London calling……

photo 1Its mid November and I’m back in good ‘ole Switzerland finally shedding the weight I put on during a crazy almost unreal food orgy had in London a few weeks back, and i thought its about time I got writing.

There is far too much to add in 1 post, so lets start with the last supper.

Ramen. And when I say Ramen not just any old Ramen joint. Kanada-Ya.

This tiny, newly opened ramen bar specialises in the glossy almost butter rich tonkotsu ramen. Ohhhh THAT broth. Its all in THAT broth. 18hrs. Prime pork belly or neck. This is the real deal.
After the first spoonful your lips glisten like you’ve just smeared them in lip balm. This is a dish that makes you feel good all year round.

After a week of gorging in London I maybe should’ve opted for the regular Ramen but course not, this is Amanda ordering after all, so I went all out for the Chasiu men – basically Ramen deluxe with heaps of pork collar and an extra Hanjuku egg for good measure.

This is not a place for the impatience,but if im honest I found the wait quite entertaining. Young Asian school kids, probably not any older than 14, holding on to their Givenchy clutches discussing the woes of London private schools (and this was only the boys). All in all we waited 50 minutes but it was so worth the wait.

If you give yourself a treat this winter, make it a bowl of Kanada-ya ramen. And as with the broth, its all about timing. Time it right and you won’t see a queue in anywhere insight.

 

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Kanada-ya |64  St Giles High Street   | WC2H 8LE   London

Precious Pinot Noir

Well after what has been a tough week, I thought it was about time I gave myself a little treat, oh and a treat it was.

In the nose you can smell the stoney, turned earth and even hints of oyster shell.The more I swirl, the easier it is to detect the vintage. Ripe almost dried wild strawberries and dried violets. An obvious hint of rich balsamic vinegar.

Who needs food when a wine smells this good?

The tannins are silky and present, one could argue that they are a little dry in nature (but IIMG_0197‘m just being picky). Full rich bodied with a meaty juicy mid palate. The acidity is lively and the fruit is fresh, albeit intense. Red dried cherries with hints of rose and parma violets. Ok so the alcohol is warming, but I like warm, its comforting!

What a wine: Domaine des Lambrays, Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2003

18.5/20

Copenhagen – Where my food dreams came true!

OLD REVIEW ALERT!

IMG_3975This review of our last Copenhagen trip got lost amongst the drafts. Ooops.

Copenhagen, a place on every foodies list, right? After only one attempt, boom table for 2 booked. So after breaking the news to one very excited young man, it was time to draw up an action plan.

A foodie trip of this caliber needs planning, military planning. We had to use every second as efficiently as possible. So few hours so much food to eat.IMG_3974

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We decided to fill the afternoon hunger pains with THOSE legendary Danish pastries from Meyers Bageri (backery owned by foodie hero and Noma founder) washed down with great coffee from The coffee collective, both of this treasures are tucked away on the hip, almost east London esk street of Jægersborggade.

 

 

IMG_3953After huge consideration (and after checking bank balance) we decided that the brain child of the awesomely talented Matt Orlando, Amass would be the restaurant of choice on the 2nd night.

 

 

 

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And what a  frigging choice ( I am still dreaming of THAT pumpkin and rosemary oil not to mention the fermented potato bread).

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I would actually go as far to say that Amass has taken the top slot on my favourite restaurant list. Chilled environment, great music and mind blowing food. And just when I thought this place couldn’t get any better, when we explained to the front of house that we were going to walk back to our hotel ( a good 45 mins) they returned with 2 local beers for the journey! Now that is my kinda Petite Fours! – its all in the details. Restauranteurs take note.

 

Oh and then the main attraction.

Want to know how front of house should work? Go visit Noma. Attentive, on the ball and as knowledgeable as any 3 star chef, this only barely sums up the fantastic service team at Noma. The restaurant was modern but laid back, funky but at the same time was proud of its Danish traditions.

Every dish served was presented with such precision and class. I experienced something that I will never forget. Front of house has a tendency to stand in the shadows of great chefs, but guys get yourself a great team of storytellers and you can lift your restaurant to another level.

Noma has been reviewed enough, so I won’t go into the food. But what I will say is, believe the hype! Noma is like no other……..

CPH see you soon.

Oud Sluis – a Gastronomic High

What an adventure. Short flight to Brussels, the city of oysters and Lambic beer! Follow this with a short train ride towards the Dutch boarder throw in a Taxi ride and voila “goedemiddag-wilkomme in Sluis”

You have to imagine the build up. A table booked a year in advance. A chef that has pretty much been declared perfect by a certain French guide book. Anticipation was pretty high, I wasn’t going to be taking any prisoners when it came to making judgment here that’s for sure (well come on, have you seen the prices!). I wanted fireworks and more.
Nerves took over as did excitement.The day had finally arrived.

What is so special about this little restaurant tucked away in a tiny corner of the Netherlands? That was it, it wasn’t just one thing, of course the food was show stopping (more about that later), it was the whole concept, this is a project that has been dissected and intricately put back together to provide, not just a yummy meal, but a gastro experience, a journey.

Chico y Luna – an old converted farm house with 3 fabulous rooms, in the most amazing rural setting. Every detail perfectly executed. Be it the personal greeting from Paula our hostess or the amazing snacks awaiting us on arrival. Who knew grissinis could be so good! Oh and did I mention that the bathroom was full of Aseop products (bonus points already)!
The next logical step was to check out the free mini-bar. I mean what B&B offers a 1/2 bottle of Troplong Mondot, ok 1997 wasn’t the greatest year but still.

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Paula sorted out the pick up. 18.55 our dapper driver arrived and whisked us through the quaint and surprisingly attractive Sluis, a tiny village with more Michelin star restaurants than schools. Think the Bray of Holland. Talk about perfect timing, as we arrived Sergio was just mounting his “G Star” designed whites – there is a pattern forming. Was this going to be style over substance, was he just trying too hard. Is less more? Well no is the answer!

A warm, charming welcome made you feel instantly relaxed. Little note books lie under each napkin, so that all thoughts and emotions could be documented. Fun idea! The restaurant must have had about 10/12 tables – the dining room however, was surprisingly small, compact and very cleanly designed. There was obviously a man in-charge. A glass of Pinot Meunière driven House Champagne was poured and boom, fasten your seat belts for the journey of the year.

7 snacks are fired at you with a tempo that just left you speechless. A highlight was the crazy mushroom – think the most insane earthy porcini and times this by a trillion. I am still speechless. Every morsel a new experience. Balance, a word I used all night. Balance. Every dish was perfectly balanced, 20 components became 1. Harmonized in a way that left me flabbergasted.

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Of course when it came to ordering we went for the full monty. To be honest at first I was a bit disappointed. What, they only have a 6 course tasting menu? Gosh, but after 20 minutes I knew why. I think if you include the snacks, or as we called them in the day “amuse bouche” we had a total of 12 courses! Admittedly the cheese course wasn’t needed, but how was I to know that they just had a trolley like any other fine-dining establishment. At the point when they asked miss greedy (thats me by-the-way) that fatal question “cheese or dessert Madame” I was horrified, I didn’t want to miss a single course. If he can do that to a mushroom what the hell is he going to do with cheese. And the answer was, nothing. Maybe somethings really are better just left as they are.

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Decided against the wine pairing, which was actually a shame now I think about it. On the other hand though my wallet was all the happier for it. The wine list was attractive, but a bit lacking in certain areas. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt though on this one. They are due to close soon for good, so I am presuming they have just stopped buying – which would makes sense. For someone based in Switzerland and I should add an avid Swiss wine drinker, I was incredibly surprised to see the white list dominated by the Swiss.

The service was generally good, dressed in trendy rolled up G Star jeans and black blazers – all too cool for school! The Somm was obviously alone and overworked meaning the actual wine service could have been smoother. Although I am sure no fault of her own, there is only so much a girl can do.

Back to the food. Obviously due the location of the restaurant and the proximity to the sea, seafood dominated the menu. I enjoyed the most succulent oysters and mussels. Absolutely divine. Every dish demonstrated Sergio’s respect for the product and the sea. Poaching things in sea water and using all sorts of sea herbs (if you can call them that) and seaweeds. Each dish was so intricate and complex – with a huge list of ingredients. I must admit I was a bit worried at times that it was just too much. But it wasn’t. Not once.

This guy has obviously spent the last 20 years perfecting each dish. It was perfect. Also the stories that accompanied the dishes, were honest and heart felt – no signs of kitsch and trying to be trendy. This was an example of someone who lives and feels food, and most of all respects and understands his products! There are many young Chefs out there that could learn a thing or two. Oh, did I add that him and his team work 20 hour days. Dedication.
Thank you Sergio Hermann and team for creating this memory!

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Oh, one more thing! How could I forget the breakfast – what a feast. This is what I meant at the start about providing an experience. It was 30 hours of foodie pleasure. This is gonna be hard to top.