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Topics I've Started

dishoom, london

23 December 2016 - 05:01 PM

here is the final meal report from my trip to london in late august: at the dishoom mothership in covent garden. some commentary on the kitschy aesthetic (and its influence) and more on the food (which was quite good but not the best south asian food i ate on the trip).





we just finalized our lodging for the spring, when we'll be in london for three months. looking forward to a lot more indian eating out, though i'm not sure i want to go back to dishoom.

le comptoir, montreal

16 November 2016 - 03:28 PM

there are other reviews of this restaurant hidden in the mega montreal thread (mostly from orik, i think). it was recommended to me by adrian as a good choice for a relatively lighter meal after arrival on our first night. it was indeed relatively light and it was also very good. people say "go for the charcuterie and the natural wines" but i think it's worth a stop for the cooked food as well, the approach to which is a comfortable mix of the classic and the contemporary. some highlights included a veal loin tataki (particularly the fried sweetbreads and mushrooms on top of the veal), a dish of perfectly roasted cauliflower (with a bit too much anchovy mayo), and, yes, a truly excellent charcuterie platter (we got the "small", i worry about how much there must be on the "large"). in one of his early write-ups orik refers to too much onion in everything. that no longer seems to be a problem.


the room is dark, casual and loud, as is the style these days. the service is informal. we noted that in the u.s a restaurant with this aesthetic would be putting out mediocre to shitty food for a crowd that doesn't care. the baseline expectation for this sort of cuisine in montreal is obviously much higher. i don't know how it would compare to places doing similar food in cities like new york but in the twin cities this would be among the top restaurants; in montreal it's close to being a neighbourhood wine bar. i bring this up because the montreal and twin cities metros both have similar numbers of people in them.


and, yes, the price. we paid $59/head all-in for a small charcuterie platter (which was anything but small), four small plates (which were really medium-large), a dessert, two cocktails and a glass of wine. oh canada!


full write-up with pictures.



noble rot

29 September 2016 - 03:07 PM

a fuller write-up of my meal here with balex in late august with some not very good photographs. in writing it up i sort of appreciated it more. at the time it was sandwiched between lunches at the clove club and hedone, places where the food sort of demands your attention, asking to be the subject of attention of all your faculties, maybe even be what you talk about as you eat. noble rot goes more down the st. john path, it seems to me: well-executed food with very good ingredients in a style that doesn't call attention to itself. you're not asked to wonder how they made something or what the hell that thing on the plate is or marvel at their creative juxtaposition of unlikely ingredients or flavours. i don't know if this distinction makes any sense. i'm not saying that the results of one approach are necessarily better than the other but they seem to make for very different dining experiences (see also joe beef).



hoppers: sri lankan/tamil in soho

15 September 2016 - 02:34 PM

thanks to iant and balex for pointing me in the direction of hoppers. it was a perfect casual meal between meetings on a hot day in london. i got there at 1.30 on a weekday and only had to wait about 10 minutes. and by 2.30 it was pretty empty--so if you're able to eat late you should do that. the food was very good, i thought. it's really more of a mix of sri lankan, (indian) tamil and malayali (kerala) food. the heat levels were more toned down than i was expecting and execution was not always at a high level (slightly overcooked pork in the black pork kari) but at these prices it's hard to complain--less than half of what i paid at trishna for food that was quite a lot more than half as good, and quite a lot of it. and so much better than most of what's available in the u.s. 


my spring return is suddenly looking a bit shaky (wobbly enrollment in the off-campus program i'm supposed to be leading) but if all goes well and we make it, i'm far more likely to eat here again than at trishna, even though i concede that trishna is the better restaurant.


by the way, never having encountered bone marrow varuval before i can only assume that this is another tribute to fergus henderson and his stature in this city.


full write-up with pictures.



the clove club

08 September 2016 - 02:42 PM

reviews of london restaurants seem mostly to be stuck inside other large threads. so i figured i would start new threads for the restaurants i recently ate at.


my longer review of my lunch at the clove club (with many, many pictures) is on the blog, but here's the tl;dr: i really liked all the food but found the meal as a whole to not have much of a through-line. this seems to be a consequence of contemporary cheffy eclecticism which makes it hard to figure out what a restaurant's identity is outside the context of other restaurants like itself. i repeat as well my earlier comments (in the bigger london thread) about some aspects of the service being a little silly. as i say in my review, "some of the servers were rather earnest young men who bent down and whispered the descriptions with a sort of hushed urgency that suggested they were delivering the launch codes for nuclear missiles or relating symptoms of an embarrassing disease over the phone in a crowded place—so much so that on occasion I had to ask them to repeat themselves."


that said, i really enjoyed the meal and odds are good that i'll return with mrs. jones when we're in london for 3 months in the spring.