m

marcus james's Profile

Title Last Reply

Where to eat haggis in Edinburgh?

this thread is actually raising a really valid question that, as yet, continues to go unanswered. where, in edinburgh, is there a venue serving homemade haggis, elevated to a level beyond macsween, or any good artisan producer in a hospitable environment?

May 11, 2012
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Edinburgh en of March!

I just got back from Edinburgh and checked out all the starred gaffs with the exception of Number One.

They're all very good, yet different. I enjoyed them all, though have to say Castle Terrace really was quite spectacular. It was awash with deep, clear flavours and a lot of technique. Plain to see how it knocked a star in off the bat. Recommended.

Mar 10, 2012
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London - Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

I should clarify my issue with Dinner isn't so much the mark-ups, which given the size of venture and location, I fully expected to be at the top end. It's purely about the lack of mid-priced choice.

Jan 19, 2012
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London - Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For what it's worth, allowing for the amount of staff, I didn't think any of the food at Dinner was over priced.

I did have an issue with the wine list though which screams 'we want to take your money'. A few, very obvious suspects in the £20 range then bugger all till you head in to the £50/60+ stratosphere. I note La Trompette in Chiswick won a wine award from the AA, and with good reason: sensible prices across the board, particularly the £30 bracket. Dinner should take note, it has 100 covers that need to be filled. Not all of their customers will be trotting round the corner from their million pound gaff in One Hyde Park!

Jan 17, 2012
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

More Paris 3-star help

I haven't been to Paris for a few years, but I had a shocker at Gagnaire, yet every Le Cinq visit has been stellar. Admittedly, my last visit was the final months of Legendre, but how it had lost a star was beyond me. I think, as Souphie kind of points out, being a hotel it has to open every service, every day, and this can effect consistency.

I think Meurice is an incredible experience. The Louis XIV dining room, married with the entirely bespoke Philip Stark design is unbelievable. And that's even before you factor the food. A reputable friend, who's in the industry went recently, along with visiting many other three stars, and thought it a different league. I'll be heading back there in February - fingers crossed!

Dec 31, 2011
marcus james in France

London Itinerary

michael - wonderful itinerary.

staying on a texture / roganic tip, next time you should try viajante or get on a train and head to sat bains in nottingham. both are worth it for inventive degustation experiences.

happy new year!

Dec 31, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Great restaurants and pubs in Cambridge

I went to Midsummer for the first time last month and thought it 2 stars all day long. Lots of clear, precise flavours with plenty of depth. Of the 10 course taster a few dishes had sweetness to balance things out but none of it was out of place IMO. Stand-outs were an incredible tian of crab with avocado (which they served us two of because we raved so much) and the main proper of beef fillet with a feather-light mini suet pudding.

All in all one of the best meals I've had this year. I'd not hesitate to recommend it.

Nov 13, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Padstow / Port Isaac Special Occasion Restaurant

Go. It may not win any Michelin stars any time soon, but there's a real passion behind the entire place and it really is unlike anything I've been to in the U.K. I bet it's fantastic in the cosy depths of winter too.

Sep 01, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Padstow / Port Isaac Special Occasion Restaurant

I just did a 5 day Padstow / Port Isaac trip and had a lovely time. Nathan Outlaw is in a different league, however the overall experience my partner and I enjoyed most was a very small, 20 cover restaurant directly on the Isaac platt called The Harbour. The food is good, home baked breads, well-sourced fish etc, but the place itself is quite possibly the prettiest I've ever seen. Lovely service from the husband / partner of the chef (whose name I forget, forgive me!) too. Their website gives you a better idea then my waffle I think:

http://www.theharbourportisaac.com/

Sep 01, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Hotel in Scotland with the best food?

Not to put a spanner in the works, but I'd suggest doing Edinburgh and separating the hotel and restaurant experience. In doing this you could take in either of James Thomson's excellent hotels, Prestonfield or Witchery by the Castle; both are incredibly romantic (check their respective websites). You'd then be free to eat at any of the city's restaurants of which Martin Wishart, Tom Kitchin and 21212 are Michelin-starred and widely regarded as the best on offer. Plus, if Gleneagles did then take your fancy you'd only be an hour away by train or car.

Aug 24, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Fish and Chips - the best?

Lol at Hollands, yes, nothing like that.

Not to hijack the thread, but since Rules changed chef and the chap from Hix took charge the food has leapt up a few notches. Totally different size (you could climb it) and price point, but their steak and kidney is exemplary.

Aug 20, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Fish and Chips - the best?

harters - staying on the fylde, have you tried the st.annes fish restaurant? i think it knocks seniors and thornton for six; their hake and homemade steak pudding are particularly good.

Aug 20, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Best London restaurant in Zone 3/4/5/6

yes, i'd echo lake's suggestion; there is more out west, although viajante is worth a shout heading the other way at bethnal green.

returning westwards, and just in case they aren't mentioned elsewhere, chiswick has la trompette, indian zing and the hotly tipped hedone. at kew you have trompette sister venue the glasshouse. staying south of the river, riva in barnes is worthy contender should you fancy italian. and, if you want to go a little further to richmond, the bingham offers top end one star dining.

Aug 08, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Apsley's? esp. if you've been to La Pergola [London]

estnet - I haven't been to La Pergola, but that is with deep regret if it's better than Apsleys, which is very, very good indeed. Many on another renowned foodie message board - egullet - have been raving about its prowess for some time so it also boasts a weight of consistent opinion to go along with its Michelin star. Definitely worth a trip.

Jun 06, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Pre-theatre dinner or great lunches in London

Clark - on the night you're at The Globe it would be mad to hike it into the West End only to come back out to a venue that's more or less opposite where you're staying on the other side of the river. The following all vary in style and price, but you would get a good meal at any of these which are 'in your manor' so to speak - St.John, Club Gascon and North Road all around Smithfield. Roast or Brindisa in Borough Market.

Regents Park is a different matter as it's just a hop down Baker Street and you have all of central London at your disposal. Check what time the show finishes; I think the first question I'd ask is whether to eat before or after the show as there are many great places en-route, most of which don't stop serving till 10-10.30pm. A post theatre meal may offer a better, less hurried experience.

May 18, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

In London his weekend thru Tuesday - hot new restaurants?

A good alternative to Nobu would be Umu or Zuma. Umu is slightly more serious and expensive (they pretty much import everything from Japan), whilst Zuma is the same price point, much bigger and always has a buzz about it.

If you want an interesting degustation-style experience Viajante is making a bit of noise for itself, although it's all the way out at Bethnal Green. Staying in a similar ball park I'd echo Nancy's suggestion on The Ledbury too, though note that both are only 40 covers-or-so meaning they don't exactly hum, even at peak times.

Another new comer you should be able to get into slightly easier would be the Gilbert Scott at St.Pancras, which is Marcus Wareing's new venture. British inspired food in one of the most incredible dining rooms in town (just refurbed) with 80+ covers ensuring a vibrant atmosphere. If you like the Wolseley you won't go far wrong with this.

May 16, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Sunday night meal in London - any ideas

It's not cheap - but if the River Cafe is ok I don't see why this wouldn't - how about The Square in Mayfair? It's close by and the only central London 2 star open on a Sunday (I think).

Apr 29, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

i haven't seen a british vegetable, true, but i have seen scottish rasberries. hardly surprising that veg flourishes in the south of france with its much sunnier, warmer climate though is it? just as rasberries love it cool, wet and windy. would it just not be fairer to say both countries have their own strengths and weaknesses?

and as for, "very few restaurants serve fish that is of the very highest quality (the Sportsman being one of the few). " well, you clearly have unfound prejudice, but rest assured all that '(grouse), salmon, other fish and shellfish' goes through the same suppliers on its way to our restaurants and france. and let's get into this 'other' fish - how about the british (i'm sure you'd probably call it french) channel? where does a lobster switch from being breton to cornish, and visa versa? does a turbot, dory or bass immediately elevate itself as it swims across the border of our international waters? so, following the food chain, do you suppose all our michelin star chef/restauranters then think, 'i know, we've the same produce to hand but we'll source a slightly inferior product?' same day vans/couriers wing it to the top london/nationwide kitchens every morning! how, given that infrastructure, french kitchens end up with better produce is beyond me!

and as a major staple of any menu, let's not forget about our beef, which i've also seen at the best tables in france. infact, robuchon himself has gone on record calling it the best in the world and, before you mention wagyu, did you know it's now being produced here in the uk? i know he's a british chef and should not care, but sat bains already has it on his menu.

what about our salt marsh lambs, rare breed pigs or reg johnson's goosnargh poultry? ok, i'm verging on being overly specific here, but there are many great artisan producers championing slow food production who you conveniently gloss over. i'm not saying we're better than france, but there are many examples of incredible produce in the uk that is more than equal to anywhere in the world. just imagine how good we're going to be if we are, as you claim, at the 'start' of our artisan production revolution. puuuuuurlease!

Apr 15, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

felix, aren't we asking the wrong question here? if french sourcing is so much better it stands to reason their domestic produce is superior. therefore, wouldn't a debate about each countries respective larders be more accurate?

i could give you a limitless list of examples of artisan food production in britain, much of it refined for and alongside some of the countries better chefs (i could also give you a very lengthy list of french based chefs who source throughout the uk and import back to france btw). sourcing and ingredients is at the heart of every great british restaurant. to say otherwise, and more insultingly, that the chefs don't care is pure ignorance in my opinion.

Apr 15, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

felix:

"... Chefs here don't care about produce which is a real shame."

that's quite possibly the most inaccurate generalisation i've ever seen on a foodie message board.

Apr 15, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

NW and NE England Must Eats - Produce and Restaurants

Stanley - search Edinburgh, there's a lengthy, previous thread that covers the city comprehensively. What I would add here is don't rule out Martin Wishart and, for gastro-pub style try The Dogs. I've not been to the latter, but it continues to pick-up excellent word of mouth and guide listings.

Not to blow the budget, but Gleneagles is but an hours train ride or drive from Edinburgh near Auchterader where you'll find the 2-star Andrew Farlie. As you've already booked L'Enclume and The Kitchen I assume you will be aware of the restaurant. I mention it here because a lot of people assume Gleneagles is a lot further away and, as you are so close, the short hop may be worth the effort.

Again, I've not been, but turning to the North East Kenny Atkinson at Rockliffe Hall near Darlington is somewhere I'd love to try and, based on his excellent reputation, worth considering. Their website doesn't carry a menu section unfortunately but it is very much in the fine dining genre.

Apr 03, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London - Spice Market @ W Hotel

No doubt Spice Market London needs some time to bed down, but if it's anything like it's older NY counter part it will be a case of stunning decor, terrible food.

-----
Spice Market
10 Wardour St, London, England W1D 6, United Kingdom

Mar 30, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Great value Michelin Starred restaurant in London- suggestions here

i love the lunch deal at atelier. i always add in one extra small dish off the a la carte and it's usually a belting experience. the only further point i'd make is, like any restaurant of this calibre, the wine can also do damage - if i recall rightly by the glass starts at around the £10 mark. if budget is a concern caution is required there too.

Mar 24, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Staying in West end. Need some good casual lunch/dinner spots [London]

Gourmand - you could also try:

Yauatchua in Soho or the Royal China Club (note Club, not Royal China ordinary) on Baker Street for dim sum.

I know locals think it a bit passe, but there's no denying Momo's on Heddon St still serves decent couscous in a very vibrant atmosphere.

Bar Boulud in the Mandarin in Knightsbridge has been drowned out by Heston's recent opening upstairs, but it's definitely one of the best casual dining venues in the capital right now.

I don't know what the demand is these days, but you can't go wrong with the Ivy or it's sister Le Caprice. And, of course, The Wolseley from former Ivy owners Corbin & King remains a hotspot.

Finally, although neither are cheap, both Zuma and Nobu (but more the Mayfair one these days) continue to hum.

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

The Wolseley
160 Piccadilly, London, Greater London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom

Mar 17, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury v Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley [London]

I was fortunate enough to go to both over xmas. They're both very good, but you're right, Wareing is more expensive. However, he does use a lot of luxury ingredients and has a much higher staffing level. There is also a 10 course prestige tasting menu for £120 (I think) and a brilliant lunch deal that starts at £30 for 2 courses. The food could be by the by though if you really have a go at the wine list; it's extensive, offering a few bottles under the £30 bracket, which then heads skyward rapidly. This is reflected in the wine pairing, but you do get top quality producers/estates, plus I found the sommeliers to be more generous here. Extra, surprise glasses and occasional top-ups peppered our meal throughout. It's a brilliant blow-out, special occasion restaurant.

That's not to say The Ledbury is a lesser experience, but it is different. Brett Graham is picking-up a lot of fans and many, including The Good Food Guide, think this is the best food to be had in London right now. Aside from the slight ingredient differences, I personally think they're both executing brilliant, inventive food.

The Ledbury is a restaurant that has certainly evolved. I also went after it first opened and, despite it's obvious Michelin pedigree, it retained a neighbourhood feel as befits the Notting Hill/Westbourne location. Although it's now it's matured, picked-up its second star and become more of a destination venue I was pleased to discover they've managed to retain that aspect; it is undoubtedly a more relaxed experience. The staff were lovely on my last visit and obviously had passion and pride over what the kitchen was turning out.

Feb 21, 2011
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London Brunch

brinch - lol. a lot. that one's definitely going to stick.

Nov 14, 2010
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London Brunch

right that's me booked for a binge-brunch.

binge-brunch... that has a good ring to it. we could be onto something here...

Nov 11, 2010
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London Brunch

not sure about the bottomless drinks offers, but am sure they are out there.

i'd throw the wolsley and helen darroze into the mix. the latter's obviously not cheap, but a nice luxury alternative.

a silghtly left-field suggestion would be the bar at galvin at windows. it serves food and drinks from 11 each day and, although not strictly a brunch menu, always contains favourites such as smoked salmon and burgers. it's quite reasonable too; the drinks, alas, not so much.

finally, the much favoured, recently opened bar boulud serves breakie till 11 each day and takes in most of the brunch faves in one guise or another.

Nov 10, 2010
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

Ducasse - Three Stars?

You're not the only one Stan. A LOT of people are left wondering how this restaurant managed 3 stars in an unprecidented 2 years. It's not that the food is that bad, it's just suspicious when considered next to other restaurants of lesser rating who offer a similar experience.

The room is incredible though - God only knows how much it cost!

Oct 31, 2010
marcus james in U.K./Ireland

London - Lunch Suggestions

haver - i'd suggest the swan at the globe. mark sargeant now consults there and, although i was upstairs in the restaurant (bar with food down) on both my visits, all the food looked great. the venue itself is rather pleasant, it's right next to the tate and has great views of the thames. it does get busy though so booking is essential.

Oct 27, 2010
marcus james in U.K./Ireland