Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Restaurant Review: Koffmann's

La Tante Clair was reputedly one of the very best restaurants London has ever seen.  It won three Michelin  stars and a plethora of Britain' most talented cooks trained in its kitchens.  Sadly I never ate there before it closed in 2002.  However, after a succesful and much talked about time cooking at a pop-up restaurant in Selfridges roof garden in the Summer of 2009 Pierre Koffmann decided to return to the professional kitchen and London full-time.  Due to a fortunate coming together of circumstances and things needed to be celebrated I had a reason, after many months, to book a table at Koffmann's in the Berkely and it now sits near the top of my list for places to return for special occassions.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Superbowl night at Bodeans and a Pint at the Effra

An alternative title (if I liked bad puns) might have been 'It was the best of times it was the Wurst of times' but I may save that for a more sausage related post instead of just a porky one.  Either way, this post is about last Sunday, which involved two great plates of pork, a lot of beers and 4 hours of watching a sport I don't understand after watching two matches of one that I do.  Pretty sweet day all in all.  It started in the Effra Inn on just round the corner from the Ritzy and then went on to encompass Superbowl night at Bodeans, somewhere that despite being successful, and a chain still manages to deliver the goods on every visit and what's more, serves you some damn tasty bbq sauce alongside them.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Restaurant Review: Polpetto

Hype is a funny thing, so are bandwagons.  They can stop you judging somewhere on its own merit and this happened to me at Polpetto.  Even though I enjoyed my meal, I was expecting fireworks and that's because Polpetto and its bigger brother Polpo have been the object of an exceptional amount of praise - Time Out is admirably exempt from this, though the underlying reason that with two other similar establishments this is not requisitely trendy enough is predictably obnoxious as ever.  I was thinking about the hype surrounding this place and trying to pin down the reasons behind it.  Firstly I suppose is the location, the same room above the French House that the sainted Fergus Henderson started at.  More than that though is that it provides a very strong, balanced and homely Italian menu that was once difficult to find.  In doing this it replicates the formula from Polpo and Boca de Lupo of providing this food in small and shareable portions so you can eat through a decent amount of the menu on one visit.  Obviously this also means slightly less food for slightly more money, but variety is after all the spice of life.  Without all the hype this would be a great place to have a good glass of wine and well prepared Venetian food with the odd stand out dish thrown in.

Restaurant Review: The Meateasy

Yes its great, all the reviews are true.  Its the best complete burger in London (though Hawksmoor still has the best patty, but given the burger is three times the price...).  The bar alongside mix great drinks, its lively and fun and well decked out.  The whole thing has a great sense of fun and sense of anticipation around it and its generally brilliant.  There is only one thing that made me sad and that's that I got a bacon burger instead of a plain cheeseburger.  It was delicious, its just I personally prefer the plain one.  I guess I'll have to go back!

Restaurant Review: Duke of Cambridge

This weekend I trotted past the ranks of pub nobility - The Prince of Wales and The Earl of Essex, The baron of somewhere else - before arriving for dinner at Britain's first and only fully accredited organic gastropub The Duke of Cambridge.  I really liked The Duke  as a boozer and everything about me wanted to like it as a restaurant as well.    Outwardly it hits all the marks for this kind of place; it's local, it's seasonal and being able to get themselves a Soil Association badge highlights the care the team here takes with sourcing.  And a fully organic gastropub is a great concept in a time when people are thankfully becoming more aware of the shocking treatment meted out to the majority of animals that end up on our plates.  So given I want to like it and approve so thoroughly of the thinking behind it why didn't I enjoy myself?  Easy answer; a restaurant's main function is to produce great food and if you can't do that consistently the goodwill you win elsewhere goes out the window.