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.

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.