About cumbriafoodie

Who is Cumbriafoodie ? Alan Spedding from Whitehaven in West Cumbria , Food lover , Restaurant goer ,Wild food forager , Amateur kitchen dabbler , Cumbrian food photographer and general lunatic.As for the food photos, just shout up if your food need lovingly snapped.

18 Courses at Restaurant “BoLan” – Bangkoks best Thai food experience.

I`ve written about BoLan before and it also appears on my blog so I wont go into too much detail again .All I`ll say is that if you`re wanting to eat the very best Thai food in Bangkok  then head here , simple as that.
I recently had the pleasure to experience a BoLan 18 course Thai menu and this was combined with 6 very unique cocktails from  guest mixologist Franco `tucci` Ponti from Atomic bar in Milan who was over visiting Thailand.Fair enough it was a speciality night at BoLan and the menu was a `one off` but i`ve also been on a normal evening and had the `Bolan experience` tasting menu which was also a delight and very similar.
All in all , its a wonderful experience so I urge you to go there and see for yourselves. If you`re visiting Bangkok and want to eat a combination of traditional Thai Street food mixed with refined home cooking and Royal Thai cuisine then head over to see Bo and Dylan…as in Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones….”Bo” “Lan”.

Ok , so over to the new premises. Just off Sukhumvit road. Best way to get there is by Skytrain ( BTS ) and get off at Thong Lor station and BoLan is literally 100m walk down Soi 53. I went via Tuk Tuk and that cost me 150 baht (£3) with the price agreed before we left the hotel…..ALWAYS.

Look out for the Green BoLan sign halfway down the Soi ( street )

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Menu choices at BoLan , you have 3 to choose from -

BoLan Balance Thai Tasting menu for 2280 Baht (£43 )

BoLan Brief , A smaller Tasting menu for 1880 (£35)

BoLan Botanicals which is a Plant based  Tasting experience for 2280 Baht (£43)

or for those wanting a lighter lunch 880 Baht (£16) for a nice set Thai lunch.

Cocktail No 1 – Noir. ( Prosecco , Aperitif , Bitters , Lime , Salt. ) Set the evening off. The theme of the meal was a bit of Thai `with a twist` and with our guest `Mixologist` we had a very interesting take on Thai food with Italian influences.

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1 – Antipasto Thai style – A BoLan Bar snack as a little appetiser.

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Cocktail No 2 – Rosemary & Sage. ( Golden Rum , Rosemary , Sage , Lime )

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3 – Quail.

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4 – Arancini – Northern Thailand spicy Sausage.

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5 – Carpaccio with Thai influences.

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Cocktail No 3 – The Oriental. ( Gin , Chai Thai Tea , Peppercorns )

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6 – Carbonara alla Bangkok – Fresh Coconut as the Pasta with Roasted Chilli.

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7 – Gizzards salada Piquante.

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8 – Fettucini alla Chiang Mai.

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9 – Olive Tapenade. – Sticky sweet Pork salad.

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Cocktail No 4 –  Mitti ( Rice Liquor , Lemongrass , Green curry paste , Coconut , Cucumber )

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10 – Garum Thailandia – This course was really exciting and it really couldn`t be any simpler. We went into the kitchen to meet the chefs hard at work. Dylan had made us a really basic little treat with the traditional Thai greeting ” Have you eaten Rice today” ? So here is where we sampled good Thai Jasmine Rice seasoned with a very top quality Thai Fish sauce.To accompany this was the `Head` of a Shrimp. For those of you that are saying “Yuk” here , you really have to try it. Sucking the creamy goodness out of shrimps head is an absolute foodie `must try` treat…..it really is an amazing taste experience. When you`re eating shrimp with a Thai then you ( as a westerner) will always be given the meat out of the tail whilst the Thai will suck on the claws and the head juices.You will automatically think that you`ve got the best part…But you`re sooooooo wrong. Trust me on this one…..Try it.

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11 – Truffles of the South

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12 – No 12.

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Cocktail No 5 – Mizwari. (  Single Malt Scotch , Chocolate infused Water , Grilled Shishito Pepper )

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13 – Gambero Salada

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14 – Minestrone Siam

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15 – Osso Bucco BoLanese.

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16 – Granita de Coco

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17 – Thai Gnocchi

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18 – Fruit Gelee

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Cocktail No 6 – Digestive. ( Rice Liquor , Mandarin juice , Thai Basil )

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Awesome meal in a stunning and very romantic traditional Thai restaurant. Be back for more soon without a doubt.

TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS THEN PLEASE CLICK HERE.

 

The Rib Room at the Landmark hotel , Bangkok.

20140905_181619Whenever i visit Asia , i always like to start and finish my holiday  with a few days in Bangkok city. I`ve been fortunate enough  to squeeze in more than 35 visits now over the last 10 years and i`m beginning to feel totally at home there. Being a creature of habit i always stay in the same area of the city , a rather “colourful” ( for want of a better term) area  where there`s 24 hour streetfood and where life never ever stands still. During the day its all hustle and bustle , hot and sticky and teeming with smells of BBQ shellfish and welcoming bars serving ice cold beer. At night it just comes alive with Neons , music and faces from all over the world…. It`s a  people watchers paradise.
There`s two lovely  hotels side by side that i like to use on a daily basis for my Elevenses . One is the Bangkok Marriott which houses ” The Bangkok Bakery” and offers  the very best cake selection in the city. The second is the Bangkok Landmark hotel which also has a bakery and several restaurants and at  £70 for a room this is also a wonderful place to stopover for a stay in the city. The Bangkok city centre  Hotels start from £5 a night in this area so the Landmark prices are very high end. Very close by  you`ll get an amazing room in a lovely boutique hotel for £30 a night with breakfast. The Dawin hotel is my current fave and definitely worth a visit.

I`ve always wanted to try Wagyu  Steak but never quite got around to experiencing it. I noticed during an internet  search that the Landmark fine dining restaurant The “Rib Room bar and grill ” was actually voted  the Number one place in the city for Steaks. They specialise in Japanese , Australian and American Beef….Perfect , I booked in.

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The restaurant is situated on the 31st floor of the hotel and the city panoramic views are simply amazing. I contacted the food and beverage manager Winit Kitchaiya  to request a nice table with a city view. It was my last night in Bangkok so i wanted something romantic and special to finish my holiday perfectly. The view below is the “Nana” area of Bangkok city and taken from my table.

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Now bear in mind that the Landmark is a premier 5 star hotel , one of the best in the city and when it comes to pricing , its bloody cheap considering the location and the food you`re going to get served here. The handmade cakes in the bakery are superb specimens and they retaill at 110 Baht  ( £2)…I normally have 2 for Breakfast with iced coffee.

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 Naturally when i booked the Rib room meal i expected the prices for a good Steak to be pretty decent  Bangkok prices, not cheap, but at the same time  not  too expensive. Upon my arrival i was greeted by the staff, all smiles and really  happy people oozing traditional  Thai friendliness and welcomes. I explained to Winit about my Japanese Steak requirements and within a flash he disappeared to source me a good piece of Beef – My first proper Wagyu steak. Within a few minutes Winit reappeared with the two best steaks of the day on a plate – ” Awesome , I`ll have that one “. The Grade A5  Beef it was explained came from a highly prized breed of Japanese Wagyu Cows from the Shiga prefecture. Massaged twice daily and pampered totally on Premier grains , Beer and Classical music….Extremely happy animals it would seem. Oh and the price Mr Alan… A 300g Sirloin 6,900 Baht  ( £131  – plus another 20% for service and VAT ) “Whaaaaaaat……….Ermmmmm…..maybe not this time thanks “

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So a decent Wagyu Sirloin is still on my radar for the future but in the meantime  i`ll keep buying my lottery ticket . Not to be totally disheartened i opted for the next best thing on the menu which was a  `Duo of  ” Wagyu”  Beef Cheek and Tenderloin for 1650 Baht  ( £31 )  – Pan seared Fillet accompanied by a Cheek stewed Provencal style  for 8 hours served with Black Truffle Mashed Potatoes. Now this certainly wasn`t the way to sample the worlds best Beef but boy did it taste good and it was as rich as food ever gets , just my style of eating. Soft and melting Fillet paired up with the deep flavoured cheek and buttery Black truffle mash.

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Anyways , I`m getting ahead of myself here. While we were perusing the menu we were served a little house appetiser of a coarse meat pate layered with Foie gras to whet our appetites.

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Starters…Well hey , If Foie  gras is on the menu then I`ll order it , simple as that .It still remains my all time favourite delight so I just can`t resist. It arrived in a duo of true classic styling , Rougie Foie Gras Terrine and Seared with Mostarda di frutta and Bigarade sauce …Amazing.

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Risotto of Seafood, Scallop , Tiger prawn and Chorizo with Lobster claw and Saffron.

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Freshly made warm Bread form the Landmark Bakery.P1130392                     A little tasting salad of Shrimp with Squid ink croutons.

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A refreshing Sorbet before the mains arrive.

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On to the main courses and Clea chose the Scottish Salmon with Pea puree , Iberico Bellota chorizo , Cuttlefish fricassee ,  vegetables and Caperberries whilst I opted for the Wagyu fillet.

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We were pretty full by this point as we had been eating all day ( as you do in Bangkok ) but my sweet craving always gets the better of me and so I went for the Giant Macaron with Summer berries.. A simple no frills dessert but it managed to totally give me the fix I was looking for.

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All in all the rib room provided a lovely way to finish off a fantastic holiday. The food here is classic western food and everything cooked accurately and well. It`s romantic , it carries a nice atmosphere both for couples and groups and the service is perfection , educated staff that smile naturally and are extremely attentive without being intrusive. Definitely on my list for a return visit. If anyone`s going to book then it`s worth taking a ride up in the lift during daylight and actually requesting your seat. At least you know that you`re going to have the best seat in the house once the night comes alive.

Classic Caesar salad being made for the next table.

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Here`s a few of my breakfast delights from the Bakery on the ground floor.

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Rogan & Company – Late Summer Tasting menu.

A last minute request to work the weekend ended up spoiling my well made plans so a quick message down to Cartmel and i was smiling again. I managed to get booked in for a last minute Friday lunch slot and a marvellous late summer tasting menu cooked by head chef Kev Tickle. I`ve already blogged R&Co so i`ll go straight to the food.

Westcombe Cheese cracker with pickle.

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Cured Bessy beck Rainbow Trout with Oyster and Dittander emulsion , Nasturtiums and Sourdough crisp.

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Crispy Pigs trotter with heritage Potatoes , runner Beans and a Mugwort cream.

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Cartmel valley Pigeon with creamed Kale , Camomile and Blackcurrant.

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” A foragers play on Marks signature ” – Beefsteak fungus tartare with Garlic aioli , Shallot jam , Ramson ( wild garlic ) capers , Coal oil and Local fungi. ( The wild fungi are Chanterelle and Amethyst deceiver ).There was also Reindeer moss / lichen added to finish the dsh off perfectly….a work of art.

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I like to think i`m a bit of an amateur fungi hunter myself but this was the first time i`d ever set eyes on one of these mushrooms…. It`s a Beefsteak fungi , named for very obvious reasons…wow.

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This was a brilliant and alternative , very well thought out twist on a Rogan / Birchall classic signature dish. At Lenclume , the meat in this dish is normally Cartmel valley Venison ( see pic below )  whilst at “The French” in Manchester they use raw Ox. Kev Tickle replaced the meat with Beefsteak fungus and i sat looking at the plate open mouthed , what a guy and what a stunning plate of food.

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Grilled Cod with heritage Radishes , Turnip and coastal greens.

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Goosnargh Guinea hen with Bacon , Celeriac and oyster mushrooms.

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Caramelised Apple with Plum crumble ice cream and Apple marigold.

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Meadowsweet ice cream with sour Yoghurt meringue, Granola , Honeycomb and flowers.

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Blackberry parfait with Cobnut frangipane , poached Blackberries , Douglas fir and Oxalis.

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Once again an amazing lunch with the Cartmel team , service excellent , faultless flow and i`m buzzing over it. Back to Lenclume next for an Autumn feast with chef Mark Birchall.

Restaurant “Urban” – Hotel Istana , Kuala Lumpur.

 

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I stopped over for a few days in Kuala Lumpur on my way to Singapore recently and i`m so glad that i did. The hotel that  i booked  was called  `The Istana ` and was pretty well situated in the city centre. The  shopping malls , Petronas twin towers and night life were all nearby so it was a very well located hotel all around.

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The Istana is officially a 5 star hotel and i managed to secure a huge room in there for an amazing  £49 (  $ 81 ) per night . The hotels fine dining restaurant  is called ” Urban ” and so i went downstairs to have a little peep at the menu. The first thing that hit me was Foie gras  followed by Lobster , Porcini and  Kobe beef and then  the prices hit me…WOW,  3  courses for  £ 27  ( $46 )  and the  gourmet  tasting menu for  £ 35 ( $58 ) I was very impressed and booked a table for myself as soon as they opened that night.

P1100609The style of the food is very much East meets West and incorporates traditional Asian flavours with modern international ingredients and cooking techniques.Top quality producs from around the world are cooked perfectly by the `Istana` chefs. Chef Sharusmizal came to speak with me during my two meals at “Urban”  a lovely guy with a passion and a true dedication to his craft.
During this  Thailand , Malaysia and  Singapore trip i dined at 3 of the restaurants in the San Pellegrino “Best restaurants in Asia”  top 10. For me the food at  Restaurant “Urban”  in the Hotel Istana was far more enjoyable. I`ll definitely be looking forward to another trip to eat there in the near future.

This first meal was the gourmet tasting menu starting off with Scallops and sauce Remoulade

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Barely Touched – Ultra rare seared Tuna , Marinated Fennel , Basil , Capers , Tosazu sauce.

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Pan – Fried French Foie gras escalope with Sushi Mango chutney , Truffle red wine sauce.

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Bavettini Pasta, Prawn , Spring Nanohana greens , Togarashi chilli Bonito.

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Green Tea sorbet

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Abalone Cod loin Vol au vent , Spinach , Artichoke , Dubarry cream , Roasted Chicken jus.

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Soft 53% Dark Chocolate , Basil ice cream.

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Moist Madeira cake.

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This next meal was the following evenings  “3 course” a la carte. I started with a little bite of a  Foie gras brioche sandwich.

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Salmon , wasabi and wild mushrooms was another little pre starter course.

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Scallop resting on cold Udon noodles , Crab meat with transparent Ravioli ,  Wombok Kimchi , “Kemangi” sorbet and Saki Saiko Miso emulsion.

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Plum Vodka sorbet.

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Angus Filet Mignon , Rougie Foie Gras , Caramelised Red Onion jam , Baby glazed vegetables , Red Beet confit , Roasted Bone Marrow with Black Truffle , Slow roasted smoked Garlic and Madeira sauce…..Ohhh man , what an amazing combination when every ingredient is cooked to perfection. My main course of the year….it`s got to be.

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P1100759This was an absolute delight to eat with the steak and foie gras…Smokey bone marrow , Black truffle and sweetcorn….I`m craving it so badly as I write this.P1100771Valronha Manjari Chocolate sandwich , Rum Josephine Pineapple sorbet and Pineapple Tuile.

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Who`s going to tell me that`s not the best value 3 course meal for £27 ($46) they`ve ever seen ? Oh and there was also bread , canapé , coffee and Madeira cake included.

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Here`s the view of the city from the 421metre  Menara tower.
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Rogan & Co – Summer Tasting menu introduced.

20140725_111905This was my second trip to Rogan & Co in the village of Cartmel , Cumbria. Chef Kevin Tickle has now settled into place and after much staff discussion a new Tasting menu has been introduced. This consists of  8 courses for £65  ( plus a few little extra taster courses) and will be changing constantly as each season progresses which is good news. Running along side of the Tasting menu is the a la carte menu. I had a little preview of this one during my visit and the first thing that hit me was the pricing……WOW. For food cooked to this standard and of this quality i think the vast majority of diners will be more than happy. Top marks for the pricing here guys , it`s absolutely perfect for those wanting a beautiful meal in very relaxed surroundings.

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Things are taking off in a new direction now as Rogan and Co develops into a unique restaurant within it`s own right. It has been operating now for a number of years,  just plodding away in the village contently at a steady pace. Rogan recently appointed Kevin Tickle as the new head chef and John Strange started as the restaurant manager. Decor and kitchen were upgraded and a new menu and approach structured. I personally feel that it was akin to letting a Greyhound out of its trap. The changes are quite dramatic , the staff are all hungry for success  and i think that before long , diners will be travelling to Cartmel just to eat at Rogan & Co and  the food of Kevin Tickle. I mentioned last time about the wonderful package plan  –  Friday dinner at Rogan & Co , Saturday dinner at Lenclume , and Sunday lunch at the Pig n Whistle. Now that`s got to be the ultimate foodie weekend , what a treat…..and yes , im plugging it , I`m a local and i`ve been a customer  here since Lenclume opened its doors. I  know only too well the smiles it can put on visitors faces.

So on with the food and the new Tasting menu at Rogan & Co. As i said , there wil be tweaks and changes to the menus as things progress but at least this will hopefully show the  style and quality all around of what`s going to be coming your way.

Home made Butter and Sourdough Bread – They sure have cracked this wonderful stuff…Best Bread I`ve eaten for a long time. The problem is though…Theres 10 courses to go….absolutely deadly , so good it`s impossible to keep off.

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Westcombe Cheese cracker , Pickled Onion , Cheese snow.

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Cockles with Coastal offerings and Seawater jelly.
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Fresh Buffalo Curds – Buffalo Curds, Grilled Courgettes, Lovage, crispy Pumpernickel and Nasturtium
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Bessy beck Rainbow Trout – House cured with Fennel, fresh Cucumber, Dill and sour Cream  – This dish i can only describe as `Summer on a plate` , Refreshing , light , stunning to the eye and highly aromatic.

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Ox Tongue Salad – Roasted  Ox tongue and  grilled Tundra Cabbage with valley offerings and smoky Bone Marrow cream. – It was like eating the finest piece of melt in the mouth Steak. Paired up with the smokiness of the Bone marrow cream this one made for a beautiful combination of flavours.

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Diver caught Isle of Skye Scallops – Seared Scallops with sea Fennel,  Wild Blaeberry , Roasted Cauliflower puree and barbequed Cauliflower –  One of my closed eyes moments. I  love Scallops cooked in any way but this one hit my magic button right away. A classic heavenly marriage of Cauliflower taken to another level after being Barbequed and then pureed …oh wow. Just to top that off it was then given another level of tart sweetness with a syrup of Wild Blaeberries ( Blueberries ) which are currently in full fruit on the lake district mountain tops.

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Wild brill  – Brill cooked in Brown Butter with Oyster and Dittander cream, grilled blood red Holland Onions and Kohlrabi. This was my favourite course of the day.Perfectly moist fish with the gently cooked cubes of Kohlrabi.The flavours were basic and simple and the only chemistry here was the natural flavours of prime seasonal produce.

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P1120473 P1120477  Cartmel Valley Roe deer – Crusted Almond and Juniper Venison haunch, Pablo Beetroot and rainbow Chard. –  An extra complimentary course here for lucky old me. This one was a recipe in progress so i gave it a little road testing to air my views. The Venison was well cooked and tender , a nice subtle game flavour came through and paired up nicely with the Nut crumb coating. Baby beets , Crispy heritage Beetroot and a smooth sweet puree of Beetroot accompanied the Venison and it was a really enjoyable dish to eat slowly and savour every mouthful. Personally i would have liked to have seen the addition of something carrying a degree of tartness just to add that finishing touch and complete a hit on the senses of  Savoury , Sweet , and  Sour ( my trips to Asia rubbing off on me )

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Dexter Beef – Beer fed Dexter rib with grilled young Cabbage, Hen of the woods and Sea Rocket dressing

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Toffee Malto , Molasses gel , Pineapple Weed ice cream.

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Poached Gooseberry – Gooseberries poached in sweet wine with Apple Marigold, Apple mousse and crumble ice cream   –  Now C`mon guys , my immediate reaction was an open mouthed one as soon as i spotted the `suspect` leaves. I know Mr Rogan loves his twists on the normal and Chef Kev Tickle is a master of the foraging but serving `Ganja` leaves on a dessert…..Whaaaaat ?  I asked my server what they were….She laughed. I asked the restaurant manager what they were….He laughed. Surely not. Anyways , during my drive back home i only ended up  buzzing off the meal and not the crazy herbs. After a quick a search on google it turned out to be an Apple flavoured herb called Tagetes Minuta or Mexican Margigold.

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Yorkshire Strawberries – Macerated Strawberries with Sheep’s milk ice cream, wild Sorrel and Hazelnut biscuit –  English Strawberries and Cream on Steroids , I don`t need to say anything more than this.

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TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS FROM THE MEAL PLEASE CLICK HERE
ROGAN & CO on TRIPTEASE –   CLICK HERE

The dishes below are taken off the new alc menu at Rogan & Co and an example of the very attractive pricing structure in the restaurant. The thing that puzzles me is that the food here is clearly running at Michelin star levels so why can`t other restaurants of a similar nature offer food for prices like this ?

Cartmel Valley Pigeon  – Grilled pigeon breast, creamed kale and savoury, blackcurrant and chamomile sauce. £7

Pigs Trotter – Crispy pigs trotter with confit potatoes, broad beans and mugwort cream sauce. £7

Bessy beck rainbow trout – House cured with fennel, fresh cucumber, dill and sour cream.  £8

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Wild brill  – Brill cooked in brown butter with oyster and dittander cream, grilled blood red Holland onions and kohlrabi.  £22

Line caught Cod – Seared cod loin and icicle radishes, coastal greens radish and anise broth. £21

Mead Glazed Carrot – Sugar snax carrot glazed in mead, St James cheese, barbequed sea kale and walnut dressing. £16

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Yorkshire Strawberries – Macerated strawberries with sheep’s milk ice cream,  wild sorrel and hazelnut biscuit. £8

Raspberry Mousse – Raspberry mousse with mascarpone ice cream,  elderflower jelly and crispy brioche.  £7

Smoked Cherry – Cherries smoked over oak, walnut cake, artichoke ice cream and caramel.   £8

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Rogan & Co. on Urbanspoon

DAL PESCATORE , ITALY – Use your camera if you dare.

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Following on from dinner at Osteria Francescana on the Saturday evening we thought it would be a good idea to stop off for a nice traditional Italian Sunday lunch on our way back to Milan airport. Unfortunate news for our wallets however, the 3 Michelin starred Dal Pescatore Santini happened to be on our drive back up North.

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The restaurant is in the middle of nowhere basically, it`s situated right in the heart of the Italian countryside in a small village called Runate (about 10 houses), Canneto sull`Oglio. Roughly equidistant between Modena and Milan. Sat Nav will literally take you to the front doorstep  so that`s easily the best way to find the place .

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The restaurant  opened in 1925 and has remained in Santini family hands  for 89 years.The food at Dal Pescatore is traditional Italian family cooking so don`t come here expecting high end modern gastronomy as it`s simple country food cooked to 3 star standards.The Chefs are Nadia , Giovanni and Bruna Santini and if they are working then you can guarantee they will be out to meet you with big smiles and warm Italian welcomes. Come to Dal Pescatore if you`re wanting to experience authentic and fresh seasonal ingredients prepared and cooked with love and care. Dal Pescatore comes with a fantastic pedigree and has had it`s 3 Michelin stars since 1996. It was also voted into 48th position on the San Pellegrino list of the Worlds top 50 restaurants 2009. ( Number 90 in the 2014 guide). Nadia Santini was also awarded the best female chef in the world 2013….quite a feat.

One thing i have to mention is the “No photography” request at the restaurant. Now i really have no idea why this is, especially in this modern day and age….BUT  “No cameras allowed” is clearly stated at the booking stage. Does my Samsung Galaxy S5 actually count ? At the end of the day It`s a mobile phone.

My travelling and dining buddy for the weekend was Kevin ,finedining explorer. Kevin was actually starting to get panicky at my constant whinging  almost to the point of choosing another place to eat in.
” Now please tell me you`re not gonna try and take photos in there Alan” .- Kevin actually sounded concerned. Once i had agreed not to take my camera Kevin contacted the restaurant to confirm our booking. What Kevin didn`t know was that i had my fingers crossed at the time so my promise to him didn`t really count.
I left my little Panasonic Lumix in the car and slipped my Galaxy S5 into my pocket. Sixty photos later here`s my trip report from Dal Pescatore.
( Please note that i was in no way rebellious or obstructive , just plain sneaky. The photos as you will see are “mobile phone” quality and would have been much much better had i been allowed to use my lovely little Lumix.)

We chose to have the Menu d` Estate which was the restaurants 10 course tasting menu. The bill came to £400 inclusive of a half bottle of wine and 2 glasses of Prosecco.

       Lunch started with traditional Canapes and quality Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Terrine of Tomatoes and Fresh Basil tips , Basil oil and Balsamico.

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Terrine of Lobster with Royal Oscietra Caviar.

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Tortellini of Pumpkin , Amaretti , Mostarda , Nutmeg , Cinnamon and Parmigiano Reggiano , a classic dish of the restaurant.

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Risotto using the finest Vialone Nano Rice , Porcini mushrooms, Peas and Asparagus.

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Anguilla alla Griglia. ( Grilled Eel ) with Radicchio.

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Duck breast with Aceto Balsamico and traditional Mostarda di frutta.

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Italian Cheese selection.

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Chestnut cream with meringue and Zabaglione.

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Brandy snap biscuits.

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Selection of Dal Pescatore Petits fours.

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The Cottage in the Wood ( 2 )

P1120267A Tuesday evening return trip to `The Cottage in the Wood` , Braithwaite in the heart of the English Lake district. I decided to go for the a la carte this time as the Summer Tasting menu was still running from my last visit in April. Warm welcomes and friendly smiles all around set the standard as soon as i entered the restaurant. It`s good to see smiles and it put me in a great mood from the off.
There`s two choices at dinner here. The first choice is the 8 courseTasting menu which apparently will be changing with the seasons. This menu is currently running at £ 60. The a la carte menu offers a second choice at £45 for 3 courses and consists of 4 starters , 4 mains , 4 desserts. Not a great deal of choice but with a small team operating out of a tiny kitchen and putting quality food on the plates then this is totally understandable.
The head chef young Chris Archer is now settled in and it`s obvious that his previous employers have carved him into a bit of a perfectionist in the kitchen. As i mentioned in my last Cottage post ( HERE ) Chris comes with a good C.V having worked at Midsummer house , Winterningham fields and Yorke arms…enough said….On with the food.

     Canapes

THE COTTAGE IN THE WOOD

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Strawberry Gazpacho with Black pudding and Croutons

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Cottage in the Wood Sourdough and Wholemeal Breads.

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Cured Local Salmon – Yorkshire Asparagus, Almond , Olive , Apple

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Cartmel Valley Duck Terrine – Apricot-Vanilla, Pistachio

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                              Seared Scallop – Satay, Radish, Lime

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                               West Coast Crab – ‘Caesar salad’

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Herdwick Hogget – Curthwaite Goats curd, Artichoke , Courgette, Basil

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Whitehaven Turbot – Roasted Cauliflower, Wild Asparagus, Girolles, Mussel nage

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Lorton Lop Pork - Black pudding, Cider glazed Potato confit, Carrot-mustard

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Trifle – Jefferson’s Rum, Mango, Mint

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Mint Panna Cotta – Raspberry textures,  Pink Ginger, Almond

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Apricot Delice  – Poached Apricot , Lemon curd , Earl grey

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Palet D’Or – Carvetii Coffee aerated Chocolate Hazelnut

P1120322 So to sum Cottage in the Wood up on my second visit, it`s much the same as my first time there. A stunning location in the heart of the Lake district National park and an amazing escape from the perils of city life. A `must go to` destination for lovers of nature , walking , photography , food and basically lovers in general. Great service from genuinely nice people. A small but well thought out and reasonably priced wine selection with some nice wines available by the glass. The food – well i think the photos speak for themselves really. I would have liked to have seen more choice and some new dishes on the a la carte but what`s on there is all faultless, very well cooked and presented.
Only one negative ( for me ) and that`s the same as my last visit ……Cmon guys , and get some Wild food on to those plates.The forest is alive and it`s right outside the front door ,  it`s like walking into a Wild Supermarket. Chris….I`ll get you a foraging book for Chrimbo.
For those on a budget then there`s a very well priced  lunch menu on , 2 starters , 2 mains , 2 desserts at  £20.95  for 2 courses and £25.95 for 3 courses….No excuse not to go really.

To view all of the photos from dinner please CLICK HERE

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“Let`s do Frogs” – Dinner at Osteria Francescana.

P1110973I remember a crazy day quite a while ago , a bit of a mad moment when i made a 350 mile trip down to London and back home again just to eat lunch at Marco Pierre Whites restaurant in Knightsbridge. Since then i`ve obviously grown older and much dafter and regularly make the same journey down to the bright lights for food….it`s the norm now and a 700 mile round trip for lunch doesn`t seem that crazy any more. However, a 2,500 mile trip just for dinner definitely does sound like the actions of a mad man. My reason for undertaking this crazy adventure –  Massimo Bottura and his Michelin 3 star restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena.
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Any Masterchef fans out there will have seen the finalists heading over to Italy to spend time in the kitchens of Osteria Francescana. I remember sitting at home watching the programme totally transfixed on my T.V. ….What an amazing man this is, I thought to myself. I always thought Michel Roux jnr was the nicest guy in the business but Massimo Hypnotised me . He Oozed passion and creativity. He welcomed the contestants into his kitchen like his own children .His words and encouragement were magical and the contestants were totally won over by Massimos spell… and so was i. I simply had to go to Italy , meet the guy and experience this magic for myself.
A 3 hour car journey from Whitehaven, a 2 hour plane journey to Bologna and then straight into a little Fiat Panda hire car. O…M…G… they drive like lunatics here. 5 lanes of motorway on the wrong side of the road in a left hand drive car….total bloody madness. I arrived a short while later in the sleepy medieval town of Modena….Ahhhhhhh , peace and quiet , my heart was pounding from that little journey ….and yes, they  really do drive like nutters so be warned.
At this point i should really give my B&B a mention and for anyone travelling here to eat at Osteria francescana then this place is perfect. There`s only 2 rooms but the effort that the Italian family have gone to is absolutely amazing. The B&B is dead centre of the old part of the city and 4 minutes walk from the restaurant….perfect. I don`t need to mention anything more , just take a look at the photos. 95 Euros a night for a double room inclusive of breakfast. Click here

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P1110943Massimo grew up in Modena in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. He expressed an interest in cooking from a very early age.Massimo then worked in a number of restaurants building the foundations of his classic Italian roots before working with Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monte carlo. This was followed by a summer at El Bulli with Ferran Adria, which encouraged him to push boundaries and re-write rules with his cuisine. In 1995 Massimo opened Osteria Francescana in the medieval city centre of Modena. The restaurant would marry culinary tradition and innovation with contemporary art and design. In 2012, shortly after Osteria Francescana was awarded its third Michelin star.

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I met up with a friend from London ( finediningexplorer ) , another food fanatic who had kindly arranged the restaurant reservation for the pair of us. When we arrived at the restaurant the first person we set eyes upon was Massimo fooling around in the back street with the chefs. Without a seconds hesitation he was straight over , all smiles and laughter with big hugs all around…what a guy, he`s the most likeable bloke on the planet …and nuttier than a xmas fruitcake. He explained what he was going to cook for us , it would be a 15 course combination of his classic dishes and his new dishes in progress. Every course was described in detail to us , this guy loves his food like no other.

” Is that enough food for you guys ” ? Massimo turned and headed to the kitchen before spinning around and heading straight back over to our table….. ” You guys like Frogs ”  ? ……. ” Let`s do Frogs ” and in a flash , he was gone.

Tomato macaron Mozarella Cheese

P1110978Massimo`s interpretation of “Lemoncello” –  Lemoncello Granita bottom topped with a hot Lemon foam top. A play with temperature contrast.P1110983“Fish & Chips”. Local river fish ( Aula ) is sandwiched inside a bed of delicate ultra crispy Potato base topped with a quenelle of  savoury Carpione ice cream.The Carpione has a little twist in the name , referring to the fish “Carp”  and “Soused ” ( pickled in a spiced Vinegar ) , a traditional way to preserve fish with Vinaigrette and Herbs.P1110986Bread: Sourdough, Rye Bread, multigrain croissant

P1110988“Oyster in the woods” – This idea comes from the myth of Oysters in the Adriatic Sea which for a fact `do not exist`. Ok….so if there`s Oysters in the Adriatic then there`s also Oysters in the local Woods. This dish consisted of a Raw Oyster in light broth of Oysters and herbs with Horse radish. We were given a small shot glass of `Genziana` to drink with this course. It had a very Herbal / early morning `damp woods` smell to it….very unusual but very interesting and it had us both snorting away with noses in the glass like crazy Truffle Pigs.

P1120001P1110994This dish is called  “Eel swimming up the Po River” and is one of Osteria Francescana`s signature classics. The Po is the most important river in Italy passing through many regions. Here on the plate the Eel is accompanied with Polenta and a Green Apple extraction representing the produce of two of the regions that the Eel passes through during its journey from the Sargasso sea. The Eel is first cooked `sous vide` before being grilled and laquered with repeated layers of Saba (Made from residues of balsamic vinegar) sauce and sprinkled with the “Powder of the canal” ( burnt Onion powder ). The Eel itself was very delicate and had just enough fat giving it a nice richness.
P1120011East meets West – Pasta with a filling of Sausage, Lemon peel and Shrimp, accompanied by Lentils and a spiced Meat sauce.P1120019

P1120029“A Red mullet hiding in the Rockpool “. The fish is Camouflaged using a Powder of Tomato, Green Olive and Black Olive on the crispy skin.The sauce was packed with flavours of intense Tomato and lots of Fish and Crustacean inspired by a traditional Toscana Fish Soup.

P1120048P1120037A Tribute to a Thelonious monk – Using a Black and White theme resembling a Piano key. The fillet of Cod was poached for 20min at a low heat to get the firm texture without overlooking it. The Cod skin was Crispy and coated in Sea Urchin ash. The Squid ink broth was made with Katsuobushi (Japanese dried Bonito flake based stock with good Umami). Vegetable Spaghetti (Celery, Carrot, Daikon) at the bottom.
P1120068Caesar salad –  A Simple lettuce arrived on the plate…or so we thought. Hidden inside were 22 other ingredients.Parmesan, Crouton, Pumpkin seeds, Mustard seeds, Sesame, Bacon, Egg, Dill, Balsamic, Herbs and more.

P1120086P1120077P1120091Remember as a child , everyone wanted the “Burnt part of the Lasagna” ? Here at Osteria Francescana Thin Pasta sheets were fried with Parmigiano, Bechamel and Ragu… but without Tomato.

P1120098” Frogs in the Pond ”  – Toasted Frog legs in Bread and Herb crumbs. Underneath a thin pasta was a tasting of Pine Nut, Hazelnut, diced vegetable and mushroom including a black Truffle. Coffee sauce.

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P1120113“Deer hunting” – This dish recreates a brutal hunting scene surrounded by beautiful Roses and a Sauce of Foie gras, Venison and Blueberry.

P1120121P1120122P1120131P1120133Pre dessert – Reinventing how Risotto is cooked. The juice is extracted from Olive, Tomato, etc and the Vialone Nano Rice is roasted before adding the juices.No Cream , no Garlic, just a touch of olive oil at the end to form an emulsion. The Rice was cooked al dente with a wonderful balance of savoury and acidity. I closed my eyes – it was a Green Tomato salad.These are the “flavours of Italy” , the sweetness of the Green Tomato was lovely, so intense that it even resembled sweet citrus sauce. Slices of Suckling Pigs head hid underneath the Rice and just melted in the mouth.

20140621_230610P1120141P1120142Croccantino of Foie Gras with aged Balsamic Vinegar heart. (Magnum lollypop) Foie gras on a stick coated with crushed Hazelnuts and Almonds. A 50 year old Balsamic vinegar had also been carefully concealed within the lollipop centre which was very intense sweet , sour and very complex. A most unusual stick of ice cream.

P1120150P1120158osteria francescana“Think Green” –  Milk ice cream, Green Pea mousse , Meringue and Strawberry sorbet. Rather an odd combination of Peas and Strawberries which I really couldn`t get my head around.

P1120170The final course was Osteria Francescana’s world-famous dessert called “Oops! I dropped the Lemon tart”. A carefully constructed dish, made to look like someone had dropped the Lemon dessert and served on a specially designed plate. On the plate are small cubes of candied Lemon, Bergamot jelly, Spiced Apple, a few drops of Chilli and Lemon oil, salted and Honeyed Capers. Then a light and foamy, Lemon and Limoncello Marscapone Sabayon is splashed over these ingredients, on to which a Lemongrass sorbet and a broken biscuit are placed. A fabulous dish with a strong sense of theatre, but also a surprising, fastidious attention to detail.

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              Petits Fours….Cmon , how could we refuse ?

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So the BIG question….. Was it worth it ?  All that driving  –  Cumbria , Manchester , Bologna , Modena , Bergamo , Milan. Flying into one Italian airport and back from another 200km away.  Well , tell you what….. I`d go back tomorrow….but only on one condition. Massimo needs to be there. He makes the place come alive , he transfers his passion to the diner both  visually and verbally.  Massimo is the magic behind this business so i`ll certainly be making sure he`s going to be there on my return visit. He`s a very busy guy who travels the world so i feel very blessed that i had the `full on` experience as it should be.
We were each given a little going away gift from Massimo. It was a bottle of his own family produced  and  very special  Balsamico.  The following evening  i checked Twitter and seen that  it had won a competition that same afternoon…. ” The Best Balsamic vinegar in Italy” …..It`s now sitting in my kitchen like a little bottle of liquid Gold….Another Happy customer.

Ohhhhhhh …..I`ve just realised something. –  Massimo added an extra to the menu which never appeared ” The Potato that wants to be a Truffle ” , it`s a dish on the classics menu…That`s it , a perfect reason to go back again  hee hee.

 

TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS FROM DINNER  PLEASE CLICK HERE.

TO VISIT OSTERIA FRANCESCANA WEBSITE AND MENUS PLEASE

CLICK HERE

The French Alps in June…Still Skiable.

20140621_122740    20140621_171521 (2) 20140621_172007 20140621_172858 - Copy 20140621_173349 20140621_173921 Ooops a Daisy…..I dropped the Lemon tart.        osteria francescana              P1110977        This was an amazing demonstration of how to make the most wonderfully refreshing drink using literally ” 2 drops ” of Genziana liquor. First of all the glass was filled with ice. Then pristine quality aromatic herbs were added to the empty glasses from the kitchen supplies. 2 drops of Genziana were then added to each glass and topped up with “Gazzos” an ultra refreshing mineral water with Amalfi Lemons….OMG….what an amazing drink. You have to try this during a meal at the restaurant.           P1120034 P1120036       P1120058 P1120065P1110990

Janice Wong – 2am Dessert bar ,Singapore.

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For those of you like myself who crave the sweeter things in life then this is the place for you. I had two reasons to go to Singapore. One was to eat at Waku Ghin and the other was to eat every dessert at Janice Wongs 2am dessert bar. I contacted Janice before my trip and arranged a ” Dessert Tasting Menu “, a first for me. Nothing savoury at all , only sweet treats – and dessert Wine of course.

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For those of you that don`t know Janice Wong , she`s only  the `best pastry chef in Asia` . Now Asia is one hell of a big place with an awful lot of restaurants so the girl is pretty good with the sweet stuff. For the last two years Janice has been awarded the number 1 slot by San Pellegrino making her the undisputed Queen of the dessert scene. This has resulted in Books , TV shows and a non stop crazy schedule travelling the globe.

Janice originally graduated with a degree in Economics but diverted for some reason to studying with some of the Wolds great Chefs. Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Grant Achatz from Alinea offered Janice their knowledge in the USA whilst the God of Pastry Pierre Herme  passed on his skills in France. Not a bad start eh ?

2am Dessert bar opened in Singapores Holland Village in 2007 and does what it says on the tin….Desserts and cocktails until two in the morning.There`s a seated bar area for those who want to be nosey ( me ). There`s also White Leather `Beds` to lie back on and totally Chill whilst you enjoy the delights.

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The 2am bar isn`t easy to find either so set off early. My Taxi driver didn`t know where to go to and i also asked in a couple of shops within the complex and they didn`t know of the place either. Basically get a taxi to Holland village and its directly behind the food complex on the street to the rear.

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I was very blessed to have Janice behind the counter during my visit to oversee the show. I was thrilled even more when i discovered that i would also have my own `one to one`pastry chef creating my sweet delights while i sat and watched and took on board a whole lot of tips for my own cooking. Spanish pastry chef Carmen Rueda  had recently started working at 2am dessert bar…..Straight from heading up the pastry section at Heston Blumenthals Fat Duck restaurant  OMG , How good is this meal going to be ? Had i died and transgressed over into Sweet heaven ? So on with the show and my quest to eat all of Janices Desserts on tonights menu.P1100821Popcorn  – Sweet and Salty, Yuzu , Passion fruit Sorbet. This is one of the signature desserts that never come off the menu. Popcorn mousses , both sweet and savoury accompanied with a tangy Passionfruit sorbet.

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Shades of Purple  - Purple Potato puree, Blackberry parfait, Leather, Lavender Marshmallows, Fruits of the forest Sorbet – A sweet delight of everything Purple.

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Shades of Green – Pistachio sponge, Coco mousse, Pandan Gula Melaka Custard

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Mediterranean – White Peach sorbet , Hazelnut sponge , Olive oil ganache , Rosemary air.

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Red Miso Caramel  – Mustard crumble, Miso Yuzu Lemon foam, Mustard, Yuzu Meringue – My only thumbs down of the night. I`m sure there are many who delight at eating this `dessert` but for me the savoury flavours weren`t my thing….. I still cleaned the plate totally.

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Basil White Chocolate – Seagrapes, Passionfruit fluff, Pastilles, Coconut sorbet – This one stood head and shoulders above the others as my favourite. Eating a combination of everything together had a little of the Janice Wong magic on the spoon. The Seagrapes ( or Green Caviar )  A Seaweed from Japan and the Philippines  turned this dessert into something very special.

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Kayambe H20 Chocolate  – 72% Dark  Michel Cluizel Chocolate , Salted Caramel mousse  , Evian , Yuzu sorbet. –  Chocolate , Caramel and Lemon…. It simply works perfectly.

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Tiramisu – Kahlua Jelly, Espresso Ice CreamP1100904

Chocolate Tart  with a Blood Orange sorbet.P1100919Hot Chocolate - Served with home made Churros                 P1100838I was struggling badly at this stage so nibbled on my little sweet treats , quietly paid the bill , said my goodbyes and headed straight to bed. 2am dessert bar is highly recommended for anyone  heading to Singapore with a sweet tooth and looking for a treat with a difference. I love the place.                       P1100910          To view more photos from my 2am Dessert bar menu please CLICK HERE.

To follow Janice Wong on Twitter please  CLICK HERE

WAKU GHIN – Singapore , A long journey to eat dinner.

 

P1110322 - CopyRestaurant  Waku Ghin , Number 7 on the list of Asia`s best restaurants , Number 50 in the World  2014  and the Singapore base of Japanese chef  Tetsuya Wakuda,  a bit of a shining star of Japanese cuisine and media. The only reason I went to Singapore was to eat here so i was expecting big things and to be honest the `Meal of a lifetime`.The restaurant is situated within Singapore`s Marina Bay Sands hotel which nowadays is the country`s most identifiable landmark…..think of Singapore and you immediately connect with the triple towers and the swimming pool table top. The cost of this complex was “8 Billion” Singapore dollars.                                                                              P1110189

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P1110244The restaurant itself is a bit of a strange place to get to so allow plenty of time if you`re going. Its on the first floor above the huge casino. I tried to get in via the casino but was politely turned away as i didn`t have my passport. I was sent through the exclusive shopping mall , up a lift and onto a totally deserted floor where i had to scout around before spotting the Waku Ghin restaurant sign.

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              The Marina Bay Sands Casino –  1,600  Slot machines and 500 Gaming tables.

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When i arrived i was the only diner in the restaurant. It got a little busier throughout the evening but generally i found the atmoshpere to be a bit awkward. No music…only silence.

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Waku Ghin  ( Spring forth and Arise  / Silver ) interior is split into various small rooms, each containing a set of seats and a counter housing an immaculate griddle. The restaurant where i was dining only had 5 counter seats so that was 5 of us dining on the early sitting. The other two couples arrived shortly after i had been seated , both couples arrived and sat in silence.It was bloody awkward to say the least .I chose not to drink wine as the prices were bordering on plain silly so i went for a cold Tiger Beer at $16 (£7.60)  and a bottle of mineral water at $20 (£9.50) Justify that if you can. This was the view from my seat in front and behind…..So apart from the shopping mall behind me I had a nice wall to look at.

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And so the meal began – The young Asian chef brought in a wooden box of the wonderful seafood which he would be preparing for our meal.Now as far as fresh goes then this lot looked as though it had jumped out of the water and into the box seconds before its dramatic entrance.Obviously this was what we were paying the extremely high prices for , it was indeed  the Worlds finest ingredients put together on to an amazing menu. All the food at Waku ghin is simple and cooked at a very basic level. The whole philosophy is to use as little ingredients as possible to allow the star attraction to shine. Chef informed me that they try to use only 3 to 4 ingredients in each dish. (Note that we didn`t actually get the ingredients in the box , No Ocean trout , No Scallops , No Snapper ,  No John Dory , No Oysters , No Langoustines on our menu so no idea who was eating that lot )

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P1100963The cost of a meal at Waku Ghin is $ 400  per person ( £ 190 ). It`s as mind blowing as some of the totally ridiculous prices in the Parisienne 3 star restaurants. I tried hard to justify paying this for a meal and after considering where i was eating , the sheer expense that had gone into the project and the worlds best products flown in virtually alive and kicking then i kind of reasoned with myself what i was paying for. Alaska , Australia , Russia , Japan , Italy , Canada and  Scotland….best not start discussing Carbon footprints here.

Carpaccio of Halibut with Bitter  leaf Salad. –  Introduced by our server as  ” Flounder fish ” we were given wafer thin raw slices on a lightly dressed set  of  salad leaves. I`m not a big lover of uncooked fish so it didn`t do a lot for me.

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Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar. – The star of the show and Waku Ghins signature dish. Raw sweet Shrimp and Sea Urchin topped with the finest  grade  Caviar.

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Grilled Anago  with Foie Gras , Confit of Zucchini and Sanshou.  –  Anago is the Japanese name for a Marine  Eel ( Conger eel ) . They`re widely eaten in Japan and have a really soft texture and sweet flesh. Sanshou is an essential ingredient in Japanese cooking and is the dried fruit of this Japanese Sansho Citrus tree. The fish was grilled and then sat on top of  seared Foie gras. Anything that involves Foie gras is good for me so this one got the thumbs up.

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Steamed Alaskan King Crab leg  with Lemon and Lime  scented Extra virgin Olive Oil. –  The Crab leg was split and then steamed  under a cloche on a bed of Sea Salt . Soft  , Sweet and very delicate Crab meat. Nothing else…..Just Crab meat.

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A bed of sea salt was carefully prepared on the grill.The Crab legs were then laid on to the Salt and water added to produce steam. The Cloche was placed over the legs for a perfectly precise time to ensure they were cooked to perfection.

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Tasmanian Abalone with Trofie and Tomatoes.  – Very basic once again , “Trofie” hand rolled Pasta from Genova , Italy paired up with sweet Tomatoes and Grilled Abalone…my first eperience of this super expensive Shellfish. Previous meals at Waku Ghin ( as seen on youtube and various blogs ) have had the Abalone cooked at the table ( one per guest ). Obviously they were a bit thin on the seabed  ( or cost cutting ) so this dish was prepped in the kitchens and sent out already plated up…..with a few slices each of Abalone. The Pasta was beautiful with the Tomatoes but the Abalone was merely a texture with very little flavour……disappointing.
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Braised Canadian Lobster with Tarragon. –  Cooked in a saute pan in front of us. Perfectly cooked , sweet and very delicate flesh but the flavour of the fresh Tarragon added at the end of cooking dominated the dish totally.

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Ahhhhhh , Now this bit was great. Freshly baked White Bread to mop up every bit of sauce .Totally clean plates were the satisfying result.

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It was at this stage of the meal that i expected to be served my  Tasmanian Grass fed tenderloin of Beef  course…..It never appeared. Cost cutting again  ? A full main course taken off a $400 dollar menu.

Japanese Ohmi  A5 Wagyu  Beef from Shiga Prefecture , Wasabi and Citrus Soy.  Citrus Ponzu , White Daikon

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Ok , so here is my first real experince of the Worlds finest Beef ,  Ohmi Wagyu from Shiga prefecture in Japan….The most pampered Cows on the planet.  The cost of this Beef is astronomical so surely it had to be mind blowing. I seen this on the menu in a Bangkok restaurant at  £165 for a 400g steak…..One steak. The Beef is extremely rare with select farms processing very limited numbers of Cows each year. As far as the daily massages and the diet of Beer goes, this is stuff of western tales , it doesn`t happen. The beasts are fed a diet of fermented forage and live in stress free conditions in comfortable deep straw barns. The condition of the Beef is all down to the breed and the pampered lifestyle.

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The Beef is known for its unique Marbled , ” Butter soft”  teture and apparently its “incredible” taste. Chef informed me that it was so rich that i wouldn`t be able to eat it without its accompaniment  “Wasabi”. Surely this `extreme` flavour would totally dominate and ruin the flavour of the Beef ?   I was informed  “Quite the opposite”.  The fresh  Wasabi root was grated at the table on a Sharkskin grater and Chef advised me to eat the Beef and Wasabi together to enjoy their complimentary flavours.

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The Beef was cut into two equal pieces and i added the Wasabi as instructed…..What did i get ?  “Beef and Wasabi with a mild sinus rush”. It was tender enough as it was sliced so thinly as not to be but  “Ermmmm…..Excuse me but how much did you say this was”  ?
On to my second and final piece with added Garlic chips….. `Beef with Garlicky Wasabi`. I think I`d best move on here….Not impressed.My first experience of Ohmi Wagyu , the Worlds finest Beef wasn`t a good one.

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Fresh Somen noodles with Myoga and Junsai. –  Another first for me and probably the last as well. A small bowl of freshly made noodles in a cold stock containing Myoga and Junsai. Myoga being the buds of a Japanese Ginger plant whilst the Junsai can best be described as the “Mucus covered buds from the underside of Lillies.

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Gyokuro Green Tea  –  Well this is apparently the finest  and most expensive of Green teas on the planet so yet again  another great opportunity to try a new experience for the first ( and last ) time. The Tea is from Japan and actually grown in the shade for the last 3 weeks before harvesting. The shade causes the amino acids in the plant to increase and in turn develop a sweet flavour.After meticulous preparation ,  pouring and temperature testing the tea was finally poured and it was time to taste the Worlds best Green tea…..Seaweed…….it tasted of bloody Seaweed  for Petes sake…. Give me a hot cup of Yorkshires finest any day of the week.

P1110123P1110136Japanese Musk Melon   –  At this stage of the meal i was ushered from the dining room to the lounge overlooking Marina Bay , this is where i would be served my sweet treats….always my favourite part of the meal. The first dessert to arrive swiftly landed in front of me….  A slice of Melon. No , I`m not joking…..  A slice of Melon. Nothing like a good pastry chef on board to show off a lifetime of finely honed skills is there ?. The  “Melon ” was carefully cut into little slices so i could eat it with a fork….At  this point of the meal i was looking around the room to see if i was being filmed…… This has got to be a joke , surely ?
So in a nutshell i`m eating Japanese “Musk” Melon , once again a World class product. Grown by specialists with an exquisite attention to detail and care .Perfect seeds , cultivation and pruning resulting in one Melon per plant .Brushed daily by hand  which in turn comes with an eye watering price tag of between 50 and 100 dollars in Japanese supermarkets. At the end of the day it was a slice of ripe , sweet Melon. I would never expect to be served this in a World class restaurant charging $ 400 dollars for a meal.

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The final chapter of the menu at Waku Ghin…. The Signature  ” Ghin ”  Cheesecake. The dessert always putting me in a nice mood , satisfying my very sweet tooth. But on this occasion ….”Where`s the Cheesecake” ? ” you`ve got to be kidding right ” ?  It was nowhere to be seen. Replaced by a Chocolate Mousse cake with Vanilla and Macadamia.

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I left the restaurant feeling as though i`d just been kicked squarely in my Gonads . I very rarely whinge about a meal as you`ll see from my many blog posts but on this occasion i felt very differently. My Bill came in at  $ 513 dollars ( £244 ) with no wine. The Tasmanian Beef course was omitted from the menu.The Abalone was “portion controlled”. The fine flavoured Wagyu was overpowered by the fresh Wasabi.The signature Cheesecake never appeared and i was served a “slice of Melon”…….We live and learn. I had a relaxing stroll around the stunning  Marina Bay , took aboard a few thoughts on my life and then went and spent $2 dollars on an amazing bowl of Chicken noodle soup and a stir fry in Chinatown……finally , the food hit the mark.

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TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS FROM WAKU GHIN PLEASE CLICK HERE

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Koffmann – An evening of the classics.

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My latest trip to London was a bit of a last minute job so i really didn`t have much time to think about where i was eating. My friend David from The CriticalCouple blog suggested that we should do a London classic – Pierre Koffmann at the Berkeley ,old school at its very best. Koffmann is one of the `daddies` of the food revolution in the UK and a bit of a demi god in the chef world.

 I have already been for lunch here so i won`t ramble on and repeat myself once again.( Click HERE for the last visit ) We decided to have a guys night and go for the Old school Koffmann classics , dishes that have been on Pierre`s menu for the last 30 years. There`s no foams , gels , or liquid nitrogen here, there`s just pure classic French cuisine at its basic best. Reduced sauces , Butter and Cream….Just how i like it.

Top marks for the food , simple , extremely rich and very enjoyable. Next time don`t forget the bread guys. We were too busy chatting to realise we hadn`t been offered any. Koffmanns bread is amazing and also very essential to clean up the  wonderful sauces. Here`s what we ate -

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CALAMARS BOLOGNAISE  – Squid Bolognese-style   £11

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LANGOUSTINES  – Langoustine tortellini with langoustine broth   £12

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PIED DE COCHON, TANTE CLAIRE  – Pig’s trotter stuffed, sweetbreads & morels   £29

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CARRÉ DE PORCELET ET HARICOTS TARBAIS  – Roast rack of piglet, Tarbais beans   £26

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FROMAGES  – Selection of cheeses   £15

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SOUFFLÉ AUX PISTACHES ET SA GLACE  – Pistachio soufflé with pistachio ice-cream   £15

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CRÊPES SUZETTE  – Crêpes with an orange liqueur sauce   £10

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PETITS FOURS – Simple as they come.

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Always the last ones to leave.

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Koffmann's on Urbanspoon

Sunday “Dinner” By Heston Blumenthal

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This was my second visit to `Dinner` by Heston Blumenthal. My first time was just a short while after opening and now 3 years later on the restaurant currently boasts 2 Michelin stars. Dinner is situated within The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge so it`s absolutely simple to get to by tube ( Knightsbridge station on the Piccadilly line )

P1100380I won`t repeat what has already been written countless times about the food here so i`ll simply let the photos to the talking for me. The bar is beautiful and a great place to relax if you turn up a little early. Wine by the glass is available for around £7. The food speaks for itself , 2 star Michelin and every plate is perfection. The cooking methods are so refined after countless variations and are now faultless every time.Service ,well that`s also friendly and relaxed,  the best in the business.Thanks to our assistant manager for lunch Danilo Mancini , ours was memorable.

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Most of the diners here seem to go for the `Meat Fruit`  , A Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Parfait encased in a Mandarin fruit jelly. It really is worth going here just to eat this starter , unless you`re brave enough to attempt it at home. CLICK HERE. (As you can see , there are those of us who are daft enough to try it ). It costs £17.50 on the menu , its bloody wonderful. I really need to make this again.

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Earl Grey Tea cured Salmon , Lemon salad , gentleman`s relish , wood Sorrel and smoked roe.

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`Frumenty` – Grilled Octopus , smoked sea broth , pickled Dulse and Lovage. The Octopus was cooked `sous vide` ( in a water bath ) to tenderise it and then finished off `a la plancha` ( char grill)  to give it colour and flavour….it melted in the mouth.

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Buttered Crab loaf – Crab , Cucumber , pickled Lemon , golden Trout roe and Stone crop. The fresh Crab was extremely sweet and the Brioche was totally soaked in the most wonderful Crabby, Buttery, creamy liquid. That`s the best description that i can manage.

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The bread , both here and at Hestons other restaurant `The Fat Duck` is the best Bread you`re going to eat anywhere in the UK. I `think` that it seems to be a very slow proved Sourdough , very waxy inside but that`s as much information as I have on it….Just go and try some for yourself.

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Roast Iberico Pork chop , Spelt , Ham hock and sauce Robert. As Pork goes then this is probably the best quality you`re going to get. Plenty of flavour and a generous sized portion.

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Chicken cooked with Lettuces with a spiced Celeriac sauce. The Chicken if i remember correctly was cooked `sous vide`  (vacuum sealed in a water bath ) for  2 hours at  59.5 degrees .It was then finished off with a blowtorch to give the skin some flavour. It was a demonstration of how to cook Chicken to perfection. An amazing `melt in the mouth` experience , lots of delicate  flavour and at £32.00 yes it was very expensive but was also an extremely large portion and it was stunning simplicity.

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Hereford ribeye of Beef , Mushroom Ketchup and triple cooked chips….Finally i got to try the world famous Chips. They weren`t on during my last visit as the Maris Piper Potatoes weren`t in season.

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triple cooked chips heston

Spit roasted Pineapple…..This is the Pineapple to accompany the `Tipsy cake`.Unfortunately for only the second time since the restaurant opened this dessert was off the menu today as the Brioche hadn`t risen properly.It wasn`t quite perfection so it didn`t go on the menu. Fortunately this also meant that there was an excess of Spit roasted glazed Pineapples which of course we had to sample as part of the dessert tasting.

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Caramelised Apple tart , Eggs in Vejus curd , Bay and Tahitian Vanilla ice cream….Probably the best Apple pie you`re ever going to eat.

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Chocolate bar , Passion fruit jam and Ginger ice cream. This was just richness and powerful flavours to the max.

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Poached Rhubarb , Rosehip jam, Yoghurt cream , Rhubarb sorbet. This was my dessert , and a very girly one it was too. I love to eat something that looks beautiful , a work of art ,  so i was recommended this pretty little Pink number. I minced out of the restaurant a happy man.

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Manjari Chocolate with Orange blossom and Caraway. Just a couple of spoonfuls of Chocolate heaven using the Caraway biscuit as an eating implement.

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The ice cream trolley turns up for the grand finale. The guests all love it , its pure Heston theatre. Handmade wafers carry a spoonful of Rhubarb cooked with Campari which is topped with Nitro cooked Vanilla ice cream. The toppings to choose from are –  Chocolate Hazelnut & popping candy , Freeze dried Raspberries or Candy coated spice seeds.

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The very entertaining assistant manager Danilo demonstrates the art of making ice cream using Liquid Nitrogen. The freshly made Crème Anglaise is poured into the food mixer.P1100496

Whilst turning the handle , Liquid Nitrogen is added to the mixer bowl.

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In seconds , the Vanilla ice cream is ready , ice crystal free and a smooth as anything.

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                          A topping of freeze dried Raspberries and Candy coated spice seeds.

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                                                           Freeze dried Raspberries

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      We got a lovely tour of the kitchens and a nice chat with the chefs behind the scenes.

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 I managed to get a few secret little tips on the Meat fruit process and a good look over the Spit roasting rack for the Pineapples…..which was a tad too complex for the home kitchen.

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spit roast pineapple

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 All in all , it was a wonderful Sunday lunch and i look forward to a return visit very soon. Thanks  very much guys.

To view the full set of photos on Flickr  please CLICK HERE

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on Urbanspoon

Andrew Wong – A Taste of China.

                                                              

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I normally manage to fit in 3 or 4 trips down to London every year to keep up with the capitals foodie scene.Problem is though i always tend to be a bit of a creature of habit and stick to the places that i know best. On this visit my foodie friend Kevin( finediningexplorer ) managed to drag me away from my Sunday slot at The Ritz in favour of Hestons `Dinner`. He also asked me to put some trust in him and that we should take a tour of China at chef Andrew Wongs restaurant just over the road from Victoria station.

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Andrew Wong is a young and very passionate chef who spent a lot of time training and visiting the kitchens of many restaurants around China. During Andrews travels he picked up cooking techniques and old family secrets to create the unique Chinese cuisine which he cooks and serves in his restaurant…Peking Duck being the star of the show.

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I was booked into the restaurant for a friday evening dinner. On Tuesday afternoon i received a message to inform me that my Duck had started undergoing its preparation….wow , 4 days.Kevin was giving me the pre-show spiel to get my tastebuds tingling and when i say pre “show”,  that`s exactly what it was going to be. For a couple of total food geeks this meal was better than going to see a superstar in concert or a West end musical….this was Andrew Wongs show. A “Taste of China” , encompassing 2000 years of culinary history across 14 national borders. Chef Wong would showcase a selection of dishes to demonstrate to us the plethora of flavours that existed throughout the countries kitchens.

A few little nibbles arrive whilst we get comfortable and my first ever experience of eating Jellyfish. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised .Ever so slightly fishy but with an amazing crunchy texture….I`m won over with this one for a start.

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Prawn crackers with a difference.

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We started our journey with Cantonese (southern China).  Dim Sum (traditionally served as breakfast). Here we have Har Gow (clear prawn dumpling) and Siu Mai (pork and prawn dumpling).  Andrew added his innovative touch by topping the Har gow with citrus foam and the Siu mai with crispy Pork crackling.

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A popular savory snack food throughout China is ‘Tea Egg’. Instead of completely cooking the Egg in Tea, Andrew slowly cooked it at 63 degrees and then presented it in a nest of shredded Filo and Satay powder.  A  burning Cinnamon candle stick gave off its spice aroma to accentuate the flavours of the food.

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We then travelled East to Shanghai, the most famous Shanghai steamed soup dumplings.  Instead of the traditional way of dipping the soup dumpling in Ginger vinegar, Andrew topped it with little tapioca balls that were infused with Ginger vinegar, a clever little trick.

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Next came the extra course to our tasting menu, the most labour intensive course of the meal requiring 4 days  pre-order .Peking Duck. The most iconic dish within Chinese gastronomy with more than 1500 years of history and taken from the imperial kitchen. Each duck is taken through a series of drying processes over a period of days to  reduce the skins moisture before roasting to enhance the crispiness of the skin. The whole focus of ths recipe is the delicious crispy skin. As you can see here , the result is amazing. I was reliably informed that this is the only place in the whole of the UK ( and possibly Europe) that I would get Peking Duck of this quality.

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Andrew sampled Ducks from many suppliers in Europe and discovered that only Silver Hill farm Ducks from Ireland work for him. The age of the Duck, the right proportion of fat to  meat and the way that Silver Hill carefully plucks the feather without creating holes in the skin (otherwise he can’t blow air in between the skin and flesh for drying).

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The result was stunning and it was my first experience of such a quality and immaculately prepared product. The sweet crisp skin was an absolute joy to eat.The photos below show the breast skin on the left and the leg skin on the right. Cinnamon Sugar was used as a dip to further enhance the flavour.

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P1100156P1100169The second serving was Duck consommé using Andrews `mother`  or `Master` stock. This stock is impossible to recreate at home as it normally runs for the life of the restaurant. Andrew started his mother stock when he took over the restaurant 18 months ago. The stock is replenished daily and meat trimmings and vegetables are constantly added. The flavours and body of the stock improve daily creating a totally unique flavour which is totally exclusive to only that restaurant. Some Chinese restaurants claim that their stocks have been simmering away for over a hundred years. The little pot of stock below was topped with dried Tofu skin.

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The third serving was Duck meat and more of the skin with pancake, Plum sauce, Spring Onion, Cucumber stick and minced Ginger. The Duck was pink and extremely tender and had been expertly carved into the traditional “108” slices utilising every bit of the Duck….Not an easy task for the chef. Andrew said we could count slices if we wanted but it had already been done.

Chef Paul Weaver ( St John B&W )  listens intently as Andrew explains the cooking process….. Don`t even attempt it Paul.

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The traditional accompaniments – Fresh Ginger , Cinnamon sugar , Plum sauce.

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All ready to roll…. you know how its done.

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On to the next course , a  variety of mixed Chinese vegetables with dried Shrimp Butter, fermented Beancurd and Pickles topped with Lotus root crisp.

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Northeast China has harsh winter so relies on preserved ingredients and here is a taste. Tiny pieces of Sea Cucumber, pickled Cucumber, and Chinese dried Sausage to accompany chopped Scottish razor Clam. Lovely textures here.

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Now Andrew took us to Xinjiang province, Northwest China, with their local specialty: barbecued Lamb with Cumin and Chilli served with Pomegranate salad.Robust flavours here and strong influences from India which borders this region of China.

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Then southwest China, Yunnan seared Beef with Mint, Chilli and Lemongrass served with a Chinese Truffle Tofu crisp. This region of China borders with Vietnam and this course brought back memories of my trip there.

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Andrew also wanted us to try some Chinese Truffle….Mushroom dried Bean curd with diced Mushroom and topped with Truffle.

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The main course was in the middle of China, Sichuan known for spicy food.  White cut Corn fed Chicken with Peanuts, ‘Gong Bao’ sauce and Sichuan Aubergine. The favourite dish of General Gong Bao served with Sichuanese  Aubergine, braised in Sichuan Chili sauce!

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So now we move to the sweet treats. Founded in 1903 in the city of Tsing tao is now the 2nd largest Chinese brewery. Here we were given a shot glass of Tsing Tao 1903 a premier verison of the Beer.

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Andrew was inspired by the small vendors outside Beijing train station selling small jars of Yoghurt . Chinese cuisine doesn`t normally do Cheese and dairy  products but Andrew recreated those Beijing moments with his homemade Beijing Yogurt with glazed Pineapple and a touch of Sichuan Pepper. Served like how he remembered it at the train station in small jars.

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Currently China is growing at a rate of knots so after a tour of regional China, Andrew wanted to end the meal reflecting the modern world.  A Snowball Meringue encases Mango puree and Lime sorbet, resting on Lychee Granite. Highly perfumed and refreshing. A perfect end to a stunning meal.

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Petits fours were very cute. Three tiles from the most popular game in China, Mah Jong!  Salted Caramel in a White Chocolate shell.

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There is absolutely no doubt about it , i will go back to Andrew Wong. I`ve thought about it all week in exactly the same way I`ve been thinking about Hedone since my meal there 5 months ago.Both totally amazing restaurants. I won`t dare ask Andrew for the Peking Duck again as there will be low flying Cleavers heading my way. I`ll end up as Mr `Peking roasted Spedding` …….I`ll leave that job to Kevin the finediningexplorer.

TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS FROM OUR DINNER PLEASE CLICK HERE

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A. Wong on Urbanspoon

The Cottage in the Wood – A perfect lovers escape.

P1090856It`s really hard to believe that there`s an amazing secret little hideaway hotel sat virtually on my doorstep and during all the years that i`ve been into food, i still haven`t managed to eat at The Cottage in the Wood. I`ve travelled all over the world to search for and to eat amazing food and yet a 25 minute drive in the car would have me right at the door of this lovely little white cottage perched above Bassenthwaite Lake in Keswick. The hotel sits in the very heart of the English lake district and was formerly a 17th century coaching inn.Now owned and managed by husband and wife team Liam and Kath Berney. A vacant Friday afternoon came my way and so a reservation was finally made to eat there.

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The stunning view over Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw mountain ranges.

P1100006The Cottage in the Wood is a family owned restaurant with rooms , it`s the ultimate hideaway hotel and a perfect escape for the romantics out there. The rooms are luxurious , the surroundings are magical , the prices are very reasonable, and to cap it all off , the food`s pretty good stuff. The newly appointed head Chef is 27 year old Chris Archer , a really nice young guy with an extreme passion for what he produces on the plate. Chris , a Yorkshire lad comes with a fantastic pedigree – Midsummer House ( Daniel Clifford ) , Winteringham fields ( Colin Mc Gurran / Germain Schwab ) , Yorke arms and  also staged in some of Londons finest restaurants. I was pretty excited when I found out about this so I decided to go for the Spring tasting menu and see what Chris was all about.

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Muhamara – ( A dip from Aleppo, Syria. )
Roasted Peppers , Walnuts , Olive oil , Garlic , Cumin , Paprika.

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Bread – Soda and Sourdough.

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Amuse Bouche
Rillette of Salmon , Cucumber and Horseradish Gazpacho

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Chorizo , Pale Ale jelly ( amazing flavour ) pear puree.
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Seared Scallops
Satay , Radish , Lime

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Belted Galloway Beef cooked two ways.
Blue Winnow , Artichoke , Romanesco , Red wine.

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Selection of Local Cheese and accompanimentsP1090955

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Jefferson’s Rum , Mango and Mint.

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Fig , Pistachio, Green Tea

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P1090980                               P1090984Ok…so my thoughts on Cottage in the Wood. As far as romantics go and couples wanting to simply escape from it all then  it really doesn`t come any better than this. It really is a little den hidden away in the forests….Ssshhhh no one will ever know you`re there and you can simply vanish from everyday life.

The Food – Well Chris is cooking to a very high standard here , very much city centre fine dining and from what I ate it was evident that his previous employers have carved their mark into Chris`s cooking style. The food is very light and personally I could have started at the beginning and eaten every bit again….but don`t forget I done the 30 courses at Lenclume so don`t go by my style….and belly.

Chris is only a new Chef on the Cumbrian cooking scene so hopefully the menus will soon see more local produce and use of the enormous wild and free larder right outside of the front door. Rabbits , Squirrels , Wood Pigeon and a whole host of berries , Mushrooms and herbs lie in wait for this talented young man once he settles into post. As for the accolades , without a doubt once Chis and the team get to a smooth and confident flow then another Michelin star is heading to the lake district.

The Tasting menu is currently priced at  £60  with accompanying Wine pairing £40

To view all of the photos then please CLICK HERE

The Cottage In The Wood on Urbanspoon

 

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Rogan & Co in Cartmel – Chef Kevin Tickle cooks a Spring Lunch.

                                                                                         

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I`ve been back and forward to Cartmel for over ten years to eat at Simon Rogans Lenclume restaurant. Strangely enough i`ve never actually experienced the food at Simons other restaurant in the village, Rogan & Co. as I`ve just headed to the flagship to eat instead. Recently Rogan & Co has unergone a total refurb and a very talented young fellow by the name of Kevin Tickle has taken up the post of Head chef. Mr Tickle has spent the last few years working for Simon Rogan and firmly established himself as part of the backbone of Rogans business.Thankfully in what must be a large weight off Rogans shoulders Mr Tickle has slotted straight into place and is getting on with the business of heading up the kitchen at Rogan & Co. Meanwhile, the preparations are currently running at full speed for Rogans opening at Claridges in London in the next few weeks.So along with the farms , Lenclume , The Pig n Whistle , Aulis , Rogan & Co., The French , Mr Coopers and Claridges the whole team are working flat out….I really dont envy them.
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So, after a very relaxing and picturesque run down to Cartmel village i arrived for a fab Friday Spring lunch cooked for me by Chef Kevin Tickle. There are two choices on at Rogan & Co for diners. There`s the set lunch running at £28.50 or the multiple choice option of a 3 course a la carte priced at a very resonable £40. Both choices come with a few little extras thrown in which bump the meal up by another three small courses.Personally i would recommend the 3 course a la carte as you`ll end up getting a fantastic 6 course meal for £40. The dishes themselves are all in the Lenclume style and Kevin has added his own little twist to things to create his own unique stamp.

Chef Kevin Tickle

Ham hock with Mustard emulsion , Westcombe Cheddar cracker with Pickle. These were served as little appetisers , i could have happily eaten a bowl full of them with a nice glass of wine.

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Confit potatoes, Lovage emulsion & Caper ,crisp potato skin,Lovage emulsion, Caper powder ,crumb. – A complimentary course which everyone got prior to their food arriving.P1090607

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Lesser Celandine was the Wild herb to accompany the Potatoes.

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Broth of seasonal Mushrooms, roasted Ox Tongue& smoked bone marrow – Scarlet elf cup Mushrooms, Wild Oyster Mushrooms , Judas ear mushrooms, Reindeer Moss. A stunning course both visually and on taste also.The mushrooms are collected from the local woodland , all in season and picked fresh by the foragers. The broth was amazing and i was left the little jug of it on the table….Broth….Bread…Broth…Bread….All gone. The Reindeer Moss / Lichen has little flavour but looks stunning on the dish.

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The Bread and Butter are both made on premises and Sourdough was todays bread. The bread was baked to perfection and as Bread goes , yeah it was decent. Personally i think that the same bread should be served at all of Rogans businesses as part of his trademark. Everyone loves the Pumpernickel , White, Ale, and Wholemeal varieties served at Lenclume and “The French”.

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The next course was a Slow poached Maran Egg , Salt baked yellow Turnip , Truffle and toasted seeds. The dish in itself was beautiful , the Turnip packed with flavour.I didn`t get any taste or scent of Truffle in this one so I`m not sure what part of the dish it was in.

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Cured Pollock, Oyster cream, Apple, Rye & pickled vegetables. Rye crisps, Oyster cream and Apple gelée , lightly cured Pollack.  –  This was a very healthy and extremely light summery offering. Cured Pollock wasn`t my thing as i dont go in for raw fish but eaten with the sweet perfectly pickled vegetables it made a fine pairing.

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Langdale Mutton, roast Parsnip, Kale, Lamb jus & Ramson Capers  –  two cuts of Mutton, crispy and fresh Kale, caramelised Parsnip puree and Parsnip batons.  –  Ohhh now this one done it for me and confirmed  Cumbrian Lamb as my favourite meat. The Parsnips are going to generate a bit of interest i would reckon. Perfectly cooked to a soft velvety texture throughout and a charred dark honey coloured coating on the exterior…. Mr Tickles secret ???  I`m on the case folks.

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Celery Sorbet with Pine and Chestnut puree – This one is a freebie and comes as a bit of a palate cleansing crossover from the savoury to the sweet.

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Rhubarb, Elderflower wine, Brioche & brown Butter –  Rhubarb ice cream, Brioche and brown Butter Tuiles. The well constructed combinations worked very well together, the dish needs no explaination , it was just a refreshing dessert full of lovely flavours. The Elderflower wine Gel offered a highly concentrated taste punch which made the dish.

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Sheeps Milk ice cream , Hazelnut , Sorrel and Acidic Yoghurt.

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Scorched Pear , Walnuts and Coffee –   Was a deconstructed cake like work of art on a plate….beautiful.

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A meal at Lenclume will set you back £125 for 14 courses so the a la carte at Rogan & Co serves up as a bit of an intro to the food across the road. Not everyone can afford to eat at Lenclume so the £28.50 set lunch will give the diner a taster of the kind of food Simon Rogan does. Of course the perfect option would be to stay in the village for the weekend and do Rogan & Co on the Friday evening. Lenclume on the Saturday evening and then finish with a Pig n Whistle ( Rogans village pub ) Sunday lunch……How good would that one be ? .For the romantics out there its an absolute killer package.

The restaurant after undergoing a full internal refurb , it`s warm and very welcoming. The log fire roars and the mood is lovely in there. `Billy no mates` was just sat there alone on a table for one but i`ll definitely be back for a romantic stay once i find myself a Princess out there in the big wide world. I had a wee laugh to myself at the large stainless steel poles in the restaurant. I can guarantee they`ll be put to good use at the staff parties no doubt.
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To view all of the photos from my lunch then please just CLICK HERE

Follow Chef Kevin Tickle on Twitter by clicking here Mr Tickle @mrTickler
Follow Restaurant manager John Strange  @MrJohnStrange
Follow Simon Rogan  @Simon_rogan
Follow Rogan & Co  @RoganandCo

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Rogan & Co. on Urbanspoon