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Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

I can see that the scallop dish is a pretty delicate one. I had it about 6 times, and depending on the generosity of the guy who plates the snow and oil on it, the dish is of course a tiny bit different. That being said, I think that it is a great start to any menu as it really makes your taste buds excited.

Can't agree more with your words on the venison.

Apr 25, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Good to hear. THat venison is really a phenomenal dish. Venison doesn't get much better. Brett gets a balance of the smoky and gamey flavours that is impressive.

I don't completely agree for the scallop. I think that it is again a dish with a very interesting composition. MAybe the snow is more prominent at first, but the scallops don't get "drowned" in it.

But, of course you make it clear: It is a killer deal. There are so many bad places that would serve you a sunday lunch menu for anywhere north of £25 and make you feel ripped-off. So that have a 2* place serve such glorious food at that price is brilliant!

Apr 24, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

To be honest Marcus Wareing is a decent restaurant. There is no question of that. But, there are at least 10 other places that are much better, more interesting and cheaper. But, most importantly, they make you feel relaxed and have a good time. At Wareing the atmosphere is so stiff and cold that it doesn't really combine well with the not so great food.

Apr 24, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

In de Wulf, Dranouter, Belgium

If you can find it, watch it. It's quite well made.

I'd also love to go to those, but haven't had the chance really yet.

Apr 21, 2011
FelixH in Europe

In de Wulf, Dranouter, Belgium

Hi John,

Thanks for reading my blog! Apart from the interest in food, we have the same interest in military history. In fact did you see the film beneath hill 60? An Aussie production about the miners who built the mines that blew up the Messines Ridge, a few miles from In de Wulf.

I very well understand that problem! In that case I usually just get either a bottle of white or so as they usually rip you off on pairings. But it's true, they recently have introduced a lot of much more interesting things on the list and the pairing. have to go back soon!

Of course, its a very different place than the Sportsman. But what it has is the same kind of unique charm. Love both places!

Felix

Apr 21, 2011
FelixH in Europe

Ghent or Bruges: which is a better base food-wise?

BRUGES! You have a lot more to be honest in the surroundings. Ghent is nice and has more and more coming, but in Bruges you have Hertog Jan, which is one of Europe's best restaurants, Oud Sluis is only 15min away and there are plenty of little things around that will keep you busy for a while.

If you're in the area, a visit to Hof van Cleve is also highly recommended!

Apr 21, 2011
FelixH in Europe

In de Wulf, Dranouter, Belgium

Can't agree more with your review! A magical place it is. I strongly recommend you stay there once too. It adds so much more to the experience and is quite simply fascinating!

You forget one thing that isn't that great: The wine list. But, they are currently working on it, so even that might be a problem of the past now.

Special place indeed that's worth a trip from pretty much anywhere!

Apr 21, 2011
FelixH in Europe

Sushi/Japanese food in... Beijing?

There is one place that really is pretty phenomenal: Bei in the Opposite House.

The chef is not Japanese, but he sources extremely good produce and his food is easily the best in Beijing when it comes to Japanese. There's not only sushi though, as you will have the choice between so many other things.

That's definitely a great place.

For the rest, well, it's not that amazing.

Apr 19, 2011
FelixH in China & Southeast Asia

Cheap eats in London

HOw come it isn't cheap? YOu can eat well there for not much more than a tenner. If you can't call that cheap, then I don't know why you go on a food forum to find a decently priced restaurant, serving decent food.

THat being said, the Brick Lane Beigel Bake (its written like that) is a nice place and indeed very cheap.

But that, just as a kebab shop is hardly a restaurant is it?

Apr 19, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Sounds like a brilliant plan! Should be a memorable week or so. Hertog Jan is a great place, as are all of the others you will go to. Staying overnight at In de Wulf is a unforgettable experience, it has an awful lot of charm.

I don't know if Texture is the most amazing place, I hear mixed comments about it. One thing that is truly unique and interesting is actually Le Gavroche. Their a la carte is very very good, and the lunch deal is great value for money.

Otherwise, instead of Texture Apsleys is a truly great place. one of the top five in London. My most recent meals there have been quite special

Apr 19, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

It does, but it's well worth it. Otherwise, the Bull & Last gets good reviews indeed although I can't say much about it.

Not really a pub, but cheaper than the Harwood for instance is Medlar. It is the new place of David O'Connor (ex Square and Ledbury) and Joe Mercer Nairne (ex sous-chef at Chez Bruce). They have a relaxed place, and serve really tasty simple food that is to the point from what I read. will try it out myself in a week's time!

Apr 18, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Cheap eats in London

A main might cost £15 there, but it is much better than pretty much any £15 you can spend in London's restaurants. So, I'd rather have a main course there than 3 courses at some less interesting places. But, that's of course up to each on their own.

As to Shiori, they have lunch deals from £9 onwards. If that's not cheap for the quality you get. Than I don't know what is...

Apr 18, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Nancy, thanks for the kind comments!

I think that judging from the restaurants you mentioned I believe we have similar tastes. So, I'd really recommend you try the Sportsman in Seasalter. Call ahead and ask for a tasting menu. It is no more than £55 and a steal, as you will be served anything from amazing turbot to scallops, crab, oysters or whatever else the fishermen catch. Bring a nice bottle of wine with you, as corkage is only £5 per bottle. For a great day out, this is your best pick and even much better than the Harwood.

As for Dinner, I have been there indeed. It is a great restaurant. Not that the produce are exceptional, but the food is truly delicious and fun. For me it is one of the most interesting additions to London's restaurant scene. Only problem: products and the very expensive wine list. Here's my review:

http://www.qliweb.com/food/Dinner_by_...

Hope that helps.

Pollen Street Social is certainly a place that I want to try, but haven't had the chance yet to book. Will see what I can do about that, you'll certainly read about it on QLI soon!

Apr 18, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Absolutely. Those two places are great. The Square had a few issues with service since David O'Connor left (replaced by Ben Crofton who's great too), but I hope that got back to normal.

Harwood must be one of the best valued gastronomic restaurants in town!

Apr 18, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Of course they both have strengths and weaknesses.

I'm not saying the fish in the channel or in Scotland is not great. Far from it, it certainly is of incredible quality. The problem is that you don't have the things that you have in places like L'Ambroisie, Arpege or other Parisian three-stars, where fishermen catch say a bass, send it directly off so that the fish doesn't see any ice even. In many London restaurants you find that the people don't look after it with the same attention after having it fished (that also goes for the way they kill and bleed it btw). In that respect, the fish itself might well be incredible, but if it is not treated properly, what good is it?

And if there are a lot of artisan producers that certainly is a great thing. BUt, can it replace years and years of experience and knowledge of growing vegetables, raising lamb.

Let me tell you this, as an example: A friend of mine who knows an awful lot about his produce was asked by Michel Roux Jr. to bring a chicken of his liking to compare to the finest British chicken. Whilst MIchel was convinced that France was unable to produce anything of the same quality he asked my friend: "So what did you bring? Bresse?" The answer was Gaulloise Blanche (from the producer who raises those for Michel Bras). After that Michel simply said, alright I give up, nothing produced here can beat that.

What happened in the UK during the last ten or twenty years is phenomenal, but there is still a long way to go. What matters in the end is what is being served in the restaurants and how it tastes. If you tell me Ramsay, Gavroche, Heston, Ducasse (London), Wareing or any of the others serve dishes with products of the same level as those you find at Ledoyen, L'Ambroisie, ADPA, Pierre Gagnaire, Le Meurice,... then I have serious trouble believing it. At least they don't serve any of it to me, on a regular basis.

Apr 16, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Greedygirl, I think I mentioned that above. ANd I agree, that is the place which really makes the difference.

Well, certainly French produce is better for much of it. But Britain has phenomenal fish, game and other things. What is striking is that only very few restaurants serve fish that is of the very highest quality (the Sportsman being one of the few).

As regards to French chefs importing from the UK, certainly grouse, salmon and some other fish and shellfish. But have you ever seen a British vegetable in a French kitchen?

One of London's three star chefs told me that he found it impossible to get vegetables of acceptable quality so that he had to import them from the south of France. To have the artisan food production in England is great, and a start but it is hardly at the level of quality you'd expect in three star restaurants. At least when you compare across Europe and indeed the rest of the world.

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

Well, then tell me one single place in the UK that serves fish or meat or vegetables of the same quality that you can find in French restaurants?

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

[London] Has anybody been to Alain Ducasse recently?

Ducasse's lunch menu is one of the best for the price in town. Just like at Gavroche its £45 all in, which makes it a steal. The service is top notch, the food generally very good, although the a la carte is of course a notch above and the whole experience has become much more refined over the last few months.

If one chooses wisely, one can have a solid 3* meal. MAybe they should take off one dish per section, as there always seems to be one that is a bit less good than the others. But, generally speaking, the standard is now very high there.

Pied a Terre is also good. Maybe not quite as strong on the food side. But not far away neither. There the difference between lunch menu and alc is not big at all.

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Medlar, London; has anyone been?

Oh yea, saw both pics on Andy's site. Looks good. Hope they'll still be on!

The sommelier just won a young sommelier of the year award or something of the kind. So it should be quite decent. However, given that its a new place, I don't know if you'll find lots of big names or such.

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

With the exception of maybe the Square when it comes to langoustines and some of their fish, the produce at the Ledbury is the best used in London's better restaurants. Chefs here don't care about produce which is a real shame. In that respect Brett is a little different, working with guys who don't supply all of the other chefs, and always looking for new ones. Not to say he's perfect in what he does, its still a far way to go to reach the levels of quality that you find in Parisian places, but he's pushing in the right direction.

at Wareing on the other hand, the produce was much less convincing. Not bad, but I have heard a lot of very knowledgeable diners have the same opinion: It is decent food, but lacking in product quality and too complicated.

For Wareing, it just seems to me that the place is so fixed on being the "best" that it seems pretentious when it clearly isn't. It is a pleasant and good restaurant, but there are at least 5 in London that are better than that.

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Cheap eats in London

If you want a nice pizza go to Franco Manca either in Brixton (only lunch) or Chiswick (both lunch and dinner). For Chinese try either Leong's Legend in China Town or Royal China for Dim sum.
In terms of sushi, Sushi of Shiori is good and reasonable and for some English food the Harwood Arms is a great place. Hope that helps!

-----
Royal China
13 Queensway, Paddington, Greater London W2 4, GB

Leong's Legend
4 Macclesfield St, London, Greater London W1D 5, GB

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

That is a interesting comparison. on the one hand you have a restaurant that seems very stiff, trying hard to get three stars and forgetting what the customer wants on the way. On the other hand you have someone who is on fire at the moment, cooking food of the highest order and serving it in a relaxed atmosphere. The former would be Wareing, the latter the Ledbury with Brett Graham.

For me, the Ledbury would be the obvious choice. Wareing's food is not bad, but it uses produce of lesser quality and tends to be overly complicated. Also, the wine list is very expensive and the atmosphere there a little stiff.

At the Ledbury you will have a less formal experience, with a decently priced wine list. Service is not always perfect, but very very friendly. The food there is much more exciting and has a lot speaking for it. The products Brett uses are better than anyone else's in London, which makes it even better.

If you want a few pics, there are some on my blog:

http://www.qliweb.com/food/_the_ledbury (for the Ledbury

)

http://www.qliweb.com/food/Marcus_War... (Wareing

)

HOpe that helps!

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Medlar, London; has anyone been?

Good to hear! Booked in a couple of weeks. Very much looking forward to it!

Apr 15, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland

Medlar, London; has anyone been?

A good ten days ago David O'Connor the ex-Square and Ledbury manager and Joe Mercer Nairne who was sous-chef at Chez Bruce opened their little restaurant on King's Road. Has anyone been?
Andy Hayler seems to like, giving it a more than positive review.

Here's the website for those interested:

http://www.medlarrestaurant.co.uk/

Apr 14, 2011
FelixH in U.K./Ireland