You should be redirected in 6 seconds - if not please click the link below:
You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.
see you over there :-) Man Woman


Friday, August 24, 2012

Grouse and more at the Peat Inn

(August 2012)

Our second grouse of the season (yes yes, we are fanatics) had a tough act to follow after Koffmann's...

...but it came out with flying colours in being so good and also so different:

Grouse with  peaches & broad beans

The peach and broad beans combination is a dress of Summer and grace for the protagonist, roasted and (as you can see) finished admirably.

Before this there was something of a rather different nature: a Lobster Thermidore, that here at the Peat Inn is (like many other classic dishes) an endless and always new variation on the theme. Have it after a while and you'll find that a little, or not so little, something has changed, maybe the type of cheese (currently Anster we think), maybe the way it's cut. Woman declares herself officially addicted.

Addictive Lobster Thermidor
And to finish there is only one way to avoid the temptation of the almost irresistible dessert list: lose your head in the perfume/smell of this large trolley stocked entirely with Scottish cheese (some from not farther than a couple of miles away). Where else in a starred restaurant?

Scottish Cheese Trolley

The Peat Inn is a bit of 'our local'. Not exactly your cheap corner Inn, but the nearest to home of the great UK restaurants we like best. And for its category and quality, it will make your wallet happy as well as yourselves, when you enter the warm ante-room with the fireplace, greeted by one of the most charming service teams in the world.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First grouse 2012...

...being in London, at Koffmann's: where else?

In this year of the glorious thirteenth we were quick off the mark. We enquired whether Koffmann's was stocked with grouses. They were due on the 15th morning from Scotland, and so there we were, ready for lunch service.

We were served their first two grouses of this season (pity they don't have a 'first item sold is free' policy, like in some old shops in Rome).

It was just spectacular. No, really, spectacular. We don't know what they do to it to obtain that wonderful texture in the pink roasted breast and legs. By the way, never forget the kitchen brigade beside the great man (who was still in Scotland that day): an applause for execution.

As you can see, the animal is resting on a slice of bread that is soaking the sticky, flavour-packed innards and the trademark dark lovely jus, that perfect match for the other potent flavours.

Definitely not baby food. This is food that strikes with force at the heart of your gustatory senses, so be prepared if you haven't had it before.

A glimpse at the final treats...the dough of this baba' was remarkable (Man, obviously not content with his La Peche Abusee 2004, would have liked more booze in it though):

 and the same for these superb madeleines, and butter free!!!

Oh come on, you didn't believe that, did you? Of course they are not butter free. Actually they might define the opposite of butter free. Butter freeness is the one thing you definitely cannot ask at Koffman's. But culinary bliss is worth a little sacrifice, every now and then.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cambio de Tercio (London): Tapas!

(Visited July 2012)

  (Added 23/09/12: see our much more negative more recent experience)

Trying to liven up a grey London Summer day with some Spanish fire...

Here we are at Cambio de Tercio, for an all-tapas lunch that was pleasant, in a relaxed and straightforward way, a series of  colorful and balanced dishes, dishes with a clear personality that also showed culinary skill and interest in presentation. Like these beetroots:

And there were some particularly striking dishes that went beyond pleasant: the Gazpacho Andaluz, vividly coloured, fresh and intense, refined by the presence of a lovely bogavante (lobster),

the pulpo a la Gallega, very soft, plump, in a luscious potato cream (we've had far rougher versions in Galicia: this was classy cooking),

and the tomatoes 8-hour cooked in Pedro Ximenes with a basil 'tartare', the tomatoes a delicious concentration of sweet flavour, the tartare (spherified basil) once again providing the touch that elevates this dish far above rustic or home-made

We accompanied the meal with an excellent fino,

at the same time rounder and more structured than the most popular supermarket brands (which we also find perfectly pleasant, by the way).

The prices are very reasonable, with pretty large tapas from £6-7 to £12 for the most luxurious ingredients, and mains (which we didn't  have) in the £15-£20 range. You can easily have a satisfactory lunch for £30 or so if you choose well. We are told that it can get very busy here at dinner or in certain periods, but on this occasion there were just a few tables, well attended to by an efficient and attentive waitress.

Spanish cuisine is one of the most appealing in the world and London is lucky to have such a good representation of it at Cambio de Tercio, a place where there is evident care for ingredient quality and expert treatment of them. If we lived at reasonable distance, we'd be there often.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Malga Panna (Moena, Trento, IT): Pure comfort

(Visited July 2012)

Look ye not for daring culinary innovations here, o traveller, but for the comfort of tradition interpreted in a modern way.

Malga Panna (reviewed last time five years ago here) is in the location of dreams: just abandon yourself to the comfortable embrace of the warm environment, the stupendous mountain views, and the capable professionalism of chef Donei and Maitre d' /sommelier Michele.

From the impressive breads and herb butter:

to a lovely (and substantial! we're in the mountains here...) amuse of smoked trout

to a deer tartare, accompanied by watercress, goat cheese and rustic bread, that has true 'raw power' in spite of the lesser fattiness compared to beef. And also, what a jolly presentation:

Sometimes the cuisine rises into higher fine dining territory, as in this very balanced, very intense, original, heavenly really, capelli d'angelo (very fine pasta) with hazelnuts, smoked trout and a touch of caviar

a prodigious dish in terms of flavour.

The mains are back to delightful solidity, the protagonists firmly in the center and top class in their category. A wild turbot with chanterelles salad and beetroot

in which not only the fish (what a pity to present it hidden from view), but also the mushrooms and the condiment (an emulsion made with the cooking juices) sang. On a minor negative note, we like everything that is in the plate to be meant to be eaten (with necessary exceptions such as bones..), and for this reason we think turbot should be served skinless. Just saying.

And another stunner, after the pasta: a Lamb from Val di Fiemme (the nearby valley) from a very selected farm, one of those pieces of meat that make you think you'll never find a better one (an equally and differently good one, yes, like one from Val di Pejo we had here , but not a better one), and generally very nicely cooked too, except one piece which was a little drier than we would have liked:

(the crispy bit on top is an aubergine, and there were ceps - surprisingly just good but not stunning- as a garnish).

We concluded the blissful lunch with a Caramelised millefeuile of toasted hazelnuts with dried apricots sorbet

in which the dried apricot sorbet was for Man the most impressive bit, and a salad of candied strawberries with coffee ice-cream and lemon crisp: a terrific coffee icecream, and the interplay of the various different textures and flavours made it a delight.

The prices are in line with 1* Michelin in the area (say 15-20 euro for a primo and 30 euro for a main), and the mark-ups on wine in the interesting list are very sympathetic to the customer, even for an area in which wine prices are kinder than elsewhere - and monstrously kinder than in London/Edinburgh. Sommelier Michele's passion and intelligence are for all to read in the list he has constructed (and Man is a happy man...).

The petit four leave a very pleasant memory of a very pleasant lunch in a very pleasant place. Well done Malga Panna.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...