mr_gimlet's Profile

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I am in Australia which is usually the last in the queue for anything

Apr 14, 2015
mr_gimlet in France


I find Groult the easiest of the top calvados to get internationally. Caves du Roy might be able to recommend someone else to try

Apr 13, 2015
mr_gimlet in France

[Chester] La P'tite France

What used to be there?

Apr 11, 2015
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland

Queenstown, Dunedin, Rotorua

I had some great Korean in Dunedin. Nothing fancy but really good.

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

I'd stick with Quay over Sepia since you're already reserved. Quay has held the highest ratings in both the GFG and AGT for the past ten years, so its no slouch in the awards department. To call it a tourist trap is a bit mean, of course its a destination for travellers - you might as well say that L'Arpege in Paris is a tourist trap. Its location helps, I don't really like Sepia's location in Darling Harbour.

You'd be very happy with either of course, it all depends what you're looking for. If I was loaded, out of those two I would probably return to Sepia as their menu changes more, but I'd take my mum to Quay. Or Momofuku.

[Wilmslow, Cheshire] Phanthong

I find you have to build up a relationship with Thai restaurants to persuade them they don't have to dumb it down. They ignore you asking for it 'thai style' the first time - ways around this include reeling off previous places you have eaten and offering to pay up front. Then the second time you say you have been before and had xxxx but felt it needed more heat to balance it. Eventually you get it thai style. It looks like the som tum was close to thai style, perhaps the unusual nature of the dish gets you through the credibility hoop.

Apr 07, 2015
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

Didn't realise there were two EdVs...

Could you check out on your last day and have the day in the MP with lunch at TMT? You could then drive straight to the airport along the freeway. There is lots to do down there - the hot springs are great if you have time.

I assume you're committed to your hotel and can't take a night in MP.

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

That is a really ambitious itinerary, I wouldn't do it and I live here. Direct to MP from Brae without detours is three hours; adding on a Geelong detour for wineries and your hotel, its going to be four hours driving only. Apart from the freeway, the MP roads are generally windy and unlit. I also don't think you can get 10Mins dinner in before you need to be at your wildlife tour.

Having not drunk Californian pinot I don't know the various types. However, most Australian pinot comes from Victoria and Tasmania. Tasmania is cooler, but the right locations in Gippsland do well. For me (I realise pinot is a very personal thing, and don't really share the pinot obsession of many Americans) Bass Philip is the best pinot in Australia. On the mainland, the next tier would be a close race between Paringa and Main Ridge (both of which have cellar doors and Paringa has a good restaurant), and William Downie on a good day. Paringa also does a well regarded shiraz. Moorooduc on the MP is quite good and very welcoming.

In Geelong, I would have though Bannockburn, By Farr and Curlewis would be the standouts, but none are open to the public.

Also, isn't Eau de Vie in Melbourne?

First timer to Melbourne

Yes, I'd forgotten about that - not my area for hanging out. It's still good I believe, and would be different to Da Noi

First timer to Melbourne

Indian in Melbourne is weak until you hit the outer suburbs. Your hotel is in one of the most expensive parts of Melbourne and so casual, ethnic dining isn't really a feature of the area.

In terms of places worth eating at within easy reach of you, there is Da Noi (Italian), B'Stilla (sort of North African but not really) and France Soir (classic French bistro). You're also opposite Burch and Purchese, probably Melbourne's best dessert shop.

If you're prepared to drop the quality requirement, you will find everything on Chapel Street or Toorak Road. And there is the option of heading into the city (everything) or up to Richmond (VN hotspot)

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

The St Crispin bar is OK, but not really a destination given everything else nearby. It's an upstairs space above the restaurant.

I was holding off reporting on the trauma that is Exuberante because I had tried to erase it from my mind. It's like being caught in a piece of really amateur experimental theatre with alcohol. My companion who works nearby liked it ('quirky'), but to me it was a completely pretentious w*nk.

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

I do like Hellenic Republic, even though its a bit like a George theme park.

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

It's deliberately limited, it's a daily changing menu, which keeps it affordable. That's their concept.

C&C is at a different level that is expensive fine dining. If you introduce C&C, you have opened a whole new range and level of restaurants.

Casa Ciuccio is on Gertrude and is a bit Cumulussy, but I haven't been

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

What he said.

I'd add Eau de Vie to the cocktail potentials, but would go to the Everleigh if I could pick. Great start (or finish) to a Smith Street meal.

Estelle is now Estelle Bistro, so St Crispin and also because it is easier to get to. Depending how you ended up wanting to eat, you might want to think about Cumulus' smarter sibling, Moon Under Water. Also, good oysters are easy to find these days.

For your Chinese (if you go ahead) I'd find somewhere almost as good but cheaper - something like Lau's Family Kitchen - and sue the considerable savings on a taxi there.

Press Club is the biggest disappointment I have had in Melbourne. I took someone as a special treat and I was embarrassed. Too much Masterchef hosting and not enough cooking.

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

By your guidelines, if you're looking at one fine dining meal in Sydney, Quay is it. I'd say that for the rest of your time, you want to make the most of your limited resources - so go for places that are near where you are for other reasons. Good coffee and patisserie are easily found in most suburbs you will venture to.

N2 and Messina are both in Melbourne as well. I prefer Messina but I am a bit of a traditionalist. Both regional Chinese and Thai are excellent in Sydney for your other meals - there aren't many places I have visited where I can eat Jiangsu or Shaanxi food. This is what I eat in Sydney.

Billy Kwong and Flower Drum are leagues apart. BK is a modern Asian restaurant with a few nice twists on tradition, and is designed for non-Asian hipsters with deep pockets. Despite the pony-tailed one being in charge, I prefer Spice Temple in that space. Flower Drum is an exquisite fine dining Cantonese restaurant with prices to match - ratings on how good it is depend how price sensitive you are.

Brae [Birregurra, about 90 mins west of melbourne]

I agree with 'sense of place'. Unfortunately the down side of that, talking to the senior front of house staff, is that fine dining country restaurants struggle because of their location. Hopefully Brae will be good enough to ride it out.

I don't really care if it becomes a B&B. There are plenty of accommodation options nearby and, like with Royal Mail and Provenance, I would rather stay somewhere cheaper and spend the money on wine.

Brae [Birregurra, about 90 mins west of melbourne]

For those that don't know, Brae is the newish restaurant from Dan Hunter, formally head chef at the Royal Mail in Dunkeld. Royal Mail got three hats under his steering, and Brae has entered the ranking at three hats and Victorian restaurant of the year with a pretty much unprecedented 19/20 in the GFG. Hunter is big on seasonality and Brae has substantial gardens for vegetables and fruit.

The obvious downside is how to get there. It's pretty much inaccessible by public transport, so you either drive and don't drink, or stay in one of the handful of Birregurra B&B's, which have probably undergone a renaissance in the past twelve months. Booking is all online and very democratic about bookings opening, availability etc. We drove, so I got the matching non-alcoholic drinks, a nice touch that Attica adopted a while ago as well.

It feels like a rustic farm with some smart tableware and napery. In terms of feel, it reminded me of the sadly closed Loam.

Food was outstanding, as I'd hoped - other than avoiding foods that you are allergic to, it's degustation. An array of appetisers, followed by a series of larger plates. I won't go into details as the menu will change regularly, and some of them are a bit of a surprise. I'm pretty jaded these days, but a couple of the dishes were a real 'wow factor' for me, and the meal was nicely balanced with no unpleasant stuffed feeling at the end.

My prediction for the next few years is that it will get increasingly hard to get a coveted three hat status without your own food supply chain. (Devastatingly original talent might cut it though). In this sense, Brae is the benchmark.

It will maintain its spot as Victoria's best restaurant for a few years, and it will need a very serious spend to bump it off top spot. It has the edge on Attica, I think the food is better (but recognise I may be in a minority) and, let's be honest, a dingy dining room on a suburban street is going to suffer in comparison with country Victorian views. I think Hunter's food is better here than Royal Mail.

I'll definitely be going back. This and Provenance are my two favourite Victorian restaurants at the moment, though I haven't done Gladioli yet.

Orana (Adelaide)

So did you go to their actual restaurant?

Minamishima, Richmond, Melbourne

Just seen it, it got swamped with other crap whilst I was overseas in February so apologies for that

I might get myself a booking in the system with Mrs_G but you'll probably have eaten by then so looking forward to the report

Tipo 00 [Melbourne CBD]

Quick review to flag an excellent spot in the CBD (on Little Bourke, next to Brother Baba Budan near Elizabeth).

As you can guess from the title, it's a pasta place. It reminded be of a pasta-based DoC: a limited range of produce driven starters (burrata, charcuterie, a nice looking pressed octopus), several pasta mains based around the type of pasta, and a handful of traditional desserts. We had to wait a bit for a table so only got to do the pasta as we had to be somewhere else later on, but both were excellent - an asparagus tortelloni with sage butter, and a spaghetti with clams and smoked tomatoes. Both dishes were quite dry, highlighting the pasta well. Also on the menu the night we were there was a saffron tagliatelle with spanner crab, a couple of interesting sounding risotto, a short pasta (orechiette I think) with a ragu. So probably six or eight mains.

Definitely on the list for a return visit. Booking recommended at the weekend, but probably only when you are at the other end of the city thinking about dinner as I reckon max 1 hr waiting.

Cairns good eats

It hasn't changed much from previous posts. Seafood aplenty will be a good attraction for a visitor, and Moreton Bay bugs (a type of crustacean) are worth watching out for. The better eating is in palces like Port Douglas further up the coast.

My only tip (repeated from last time) is to take advantage of early eating deals. A large chunk of visitors are on excursions and don't get back until the evening, so restaurant owners try to fill the early slots.

My suggestion: make the most of the climate and ambience and chill out on an outside table with enough alcohol to not care about the food

Vietnam with a cilantro aversion?

I've never had a pho served with cilantro. Is it maybe a US thing?

Perth & Swan Valley

Honestly don't know about Farmers Markets. My exposure to Perth is through work and so I am rarely there on a weekend and don't have a car. I'd expect them to be popular as Perth doesn't have 'normal' markets and the people I know there are always complaining about getting fresh produce, plus Perthians are generally affluent. There is a small, regular market in Fremantle.

I think Nunam will still be fine, just be prepared to be annoyed by pretentious service. Your choice in Perth is surly and eastern European, or self indulgent Perthians (although that's changing). There are a handful of really good restaurants in Perth, but they are just so expensive.

Just walk around Northbridge and check out the clientele and food. I'm a sucker for the HK-style roast duck at Good Fortune

Perth & Swan Valley

Perth food bloggers get giddy over anything new, its true, but it's also some kind of Stockholm Syndrome where they are desperate to hunt down something that has broken away from the pack of mediocrity that defines Perth. Be prepared for lots of expensive meals with poor service.

That said, I think you are wise to go midmarket (that's $35/main in Perth). Nahm is now called Nunam, and it's gone a bit more hipster - it's also 30-40 for a main. You are correct that Must is noisy, but it will be fine at lunch.

I'm sure all your places will be fine. Some of them may be good in Perth, but don't translate that to a world rating. For Vietnamese, I prefer Mama Tran in the city.

I'd take a trip down to Fremantle and have something by the water - Little Creatures is solid, and so are the fish places around the wharf.

York, Yorkshire dinner recommendation

No Malton recs, I blew my evening in Malton at Talbots and was unimpressed. Mainly ate at decent pubs.

Mar 09, 2015
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland

York, Yorkshire dinner recommendation

It's an hour's drive to Beverley. Tapas, I think you may be referring to El Gato Negra in Ripponden/ Sowerby Bridge. It's closed and moved to Manchester - obviously not after a Michelin star then!

Mar 09, 2015
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland

York, Yorkshire dinner recommendation

Star in the City is probably the best restaurant in York - we planned to do other restaurants but ended up going back. My only 'criticism' is the generosity of the servings, I was stuffed to pussy's bow and didn't have space for dessert. You'll need to book.

Meltons is living on its past.

For your other meals, tea at Betty's of course, and a good food pub. Haven't been to Le Langhe so I can't comment, it has had a couple of high profile reviews but I think Jay gets a bit too carried away with finding something 'up north' (his Malton recommendation was dire)

Mar 08, 2015
mr_gimlet in U.K./Ireland

Phnom Penh short report

I agree. Nice view, wouldn't eat there

Town Mouse and Pei Modern (Melbourne)

I like St Crispin, floor staff are a bit up themselves but that's par for the course in Collingwood. My only criticism would be they are a bit too cutting edge and hipster on their wine selection, but that's my anti-natural wines bias coming out.

April in Paris w/ teenagers

For some reason, Petit Sud-Ouest always has lots of kids there when I visit, often families. Everyone seems to be having fun. It also has free wifi for the bored. It does fill up quickly at lunchtime though.

Feb 01, 2015
mr_gimlet in France