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Everything posted by IanT

  1. I guess the title to this thread could be the punchline to a joke but we actually managed to fit in some pretty great meals in 2020 before/in between periods of lockdown. 1. Osteria Francescana A birthday trip to Northern Italy in mid-February. London was completely normal at the time, arrived into Bologna airport to have our temperature taken by staff in full hazmat suits... We stayed at Casa Maria Lugia, the Bottura's beautiful country house/mini-hotel outside Modena. They serve a "best of" Francescana tasting menu at communal tables in a beautiful renovated Carriage House.
  2. I had forgotten about my meal at River Cafe in the Autumn. The pigeon marinated in Amarone with porcini on toast was particularly good. And we drank some excellent Cepparello. Probably should have come in at no.6 on my list. So consistent, remains one of my favourite restaurants. Another Italian I forgot about is Emilia, in the old Bonham's space, by the team behind The Portland, Clipstone etc. I've been three times and it's maybe the best Italian in central London. It also has an excellent (if somewhat erratically priced) wine-list. Their "auction list" varies from retail prices to
  3. Best dish was probably the grilled turbot at Brat. I've tried to imitate it a number of times at home (with all the accoutrements - an asador style grill, a turbot clamp, a version of "agua de Lourdes") with limited success to date. Much easier to get close to replicating is their other signature dish "burnt" Basque cheesecake. Both dishes "inspired" by Basque classics of course. Second is probably some grilled Iberico presa with jollof rice at Ikoyi. I really want to go back there soon.
  4. Easily my weakest year for eating out in at least a decade, but maybe explicable by us having a baby on 2 January and me being sick for most of the summer. I’ve just realised 2019 was the first year since it opened that I didn’t visit The Ledbury... The Hits 1. The Fat Duck We hadn’t been in 10 years so most of it seemed fresh again. Fun and very delicious. 2. Endo Maybe too high but London’s best sushi in a beautiful setting. 3. Brat Why everyone else has said. Really very good. 4. Waterside Inn It did what it needs to do so well. Lobster with port, imp
  5. Glad to be of service Joe! Brat is excellent, it's made it onto the short-list of London places I recommend to visitors. Two other newer places that are now close to that list are: - Endo at the Rotunda: We had our first meal there last night and it was excellent. Modern kaisekei style in a beautiful purpose built room on top of the old BBC Television Centre in Sheperds Bush. Sushi in London will always be limited by the non-availability of fish from Japan but this is less of a limiting factor with this style. A much more enjoyable meal vs. our meal at Araki (which had 3* at t
  6. IanT


    I'm largely on the same page as Seth I'm afraid. Some good dishes and generally well executed albeit it mostly felt like sourcing and technique in the (overwrought?) pursuit of a message/ideology, rather than being used to make a delicious meal. It reminded me somewhat of my meal at Geranium (which I also didn't enjoy all that much). I didn't think there were any home runs but enjoyed the potato pancake, the caviar, the langoustine, the hake and the birchwood. I also liked the scallop. I'm surprised you had such a strong reaction to it Seth (unless it's changed). Sliced scallop in a
  7. IanT


    Indeed, nicely put. I for one am looking forward to my pickle. Writing this from the bar at Marea. A cancelled 12pm meeting (cancelled at 12.15pm as I sat in reception...) allowed me to fit in a quick lunch. I hadn’t been before. Crude was really good. The spacatelli with crab and uni was nice but maybe didn’t live up to the expectation I had built up from reading about it for 10 years.
  8. IanT


    I’m going tomorrow night so any heads up would be appreciated (although I guess there’s not much that can be changed in any event...)
  9. IanT


    Ok, ok, jeez you guys are pushy... Booked Aska for 27th Feb (with a NYC based friend), will report back. I might try to squeeze in a late dinner at Frenchette too the night before to hit all of the MFers' current favourite spots. A friend/client of mine is an investor in it, oddly enough.
  10. IanT


    Huh, yes you're absolutely right. I tend to try to walk everywhere when I am in New York but I hadn't appreciated quite how close Aska is (once I see Brooklyn I just presume it's miles away). Ok, so I should just try to go to Aska then?
  11. IanT


    I will be in New York for a couple of nights at the end of the month and may get the opportunity to do one nice non-work dinner. There seems a lot of support on the board for Aska. BUT I've also heard a lot of good things re. the (similarish?) Atera, which would be MUCH more convenient for me (I'm staying in Nomad). I haven't looked into reservations at either yet (which may well be a relevant factor). What say you?
  12. IanT

    the clove club

    We had a nice dinner here for my birthday on Saturday night. There is a crazy amount of staff now and I did come away thinking (God help me) that if they had dropped a couple of the weaker courses there was the making of a great three course meal at a simpler restaurant (snacks; scallops with black truffle, clementine and hazelnuts; Lancashire chicken three ways; awesome tarte tatin). We drank a bottle of George Vernay Condrieu and shared a glass each of Unico 2005 (it was my birthday! But also a mistake as it was tight), and some delicious Elio Altare Barolo. We had a drink and some
  13. No, laksa hasn't really taken off in London. I'm quite a fan though and Google maps suggests this place is 700 yards from my office. I will give it a go!
  14. back to me: i did write that tandoor chop house meal up. here. I walk by this restaurant on the way to/from work but haven't ever thought to go. Partly due to Jay's review, partly due to liking the reliable/good value Dishoom nearby (their breakfast is surprisingly excellent, particularly the filled naans...) I will give it a go on your recommendation!
  15. If I told you that I also launched a new law firm at the end of 2017... Nah, it’s not so mysterious. Kids were all old enough last year to be left with nanny/granny/aunt for occasional nights out/weekends away. And I was in NYC a few times with work (my wife flew over for a weekend once when we hit BF, EMP and SGO). 2019 will be quieter.
  16. But I don't think that's right. When I go to a L'Ambroisie, yes, I order half portions, and a long menu, and it takes three hours. That was the case with some other patrons when I went there, but not the case with others (a similar example at L'Arpege is seeing a couple order a lobster and bottle of wine each, that's it). Contrast with Willows Inn - where everyone is seated at the same time (or a slight stagger), and dishes are precisely timed with all deviations being pre-planned. It's a wonderful meal, but one that has as singular primary purposes. It's not a great place for a business meeti
  17. Is that not even more true of L’Ambrosiise? And part of the reason that you can remember it’s dishes so well (as they never change)? For what it’s worth I can remember almost every dish we ate at BF in May (and the frozen soufflé was the most memorable dish I had all year, I think, pushed by L’Ambroisie’s wild strawberry dessert). And I can still remember a number of the dishes from our previous visit four years ago. I’m not sure any of this goes to the original point, in any event, that Brooklyn Fare seems somewhat underrated (whether against other “SP style” restaurants or otherw
  18. And just to be annoying, we did actually manage to fit in a show and some drinks the night we went to Brooklyn Fare. (The early evening show of The Magician At the Nomad. Awesome it was too).
  19. I’m not sure that is new? A “fine dining” dinner in the 80s would have still taken the night even if it involves 4 courses rather than 12? I don’t think a meal at Brooklyn Fare takes longer than a meal at L’Ambroisie (whose format I suspect has changed little since the 70s).
  20. Sure, it’s a distinction between the time commitment required of the meal and it’s ability to flex around other events. But it is clearly putting those other things as your priority over the opportunity to eat at some of the best restaurants. So maybe you make that choice in NY because you’ve already been to all the best restaurants and you know what to expect. Whereas when you’re travelling you’re more likely to try a new restaurant as opposed to trying to find a show or concert to attend? Or maybe you just prioritise the arts over the opportunity to eat at some of the best r
  21. The distinction surely isn’t re. “SP style” restaurants. Classical fine dining is just as likely to take 3 hours and be the only possible event of the evening? This is just Sneak saying that if given the choice between a long dinner and going somewhere casual which can fit around a concert/gig/theatre that he'll generally choose the latter? It’s true, of course, that familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then at least the thought that maybe there’s something better/different/more interesting out there to try. There isn’t a fancy restaurant in London I go to more than twice a year.
  22. No I haven’t been to Aska (or Blanca). I’m going to be in New York a couple of times in the first half of this year. Should I go?
  23. *wipes baby poop off hands* I want Sneakeater’s life.
  24. The Lehman Trilogy will be a highlight but it does't open in the West End until May (and is already a very hot ticket). We saw it in the National last year and it was pretty great. Josie Rourke is directing Sweet Charity at the Donmar as her last play as Artistic Director. That opens in early April. It will probably be pretty great, and the Donmar is worth a visit if you've never been. Comfortably my favourite theatre in London. You're probably not going to want to see Hamilton in London?!
  25. Thanks! We now have four kids (born in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019). 2018 really was a rare window of opportunity. St John is almost always great. It has a unique place in my heart/stomach. When I was an overworked junior lawyer I would sometimes go and sit in the bar and just the smell of the baking would cheer me up. I'm not so good on Paris advice as we generally just go for one short trip per year. L'Ambroisie in 2018 was amazing, Le Cinq in 2017 was disappointing (not bad, but I had been looking forward to eating Le Squer's food for over 10 years and it didn't manage to meet th
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