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Hedone [London]

Visited Hedone last week. Fantastic meal, easily in my top 3 meals ever (WD-50 takes top spot).

Had the tasting menu with one added course. They were super accommodating as the significant other is vegetarian and it was no problem for them to adjust. In some instances the meat, when secondary, was just left out but in dishes where the meat would have been the star they came up with an alternative that celebrated vegetables and didn't try to make a faux-meat dish (pet peeve of mine).

Highlights for me were the 'nicoise salad' amuse (tomato paper, what?!?), the venison and the chocolate ganache desert.

I also appreciated that the sommelier quickly picked up that we weren't big drinkers and offered to just top us up with half glasses as needed.

Great food, good value (relatively speaking), attentive staff. Although one server was quite soft spoken which made it difficult to understand what dish they were introducing.

Will definitely be back.

Oct 22, 2014
mrbitterpants in U.K./Ireland

Ippudo - London

Happened to be in town during the opening week for Ippudo's new London location. I haven't been to their NY location (wasn't willing to wait 2 hrs) so my point of reference will be against Shoryu Carnaby, other ramen joints in NY, Tokyo and my hometown, Vancouver.

Good looking big room with high ceilings and interesting underlay under the glass counter at the front bar (ramen cakes!). Mix of small and communal tables and a separate bar for single diners. Seems geared more towards group dining rather than quick ramen fixes. Staff were friendly and helpful if not fully trained yet.

The menu has a LOT of non-ramen dishes which i found a bit odd. The ramen is relegated to the last page almost as an afterthought.

We had the:

Veggie hirata buns
Freshly (and properly) steamed buns, light and fluffy, grilled (miso?) marinated eggplant. Good flavour but the vegetables' texture wasn't strong enough to contrast against the soft buns.

Fish and chips
These came as little deep fried fish bites with a batter similar to an agedashi tofu. Fries had an odd seasoned dusting of something. Unfortunately the oil wasn't hot enough so it was quite greasy and limp.

Akamaru Modern
Rich, creamy broth with the addition of black garlic oil which I love and not too salty. Noodles were well cooked with good bite and were straight not wavy. Pork belly chashu was way too lean and not tender enough for my taste. I much prefer the slab of belly that Momofuku serves up. Light on the sprouts and other veggies.

Shiro Vegetarian
Thumbs up from the significant other. I only tasted the broth and found it to have a strong sesame note to it.

Black Sesame Panna Cotta
Texturally stiffer than I'm used to but flavour wise quite good. The accompanying mango ice cream had very intense mango flavour which the SO loved. The deep fried ramen garnish was bad.

Some service issues and the fish and chips were a big miss but hard to knock since it was the first week. I found it significantly better than Shoryu but still not as good as the best you can find in NY or Vancouver.

Oct 22, 2014
mrbitterpants in U.K./Ireland

Granville Island - Restaurants

There's always Farmer's Apprentice. Had a fantastic meal there. According to google maps, its 1KM / 11 min walk from the GI Market.

Go Fish is a good option but they close at 6:30 (and Mon/Tues too i think) if you're thinking dinner.

Agreed on the negative votes for Edible Canada and the other restaurants on GI itself.

Badoit water in Vancouver?

Gourmet Warehouse has had it in the past but haven't seen it recently. The London Drugs on Broadway/Cambie had it a month ago, haven't seen it since.

L'abbatoir Vancouver

Been there a half dozen times now and the only time I've been let down was during a Dine Out event. Totally agree on the 'why waste money on boring CFD meals' mentality and I prefer the more contemporary design of the interior so no quibbles there from me.

My all time favourite dish was a crab salad dish they had this past summer. I've also quite enjoyed the scallop dish and the trout dish. Note that they tweak the dishes over time such that the main protein stays the same but the accompaniments change. The bread basket is addictive too.

It feels like the prices have been going up. Still one of my faves though.

Breville customer service review

I had the bottom element of my SmartOven (650) die at the 15 month mark. Same thing, they offered to replace it with a refurb. I was happy. They even accepted my redacted credit card statement as proof of purchase.

Sep 17, 2013
mrbitterpants in Cookware

Best Burger in Vancouver - what's your vote?

I asked for 'rare' they said they could do medium, it was a little pink.

I find myself conflicted about their patty. Its got good flavour, nice crust, juicy, yet despite that, its a toothsome chew. Its weird. Maybe its the coarser grind as flowbee mentioned.

I liked the rest of it though. Bacon extra crisp like I prefer. Big thick slice of cheddar. Good brioche bun. Onion rings had a bit of herb mix in the batter.

I'll give them another shot.

Anyone been to Alder yet?

Thanks for the review. I managed to read it just before leaving for the airport. I ended up getting different dishes than you so here are my thoughts:

Pub Cheese
The cheese itself was quite good, so smooth. The pistachio crisp was good when you got a crispy bit but not so much when you got a chewy bit. The "potato chip" had nice flavour but I found it too hard.

Caesar Nigiri
My first piece I quite enjoyed the richness of the sauce with the fish (not sure what fish, perhaps smoked mackerel?) which had a nice level of smoke to it. My GF said she really liked the lemon which wasn't in mine at all. Then I had my second piece and it was there and added another dimension to the dish. I guess they missed finishing the piece I started with.

Fried Cauliflower
Probably our favourite dish of the night. Cauliflower tasted delicious as well as the lemon almond purée. The cocoa nibs made for an interesting flavour combo but probably unnecessary. The lardo was probably unnecessary as well.

Sea Bass
Second favourite dish of the night. Fish was perfectly cooked. The jasmine rice was actually little deep fried rice nuggets with a wonderful flavour to them. The nori salsa verde was fine, definitely briny. However our piece of fish had a bone in it. I wasn't too fussed about it but I was surprised that the staff didn't seem to care about it either when I told them.

Pork Rib
This was my least favourite dish of the night. The pork was cubed and nicely smoked but I'm used to pork having a texture where I can make out the individual muscle fibres. This had more of a processed ham type texture; a bit spongy which I found completely unappetizing. The hash was brunois-sized and the textures all blended together and I couldn't detect the saffron flavour, only the apple. It was kind of like baby food spiked with Spam.

Root Beer Pudding
Loved this. The pudding had a great root beer flavour and it felt like it still had carbonation in it. The crushed smoked cashews added a nice textural contrast and tasted great too.

Misc. Notes
- Portion size felt comparable to the dishes on WD-50's tasting menu perhaps a touch larger. We weren't super hungry so the 5 dishes and dessert was more than enough for two of us.
- Got there at 9pm on a Sunday and the restaurant was half empty.
- The room is loud.

Apr 16, 2013
mrbitterpants in Manhattan

Anyone been to Alder yet?

I know its early but anybody have any dish recommendations for Wylie Dufresne's Alder in the East Village? What's the wait like?

Making a cross-continent trip to NYC next weekend and want to stop by and try it out. Absolutely loved WD-50 last time I was in town.

Apr 07, 2013
mrbitterpants in Manhattan

Slider buns - where ?

They're nothing special but you can get white ones at the Save-On Foods on Cambie. Come in a pack of 12.

Trying to justify the purchase of mauviels frying pans.. What to use it for?

Haha. One's the manufacturer, the other is the retailer.

I took a photo for extra head exploding effect. Look far left and far right.

Jan 09, 2013
mrbitterpants in Cookware

Trying to justify the purchase of mauviels frying pans.. What to use it for?

"Oh, and ask them who makes the pans marked "Dehillerin"--it might settle a matter."

I've picked up several pieces from Dehillerin over the past 5 years. The 'inox extra fort' (SS lined) and 'etame extra fort' (tin lined) sauciers and fry pans i have are all stamped "Mauviel Made in France" on one side of the handle and "E. Dehillerin Paris" on the opposite side.

As to the original question of what the pan is good for? Anything where sticking isn't an issue and especially when you want a good fond.

Jan 08, 2013
mrbitterpants in Cookware

Modernist Cuisine at Home

I was referring more to the temp of the bath fluctuating over time on the stovetop. Based on your reply, I'm inferring that as long as the food reaches the correct bath temp (and the bath temp wasn't wildly fluctuating) then we're good to go?

Camping cooler is a fun suggestion though!

Oct 19, 2012
mrbitterpants in Home Cooking

Modernist Cuisine at Home

Hi Scott,

To your point about sous-vide being more forgiving, when using the stovetop method, what is the tolerance level? Say if i only check the temp every 15 minutes and adjust +/- 10 deg will it still be OK? Would like to try it out before investing in a sous-vide machine.

Got the book as a gift and love reading it so far but haven't had the time yet to actually cook something.

Oct 19, 2012
mrbitterpants in Home Cooking

Kerry Gold butter? Best Cdn brand butter avail in BC?

I guess here is where I admit the desperate lengths I will go to get good French butter. Happened to be in Zabars in Manhattan and stumbled across some French butter. Spent the next hour wandering the neighbourhood searching for a insulated lunch bag or similar cooler. Finally found a kid's one at Toys R Us. Went back, bought 6 blocks of butter and giant ziploc bags.When we checked out of the hotel, asked for ice, jury rigged icepacks with ice cubes and ziplocs, stuffed them and the butter in the insulated bag and quadruple sealed it in even bigger ziplocs and stashed it in my carry-on luggage. It was worth it.

More on topic, Les Amis on W 2nd has a locally made butter whose name I can't remember. Around $8 or $9. Good but not great.

Where to buy de Buyer Mineral "B" Cookware in & around Vancouver?

afaik, they're still made in France. pick one up and you'll see its well made. new ones seem very similar to the old one's i used in France.

Where to buy de Buyer Mineral "B" Cookware in & around Vancouver?

old school French brand. solidly built carbon steel pans. when seasoned they are non-stick like cast-iron without being quite so heavy (although still hefty). they should work on any range that a stainless steel pan would. for me, they're a replacement for sketchy teflon and "green" non-stick coatings.

big thread here (among others):

Where to buy de Buyer Mineral "B" Cookware in & around Vancouver?

I shipped to Blaine so may not work for you but I got it here:
with a 5% coupon code KIT5
Not the most confidence inspiring site but it shipped out the next day and was packaged well.

Where to buy de Buyer Mineral "B" Cookware in & around Vancouver?

I just purchased one online last week. I haven't gotten around to seasoning it yet so I can take close up pictures of anything you want to see if you need.

ISO Japanese Curry Bread / Kare Pan in Vancouver

Thanks. I'll try to find them next time I'm in Richmond.

Cookware which You Initially Disliked and now Love, or Vice Versa.

Hate -> Love is my cast iron pan. Bought one of those so called pre-seasoned ones and first time out let's just say i had to fall back to take-out. Couple of bacon fry-ups later and its great now. No problem searing fish.

May 22, 2012
mrbitterpants in Cookware

Who has the best cha gio (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) ?

I'm going to throw my vote in for Thai Son on Broadway.

ISO Japanese Curry Bread / Kare Pan in Vancouver

Has anybody come across these little bundles of delicious weight gain in Vancouver? Japanese curry tucked inside a doughnut like pastry and lightly panko crusted and deep fried? Desperately craving some right now.

Looking for a one day cooking lesson in Normandy or Paris

The phrase basically says "In order for us to better manage the course/event, we want to let you know that if you don't confirm your reservation 3 days before the date, you will be put on the waiting list."

May 15, 2012
mrbitterpants in France

Need explanation of different Bamix models

Thanks for the feedback. Just dealing with a food processor right now that could wake the dead so its made me extra cautious.

May 06, 2012
mrbitterpants in Cookware

Need explanation of different Bamix models

Can any Bamix owners comment on the noise levels of their blender? Especially when used in conjunction with any of the attachments? Considering purchasing but I hate loud appliances.

May 06, 2012
mrbitterpants in Cookware

Valrhona chocolate in Vancouver?

Gourmet Warehouse has a small selection of bulk Valrhona. Lots of Callebaut.

Green Tea Kit Kat / Pocky

There's also a candy store on the top floor by the food court of Aberdeen Mall in richmond that has the kitkat. strawberry flavour too. i've also had the (mis)fortune? of trying the soy sauce flavour kitkat. strange.

Craft Beer in Tokyo?

Can't wait to head over. Any suggestions on particular beers to try? Of the few good Japanese beers I can get in Canada, I'm quite partial to Hitachino's creations. Prefer IPAs in general.

Mar 10, 2012
mrbitterpants in Japan

Craft Beer in Tokyo?

Awesome! Thanks! Follow up question, are places like these typically non-smoking?

Mar 09, 2012
mrbitterpants in Japan