.

Food

I opted for chicken kebabs as a starter. These were delightful, lightly spiced and seasoned served atop a small salad. A first class starter.

My main course was lamb shank with a light apricot sauce, accompanied by rice. The shank had been braised gently for a number of hours. The meat was succulent, tender and flavoursome and fell of the bone.

Eva started with prawns with garlic and hot pepper, these were piquant but not overpowered by the garlic or pepper.

She then had the chicken breast topped with walnuts. The breasts were grilled and served with walnuts, butter and rice. A very pleasant dish, the walnut perfectly complementing the chicken.

We also shared a side dish of garlic mashed potatoes, which tasted fantastic.

Dessert, a rarity for us, consisted of a bowl of stuffed figs with walnuts, honey topped with pomegranate paste. They were absolutely delightful.

The meal, which included a bottle of Chablis and a large number of Irish coffees came to £105 including service.

Overall Opinion

A splendid restaurant, which is well worth visiting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Squirrel Direct

Squirrel Direct

Those of you with a yearning for squirrel, but with trouble finding a supplier, are in luck.

Otterton Mill in Devon is soon to launch an online squirrel ordering service for caterers and individuals, called Squirrel Direct.

Otterton Mill cooked squirrel kebabs recently for a game fair, and received such positive feedback that it decided to launch its squirrel based venture online. They estimate that they may well be able to sell between 20,000-25,000 per annum.

Given the current economic downturn, they may well be right.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chiller

Chiller

The Telegraph reports that:

"Corner shops will be given public money to buy chiller cabinets so they can sell fruit and vegetables.."

Many of the corner shops that do have chiller cabinets tend to stock them with cans of lager. I do not see that this is the best/most effective use of public money.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Audience Eats Sandwich

Audience Eats Sandwich

Commiserations to the organisers of a Tehran food festival, who spent two days building what they hoped would be the world's longest sandwich (made of ostrich meat).

Unfortunately, the crowd of spectators rushed to eat it before anyone had a chance to measure it.

Over 1,000 volunteers worked on the 1,500 metre sandwich, which contained a tonne of ostrich meat and hundreds of loaves.

The organisers will send video footage and photographs of the sandwich to Guinness officials, to try to convince them to include it in the record books.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Croydon Food Festival

Croydon Food Festival

Croydon is holding a food festival this October, full details can be seen on the Food Festival website.

The festival promises "a wide range of exciting events and promotions", including a Continental Chocolate Village Market, a Black History Food Fayre and a Team Fantastique Continental Food Market.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cashing in on Rising Prices

Cashing in on Rising Prices

Despite the pretence of offering "discounts", supermarkets have been exposed as nothing more than spivs as they take advantage of rising food prices by adding a little extra increase for themselves.

The Producer Price Indices show that the larger chains have seen a 11.4% increase in the cost of food from the manufacturers in a year. However, families have seen their grocery bills increase by 12.3% (as per the Consumer Price Index); ie the supermarkets have added another 0.9% for themselves.

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has warned that he is concerned about companies that use the jump in inflation to "camouflage" an increase in prices.

Canny shoppers should beat the supermarkets at their own game, and only buy those products that offer real value for money.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Albert's Table

Restaurant

Albert's Table
49B South End
Croydon
CR0 1BF

Phone 0208 680 2010

Website www.albertstable.co.uk

Overview

Eva and I visited the newly opened (so new the smell of paint was still in the air) Albert's Table a fortnight ago, and gave it a "test drive".

Albert's Table opened on the site of a Chinese restaurant on Tuesday 29th July, and serves, to quote their website:

"..dishes created from quality British ingredients chosen when they are in season and at their best. There are so many farmers in the UK producing world class meat, dairy and vegetables and these are the ingredients that we will be using at Albert's table.

The style of food is very much British, but with a slight modern take to include some of the best influences from Europe.

Our fish is all British and delivered daily. We work with the fishmongers very closely to ensure that we get the freshest fish every day and when we use farmed fish it is always organic
."

Joby Wells, the head chef, has worked at some top restaurant in London including; The Square and The Orrery.

Ambience

The restaurant is bright, white, spacious and modern. Decoration is minimalist, and the room is well lit. When we went there is was reasonably busy, which gave the place atmosphere.

As with some other restaurants Albert's table suffers from excessively cold air conditioning, I am of the view that less is more.

Menu

The menu offers meals of two and three courses for £25 and £27.50. The dishes offered include; traditional raised Middlewhite pork pie, warm duck salad, short crust tart of Dorset crab, chicken breast with lasagne and pork belly dry marinated in lemon.

Service

The service was very efficient, and extremely attentive. The bizarre issue over the mashed potato (see below) was resolved by our waitress, who persuaded the chef that the customer has a say in what goes on the plate.

That being said, there seemed to be a rather lengthy delay between the first and second course; newly opened teething problems in the kitchen I assume.

Food

I began with the traditional raised Middlewhite pork pie, served with cider jelly & gooseberry compote. The pie was first class, a quality pork lightly seasoned with herbs surrounded by a light pastry. However, the compote that accompanied it was far too strong, and totally overpowered the dish. I believe that good quality dishes such as this do not need their taste destroyed, they are good enough to stand alone on the plate.

My advice would be to either tone down the compote, or present the pie with a small salad, or quail's eggs.

My main course was saddle of lamb which, according to the menu I could not have this with mash (even though mash was available with the beef) which I wanted. I was told that the chef only allocated a certain number of pritons of vegetables per day, and does not like to swap the vegetables between dishes.

Quite ridiculous!

It was highly unlikely that there would be sudden rush of new customers at that time of the evening. Additionally, I am of the view that the chef is there to serve the customer not the other way round.

Our waitress managed to persuade chef to allow me to eat mash with the lamb.

That issue having been resolved, I settled down to enjoy my main course when it arrived. I am pleased to say that the lamb was first class, succulent and tender with just the right amount of fat to add flavour; as was the mash.

Eva began with baby artichokes poached in white wine and olive oil, with shallots, Parmesan and a poached egg. Absolutely delicious!

She chose the organic roast salmon with potato gnocchi, leek hearts & grilot onions with béarnaise sauce for her main course. This was excellent, the salmon was cooked and flaked to perfection and was well complemented by the gnocchi and leeks.

We, rather rarely for us, then chose a dessert (the posset). The posset (a mixture of cream, egg yolks and booze) was a delight, and was accompanied by fresh raspberries.

The meal, which included a bottle of Chablis and some coffees/liqueurs, came to £104 including service.

Overall Opinion

In our view the food is first class, once initial teething troubles (eg air conditioning and mash servings) are addressed, this restaurant is worth visiting.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Idiots

Idiots

Congratulations to the De Vere Oulton Hall hotel in Yorkshire for coming up with the most insulting and hair brained scheme I have ever seen a restaurant attempt.

They had plans to charge children's Sunday lunches according to the weight of youngsters. The intention was to weigh under-fifteens, and charge £1 per stone for their meal.

Completely daft, and completely insulting.

Needless to say having suffered a barrage of criticism Nigel Massey, a spokesman for De Vere, said that the plan would be reconsidered.

Idiots!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

4,000 Mc Jobs

4,000 Mc Jobs

As Britain lurches into recession, the good news is that McDonald's is launching a recruitment drive to fill 4,000 new "McJobs" following strong UK growth.

Seemingly, despite government warnings about obesity and diet, McDonald's is serving an extra two million customers a month compared with last year.

I assume that people are eating more burgers etc, as a form of comfort food as the economic news worsens.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Dangers of Sandwiches

The Dangers of Sandwiches

Last night's Dispatches programme on Channel 4 delivered a stinging critique of the British sandwich industry (worth £5BN).

Dispatches showed that sandwiches from some of the top retailers contain huge amounts of salt and fat; many are also bulked up with chemicals, water and starch.

"Proper thick ham", as described on the front of one packet of sandwiches, was in reality (as per the small print on the back) formed from pork products. This being rendered meat; whereby the carcass is subjected to a powerjet that removes all fat, gristle and meat which is then reformed into textured slices.

Nice!

The programme also secretly filmed the shockingly unhygienic practices at one factory that supplies small shops and garages.

Take a careful look at the ingredients next time you buy a sandwich. It is far better to make your own.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fast Food Ban

Fast Food Ban

Planners in Los Angeles have imposed a moratorium on the opening of new fast food outlets of chains such as Burger King and KFC in South Los Angeles, in an attempt to encourage better eating habits among the area's mainly black and Hispanic population.

The full Los Angeles council is expected on Tuesday to approve the restrictions across the 32 square-mile area of the city, where fast food outlets make up 45% of restaurants.

The trouble is that fast food is only one part of the problem. Consumers need to take responsibility for how much they eat and what exercise they take. Additionally, the fast food outlets provide much needed employment in areas of poverty and deprivation.

This is not a cure all solution for the alleged obesity epidemic.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trans Fats

Trans Fats

The San Fransisco Chronicle reports that:

"California is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban restaurants and other food facilities from using trans fats, which are known to increase the risk of heart disease, under a bill approved by the state Legislature Monday and sent to the governor.

The measure, passed with a bare majority, comes two weeks after a similar ban in New York City became fully effective. California doctor and consumer groups support the law, while restaurant groups have offered a lukewarm response. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position, a spokesman said
."

All very well, but since when does the state have the right to dictate what people may or may not eat?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Stop Waste

Stop Waste

It is rare indeed that I find myself agreeing, in part at least, with Gordon Brown. However, for once I do agree with him when he says that people should stop wasting food.

Britain is facing the highest level of food price rises in Europe, the negative effects of which are being felt the most by those on low incomes.

It is therefore quite right that people should stop wasting food and learn to use leftovers, as I was brought up to do.

However, whether the Prime Minister should try to micromanage people's shopping habits quite so much, by suggesting that people should plan meals in advance and that supermarkets should end three-for-two deals, is open to question.

I suspect we will soon see a "Dig for Victory" campaign.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

M&S Hit By Downturn

M&S Hit By Downturn

The consumer downturn is even affecting theat bastion of the high street, Marks & Spencer. Marks & Spencer issued a profit warning yesterday, stating that sales at its British stores open more than a year fell 5.3% in the 13 weeks to June 28 and noted that its upscale food business had lost market share as shoppers switched to cheaper rivals. Sales at stores open more than a year in the group's food business were down 4.5%.

M&S also announced that Steven Esom, head of food, was leaving after just one year and that it would look at more programs like its "Dine in for 10 pounds" campaign to win back customers.

M&S will look at how to adapt their food range to shoppers who are more concerned about price.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taste of London

Taste of London

The Taste of London in Regent's Park, which ran from 19-22 June, has been a success.

Regent's Park was smothered in celebrity chefs, restaurateurs and foodies for the fifth festival of its kind.

The festival was a chance for foodies to sample some of London's top restaurants' signature dishes; including creamed lobster and brandy soup from Le Gavroche, squid salad with coconut passion fruit dressing from Benares, seven-hour braised lamb shoulder and mash from Tom’s Kitchen, and lemon tart from Rhodes Twenty-Four.

Guests also were given the chance to meet their favourite chefs in the Waterstone's book signing lounge, where authors such as Tana Ramsay and Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall gave Q&A sessions.

Even the weather was just about reasonable for the event!

Monday, June 02, 2008

La Barca Revisited

La Barca Revisited

Top marks again to one of my favourite Italian restaurants in London, La Barca, for presenting another excellent meal, hospitality and evening.

I went there last Friday with my mother and uncle, and we had a splendid evening; my poussin was superb as was the rest of our meal.

I am very happy to continue to recommend La Barca.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Greed

Greed

Not content with marking food up by hefty percentages, and adding in service charges of 10% or more, some of the country's top restaurants are accused of being excessively greedy with their mark ups on wine as well.

The Fat Duck, in Bray, Berkshire, charges £58 for a bottle of 2005 Bourgogne Aligote. However, the Telegraph contacted the restaurant's supplier, Berkmann Wine Cellars, and discovered that the purchase price was £12.12 per bottle; giving the Fat Duck a fat profit of five times the cost.

The Telegraph conducted a similar exercise at Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, in Great Milton, Oxon, owned by Raymond Blanc. A 2006 bottle of Corbière La Tour Château Grand Moulin costs £26. The wine can be bought from their supplier, the General Wine Company, for £5.37 – a profit of £16.08 after VAT.

At Fifteen Cornwall, near Newquay, which was founded by Jamie Oliver, a 2006 bottle of Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica sells for £27. The same bottle can be bought for just £6.08 from the restaurant's supplier, Liberty Wines, which means a £16.20 profit per bottle after VAT.

The solution to this excessive greed is simple, use other restaurants that are more reasonably priced.

Greed will simply price these places out of the market.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Britain Exposed To Food Price Rise

Britain Exposed To Food Price Rise

Ernst & Young's Item Club has issued a report today that states that the UK is "more exposed" to rising food price rises than other similar countries.

The US has a balance of food, France has a surplus whilst the UK has a trade deficit in food.

World food prices are rising as a result of population growth, poor climate in the major cereal producing nations, the growth in the production of biofuels, and the increasing wealth in developing nations which has prompted a higher demand for meat and livestock products.

This will have a negative impact on the finances of businesses and households. However, if people learn to use leftovers and stop wasting perfectly good food significant savings can be made and the negative effects of the price rises mitigated.

People need to stop being so wasteful, and learn the recipes of their grandparents eg; bubble and squeak, corned beef hash, cold cuts, shepherd's pie etc.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gordon's Law

Why is Gordon Ramsay ranting about fining restaurants for serving non seasonal, non local produce?

Does he not cook with olive oil?

Does he not serve pineapples in his restaurants?

A silly, poorly thought through rant; he should stick to cooking.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Taylors and Jones

Taylors and Jones

Those of you who live in Stockholm and hanker after English sausages, pork pies and good cuts of beef should pay a visit to Taylors and Jones at Hantverkargatan 12 in Kungsholmen (www.taylors.se).

Eva and I pooped into their shop last week, where they sell sausages to restaurants, pubs and individuals. They also sell Christmas turkeys, many varieties of meat and British specialities such as sausage rolls, meat pies, haggis and black & white pudding.

The meat is of good quality, the beef is hung for 30 days, and the Lincolnshire and Cumberland sausages that we bought and barbecued were excellent (as was the sausage roll that we munched on the way home).

It is not cheap, but certainly worth a visit if you want to treat yourself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Festival of English Food

Festival of English Food

Wednesday 23rd April is St George's Day.

To celebrate the day Borough Market will temporarily set up shop in Trafalgar Square, together with food inspired street theatre and cabaret performances, in a Festival of English Food.

Stalls from Borough Market include:

-Wrights Oysters oysters and shellfish from Cornwall
-Shell Seekers Dorset diver caught scallops and shellfish
-Furness Fish & Poultry Morecombe Bay shrimp
-Farmer Sharp Herwick lamb
-Mrs King Melton Mowbray pies and Cornish pasties
-The Ginger Pig sausage rolls
-Northfield Farm, Beef
-Sillfield Farm Westmorland wild boar and pork
-Chegworth Valley Apple juice
-Flour Power City bread and scones
-Neal’s Yard Dairy Cheese
-England Preserves London’s best jam and pickles
-The Veggie Table vegetarian food, ginger beer and lemonade
-Flour Station Chelsea buns and Eccles cakes
-Burnt Sugar traditional cakes and bakes
-Secretts Direct Surrey vegetables
-Ceylon 1 London’s finest Tea
-Booth’s Flower Stall red rose and oakleaf

Friday, April 11, 2008

Myung Ga

Restaurant

Myung Ga
1 Kingly Street
London

Phone 0207 734 8220

Website www.myungga.co.uk

Overview

I had the good fortune to be invited out for dinner by a Korean friend of mine in London the other week. We dined at Myung Ga, an authentic traditional Korean restaurant near Piccadilly. It specialises in BBQ (on the table) and other dishes
such as; Kimchi, Bulgogi, Bibimbop, Pajon. It was established in 1990.

Ambience

Myung Ga is a bustling, lively modern Korean restaurant that serves a whole host of Korean foods.

The restaurant was bright, well lit, and very popular with both Koreans and Europeans alike.

Each table has a central barbecue pot, which is used for special dishes such as bulgogi (barbecued beef).

Menu

The menu in Korean, English and with photos of the food and drinks offered an extensive range of Korean cuisine including:

- Kaeranjjim: Steamed egg in hot pot.
- Pajeon: Pan-fried spring onion and seafood pancakes.
- Kimchi jeon: Pan-fried Kimchi pancakes.
- Tubu jeon: Fried bean curd
- Bindae dok: Mung bean pancakes
- Tteok bokgi: Rice cake with vegetables.(Spicy)
- Tangsuyuk: Sweet & sour chicken or pork.
- Ggampoonggi: Sauteed chicken with spicy sauce.
- Hongeo hoe: Thinly Sliced raw skate seasoned with spicy sauce.
- Bap: Steamed rice
- Bokum bap: Special fried rice.
- Maeun tang: Spicy hot stew with seafood.
- Yukgaejang: Spicy beef soup with vegetables.
- Doengjang jjigae: Soybean paste stew with seafood.
- Kimchi jjigae: Kimchi stew with pork.
- Mandu guk: Dumpling soup with meat broth.
- Seolleong tang: Beef bone soup
- Kalbi: Marinated beef ribs, charbroiled.
- Bulgogi: Marinated, barbecued beef.
- Deung sim gui: Grilled beef sirloin.
- Hue gui: Sliced ox tongue.

Service

The service was friendly and very efficient.

Food

My friend and I had a feast of many dishes, too numerous to mention, which we shared. However, our dishes did include bulgogi and Yuk hoe (raw stripes of tender beef with pine nut, pears and egg) - a Korean version of steak tartar.

The meal was absolutely first class, the food tasted superb; we washed it down with copious quantities of Korean beer and Soju.

Overall Opinion

An excellent establishment, and well worth visiting should you be in that part of town.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Delia In Trouble Again

Delia In Trouble Again

Delia Smith finds herself in trouble again over her use of ready made foods in her new TV series "How To Cheat at Cooking".

This time she has fallen foul of the anti salt brigade, championed by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash).

Cash claim that a single serving of one of the recipes, carbonara real quick, contained more than a whole day's recommended salt intake.

Maybe so, but an indulgence once in a while won't kill you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The TreeHouse Revisited

The TreeHouse Revisited

Eva and I dined again in the TreeHouse last Saturday, and had another excellent and thoroughly enjoyable meal. We feasted on cauliflower soup, crab cakes, baked cod and lamb shank shepherd's pie.

Unlike some restaurants, the TreeHouse prepares and cooks fresh ingredients on the premises; it does not reheat or microwave its food.

The TreeHouse produces consistently good quality fresh food, in a lively and friendly atmosphere.

It is well worth visiting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Delia's Recipes for Cheats

Delia's Recipes for Cheats

I watched Delia Smith's new show on the BBC on Monday, in which she showed how to cheat at cooking by using ready made ingredients eg frozen mash and tinned mince.

Whilst the recipes themselves, if they used fresh ingredients, were fine; I balk at the idea of using ready made mash and tinned meat.

These ingredients are not as good as homemade, and cost more than buying the ingredients fresh and preparing them at home.

I fail to see how people do not have the time or initiative to make their own mash.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hwangtoma

Hwangtoma

Hwangtoma

Those of you with a penchant for raw trout, and who are in Seoul, should visit Hwangtoma.

I am advised by a good friend and colleague that it is excellent.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rodolfino

Restaurant

Rodolfino
Stora Nygatan 1
Stockholm
Sweden

Phone 08 411 84 97

Website www.rodolfino.lunchinfo.com

Overview

Eva and I visited Rodolfino a couple of weeks ago, this used to be an old haunt of ours in Stockholm that we used to regularly visit in the 1990's.

Rodolfino is a traditional Italian restaurant in the Gamla Stan (Old Town) of Stockholm, a popular area for tourists.

Ambience

Rodolfino is a charming, cheerful and traditional Italian restaurant; tables are laid with red and white chequered cloths each with a small table lamp with the same pattern.

The restaurant, in the summer, also offers outside seating.

Menu

The menu consists of an excellent range of pasta, meat and fish dishes including; snails, lasagne, cannelloni, pizza, spaghetti carbonara, soups, steaks and seafood.

Service

The service was very friendly and efficient, indeed it was nice to see that the same owners that we knew from our previous visits all those years ago are still running the place.

We were made to feel very welcome, as we always were in the past.

Food

I began with the lasagne, which was first class. It was hot and bubbling, with just the right amount of meat and pasta complemented by a smooth bechamel sauce.

I chose the sirloin steak for my main course, this was excellent and very tender; it was very nicely cooked, and contained the right amount of fat to ensure that it was succulent and juicy.

The steak was served with a very generous bowl of thin cut fries and a bernaise sauce, which was an excellent accompaniment.

Eva eschewed a starter, and went for the spaghetti carbonara. This was superb, it consisted of a large bowl of pasta and carbonara sauce with a very generous amount of bacon. Atop of the dish was a raw egg yolk in a shell, which added extra richness. This was a very nice touch.

A truly excellent meal.

The meal, which included a bottle of Masi Serego and some coffees/liqueurs, came to 957SEK before tip.

Overall Opinion

A wonderful, friendly and cheerful restaurant which is definitely worth visiting; we will most certainly be coming back.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Paladar de Cuba

Restaurant

Paladar de Cuba
Tegnergatan 19
Stockholm
Sweden

Phone 08 21 22 52

Website www.paladar.se

Overview

Eva and I decided to try out Paladar de Cuba, a Cuban restaurant and bar, in Stockholm last week.

Paladar, in Cuba, is the colloquial Spanish name for a home-based restaurant (especially in Havana) restaurant run "off the radar" of the authorities.

Ambience

Paladar is a very welcoming and cosy establishment, a large number of wicker chairs are placed in the entrance and bar area, to the left of the bar is a good sized restaurant with cheerful wooden tables and chairs, which is well decorated with knickknacks, vegetation and curios.

In the days before the smoking ban was enforced, you could also smoke a fine Cuban cigar on the premises. Although they still have a magnificent selection of cigars in a man sized humidor, the law means that you now have to sit outside in the cold to smoke them.

However, the good news is that this ridiculous law does not apply to drinking; the Paladar has a most extensive and inviting selection of rum, which you can while away your evening with in the bar or in the restaurant.

The restaurant is very busy and popular (Che Guevara's daughter has dined there), you are advised to book.

Menu

The menu offered an excellent selection of Cuban cuisine including; peppers with cheese, crab, seafood, swordfish, steaks, lamb and young cockerel.

Service

The service was very friendly and efficient, the menu (unlike the website) was in English and the staff spoke English very well.

We were made to feel very welcome, and had a drink at the bar whilst our table was made ready for us.

Food

I began with the peppers and cheese, a most splendid starter. The red peppers (pimentos) had been roasted to perfection in olive oil (they were not out of a jar), and were served with a marinade and cheese. A really nice flavour, and medley of tastes.

Eva started with the scampi, which was served in a piquant spicy chilli and garlic white wine sauce. Absolutely superb, the scampi were plump and unctuous, and the sauce had a presence which did not overpower the scampi.

We both chose the young cockerel for our main course. This dish (per person) consisted of two large breasts of cockerel and a cockerel leg served with green rice, avocado salsa and a paprika source.

A fine main course, the cockerel was perfectly cooked and very succulent. The rice was light and fluffy, and the dish was well complemented by the sauce and salsa.

Perfect!

The meal, which included a bottle of good bottle of Spanish white and two very large rums and a rum coffee, came to an amount that I cannot remember; as in the rum fuelled haze of the evening I seem to have misplaced my bill.

Overall Opinion

A superb restaurant, which is well worth visiting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Capri Revisited

Capri Revisited

Eva and I revisited Ristorante Capri last Thursday, and were sad to see that the menu has been changed.

Gone are the lasagne and pollo diavola, my personal favourites!

I have to say, speaking from an entirely prejudiced perspective, my saltimbocca was no way near as enjoyable as pollo diavola.

Plus ca change!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Boiled Pig's Leg

Boiled Pig's Leg

My compliments to Tennstopet in Stockholm which served myself and Eva with two excellent boiled pig's legs - Fläsklägg med Rotmos - (accompanied by mashed potatoes and mashed swede) yesterday for lunch, in their rather cosy and charming bar.

We are very happy to recommend both the main restaurant and bar for good food, good service and an excellent ambience.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Money Than Sense

More Money Than Sense

It is a sad fact of life that there are people on this planet with more money than sense, who are prepared to pay absurd prices for wine and food.

Staff at Zafferano in Knightsbridge were needless to say salivating in anticipation, when one of their customers ordered a bottle of Petrus 1961 (modestly priced at £18K a bottle).

Needless to say, things didn't quite go according to plan when the wine was uncorked. The customer sent it back, stating that it was a fake.

Enzo Cassini, the general manager, tested it and announced it undrinkable and mouldy.

However, Zafferano had the last laugh, the customer then ordered a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1945 for £20K.

There is no way that wine is worth such a high price, no matter where it comes from.

There must be better things to do with your money?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New Covent Garden Open Day

New Covent Garden Open Day

Farmers and growers from across the UK are today attending an open day, Meet-the-Supplier and Share-to-Supply conference, at New Covent Garden.

It is aimed at closing the gap between producers, farmers and growers and the wholesale market.

Local producers, wholesalers and distributors will let local chefs and buyers taste their wares. Producers will enjoy a tour around the market to see how everything works, and then present their local seasonal ingredients at "Meet-the-Supplier".

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dangerous Dumplings

Dangerous Dumplings

The recent bout of food poisoning caused by contaminated Chinese made frozen dumplings, imported into Japan, has damaged Sino Japanese relations.

A pesticide called methamidophos was found in the dumplings made by Tian Yang Food.

The Japanese government are to send a team of officials and experts to China to investigate the case.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Nobutaka Machimura, said that the four-member team will be dispatched to conduct on-the-spot inspection of the factory and exchange views with officials of the Chinese government.

It is not yet clear whether the food products were contaminated during the production and transportation process in China. However, small holes have been found in some of the packages.

Several hundred people throughout Japan have reported discomfort due, allegedly to having Chinese food in the last few days. However, the number of people confirmed by the Japanese government as suffering from eating the poisoned dumpling remains at 10.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Restaurant Baerlin

Restaurant Baerlin

Those of you passing through Seoul, with a penchant for hearty German food, should pop into Restaurant Baerlin (baerlin is German for "little bear").

It has been given an enthusiastic thumbs up by a good friend and colleague.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cookery Lessons

Cookery Lessons

I am very pleased to see that cooking lessons are going to be made compulsory in schools.

However, I would note that when I was a child I was taught to cook by my parents not by my school.

I would also like to ask how all schools will manage to teach cooking, given that many of them don't have kitchens?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Traffic Lights

Traffic Lights

The government is going to push food firms into adopting a single system of nutritional labelling. Currently there are three different systems being used for products in the UK.

Around 20,000 food and drink items carry one system that shows guideline daily amounts of key nutrients, but which doesn't show the traffic light colour-coding system recommended by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) wants red, amber and green colours on all products to indicate the levels of fat, salt and sugar contained in processed foods.

Eight retailers, 16 manufacturers and four service providers are using this system.

The third system uses a mixture of guideline daily amounts and traffic light colours.

Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, will announce the need for a "single, simple and effective approach to food labelling used by the whole food industry".

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Egg On Jamie's Face

Egg On Jamie's Face

Celebrity chef, anti battery farm campaigner and spokesman for Sainsburys' Jamie Oliver got egg on his face the other day when it was revealed that his showcase restaurant in Cornwall (15) was serving battery farm eggs.

Jamie said that "heads would roll".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Hofbrauhaus

The Hofbrauhaus

Those of you with a yearning for German food, and an oompah band, who happen to find themselves in Seoul; should pop into The Hofbrauhaus.

I am advised by a good friend and colleague that it is an excellent establishment.

However, quite what their motto

"Hofbrauhaus Seoul is best of sweet pension

We'll see what we can do
."

means is anyone's guess!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Verona

The Verona

Those of you passing through Seoul should check out The Verona Italian Restaurant in the Imperial Palace Hotel.

"Verona is a place for authentic Italian food, where you will find the best quality steaks, seafood, pasta, pizza and desserts. The unique furniture of the restaurant creates the ambiance of an Italian country home."

I am reliably informed by a good friend and colleague that it is excellent.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Contradictions

Contradictions

Expense doesn't necessarily mean quality when it comes to dining.

In early November New York City's Serendipity 3 restaurant was noted by the Guinness Book of World Records for having the planet's most expensive dessert (a $25K chocolate sundae, featuring, among other delicacies, edible gold flakes).

By mid November all had changed, the city's Department of Health had ordered Serendipity 3 closed after inspectors found a live mouse in the kitchen, along with mouse droppings, fruit flies, house flies and more than 100 cockroaches.

Don't fall for the hype of an overpriced restaurant.