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“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in restaurant (48)

Wednesday
Aug302017

Short & Sweet: Ellory

Style: Modern European

Budget: Depends how greedy you are. Around £100/head if you want to do it properly, i.e. all the dishes you want, a nice bottle and some aperitifs and digestives. Good value for money at this level.

Venue and atmosphere: Michelin-starred restaurant without the ponce or hefty price tag. Converted warehouse space with minimalist design that somehow manages to feel warm and unpretentious. 

Service: Manages to strike that perfect balance between friendly and efficient, casual and knowledgeable. Ask questions – they are very willing to help and you will be expertly guided towards good decisions. 

Food: The dishes at Ellory appear deceptively simple, but there is clearly a lot of thought behind the combinations, which both surprise and delight.

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Monday
Apr172017

People's Palace Thai, Manila

It did not really come as a surprise, having travelled around the Philippines for 2 weeks, that the best meal I had there was (a) in the cosmopolitan capital of Manila and (b) not Filipino. I am willing to be proven wrong – I did end up in some rather provincial places – but overall I found Filipino food to be too sweet, greasy, bland or all of the above.

In some ways it is a shame that we didn’t do Manila first, when we were excited to try the local food, as I have read about some places that do modern Filipino food and get rave reviews, but after 2 weeks of eating greasy meat, sweet bread, margarine coated everything and a lot of junk food at bus stations, we just weren’t keen to give them a go.

This is how we ended up at a modern Thai restaurant for our final meal in the Philippines. People’s Palace Thai is similar in style to a David Thompson restaurant, except with less emphasis on the cultural style of eating and more on traditional recipes cooked and presented in a modern style with a focus on high quality ingredients.

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Thursday
Mar022017

Short & Sweet: The Ledbury

Style: Modern European, fine dining

Budget: Very expensive (£600 for two, though we did drink a lot)

Venue and atmosphere: Inviting and elegant dining room with soft tones and plenty of natural light. White tablecloths and silver service but not too stuffy. 

Service: This is the kind of place where they read what kind of people you are and what service you want and behave accordingly. We were clearly there for a good time and they gave us one. Our waitress talked, joked and laughed with us. When my cousin wanted to swap one of the tasting menu options, they just brought it as an extra course. When it came to cheese, they saw we’d been having a few craft beers and suggested a beer matching instead of wine. Nice touch.

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Monday
Sep262016

Nahm round 2

As well as eating the street in Bangkok, I also treated myself to one top-end meal at Nahm, David Thompson’s restaurant. Thompson is an Australian chef who has earned himself a reputation as one of the world’s leading experts on Thai cuisine. His book Thai Food is referred to in my family as the ‘Thai Bible’, an encyclopaedic tomb on Thai food, history and culture, including over 300 recipes.

I went to his restaurant in London several years ago and was disappointed, but my experience at Nahm, Bangkok could not have been more different. I wonder whether this is because I left the chefs in charge of the menu choices.

The tasting menu at Nahm comes in three parts, canapés followed by the main meal – a dish from each section of the main menu served ‘family-style’ for the whole table – and then dessert. In this instance I was the whole table and, as before, I found myself wishing that they would westernise this part of the meal and serve it in stages. I do understand though that Thompson’s aim is to educate diners about authentic Thai cuisine and one part of that is the custom of sharing dishes.

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Thursday
Aug182016

La Cuchara de San Telmo

Last week I spent a glorious week in San Sebastian gorging and sunning myself in that order daily: breakfast, beach, lunch, beach, dinner, drinks, snacks. My friend Jenny asked me whether I went on any nice walks. “I mainly walked to restaurants. That was nice.”  

I was with my parents, who are foodies but not into fine dining so I skipped all the big names and went with recommendations from Spanish friends instead. As my friend Iván pointed out, when you can eat so well wherever you go in a city, it’s not really worth bothering with fine dining.

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