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Everything posted by Tuckerman

  1. Don't say that in front of Tuckerman, he'll get pissed at you for not asking him for recs. Oooo...you're a wag. Since that wasn't what Cathy said
  2. As a Brit I don't know the individuals or the restaurant involved but the Chodorow letter confuses the concept of a "critic" with that of a "reviewer". These terms are often used interchangeably when they are not the same things at all. One might reasonably expect a critic to have a specialist knowldege of the field. But a reviewer is any Joe Schmo, and the concept of the reviewer is designed to communicate the experience that any Joe Schmo walking into the restaurant, or the movie, or whatever, would receive. So the first thing to ask is: are people who write reviews of restaurants for the media, reviewers or critics? And even if they can be said to be "restaurant critics", that doesn't make them "food critics". This distinction might not matter much to the restrauteur on the receiving end of a scathing review, but claiming that the reviewer should somehow have knowledge of his field puts him on dodgy ground. Where he might justifiably claim the high ground is in the fact that so many restaurant reviewers seem to have agendas that are nothing to do with the restaurant they are reviewing-at least it's the case in the UK. So many restaurant reviews blather on about the reviewer him/herself for two thirds of the review, and little vindictive prejudices and petty niggles come out in these ramblings. It's as if editors believe that writing about the restaurant alone is not entertaining enough for the readership, so they have to make the reviewer part of the story. (BTW I speak as someone who reviewed restaurants for three years in the 70s for What's On in London magazine)
  3. But it's not me saying it,is it? I just quoted one of London's leading restaurant reviewers on Brazilian food And she describes it as fat laden, carb laden, peasanty food. Frankly I was amazed, and still am, that people got so excised about this. It is the case that where you have loads of people living in poverty and working incredibly physically hard for a living, the food they eat will be designed to impart lots of calories and energy-plenty of fat, carb and starch. It's the same in most of sub Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. The food HAS to be like this for people to derive maximum energy at minimum cost. But for the cuisine to transmute into one that people want to eat in restaurants in places like London and New York, it has to gussy itself up and re-invent itself somewhat as a "destination" cuisine-which is what Mocoto is clearly trying to do. I don't see a problem with that at all.
  4. Actually Circe went on to say how the restaurant was trying to get away from the carb laden stodge of typical Brazilian food. And so it should of course, if it wants to be a hit in London. Which is the point I was making in that ole thread all along. But of course no-one wanted to admit that S. American food was stodge in the first place, so reconsruction was unnecessary
  5. Get off! That picture was taken in Skegness
  6. Out in the whoop whoop-Manthana in Norwood. Best Thai meal I've ever had in London (well London sort of).
  7. A precise, confident and wholly top notch lunch at Fat Duck yesterday. Macro and I went a la carte. He was a bit disappointed as all but one of the starters featured shellfish (verboten to him), but then again he wouldn't have ordered the sublime cauliflower risotto (with chocolate jelly and a shake of cocoa powder of course-this is The Fat Duck after all). Dairy aplenty in this dish My "Crab Biscuit" was a roast foie gras sandwiched between the biscuit with lots of heavenly oyster and vegetable vinaigrette notes to offset the richness. My "pot roast" of pork was an oblong of meltingly soft meat, clearly long cooked, accompanied by more butter laden truffled macaroni. Macro's Venison dish was so beautiful and colourful-"Saddle of Venison with celeriac, marron glace, sauce poivrade, pearl barley and red wine" accompanied by a nice cup of tea. PG Tips? Er...no, Venison and Frankincense Tea actually, no milk no sugar Interestingly Sole Veronique was on the menu and I was momentarily temped to order it to see how Heston would deconstruct such a classic. Instead I went for a classic dessert-Tarte Tatin with vanilla Ice Cream-brilliant-soft, succulent, juicy apple, a perfect example of the genre. Good and not greedy wine advice, lovely service, the witty mustard ice cream and red cabbage gaspacho amuse, all added up to the fact that we were no way short changed by not taking the tasting menu (although he could up the price of the a la carte (£80) by a few quid and cut out the silly supplements) This is a restaurant at the top of its game. It might not be a particularly original thing to say, but it is the best in the UK at the moment in my experience, full of confidence and self assuredness about its quality. I left wanting to revisit asap. BTW "Seashore" or "Seaside" is off the menu at the moment as they "tinker" with the dish in order to "get it right". Probably adding a caviar off shore oil slick or two or something.............
  8. In yesterday's London Metro newspaper, our mate and restaurant critic Marina (aka Circeplum) reviewed a new Brazilian restaurant-Mocoto: "Brazilian cuisine-dense, carb and fat-rich, salty, starchy peasanty food" No change there then
  9. Tuckerman

    Shanghai Blues

    It's Lobster Month this month down at Shanghai Blues-lobster dishes down from £42 to £25, presumably in an attempt to induce some people to order them, since lobster dishes are about £25 as a norm in places like Yi-Ban. We forewent the bargain lobsters in favour of some pretty ordinary dishes. Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Barbeque Sauce had juicy fresh fish, but so it should have been at £28 A Shanghai Devilled Lamb dish was more reasonably priced but was far too over black peppered. Probably best to stick to the steamed Dim Sum type starters, of which there are many, and of which we enjoyed the Vegatable Dumplings in "Carrot Juice pastry" (actually, orange coloured dumplings). This restaurant was full and buzzy on a Saturday night with a 50/50 mix of young Western/Chinese diners and a jazzy trio noodling away with MOR sounds up on one of the overlooking balconies. Best dish of the night (and only £6 ) was a dessert of Coconut Custard. The menu specified a 25 minute wait, and it was worth it for a bowl of hot white coconut custard accompanied by coconut candy floss. The dish was really light, clean, sweetish, but completely uncloying-delicious. In all I don't think this restaurant is so much better than many places two or three notches cheaper. It would appear to be fashioning itself on Hakkasan, but it really isn't in its league. But if you like lobster...this is the month to go
  10. 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 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)
  11. Seven of us st down at 7.30 here on Saturday night and when we rose four hours later we were several pounds heavier round the waste and 130 pounds each lighter in the wallet. Admittedly a good deal of that was wine and service, but the fact that this place can charge £42 for a Porterhouse Steak and STILL charge extra for chips, mushrooms, salad shows that it has confidence in its ability to attract the crowds. And why not? A beautifully it dining room and tables full of glassware like an old fashioned French country restaurant gave one a cosy glow immediately. A selection of starters yeilded the most wonderful Smoked Salmon-melting in the mouth, saltiness and smokiness well balanced by succulence. I mean we've all eaten Smoked Salmon a million times right? But this was truly a class above-one of those times when the bar gets raised with a particular food. Scallops, Prawns and Hot Smoked Salmon and Cod and a deeply flavoured Cullen Skink were all good and we certainly didn't need a massive steak each, but ordered one of course. On first bite I thought the sugar crust charred coating was a bit bitter, but as the steak cooled down the meat quality asserted itself as the crust flavour tempered down and we then had the best steaks that any of us could remember having in the UK. However the meal was let down by dreadful sides. First of all we had to endure that ludicrous Northern abomination-chips fried in beef fat yes folks-let's eat chips with that horrible rancid tang! Whyowhyowhy? The salad also had a horrible oil tang in its dressing and the "wild mushrooms" at £7.50 per portion? Yer havin a larf. Good desserts (rice pudding with jam ) and a top notch Stilton restored quality, mint teas and chocolates and doggie bags and effusive goodbyes ended a memorable evening which had only threatened to go pear shaped once after our American guest had announced in that soft, dulcet New York lilt how he was looking forward to "A GREAT BIG FUCK OFF STEAK" once too often for the sensibilities of the people at the table behind, who apparently shot a "who is this loud mouthed American" look once or twice our way. But his schmoozing of the madame 'd paid off in good service and good will and lots of "come agains". Probably won't but everyone should go once
  12. I'm pleasantly surprised about Lameloise. I would have thought its cuisine was too rooted in Burgundian tradition to warrant 3 star status. As for Pic, everything there in 2005 signified 3 star aspirations. The fact that its been acheived is clearly not from want of trying. Are three stars deserved? Well the place is well behind Trosgros and Bras, but if you compare to, say, Regis Marcon then I would say just about.
  13. Tuckerman

    The Capital

    Not from my dinner it isn't
  14. Tuckerman

    The Capital

    Bacon was nowhere to be seen on the menu the other night. It might have cropped up in some dishes but not in those we had. The Pave of Sole dish is served with Toulouse Cassoulet which presumably contains some porky bits but that was all that was obvious from the menu. Maybe your criticism has been taken on board.
  15. Tuckerman

    The Capital

    I have also found this to be a fault at some cheffy meals, but not at this one.
  16. Tuckerman

    Anchor & Hope

    A whole roast duck is just about enough for two in my experience
  17. Tuckerman

    The Capital

    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
  18. Well to carry on the Holden Caulfield line....people laugh like hyenas at the theatre and things that are not in the least but funny, or are only mildly funny. Why? It seems to me that the audience is so easily pleased, so undemanding. Often the dialogue is utter crap. People talk to each other in stupid ways about stupid things. If they talked to each other like that normally everyone would reckon they were retarded. The audience gets tense/surprised about things that a five year old wouldn't get surprised by. Performers shriek and clop about and everybody cheers..... It seems to me that all critical standards get suspended in the theatre and the audience laps up this crap and is grateful for it. Its rubbish and anyone who thinks that the theatre is better than movies needs their heads examining. Love Shakespeare, mind......
  19. Tuckerman

    Pan's Labyrinth

    I agree with that. I just saw it and I'm stumped if I know whether I liked it or not, or what to think about it. It was a very heavy film but mesmerising. Shall have to ponder
  20. Tuckerman


    Second visit here in three days, this time with the aged Ps for Boxing Day Dim Sum, we were the only non Western diners in a restaurant packed with Chinese families (a "good sign"? probably, but as I always say Caffy Filthmuck is also always packed with Brits but would you recommend a Chinese person to eat there? ) Very good Dim Sum but simply not in the same league as Hakkasan's.
  21. Tuckerman


    Searching once again for the entrance to this place in a desolate area overlooking City Airport and lo (not the Chef's name)-you enter a warm noisy restaurant packed with Chinese families in festive mood and a group pumping out those old and loved Chinese classics such as The Girl From Impanema and Feel Like Makin' Love. I was hoping Prawns with Walnuts was going to be a version of a marvellous dish I had once at Mr Chow where the prawns had been glazed with the walnuts, but instead it was prawns with loose walnut pieces in mayonnaise-which works well but not in the same league Kam Sa Chef's Special Lobster was fried lobster in a salty seasoning-pleasant enough but a bit one note. Duck with Ginger and Onion was a conventional dish but was lovely-juicy flavoursome pieces of duck and fragrant ginger-a terrific combination. You STILL have to ask for the Chinese specials menu, but some of the dishes appear to have made their way onto the menu they give you-why not just put them ALL on one menu? Looking at the dishes steaming out of the kitchen for the Chinese families I had that old faniliar Chinese restaurant feeling that I wasn't accessing the best of what was on offer somehow. I ike this place. It's a bit quirky and it's a good Chinese local for us but I think a discussion about the food beforehand with someone who can be made to understand that I'm interested would need to be in order next time.
  22. Tuckerman


    Somewhere between the main course and the pre dessert amuse my ususally level headed dining companion, Robin, crossed to the dark side at Pearl last night. He became moodily obsessed with whether chef Jun Tanaka was in the restaurant or not He asked a waiter-"He's number one on the line, sir". "I don't believe him", whispered Robin. He asked another- "yes he's in the kitchen sir". "Did you note the pause before he answered?", rasped Robin. "He's not telling the truth either. That the staff at Pearl are congenital liars was confirmed in Robin's mind by the fact that it was the pastry chef and not Jun who came out and spent time with a couple at another table. "See? Why not Jun?" Before we left Robin walked up to the kitchen and attempted to peer through the glass porthole in the door; "Why don't you just walk in and demand Jun present himself?", I urged. "There's no-one there", yelped Robin. "There's no-one there". Not only was Jun Tanaka not in the kitchen. NO-ONE was in the kitchen! As I escaped into a taxi Robin was last seen sneaking round the back of the Chancery Court Hotel in the freezing cold, trying to find a drain pipe to shin up in order to peer in to the kitchen to confirm Jun Tanaka's non-presence. And all because he was disapointed with his meal, or rather let down after some good champagne, decent canapes and a fabulous amuse of golden butternut squash custard, with a piece of potato stufed with fois gras, truffle, truffle oil and a stuffing farce of some kind with herbs. Delectable. I really liked my starter of Smoked Haddock and Egg Yolk Raviolo in a Watercress Soup. The viscous yellow yolk broke rather garishly into the luridly green watercress, but flavours were strong and clear. But Robins Veal starter and our Rabbit and Partridge mains were sludgy one note salt bombs, I'm afraid. Tanaka (if it were he) liikes to riff on a main ingredient. So dishes are called "Turbot". "Rabbit" etc. the trouble with this approach is a need to over elaborate on the theme-a tower of breast meat, a stuffed leg, a pistilla of liver, and so on. And in Robin's rabbit a nastily rancid deep fried rabbit bit-wholly unnecessary. And over salting everywhere. Whyowhy? Deserts were good, and our BYO was treated with great respect and interest from the excellent sommelier-still £15 corkage, which is good value. But Robin had gone meshuga by this time and I could tell by the light in his eyes that it might be touch and go as to whether he recovers his sanity for Christmas...............
  23. The discussions on the Ipswich murders have shown that there is a huge swathe of society that find it hard to deal with the fact that some women CHOOSE prostitution out of the range of earning options open to them. May people still want to believe that women are "forced into prostitution" in a way that they are NOT "forced" into working on the checkouts at Tescos for sweet sod all per day This is because a moral dimension colors the argument. Prostitution is "wrong", whereas working on the Tesco checkout is "not wrong". This moral dimension makes it very difficult to move the discussion beyond the paramaters that it imposes.
  24. You are missing the point. Which is that the widely held view that women become prostitutes because they are drug addicts sets up a misconception of the issue of prostitution. It assigns a kind of moral degradation to these women. What about the women who become prostitutes simply for the money? Isn't that why most people work? Whether people are drug addicts or not is not the issue. Some city bankers are drug addicts. I'm not sure that says anything useful about city banking
  25. What is casually stated as fact in some media is that the girls in Ipswich "have to prostitute themselves in order to buy drugs" Er..well yes but they also have to buy food and clothes and pay rent and so on. They would have to buy these things regardless of whether they were addicts. The idea that if they weren't addicts they would happily work on supermarket check outs, or in shoe factories or whatever for tuppence an hour to make ends meet strikes me as questionable. They become prostitutes because they can earn more money that way, not because they are drug addicts. Otherwise no non-drug addicted girl would ever become a prostitute. Similarly there are drug addicted women who do not become prostitutes. The linkeage only takes you so far.
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