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Member Since 20 Mar 2004
Offline Last Active Mar 01 2007 08:16 AM

Topics I've Started

The Witchery By The Castle

23 January 2007 - 01:16 PM

We weren't exactly spoiled for choice for Sunday lunch in Edinburgh, most of the more interesting restaurants remaining resolutely closed despite throngs of tourists who doubtless would like nothing better than to spend a few hours out of the freezing Winter rain in a warm restaurant. Maybe the religious lobby still holds too much sway here.

This place right next to the castle isn't exactly a tourist trap, and we spent a very pleasant afternoon here. However the food was not top notch in any respect. Terrine of Confit and Foie Fras was too fridge cold. Monkfish was overdone. Crab Mayonnaise also too cold. Fish Soup too thin. Smoked Salmon as good but I'd been spoilt at The Champany Inn the night before.

A really good main was a melting dish of Oxtail atop a thick disc of "Stornoway" Black Pudding-tasty rich, well cooked. Guinea Fowl and Mallard dishes were acceptable, but a Welsh Rarebit dish was inedible. You need to get this dish right and here it was...wrong.I didn't taste it but Sam described it as an overdone burnt Craft cheese slice on top of a bit of toast-yum :lol:

Maybe we should have known better than to order a Welsh dish in Scotland. However. although it was removed from the final bill, the feedback from the snooty maitre d was that "chef says there is nothing wrong with it". This was the maitre d who had raised a snotty eyebrow when I'd asked for tap water instead of bottled. That little moment of sneering disdain made me want to bang his head slowly and repeatedly against the granite steps before walking out-but hey ho, he bought tap and we had nowhere else to go.

Bad service move. Apart from the fact that there clearly WAS something wrong with the dish, even if there isn't take it back and don't argue. We were spending a lot of money in there and this guy was lucky we were feeling mellow (although Sam DID tell him to "fire the chef" so maybe mellowness was not her predominate mood at that moment) :lol:

The Capital

08 January 2007 - 01:51 PM

It was good to meet Richard at last. Richard has been Eric Chavot's number two for over a decade and for a number of years his wife was a colleague of mine. She would regale me with stories of the "who'd be a chef" variety, but Richard has stuck with Chavot through three restaurants and last night he emerged from the kitchen at The Capital to finally say hello after a meal that I will do well to better in the UK this year.

Richard was in charge in the kitchen last night so it was to his credit that every aspect of the meal was spot on, including the service and the wine advice.

A lovely amuse of Cod Brandade with Cod Foam lifted by turmeric and chilli got things going swimmingly-a marvellous accompaniement to the last of the Gosset champagne

A starter of Assiette Landaise-which was several forms of duck on a plate knocked out anything of that type they try to serve up at Club Gascon. It was wonderful-if you like duck. Fahro's generous tranche of Foie Gras with Pineapple and Mango was decadent. The recommendation of a glass of Gerwurz from Diess for the duck dish was perfect

I had Turbot and Fahro had Lobster for mains. Her dish had a nod to Italy in the accompanying Tagliolini and an intense Sauce Vierge, and mine had pasta as well in the form of mushroom raviolis as well as some lovely gnocchis, but the accompanying Sauce Diable was resolutely Gallic. A 99 Macon-Domaine de BonGran from Thevenet really hit the spot with both dishes.

Desserts were little masterpieces around their theme-apple and banana- and the petit fours and chocolates we couldn't manage were packaged up for us. Service here actually approaches the Le Gavroche level, something I didn't think happened elsewhere, although I DID have pour myself some wine once

Compared to retaurants like The Fat Duck and Tom Aikens, this restaurant remains rooted in France. It doesn't float free like they try to do. However nor is it becoming moribund in the way places like The Waterside Inn are. It is more like Aubergine in that is condfident and assertive, happy with its French pedigree and concentrating on deliciousness and high quality service.

For the discerning gentleman, in fact

Why Do People Like Theatre?

17 December 2006 - 08:30 PM

I like plays OK. But theatre? I just don't get it.

I went to the theatre the other night and had to give up valuable eating, drinking and talking time to watch a bunch of people prancing around on stage for three fucking hours dressed up in stupid costumes and singing stupid songs out of tune and making stupid jokes that everybody in the audience fell about laughing at for no reason at all. I felt like Holden Caulfield (for chrissakes ;) )

The shallowness and phoniness of theatre never ceases to amaze me. It's just drivel. If people behaved that way in real life everybody would think they were mad. They don't talk normally, or walk normally. It's just a self indulgent love fest for luvvies. Everytime I've been to the theatre I just can't wait for the final curtain. And then it's normally too late for a good meal

What a waste of time! :(

Fine Dining Brit Awards 2006

17 December 2006 - 07:38 PM

My British "fine dining awards" for 2006 are

Best Overall Meals: Winteringham Fields, Aubergine, The Fat Duck

Most Personalised Food: Le Champignon Sauvage

Classiest Restaurant: The Greenhouse

Best Service: Pearl

Best Setting: Lucknam Park

Best Value: Le Champignon Sauvage

Good but not Great Meals -Midsummer House, Jessica's, Vineyard at Stockcross, Morgan M

Most Blah Meals-Addendum, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Most Disappointing Meal-Waterside Inn

Worst meals-Tom Aikens, Nahm

Yer Avin a Larf Utter and Total Crap Award: Brian Turner Mayfair, Amaya

didn't see no dogs once ;)

Brian Turner Mayfair

24 November 2006 - 05:46 PM

I know it got poor reviews but nothing could have prepared me for the utterly crap meal this place served us up. And the Pud was there too, in his whites, although he studiously avoided visiting our table as I regaled the hapless Eastern European asylum seeker waitress on how shitty our meal had been.

Should Turner have got Yorkshire Pudding right? He named a BOOK after it did he not? Like everything else it was stale, dry, claggy, pre prepped, served with tasteless watery chicken livers and duff chutney. Was it beyond the wit of his fancy hotel kitchen to cook fucking Yorkshire Puddings freshly? Bread was actively stale. Butter was second rate. "Brian Turner's Big Fat Chips", ordered as a side, were soggily drenched in rancid oil. They stank horribly and it was a relief to get them removed from the table. Some sort of caraway studded gratin thing with my tasteless Venison was almost as unpleasant. A Quail Pie with Foie Gras again had been pre prepped, the pastry was dry and stale and unburnished, the foie gras undetectable, the quail, again tasteless. The jus with my Venison had stuck to the plate after being left too long under the hot lights in the kitchen.

A Celeriac and Parsnip Soup was OK. Another side of Cauliflower and Red Cabbage was harmless.

The fact that Turner was there somehow made it worse. I'd decided to go based on watching him a bit recently on TV passionately extolling British ingredients and being bigged up by Gary Rhodes (another restaurant let down merchant) How he could he have allowed such a useless meal to emerge from his kitchen? Where was his professional pride?

The waitress apologised profusely, deducted the chips and veggies, offered coffees, but we didn't stay for puds. We couldn't get out quick enough.

Worst meal of the year, and probably quite a few years by a street. Avoid like the plague.