About cumbriafoodie

Who is Cumbriafoodie ? Alan Spedding from Whitehaven in West Cumbria , Food lover , Restaurant goer ,Wild food forager , Amateur kitchen dabbler , Cumbrian food photographer and general lunatic.As for the food photos, just shout up if your food need lovingly snapped.

Osha , Bangkok….One to watch.

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

I stumbled across Osha totally by accident whilst browsing through a Bangkok lifestyle magazine in my hotel lobby. Three photos of the impressive looking food they were cooking there was enough for me to book in for lunch the next day. The company started trading in San Francisco in 1997 and has now expanded to 7 branches there. Osha Bangkok is their first venture out into the big world. The restaurant is situated on Wireless road in the Lumpini area of the city. Taxi drivers might be a bit confused so if you`re eating there then just head for the American embassy and you`ll find it 100m further down the road.

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

The décor in Osha just oozes pure luxury , no expense spared here and it`s simply the pinnacle of modern restaurant style and design. Brushed Golds , jet Blacks , vivid reds , basically every colour on the spectrum make up this fantastic restaurant…..but does the food match the style ? …… Of course it does.

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

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Ok , so on the the food . The food presentation here is very much “WOW”. Authentic Thai cuisine transformed into something very unique and quirky. It`s billed as “The best Thai food with a Molecular Thai twist ” but for me , a bit of dry ice is a long way from anything experimental. I wondered if it was a bit of `style over substance` but oh no…..Chef has nailed the flavours `almost` bang on the head.

There`s 3 menus to choose from at Osha . There is the “street food menu” , a really cheap way to experience the food here.(approximately 1000 baht / $28 / £19 for 3 courses ).Then there`s the a la carte at around 1500 baht ( $42 / £28 ) for 3 courses. The Chefs tasting menu is called “The Floral set” and currently consists of 6 courses based on flowers. That’s the expensive tasting menu. Chef Purida Teerapong (Thailands celebrity TV Iron chef ) apparently wants to create food like something the diner has never eaten before.

We dined at Osha twice during our stay in the city. On both visits we went there for the set `street food` menu and both times ended up going alc . It really didn’t break the bank. Cocktails and `chefs specials` will elevate your final bill but at the end of the day , look at where you`re dining and the food you`re eating and it certainly is an experience well worth going for. My advice would be to head there for lunch and you`ll have the place to yourself and also the full attention of the kitchen team. My food was stunning on both visits and with only two other tables occupied with diners the service was very attentive. Apparently it gets very busy in the evenings. So here`s the food –

Beef Wasabi rolls – Seared Australian Beef striploin , marble score 8. Asian pickles with Wasabi Citrus vinaigrette  ( 750 baht / $21 / £14.50 ) – Nice combination with a flavour explosion from the Wasabi. ( This is one of the `specials`)

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

 

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Crispy Pigs Ear – Crispy Five Spice Pigs Ear , Coconut , Peanut and spicy Sambal Aioli. This one was very different and make sure you don’t order this one if you have delicate teeth ( 200 baht / $5.50 / £3.50 )

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

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Salt and Pepper Calamari – Calamari Tempura , Spring onion , Salt and Szechuan Pepper ( 200 baht / $5.50 / £3.50 ) If I could cook Squid like this at home then I would be a very happy guy.

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Papaya Salad – Locally grown Green Papaya , Heirloom Tomatoes , Salted Duck Egg , Crushed Peanuts and Tamarind dressing. ( 350 Baht / $9.80 / £6.50 ). Chef Teerapongs twist on a Thai classic….Which worked nicely. Plenty of flavour but no heat.

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

 

 

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

Chicken Satay , Cucumber Salsa with Curried Peanut Butter dip. ( 200 baht / $5.50 /£3.50 ) – Satay , as good as it ever gets.

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand“Sous vide” Egg – A 60 minute free range Egg cooked at 63 degrees. Topped with Salmon Caviar and White Truffle oil. This starter is a bit of an Osha signature dish. Unfortunately for me this was probably the weakest dish on the menu that we had. It just didn’t work at all and I was left wondering what it was all about. The “Salmon” caviar was a lot smaller than any Salmon eggs that i`ve ever eaten so I have my doubts on that one ( probably Trout eggs ). There was “zero” truffle flavour so next time i`ll take chef a bottle of proper Truffle oil from ***. This dish needed dramatic changes to make it work…..looked totally stunning though.

 

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Pad Thai “Chai Ya” – Chantaburi Rice Noodles , River King Prawns , Pork rind , “Chai Ya” salted Egg , Peanuts with Banana blossom ( 450 Baht / $12.50 / £8.60 ) Awesome twist and chefs interpretation of this national dish of Thailand….Loved it.

 

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

 

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Chilli Lamb – Wok fried “Opar valley” Lamb , Jungle style hot Basil Chilli relish with Pearl Garlic ( 490 baht / $13.50 / £9.50 ). Not impressed with this one. It basically tasted of a stir fry that anyone could cook at home. It badly need a punch of powerful flavour with something added like a sticky sweet and spicy Chilli relish or paste.

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Kurobuta (Black Hog) Pork Belly – Braised Pork belly with Taro Rice and Secret five spice reduction ( 550 Baht ) Beautiful dish , looked stunning and the Pork just melted “BUT” it would have been improved and taken to another level if it had been finished off in a sauté pan to give the Pork a caramelised crispy skin. ( 550 Baht / $15.50 / £10.50 )

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Grilled Chilean Snowfish glazed with fermented Red Soyabean curd and Bok choy ( 750 baht / $22 / £14 ). Looked really pretty but the fish had very little flavour. The glaze carried the dish when everything was eaten together.

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Assorted Spicy Eggplant with Garlic , Basil sauce. Strangely enough this was my favourite dish on the whole menu….Simple food which was full of beautiful Thai flavours. 120 Baht ($3 / £ 2.30)

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Khao Klong – Steamed Organic Brown Rice with Smoked Coconut Water 120 Baht ($3 / £ 2.30)

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Osha , Bangkok , thailand

Chef`s version of Khao Soi , the classic noodle dish of Northern Thailand.

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Coconut Crème Brulee scented with toasted Coconut , Ginger and a hot crispy caramelised Sugar. 280 Baht ($7.50 / £5.50)

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

Chefs Special for a sweet tooth – An Auspicious Thai dessert. I had to order this mystery dish and the impressive presentation of fruit arrived complete with the theatrics of the dry ice display…..Healthy stuff. 280 Baht ($7.50 / £5.50)

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

 

Honey and Lemon Posset with fresh Berries and Melon. A simple schoolboy dessert taken to a higher level with beautiful but very simple presentation…. A Log , some ice and a few Melon balls…..so pretty. 280 Baht ($7.50 / £5.50)

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Mango sticky Rice – A ripe “Nam Doc Mai” Mango with sticky Rice pudding. Oh how I love Mango and sticky Rice , I eat it on the street for 50 baht ( £1 / $1.50 ) and I eat in Osha , prepared by a talented chef for just a little more. 280 Baht ($7.50 / £5.50)

Osha , Bangkok , thailand

 

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

As you can see , between the two of us we sampled quite a bit of the menu at Osha , Bangkok. It`s a place that I will definitely recommend and also return to. The food is fun , very different , it`s well cooked , beautifully presented and as you can see, very well priced. We`re talking about a restaurant which is right up there with the best in Bangkok so make the most of it before they tweak the prices up. San Pellegrino`s Asia`s Top 50 restaurants 2016 will be out in a few weeks time. I`ll be watching closely to see if Osha makes the list….. I really hope so.

TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS THEN PLEASE CLICK HERE

TO VISIT THE OSHA WEBSITE PLEASE CLICK HERE

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Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

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Osha , Bangkok , thailand

Osha , Bangkok , Thailand

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Sharrow Bay hotel – The Diamond years menu.

 

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Here we go for a little trip back in time to the Golden years of the Sharrow Bay country house hotel on the banks of Ullswater.I can actually hold my hand up and tell you …. I bought the t-shirt , I was there. I`m staring blankly at the screen right now working out exactly when it was….ermmmm…..Oh crap, it was 28 years ago  , scary stuff.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Anyways , long story short.1987, It was my first ever taste of “fine dining” and thanks to Sharrow bay and the lovely owners at the time ( Francis Coulson and Brian Sack ) it was that very first visit that introduced me to the wonderful world of food and cooking. I remember it like it was yesterday.The fear in my bones as I parked my rusty Ford escort beside a Golden Rolls Royce and crawled away over the car park like a Ninja into the hotel fearing I had been spotted. I remember reading through the menu blankly and thinking ” This may as well be written in Cantonese”. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Sharrow I was soon put at ease and out of my misery. One of the staff sat down between us and guided us through the menu dish by dish.We were enlightened , we were educated , the passion was born , and the rest is history.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

That night and after 8 amazing courses I drove my old battered Escort back through the gates of Sharrow bay a converted person and the very next day I went out and bought my first cookery book…. Raymond Blancs “Recipes from Le Manoir aux quat saisons” ….Oh and yes , I actually taught myself to cook from that very book.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

So getting back up to the present day at Sharrow. I noticed that they had introduced a £26 three course ” Sharrow through the ages menu ” recently. At that price it`s an absolute steal and I couldn`t resist booking on the spot. The menu is a simple 3/3/3 and a lovely way to spend a few hours eating and taking in the stunning scenery and newly refurbished restaurant. The food is basic, no frills and is well cooked.It showcases exactly the food that set off the UK fine dining scene all those years ago (1965 – ish) plus it all consisted of quality ingredients cooked by Head chef Mark Teasdale .There`s lots of other more modern food on other menus here at Sharrow but today let`s have a look at the old classic menu.

First course was a Cumbrian fillet of Herdwick Lamb salad with Roasted Red Peppers , Feta Cheese , roasted Squash , Pomegranate seeds and a Balsamic dressing. Nice sized portion for a starter with freshly baked Bread. Absolutely no complaints here and off to a nice start.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Main course – Fillet of Hake , Risotto of Tomatoes , Aubergine and Peppers with an Italian Pesto dressing.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Casserole of local Matterdale Venison , Chestnuts , roasted Shallots , Beetroot Dauphinoise and roasted Asparagus. I could definitely have eaten the same again…Rich `bloke` food , loved it.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Francis Coulsons famous and  “original”  Icky sticky Toffee pudding with Cream. Yes folks , this is where Sticky Toffee pud was born. I was recently eating in Singapore and Bangkok and it was on the menus there so definitely has spread its wings worldwide. Oh and I also have the original recipe too.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Lemon jelly with Syllabub Cream…..As basic as it gets but ohhh so bloody lovely.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Coffee in the lounge after lunch with a few Sharrow treats.

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow bay , definitely recommended for an escape in the Lake district. Its about 15 minutes drive off the M6 motorway and once you`ve arrived then you`ll be a million miles away from the real world and in your own secret secluded nest of antiquated luxury in the stunning scenery of the English Lakes at their very best.

Gourmet Lunch – £ 65 ( 3 courses)   Sunday lunch –  £ 45 ( 3 courses )

Dinner – £ 65 ( 3 courses )   Tasting menu – £95 ( 8 courses )

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Sharrow Bay hotel , Ulswater , cumbria

Miller Howe , A country house in Windermere.

Miller howe , windermereMy first visit to Miller Howe was way back about 30 years ago when “Celebrity chefs” were just emerging into the public eye. Housewives favourite John Tovey was the chef and owner of Miller Howe at the time and my dining experience there really wasn`t a good one. My only recollection of the food on that occasion was Toveys main course of Local Farmyard Chicken breast stuffed with Cacharel Blue Cheese and served with Coconut, Coriander leaves and a side plate of steamed vegetables.….Need I go any further ? Built in 1916 , Miller Howe sits perched on the banks overlooking Windermere. Catch it on a good day and you`re on to a winner. The gardens stretch over 5 acres and are stunning. The views from the hotel are amongst the best in the lake district so all in all the hotel is a great all rounder for a good treat , a weekend escape and some really nicely priced well cooked food.

Miller howe , windermere

Tovey sold up years ago and moved to Africa I believe.The hotel has just ticked away quietly ever since. I went there a few weeks ago to eat Sunday lunch cooked by the current chef Kieran Smith. Kieran cooks in typically modern British style with his own little stamp of individuality on each dish….definitely potential there and I`ll return again soon to eat more of his very enjoyable food.

Miller howe , windermere

So here`s Kierans Sunday lunch , great value at £27.50 for 4 courses, A little appetiser to start with

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Blowtorched Mackerel fillet with Avocado , horseradish, Star of Persia  and samphire.

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Slow cooked Duck Egg with Asparagus and Truffle..

P1170109Roast 28 day Sirlion of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Seasonal Vegetables, Red Wine jus. 

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Brill with Brown Shrimps , Asparagus and Samphire.

miller howe , windermere

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Chocolate and Cherries…Chefs take on a BFG……Awesome.

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Strawberries , White Chocolate.

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Coffee and sweets served in Miller howe lounge.

Miller howe , windermere

Miller howe , windermere

Susi Diaz, “La Finca” Restaurant , Alicante , Spain

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

3 generations of cooking skills have been passed down to Michelin starred Chef Susi Díaz , owner and chef of La Finca Restaurant in Elx, near Alicante. Susi has been running the restaurant for 30 years tweaking and developing classical dishes into what they have become today. The menu here features Citrus fruits, herbs, and flowers grown in her own garden and these accompany the various meats and seafood from around the local area. On my visit Susi just cooked what was available at the height of the Spanish summer season. Showcasing her wonderful cooking skills with the tasting menu which you can see below. La Finca is definitely on for a return visit.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

The restaurant interior is a lovely traditional brick house and warm welcoming lighting and décor. After many years cooking at La Finca ,Susi finally got Michelin star recognition in 2006.She’s one of the very few female celebrity chefs with many TV appearances.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 The meal started with some light bites over a nice chilled glass of bubbly in the kitchen. I couldn`t resist a little look around hoping to get a peep at some of Susi`s trade secrets.

Aerated cheese using a vacuum, Just Incredible.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Olive surprise encased in a Cocoa butter semi-sphere shell

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Tray of crispy treats – Seaweed, Rice and Local fried fish

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Caviar of Riofrio with Blinis and Butter.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Local olive oil and paprika salt

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 First course – White and green asparagus ice-cream and Praline. White asparagus parfait, chopped green asparagus underneath, peanut crisp garnish. Lovely, refreshing rawness with a “taste of Spring”…..and sweet.Would have been better as a pre dessert crossover.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Chef Diaz’s version of sushi served on a spoon – Blue fin otoro (fatty belly of the fish) with Mirin (a type of Japanese rice wine) foam and topped by wasabi tobiko with a touch of lime. Wow,Melted in the mouth. Perfect, both texture and flavour. Accompanied by Otoro and Foie with a Port vinaigrette

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

A warm brioche blanketed with an ultra-thin Pancetta.  Sophisticated cooking here! Thin slices of fat and a strong truffle aroma. …Who wouldn’t like this combo ?

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 A beautiful Green plate bearing Sea whelk, Mint, and two varieties of Cucumber – Local and foreign?  ….Nice firm crunchy textures.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Local Prawn with Pil-Pil sauce( traditional Basque sauce). Topped with apple and coconut caviar. Fresh and delicate prawn but strong sauce; reminding me of a Thai curry for a second. Slightly overpowered the delicate beautiful flavour of prawn.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 “Red Prawn in Santa Pola”.  – Barely cooked as to focus on the true flavour of this local treasure with Incredible creaminess of the juices sucked out of the head.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Sea Eel, Feta Cheese, Sesame, pickles….. Sounds an odd combo but it worked surprisingly well. Sesame aroma, creamy light cheese, and smoky Eel, with sweetness too. Very nice.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Sea cucumber – superb texture but way too salty…Just bearable. Also had Pil pil sauce underneath. Peas were amazing, very sweet.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

This dish was like a big black volcano. Cuttlefish,ink, rice, green peas, lots of great flavours.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, ElxBeautiful artistic work on the plate here in this plate of Red mullet with Augergine.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Covered underneath a corn crisp was slices of medium -rare Beef loin with diced mushroom. Eaten with a pair of tweezers. Juicy and flavourful.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Pre-dessert – a cute lemon meringue cake with edible rice paper. A light start to dessert.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Pineapple and coconut – The classic “Piña colada combo”. Mild and refreshing with a touch of mint… Superb.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 Final dessert – Variation of Chocolate – Crumbs, mousse, liquid centre truffle Choco .

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

A  very trendy way to serve the sweet treats.

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 For a 30 year old restaurant I thought it would be serving `old school` traditional Spanish food, but Susi utilizes good ingredients from throughout the region and cooks them with modern cooking techniques. It certainly isn`t over-the-top molecular cooking like many other young chefs where `style over substance` rules. Here we were able to truly taste the food. The size of each course was  also spot on , not overly filling even after we had 12+ courses.

To view all of the photos from La Finca , please CLICK HERE.

   Susi Diaz , La Finca, ElxFrom 6th gear kitchen to a dead stop…..Peace and quiet.       Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx          Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

Susi Diaz , La Finca, Elx

 

Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond.

 

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

A quick road trip over from our overnight stay in Edinburgh to Loch Lomond for lunch at  `Martin Wishart at Cameron house`. Head chef Graeme Cheevers has been running the restaurant kitchen here for a few years now and the restaurant is a proud holder of a Michelin star.The restaurant has three menus running at the moment. A 6 or 8 course tasting menu ( £80 / £95) A Vegetarian tasting menu (£75) and a 3 course ALC ( £75 ). We decided to try the ALC which you can see below. Beautiful food cooked well by the kitchen team along with very friendly and faultless service thanks to restaurant manager Chris Donnachie.

Amuse –  Beetroot  & Goats Cheese Macaron  and delicate little cornets  containing a fish tartare.

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Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.Just the one choice of Bread…. but that`s all we needed.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

 Complimentary Amuse.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

 Soup

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Blowtorched Mackerel , seasonal vegetables.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Seared Orkney Scallops , Poached Bone Marrow , Pomme Boulangere , Knockraich Crème fraiche and Caviar.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Kilbrannan Langoustine , Yellow pepper and Coconut sauce.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Salt baked Anjou Squab Pigeon , Tokyo Turnips , Liver mousse , Mushroom puree and Beetroot. It was presented at the table in its Salt coating before being cracked open and then taken back to the kitchen to be plated.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond. A little parcel of liver mousse encased in gel.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Dover Sole , Comte Cheese , Wye valley green Asparagus  and sauce Vin Jaune.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

 Basil , Blackcurrant , Meringue , so simple but packed so much flavour. A combination which worked fantastically well.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

 Valrhona Manjari Chocolate cremeux and Passion fruit.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Scottish Strawberries , Basil Meringue and Lemon Verbena…heaven on a plate.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Salted  Caramel sponge , Cocoa nibs.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

 Petits Fours –  Truffles , Fruit jellies and perfect Macarons.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.

     Martin wishart , cameron house , loch lomond.     TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS ON FLICK PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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Castle Terrace – Edinburghs finest.

castle terrace , edinburgh

Finally, I manage to return to Edinburghs finest restaurant ,Castle Terrace to eat the superb cuisine of the amazing chef Dominic Jack. It`s been a while since my previous visit so I was pretty excited to be spending the weekend in the city and prioritised Castle terrace as my number one choice of places to dine. The restaurant showcases exactly what I`m looking for in a plate of food. Prime regional ingredients cooked with passion and imagination to an ultra high level. The food here carries bags of flavour , it`s technical , it`s accurately cooked and it`s very much classical old school robust taste sensations …right up my street , love it.

For any Game lovers out there –  if you`re ever wanting to do a double hit of the very best of Scottish game then just pop here during Autumn and pair it up with Castle terraces sister restaurant `The Kitchin` . I don`t think you`ll find a better duo in Scotland.

So here`s Dominics seasonal Tasting menu priced at £75 . We enjoyed it with a lovely wine pairing at £55.

Pre dinner cocktails on arrival

castle terrace , edinburgh

Liquid Caesar salad , Caper & Cumin Burger and Salt Cod barbajuan.

castle terrace , edinburgh

Tomato Gazpacho before…and after the pour.

castle terrace , edinburghcastle terrace , edinburgh

                       Tartare of Shetland salmon served sushi style

castle terrace , edinburgh

Tartare of Roe Deer from Stobo estate served with Mustard ice cream.

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

Panna Cotta of Arbroath smokey……. with a hidden surprise.

castle terrace , edinburgh

The cut reveals the hidden surprise inside the Egg.

castle terrace , edinburgh

Sweet Mango puree oozes out onto the hidden tartare below.

castle terrace , edinburgh

Pâté en croûte of roe Deer from Saltoun Estate, served with pear, prune and port

castle terrace , edinburgh

I suppose this one shouldn`t leave the menu now as it`s such a popular dish at Castle Terrace. It might even get as popular as Hestons Meat fruit. Here we were served a Free range creamy Chicken liver parfait placed inside a Muscat grape outer coat. The leaf is a cracker made from Rosemary.

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

Perfectly Seared hand-dived Orkney Scallop served with a light curry sauce ‘Castle Terrace style’

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

Barbequed shoulder of Ayrshire Pork served with Chick Pea. A very clever little treat here , ohh jeez I could eat one right now. Potato base topped with the Pork and the Chickpea bun top. The Cheese is actually Turnip.

castle terrace , edinburgh

Ravioli of Crab.

castle terrace , edinburghcastle terrace , edinburgh

Roasted fillet of North sea Hake , vegetables and Lemon / Lime sauce.

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

Risotto of organic spelt from Eden Valley with Scottish Beef and Asparagus…and a wee bit of Truffle for good measure. Ohhh this was so good.

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

A selection of Blackeytside Farm raspberries with nougatine parfait and crispy doughnutcastle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh

Petits fours.

castle terrace , edinburgh

castle terrace , edinburgh              To view all of the photos on Flickr then please CLICK HERE.

The Witchery by the castle – Edinburgh , Scotland.

The Witchery by the castle , edinburghThe Witchery is situated in an ideal location and sits directly beside the Castle at the top of  Edinburghs Royal mile. The hotel and restaurant are immaculate and have managed to keep their unspoiled character since the place was built in the 16th century. The locals say that it`s one of the cities best kept secrets and i`ll second that one. There`s no electric visually present inside the two restaurants ( The Witchery and The Secret garden ) so once it gets dark outside then the real ghostly atmosphere begins to work its magic. As a diner you`ll be eating at the Witchery by candlelight so it all adds to the romance and history of old world Edinburgh. Black tunnels and entrances , dark wood and stone walls , tapestries , red leather and well selected antiques all add to the astonishing feeling of being transported back in time. Whilst i`m on the subject then ill also mention that if you decide to stay here then book well in advance. The rooms are so impressive that they`ve been awarded a top  place in the “wonders of the hotel world“, They really are world class and like nothing I`ve ever seen before. Every one furnished with care and totally unique from the other. It`s really is like walking onto a movie set. For the romantics and hot lovers out there then just go ahead and book. Take it from me , you won`t be disappointed. It might just spark a marriage back into life again.

The Witchery by the castle , edinburghDuring my visit I chose to eat in the Secret garden restaurant . I`ve eaten there before and love the atmosphere. Entry to the dining area is via a “Pulpit” reception and then down a stone staircase. If you`re wanting to make a grand entrance then this is the place to do it in style.

The Witchery by the castle , edinburghOur starter was a traditional Scottish Seafood platter consisting of Oysters , Langoustines , Razor Clams , Mussels , Half a lobster and hot smoked salmon. Served on crushed ice with Lime Mayonnaise, Shallot wine vinegar , Tabasco and fresh Lemon.  Always guaranteed to impress the guests with this visually pleasing money spinner. Probably costing around £10 to put together but priced to sell at £ 45. Not a lot of food at £22.50 per person but all fresh and a good start to proceedings.

witchery by the castle, edinburgh , scotland

Main courses – Roast loin of Cairngorm Venison with Black Quinoa , iron bark Pumpkin and spiced pickled Pear at £27

The Witchery by the castle , edinburgh

Breast of Gartmorn Farm Duck with Kale and Caramelised Apple

The Witchery by the castle , edinburghWitchery pudding selection – A pleasant and sweet ending to dinner but not  one to win any awards for innovation. This dessert “tasting” has been on the menu for years and seemed to be pretty popular. I was actually wanting to see some traditional Scottish classics on the menu like Cranachan , Shortbread , Scottish “world class” fruits and Cream crowdie but all that I had to choose from was a not very local Belgian Chocolate , Mango  , Vacherin , Coconut brulee  , Biscotti , Marscapone , Basil ice cream and Key Lime. I decided to go for the “Tasting” dessert and overload on a combination of everything for £12…. My sweet spot satisfied.

The Witchery by the castle , edinburghSo my overall views on the Witchery. It`s an extremely popular dining location in the heart of the historic area , a stones throw from the Castle. The restaurant itself is stunning , Gothic , romantic and very moody. Food in the past has been very good but on this occasion it wasn`t. The menu doesn`t seem to change a lot but the ingredients are very fresh, traditionally Scottish and sourced from around the country. The service during my visit was very poor but friendly enough.  We arrived at The Witchery at 8.00 and our starter arrived 45 minutes later. We waited a further 45 minutes for our main courses and then 30 minutes for dessert.

The Witchery by the castle , edinburghx

The Red Denia Prawn….Best in the World ?

_DSC1293Quietly sipping on my Apple Gin & Tonic and feeling like a beached Whale after 31 courses , my thoughts of sleeping on the bed for a few hours were totally quashed by the waving arms of Chef Quique Dacosta. “Hurry up , come on , we need to hurry I have something I want you so see”. Within a few minutes we were up off our seats , into the car  and off to the Denia fish market to begin the Denia red Prawn `Ocean to plate experience`.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

We arrived just in time to see Quiques buyer in action. The very best of the catch had already been secured. Set aside on ice were the supreme specimens being bathed gently in sea water by a market worker and awaiting transportation to the restaurant. The whole process was over in a flash as the quality of this star product needs to be maintained meticulously in order to preserve condition.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

The good folks of Denia rate the Red Prawn as the best in the world and I have no reason to disagree with their views. At around 8 Euros `each` ( trade price ) they definitely need plenty of love and care. The Prawns are caught at depths of 1000 metres where the water is extremely cold and pure. Light cannot penetrate to these depths and so the Prawns live in total darkness. Photosynthesis can`t take place and pollution is non existent so the Prawns live in a very happy home.

Quique dacosta , denia , spainThe market was landing and processing a lot of prime seafood during our visit and for a chef…wow , total heaven.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

In what seemed like a flash the buying was over and we were on our way back to the restaurant. The Prawns were bathed in seawater yet again and the best ones then set aside for our evenings  gastronomic experience – “The cooking of the Red Denia Prawn”.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

After a morning eating the delightful  sweet treats of Paco Torreblanca , followed by 31 courses with wine at Quique Dacosta we finally managed to escape to the hotel for a quick bout of recuperation before the next round of eating. The evening meal would be more of an interactive experience observing  and eating  with Quiques development chef Juanfra Valiente in the restaurants specialised experimental kitchen.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

So here we have six Prawns for three different tasting experiences ranging from totally bare simplicity to experimental Michelin 3 star. The first cooking method was a tasting of the Red Prawn in its natural state , cooked to perfection at 62 degrees for exactly 2  minutes then plunged into an ice bath to immediately halt the cooking process.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

The Prawns were simply presented as they came out of the ice bath. The tail meat totally sweet and very delicate. We were then instructed to suck on the Prawn head and savour the juices within. A little too much for me as they were just barely cooked. I think I need a little more time to develop this taste experience…..for the hardcore fan.

The second method was Roasting on a bed of salted Egg white for 10 minutes. The Prawn was gently covered and allowed to steam away until cooked. This method was definitely the one for me . Sweet , salty and very moist….very heavenly.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spainLast up was Quiques modern 3 star version straight out of a Cy Twombly exhibition at the Tate modern….A “splash of Red” .The head was pan seared with meticulous care and attention to detail. Kimchi sauce and sponge , burnt Leek , Tempura of the Prawn legs….to be honest I can`t recall the detail of this dish as I just watched in amazement as chefs artistry flowed from saucepan to plate…..tasted pretty good too.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spainQuique dacosta , denia , spain

And the Twombly painting …..

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Next up was the Eel Risotto using the Valencian Rice , Yoghurt powder , Cherry Caviar , Beetroot and Prawn head juice. This one was a really rich and extremely flavoursome dish. The intense reduction of Chicken and pork was pleasantly lifted by the sweet and sour Cherry Caviar into a beautiful combination of flavours.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Moss  –  Dill , Green Tea , Apple , Pistachio and Vanilla….The desserts had arrived , oh how I love this part of the meal. A work of art on a log plate.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Now this one really excited me. I`m very much a dessert kinda guy with an extremely sweet tooth so this hit my soft spot straight away. The lights suddenly went out and the test kitchen plunged into total darkness.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

What appeared to be two U.F.O`s suddenly appeared flying towards us out of the darkness. Quique had actually designed plates with built in lights to light up the dessert from the inside. Green Apple , Champagne , Rose  and  Lemon scents perfumed the air. This was an exciting finale to an amazing day with Quique Dacosta and his wonderful culinary family. We were extremely blessed to have been invited to experience it all. Thank you so much guys.

P1160677 - CopySo for now , enough was enough and it was time for bed. Tomorrow was a new day and it was going to be an even busier one , this time in Valencia….More to follow.

To view more photos on Flickr then please click  THIS LINK.

Quique speaks to his buyer at the market.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Lobster feasting on squid.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

The Red Denia Prawns , straight off the boat.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Denia Squid.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique dacosta , denia , spain   Quique …totally passionate about the product. Quique dacosta , denia , spainChef juanfra…..He`s so happy.  Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Straight out of a Police line up…..A gallery of crazy guys.

Quique dacosta , denia , spain

Quique Dacosta – 3 stars in Denia , Spain..

Quique DacostaQuique Dacosta , one of a very special breed of premier chefs from the category of  “ There`s Chefs…..and then there`s Chefs”. I was extremely blessed to spend the weekend with Quique and his teams at his flagship restaurant in Denia and also his 3 other busy establishments in Valencia  – El Poblet , Mercatbar and Vuelve Carolina. My sidekick on the trip was fellow top level  food geek  Mr Finediningexplorer. Now you`ve all seen Laurel and Hardy so I shall say no more. Maybe we should be on a stage performing somewhere as a double act.

Quique started working at the restaurant in 1989 when he was 17. Originally it was a traditional Spanish restaurant called El Poblet. Quique took over the business after spending 10 years there and in 2003 the restaurant got its first star. The second followed in 2007 and finally the third star in 2013. The restaurant was renamed Quique Dacosta and a new restaurant opened in Valencia under the original name of El Poblet.

After an overnight stay in Elche , the first call of the day was to the town of Elda to meet one of the Worlds best pastry Chefs, Paco Torreblanca. Paco climbed the ladder at the same time as the Roux brothers and Pierre Herme and now sits right at the top of his game in the world of sweet treats .The trip to his laboratory was akin to a walk into the world of Willie Wonka. The Workshops were full of students from USA , Brazil , Italy and Spain making sugar bubbles and Roses – impressive. Paco is very much old school and a total master of his art. Examples of his sugarwork were on display throughout his workshop and a huge selection of pastries , Pannetone and Macarons were there for the sampling.

paco torreblanca

The thing that impressed me most about Paco is that he`s managed to keep alive his culinary roots but he`s also moved along with the times as well. Highly skilled examples of Pacos Molecular desserts adorned the many cookery books on display at the workshops and I was most impressed by an edible notebook complete with a Chocolate spiral ring binder inserted to keep the leaves together. There was also another visitor looking around while we were there. DaDong the Chinese God of the Peking Duck was touring Europe to see what new culinary ideas he could take back East.

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A one hour drive to Denia came next and  then straight into Quique`s restaurant for lunch. We were warmly greeted by Quique and his manager Didier and before we knew it the show was underway. The Spanish sun was hot that afternoon but ice cold Champagne and our first snack of chilled Vine Peach Sangria soon sorted the heat problem out.

quique dacostaThere`s not many restaurants at this level that totally change their menu every year but at Quique Dacosta they do exactly that. 40 new dishes were introduced at the start of the 2015 season and we were here to experience Quique`s  latest delights from his new menu “States of Mood” .The menu here normally showcases the Red Denia Prawn but for our lunch we were to give that a miss because we had very special plans after the meal. We would go with Quique to the fish market and get our special Red Prawns directly off the boat ,  straight through auction and then back to the restaurant. Our evening dinner would be a celebration of the Denia Prawn cooked in the development kitchen….Enough said , wait for the next post.

1st Act  –  Snacks ( These were served in the garden )

1,  Sangria of Vine Peach. – This was served in the style of a semi frozen slush drink , very refreshing in the afternoon Spanish heat.

quique dacosta

2, Light Beignet of Codfish.

quique dacosta

3, Rice a banda “Socarrat” – Socarrat is the layer of toasted Rice at the bottom of the Paella pan.This one was Quiques translation of the same thing.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

4, Corals. Dehydrated sea flavoured Rice crackers with delicate little prawns incorporated into them.

quique dacosta

5, Carbon of “Pericana”  – This amuse definitely impresses. The smoking hot Charcoal comes with a traditional regional  creamy sauce served as a dip. It`s called Pericana which is made of dried Peppers and  salted fish . I looked around for some bread or a spoon but all there was to dip in was the hot Charcoal , still emitting smoke. I picked the Charcoal up cautiously only to discover it wasn`t burnt wood at all. It was infact a savoury Meringue dyed Black with Squid ink. The smoke had come from a smouldering bed of fresh hay which was sitting hiding in a tray underneath…Marvellous and very quirky.

quique dacosta

6, Ravioli of Edamame – The Ravioli is filled with crunchy Edamame Beans mixed with a Kimchee flavored sauce….like a rich Tomato soup.

quique dacosta

7, Cordifolia –  This plant is locally picked in Montgo national park. It`s  called Raim de pastor ( Sedum Sediforme ) but more commonly known as “Stonecrop” in the UK. It has a taste that is reminiscent of pickled capers and it`s served as a little amuse to create smiles and discussion from the customers. Eat the leaves and stem and then chew on the root… Simple.

quique dacosta

8, Mojito of Ginger….and walk this way sir. This was a little iced refreshment served to us outside. We were meant to sip the frozen slush from a straw on the way through to our table but I struggled badly to get anything up the straw and was pretty frustrated when I couldn`t get a spoon inside to scoop out the wonderful goodness in the glass. I defrosted it by hand and slurped it noisily down.

quique dacosta

2nd Act – Pickled

quique dacosta

9, Dry Octopus – Dried in the sun on the roof of the restaurant.

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quique dacosta

10, Roe of Mullet. – Sliced Mullet roe ( Eggs )

quique dacosta

 11, Salad of Pickles. – Tuna, Artichoke, Edamame, Onion, Almond, Olive mousse.The Garlic shape was encasing liquid Gazpacho. All resting on a thin jello of Tomato and Olive.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

12, Coca of Tomatoes – A wafer thin square of dehydrated Tomato powder , big strong flavours here.

quique dacosta

14, Dried baby Squid. – These were a  little too chewy and caramelised so the flavours of the seafood were lost. … Far from unpleasant though.

quique dacosta

15, Ice cream sandwich of Basil and Tomato – Ice cream sandwich of Tomato foam with fresh basil leaf…. Refreshing.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

16, Herb finger with Lamb juice. –  A plant for us to pick at using our fingers . It’s herb crusted Lamb but a modern version…a crispy Almond tuile filled with a herb mousse inside. We were then instructed to eat it and then sip the Lamb consommé on the side. A good Intense flavour.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

 3rd Act – Tapas

17,  Tobacco leaf and “Toro” – Served on a Tobacco leaf crisp were slices of Toro Tuna and Dashi (Japanese stock) jello. The drink paired with this was a 100 years in the barrel Sherry which unfortunately masked the delicate flavour of this very expensive cut of Tuna.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

18, Fish Lemon and half Lemon. – A Ceviche course of “Fish Lemon in Lemon”.  Chunks of raw fish (the sea is just 50m away from the restaurant) and the Lemon is from their own restaurant garden…..very refreshing. 

quique dacosta

19, Aspic of Crayfish. – Served in an Aspic was Crayfish Bisque with jello at the bottom made with the juices from the head of the shellfish. The flavours were very intense and quite spicy. At the bottom of the dish were Peas offering bites of raw freshness and an interesting texture.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

20, Sailor Knot – Tarhay. – Ok so i`m not so sure what the Tarhay means here. The Razor Clams were carefully wound together to resemble a sea knot. The Clam was delicate , Lemony and sweet. I notice that a lot of Quiques dishes were very sweet and no complaints from me as i`m just a sweet guy , and the end of the meal is the part that I always look forward to.

quique dacosta

The other part of this dish was a tartare bathed in a light Hazelnut foam.

quique dacosta

21, Carbonara. – Ultra thin transluscent Iberian Ham. Strands of Spaghetti on Enoki Mushroom.  The sauce at the bottom was amazing ,sticky, powerful reduction from Pigeon and Chicken. 

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

4th Act – Mains

 22, Satay of King Crab – Crabmeat, Crab roe, Mango, Peanuts , crispy, nutty and a spicy sauce.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

23, Fried Oyster. – Deep fried Oyster and Oyster cream.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

oyster

24, Toast of Sea Snails. – Toast of sea Snail , served in little ceramic sea themed pots. Even the spoon was a sea shell. The Green sauce was made with Parsley, Olive oil, and Seaweed. The small shell on the side contained little pearls of a local liquor.  This course was inspired by a trip Quique had in Belgium to eat snail, but he created the sea version here.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

25, Rice “Albufera” of Peas and Cuttlefish Egg. – We were very close to the heart of Spain`s largest Rice production area,The Albufera area of Valencia. In this dish Quique showcased this product simply and effectively with Cuttlefish Eggs and Green Peas.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

5th Act – Meats.

26, Pizzon al Funghi. – Pigeon and wild Mushroom Pizza .Rather than a Pizza this is a very thin Pastry crust covered with small Mushrooms, tiny slivers of Pigeon and shavings of Truffle with a thick and intense pigeon reduction. It sits on a magnifying glass…..interesting and totally wacky.

quique dacosta

27, Egg in Ashes – Spherification was used here to mimic an Egg with a liquid centre.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta6th Act – Desserts.

28, Mojito of Cucumber – Served as a `pre -dessert` , a Mint Sorbet with an intense Lemon syrup and Seaweed ( hmmmnnnn….I think it was a seaweed )

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

29, Strange flowers – Ohhhh this was stunning , highly perfumed and a delight to eat for a dessert lover. Mango puree with Passion fruit , Dill , Meringue , Lychee … Beautiful.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

30, Cinnamon branch – Prunes. The Prune is actually not a Prune. It`s an edible bag of Prune purée with an Almond inside to mimic the stone. The Cinnamon is actually not cinnamon. Good technique going on here and the main thing…..It tasted great.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta31, Petals of Roses.  This one arrived in a vase , it`s a Dacosta classic and because I had done my homework then I know what to expect otherwise I would have been eating petals. The inside of the flower is very carefully removed with knife and tweezers and then the Rose is filled with Apple shavings coloured with Grenadine and flavoured with Rose water.

quique dacosta

quique dacosta

32, Gin tonic of Apple…with hints of Juniper.

quique dacosta

Ok to summarise my experience at the 3 Michelin starred Quique Dacosta….. Interesting , extremely interesting and a delight for anyone that loves their food with a passion like mine. The food was inventive and exciting and although there were a few little items that I personally would “tweak” a little. All I seen was smiles , laughter and empty plates so someone is doing things right backstage. The Diners were happy so that hits the nail right on the head. Would I return ? Damn right I would…Loved it.

Click HERE to view all of the photos from the lunch on my Flickr account.

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Issaya Siamese Club Bangkok , Stunning Thai food in a beautiful restaurant.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkokIssaya Siamese club , currently sits at  number 39 on the list of `Best restaurants in Asia 2015`. I`ve been to Bangkok many times and this was my first visit to Issaya.Suitably impressed i`ll certainly be back for more as soon as possible. My stay in Bangkok was only a quickie before heading off to Chiang mai so I booked into Issaya for lunch. It`s a really good menu with lots of choices. One of those menus  with so many dishes that it`s impossible to choose as they all sound totally wonderful  but I decided to go for the Tasting menu to see what the place was all about. My meal consisted of a number of courses served together in traditional Thai style at 2,500 baht ( £49 ) showcasing chef Ian Kittichai`s  cooking and the use of some premier Thai produce. There`s also a set menu at 1500 baht ( £30) and the extensive a la carte which is individually priced.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkokThe word “ Issaya “  is an ancient Thai word meaning “ Rainy season “. The lush greenery of the restaurants gardens reflect Thailands rainy season.So to pay homage to that beautiful rainy part of the year the owners decided to name the restaurant after this.The restaurant design is modelled on that of an old school members club and chef Kittichais menus reflect on his own personal journey and upbringing around food  , hanging out at the markets and the cooking of the produce with his mother. The ingredients at Issaya are the true stars of the cuisine here. They`re sourced from the local markets and are Organic and as fresh as possible to produce chef Kittichai`s seasonal , innovative and traditional signature dishes and menus.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

 The tasting menu started off with 3 tasting dishes – Banana blossom and heart of Palm salad , crispy Shallots and roasted Peanuts in a Chilli jam dressing  / Tuna tartare Thai style / Crispy rice pancake with pulled “turmeric” chicken ,Beansprouts and Coconut.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok House made fresh Shellfish sausage with a Hua Hin style seafood broth.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Grilled imported tender Beef , fresh herbs , Organic vegetables in a charred birds eye Chilli vinaigrette.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkokCrispy harbour Shrimps , Melting Eggplant and hard boiled Eggs with Chilli Tamarind dressing.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Spice rubbed baby Pork back ribs , glazed with Issaya house blended Chilli paste.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkokSteamed whole Maine Lobster with Lobster Curry Custard , fresh Coconut milk and sweet Basil….I`ll definitely go back for this one again.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

 Grain fed Australian Veal cheek simmered in house blended spices , Hand pressed Coconut Milk and Kaffir Lime leaves.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Slow cooked smoked Salmon with Jerusalem Artichokes from Chokchai farm in a home made Red Curry sauce. Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Asian multigrains , Chiang Mai Mushrooms and Garlic sprinkled with Mushroom scented Oil

Issaya Siamese club , bangkokIssaya seasonal vegetables.

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Assorted house made desserts.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Jasmine flower Panna Cotta

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Pandan Macaroon

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Coconut Mochi ice cream with young Coconut shavings.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Saree  – An old fashioned Thai ice cream sandwich with Jackfruit Semifreddo.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

 And so for the bill  –  Quite an attractive price for Chefs Tasting menu using prime ingredients, a decent sized Lobster, Cocktails and bottled water set us back 2,880 baht each  ( £56 / $87 ). Well worth a visit to eat the food of a Chef right at the top of his game – Highly recommended.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Issaya Siamese club , bangkokIssaya garden entrance.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

To view all of the photos on Flickr then please CLICK HERE.

Issaya Siamese club , bangkok

The Inn at Ravenglass , Seafood heaven.

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In the tiny village of Ravenglass on the West coast of Cumbria , Spring is finally in the air. The Winter months haven`t been too bad this year but there`s been many days when the fishing boats can`t even get out out to sea. Nice to know that the Chef at ” The Inn at Ravenglass” ,Craig Niven has still been knocking out some stunning seafood throughout the duration of the poor months. Craig still manages to source enough fresh produce to fill 2 or 3 blackboards with daily  seafood specials , very Impressive. If I was setting up my own restaurant then I would definitely want the chef here to run my kitchen , simple as that. I don’t know anything about Chefs background but after over half a dozen visits here he just continues to deliver some amazing seafood .Basically he`s just a gifted chef that can cook prime produce very well.
The pub is owned by the Pennington family ( Muncaster Castle ) along with a few other local businesses. It`s very much your `village local` and attracts quite a crowd most days. I`ve decided not to say much about the décor here as i`m quite used to it now , I`ll take the 5th on this occasion. I`m not coming here for anything other than top shelf fresh seafood cooked perfectly and served with an ice cold glass of Muncaster Cider or locally brewed ale….enough said. Just for your information folks , you`re not required to wear a jacket and tie so relax and dress down here, there`s no airs n graces.Take it for what it , be prepared to sit on the next table to a local in flat cap with his pet terrier and just get stuck into the amazing Cumbrian seafood which you can see below.

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I had a little look just over the road on one of my visits and within a minute or so I had discovered this lot growing within a stones throw of the kitchen. I don’t think chef is brave enough to use this just yet but here`s hoping. From left to right –  Sea Aster , Sandwort , ??? ,  Arrowgrass and Purselane.

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                                       A view of The Inn from the beach.

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Menu boards at the Inn are hand written in the kitchen once the daily catch is brought through the door. On my last visit , Chef was actually waiting for the catch of the day to arrive minutes before service kicked off. “ In Cod we trust” , “ Skate , Rattle and Sole” and “Not bad , Cod do better” the three specials boards are crammed to capacity with fresh seafood . Many restaurants would be blessed to have the one of these boards.Thanks to Steve Hallet from Ravenglass fish for braving the cold Cumbrian seas. You can follow this crazy guy on his Twitter account HERE.

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Scallops baked in the shell with buttery mash and glazed Cheese. Coquille st jacques.

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Prawns in Garlic Butter , plain , simple and with a big wedge of crusty Bread.

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Local Lobster with Mango and Pak choi.

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Battered Squid with Saffron Mayo.

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Seared Scallops on Cauliflower puree.

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Little freebies – Pissaladiere.

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Little freebies – Scallop mousse and smoked salmon tartlettes.

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This one is easily my favourite main course at the Inn. Griddled Irish sea Scallops on a light Apple chutney. Pan fried sea Trout on Buttered Cabbage and Bacon with creamy mash and a Beurre blanc sauce.

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King Prawns , Pilau rice.

P1120634 - CopyFillet of Halibut on a Pistachio Risotto with Ham hock fritters.

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Tandoori Tiger prawns , Lemon Risotto.

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Fillet of North sea Turbot on a healthy Mussel and Chorizo broth.

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Irish sea Scallops , Chorizo and Mussel Porridge with Butter poached Chicken thigh.

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Pan fried Skate wings with Lemon ,  Caper and Parsley black butter.

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Monkfish Wellington , Sugar cured cheeks , Kohlrabi and spinach puree.

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Prawn and Monkfish Thai red curry.

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This poor guy aint a pretty sight but chef made the very best of a poor mans fish , the Gurnard. Roasted and basted in sea salt and butter then served on a bed of local Samphire and wild mushrooms.

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Muncaster reared Quail with a Scallop mousse filling , Lemon Risotto , Irish sea Scallops , Crevettes and Shrimp.

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Just a little look at our Cumbrian portion control….no complaints here then. I went for the Monkfish Kiev on yellow Pea and green lentil ragout. My son Max had the Cumbrian surf n turf. Fillet steak , Garlic prawns , Chips and salad.

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This is a little treat for those that don’t do fish. Roast of the day £9.95. Perfect portion size and at a superb price.

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An amazing local brew, Muncaster Cider using Apples from the Castles ancient orchard. The Apples are pressed and then made into Cider by the people down at Cowmire Hall.

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Well…what do we Cumbrians  make of this delight ? Or is this key forensic evidence that we have a crazy Scotsman in the kitchen ? Deep fried Mars bar in what could be Irn Bru batter served with every Glaswegians tipple of choice ” Buckfast ” ice cream. It was my first ever taste of this classic “Glasgow Chip shop” dessert and it made me laugh , created happy discussion and although it`s never going to win any awards for dessert of the year I thoroughly enjoyed that lovely sticky goo inside….it`s a happy pud.

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Sticky Toffee Apple Brioche with Vanilla ice cream. I can honestly say that ive never had a better Bread and butter pud anywhere in the world…..I would return there for this one dish , it really was that good. ( please keep this on the menu as a signature pud , it`s a winner ) The puds are also all home made , something else which needs to stay.

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Fresh Raspberries set in Elderflower jelly with home bakes Shortbread.

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Strawberry cake , vanilla ice cream.

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Burnt Orange Cheesecake

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Rhubarb n Custard  liquid centre Cheesecale

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The potential is there and waiting to be exploited at The Inn. The fish so fresh its almost jumping from the sea, over the road and into the restaurant. The restaurant has the ability to get put right on to the food lovers map , a destination restaurant for seafood lovers. I think that I hit a bit of a raw nerve when I asked about the décor. It seems that the majority of the customers comment on the amazing food and then the next sentence will be about the extremely strange décor , Wooden tables , Red carpets , a sports lounge area , and a typical country stone floored bar area complete with locals in flat caps sitting on “their” seats.It`s a potential Rick Stein Seafood restaurant in Padstow  with a customer base of 10,000 people in a big factory ( Sellafield ) up the road waiting to try it and yet the management seem to be ignoring the feedback on tripadvisor and the general feeling of their customers….strange one. My own view is that the whole of the restaurant needs taken apart and refurbished to a standard which matches the food on the plates. Trouble is though , I mentioned this and I was told that “It`s already been redecorated” …..Ermmmm…..okay.

Keep it up guys and I really can`t wait to see what you`ll be doing in the summer. In the meantime I shalll continue to dream my dreams of Lobster,  Crab and Seafood platters with cold wines and freshly baked bread with Cumbrian Butter…Ahhhh    20150313_140453        P1120694 P1120702            P1150232

Mr Coopers House and Garden, Manchester.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

I reckon I must be the last of the Northern `foodies` to try Mr Coopers house and Garden restaurant. Some greedy Gannets like number one food blogger Hungry Hoss have dined here on multiple occasions in the 18 months that the restaurant has been open. Cory, my daughter needed to be in Manchester for a meeting with her new agent so that left me with a couple of hours to eat. It was valentines weekend and the whole city seemed to be booked solid.  Mr Coopers was, as I expected, fully booked and so a quick message to Mr `Hungry Hoss` and a few Tweets later we had a table for two put aside. And so my Valentines weekend unfolded. A romantic table for two with  `The Hoss` , complete with his flat cap and a foot long goatee. He really didn`t really  make good `eye candy` tableside viewing so hopefully the food would tickle my fancy a little better.Chef Simon Rogan runs Mr Coopers house and garden restaurant as well as “The French” ( and 4 other UK restaurants). Both are situated inside Manchester`s Midland hotel. The last time I was in the Midland Simon took me for a little look  at  Mr Coopers house , it was an upside down building site. 3 weeks after that it was transformed into the beautiful restaurant you can see below.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

One thing that really impressed me was the Menu, it was attractively priced with plenty of choices to pick from. 10 starters priced at around £6.50.  10 Mains around £16 and 10 Desserts at £7. At these prices it brings high end well cooked food into the scope of most diners so that was really nice to see. Over the last 10 years I have been really blessed to sample all of the stages and developments of Rogans food  . I`ve been there since Lenclume opened its doors and followed the team through all of their ventures throughout the UK to their current project “Fera” in Claridges , London. The Rogan empire now consists of 6 outlets encompassing Pub food , Bistro and fine dining. There`s something there for everyone so pop along to the Midland hotel and give Mr Coopers a go…Don’t know why it took me so bloomin long. Ill be back for more soon though.

PRICES – 3 courses a la carte for an attractive £25.00. 3 course Sunday roast lunch for £19.00,  and a 3 course set lunch. £20.00.

Cocktails in the bar area

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Home made Sourdough , whipped Butter and Salt flakes.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Blue cheese puffs , Celery and Chilli.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Pork scratchings and Apple gel

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Raw Beef with pickled Paw Paw , toasted Rye bread croutons and sweet Chilli jam.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Buttermilk fried Oyster , Kimchee puree , Pear and pickled Fennel.

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mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Roasted sweetheart Cabbage steaks , Teriyaki sauce , grated Wiltshire Truffle and hot Wasabi mayonnaise.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Cumbrian Rib steak , Truffle pudding and purple potato Latkes

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Carrot and Olive oil cake with blood Orange sorbet.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Caramel tart with Marscapone ice cream.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

Lavender dusted Churros , Caramel and Junket mousse.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

mr coopers house and garden , Manchester.

To view all the photos from our lunch then please CLICK HERE

Mr Cooper's House and Garden on Urbanspoon

A quick foodie fix in Bangkok… “Again”.

I have already blogged about these two Bangkok restaurants before so this time  i`ll cut out  the chit chat and just present some up to date photos of the current food that they`re doing here. The first stop during  my  Asian  Xmas break was the restaurant  Sra Bua by kiin kiin.This  high end restaurant is currently sitting at Number 21 on  Asia`s  best restaurants list. The restaurant is situated inside  the Siam Kempinsky hotel which is just  behind the exclusive shopping mall  “Siam Paragon” on Sukhumvit road. The restaurant is modern Asian serving some classic recipes with a bit of a molecular twist. We chose the a la carte lunch option as it had a little more choice than the set lunch.

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Sra bua , Bangkok

Lunch menu at Sra bua , Bangkok –  We started with Crispy Kaffir Lime scented Lotus root and Squid and Prawn chip with Oyster Aioli as the house Nibbles.

Sra Bua , Bangkok

Sra Bua signature dish , Frozen Red curry Lobster with Lychees.

Sra bua , Bangkok

Wagyu Beef , Cucumber spicy salad.

Sra bua , Bangkok

Quail poached in aromatic Coconut milk with sautéed Mushrooms.

Sra bua , Bangkok

5 Spiced braised Pork belly , Cracklings and Pumpkin puree.

Sra bua , Bangkok

Banana cake , Salted ice cream , toasted Almonds and Caramelised Milk.

Sra bua , Bangkok

Pandan ice cream , Pistachio cake , frozen Coconut and jelly.

Sra bua , BangkokThe food at Sra Bua was “ ok “ but I won`t return to eat there again as there`s many many more places in Bangkok serving food that I would much rather eat. Molecular Thai doesn`t really work for me in Bangkok when there`s so many lovely restaurants on every street. Service was `acceptable`  and the restaurant was beautifully designed  in the traditional Asian style.

Lunch for 2 inclusive of drinks, VAT and service was 5,225 Baht (£107 / $160)

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So on the the next Bangkok restaurant , BoLan , ranked  28th on Asias best restaurant list. This was very much a last minute stop on my way back to the UK. I had one day in Bangkok and  time for  one restaurant to dine in. I needed a Thai food fix that was guaranteed not to disappoint and so the choice was a simple one…BoLan.

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

We booked in for lunch and headed up to BoLans new restaurant site on  Sukhumvit Soi 53 ( Thong Lor station on the skytrain ).  There`s a choice of a la carte dishes or a set lunch but of course we have to be different. Chef Dylan came out of the kitchen for a quick chat and offered to cook us a selection of dishes straight from the market , some street food and a couple of classics.  “ Chef , just cook whatever you want us to eat …and Thai style please….Spicy “. How`s about that for a lunch treat  then ? We would just eat whatever we were sent out , chefs choice….Love it.

To start the feast –  Passionfruit Mojitos.

BoLan , Bangkok

Rice Noodles with Galangal braised Chicken , The first of 3 starter courses.

BoLan , Bangkok

These savoury / spicy accompaniments arrive with most Thai meals.

BoLan , Bangkok

Southern style braised Rice and Spanish Mackerel with Mint dressing. 2nd starter.

BoLan , Bangkok

A typical Thai salad encompassing all the taste sensations that makes Thai food so very special – Sweet , Sour , Salty , Spicy , Bitter.

BoLan , Bangkok

Stir fried minced Lamb with Chilli and Holy Basil as per Tinnakorn family. This dish is called Pad Krapow and is a very popular breakfast dish. Definitely one of my favourites to eat for brunch and always topped with a crispy fried Egg.

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

I can`t quite remember what this one was. I think it was Chicken in young Coconut milk with Banana blossom and Vietnamese Mint.

BoLan , Bangkok

Red curry of grilled Pork neck with bitter Winter Melon .

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

Dessert with Basil seeds.

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

 Thai fruit selection.

BoLan , Bangkok

I`ll stick with what I said from last time I dined in BoLan . My personal opinion is that this is the best place to dine in Bangkok to experience authentic well researched Thai food at its very best. The atmosphere in the new restaurant is typically classic Thai in both décor and oriental aromatics .The food hits the nail right on the head. The prices are very attractive and if you start or finish your Asia trip off here then you certainly won`t be disappointed. On this occasion I dined with a foodie friend who eats all  over the city. He agreed with me that BoLan is right up there with the very best in the city so give it a go and see for yourselves.

Pink Hibiscus , BoLan gardens.

BoLan , Bangkok

Thai olive.

BoLan , Bangkok

Green Bananas growing in the restaurant garden.

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

BoLan , Bangkok

Sra Bua entrance inside the Siam Kempinsky hotel.

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To view the photos on Flickr then please CLICK HERE.

 

Lake Road Kitchen – 125 day old Beef.

lake road kitchenSince my first visit to Lake road kitchen in Ambleside a couple of months ago  there`s  been a very special  piece of Beef hanging in the fridge with my name all over it. I was so tempted to return earlier to try it but a  reservation had been entered into the restaurant  diary on the day that the Beef had been maturing for 125 days. Yes folks , it`s not a typo….One hundred and twenty five days. To my knowledge there`s nowhere in the UK that hangs their meat for this length of time. The only one that I could find was Thomas Keller in the USA who serves 140 day old Beef….and where did our Lake road kitchen Chef and owner work ? …..Thomas Kellers `Per Se` in New York. Ok , so let me explain. Chef James Cross  buys his Beef  somewhere between 70 and 80 days old from his supplier. It then gets trimmed up and put on a hook in the fridge at 3 degrees. At this temperature the nasty organisms cannot breed  and so the natural ageing process evolves. Every few days the piece of Beef is taken down and scrubbed with salt , bathed , air dried and rehung again. You`ll notice that there`s a natural “Bloom” appearing on the meat from the photo below.

lake road kitchenThis age old salting and hanging process could  then be continued until all the moisture has been removed from the meat. What you would have then is a fine piece of cured meat ( charcuterie ) which could then be put on a slicer and carved off deli style. The key to success in our case was to catch the meat somewhere in between therefore allowing it to be cooked and served as a steak.

lake road kitchen

So my piece of Beef was on its 125th day when  James chose to cook it for me. A generous slice was cut off the Beef and it was then  very simply cooked , a  quick searing and then rested. The accompaniments,  a charred Lettuce and a bone marrow sauce were served to add even more richness and moisture. To describe the experience honestly , I could probably eat it again… but not in a hurry. The “sniff test” gave my senses a rather “high” dose of Blue Cheese , well hung game and the sensation of walking into a deli. The flavour of the meat was very similar to eating Charcuterie , a bit like a cured Sausage with an aftertaste of Stilton cheese. It was however a new culinary experience and being a foodie then this is what my voyage of discovery is all about. Chef James and restaurant manager George Norrie were all too keen to get my feedback and to then gather all of our views together on the dish. We all agreed that  maybe 125 days was pushing boundaries into the territory of the hardened connoisseur and perhaps 90 days would have been the perfect hanging time for the optimum flavour and texture. So there you go….Next trip , the 90 day Beef experience.

I actually only planned to go and have the Beef , a starter and a pud at Lake road kitchen that evening but it turned out at 10 courses….. Blame the Chef.

First course was the Guinea Hen with a Buttermilk coating – Amazing bar food and absolutely perfect with a cold Beer.

lake road kitchen

Norwegian cured Salmon , Whey and Nasturtium buds. –  Refreshing and simple use of a prime ingredient.

lake road kitchen

Slow cooked , pickled and fresh heritage Carrots and  seasonal Chestnuts – This one has quicky become established as Lake road kitchens signature dish.

lake road kitchen

Cauliflower cooked immersed  in Butter ,  Pickled and fresh Pineshoots , Pine oil. …OMG , The Cauliflower is actually cooked slowly submersed in a whole pan of Butter and then charred. It`s bloody wonderful and a star dish on the menu. A totally new dish for me. Imagine a Cauliflower arriving at the table looking like this.This is quirky and fun dining .It creates smiles and lots of Oooos and OMG`s.

lake road kitchen

lake road kitchen

Potato cooked in its skin , Black Trufflle , Black Truffle and Squid ink puree. – Tasting like it was straight off a bonfire and once again perfect use of a simple ingredient transformed into something extremely special. Potato and Black Truffle….Enough said.

lake road kitchen

lake road kitchen

Orkney Scallops with Sea plants. – Sweet sweet Scallops with Mornay sauce and salty foraged beach herbs. I could just eat a full plate of these.

lake road kitchen

Tongue , Cabbage and Caraway

lake road kitchen

Duck Egg , Crouton ,  Pumpkin , Sunflower seeds.

lake road kitchen

The 125 day old Beef , bone marrow sauce and charred lettuce. Mashed Potato with no cream or butter.

lake road kitchen

lake road kitchen

Buttermilk ice cream , Preserved Strawberry and Rose petal jam , Linseed wafers. – Winter is a real poor time for the forager and so James relied totally on preserved produce for this highly flavoured dessert.

lake road kitchen

lake road kitchen

Crème caramel , preserved Raspberries and Blackberries with Crème de Mure , Granola  and Wood sorrel. – Creamy , flavours of almost burnt Caramel  and boozy berries….Oh how I love my desserts.

lake road kitchen

Exciting times lay ahead for the Lake road kitchen team. Spring produce will be appearing  on the menu in a few weeks time,  leading on to the restaurants first summer. Keep a space in the diary planned for a trip to Ambleside  as itll definitely be an experience and a half if my 2 visits are anything to go by.

Lake Road Kitchen,
Lake Road,
Ambleside,
Cumbria
LA22 0AD
Phone:015394 22012
TO VIEW ALL OF THE PHOTOS PLEASE CLICK HERE

lake road kitchen

THE LONDON RITZ – A very special Sunday lunch to finish off 2014.

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The final restaurant of my pre Xmas foodie trip to London and my official festive wind down was well underway and the last blog post of 2014. I always save the best to last and after an amazing year of worldwide travels  my final UK meal  of 2014 was saved for my very favourite restaurant in the UK , the London Ritz. Now i`ve already blogged this place a few times  but I still can`t resist showing off the classic delights and the tremendously talented skills of the Ritz kitchen team. My menu today consisted of 10 courses , 5 of them would be savoury and 5 sweet. Ohhhh jeez , I love my desserts and what better than having the Ritz head  pastry chef Lewis Wilson come in to work on his day off to prepare them all for me….I`m very blessed. I`ve eaten a lot of meals over the years in restaurants all over the UK and my own personal views are that there is no better pastry chef working anywhere in this country. A highly skilled and dedicated young gent  and an absolute master of his art. A far cry from his strange hobby of photographing Graffiti and men in tight  leather… ( on motorbikes ).

I get the most amazing feeling simply by walking through the door into the hotel here , it just oozes class and history and carries such wonderful memories of some of the best meals of a lifetime. Service as usual is perfection with each of the staff members meticulously trained to the highest of standards. Wine service , well  what would you expect at the Ritz ? say no more. The Xmas choir and the Harpist take it in turns to entertain in the lobby and afternoon tea dining areas whilst  the forever smiling Pianist entertains in the Ritz restaurant. I always feel so special in there as the lady always  remembers to play my special tune “ From Russia with Love”  recreating happy memories of feeling like Bond , James Bond and sharing  some wonderful meals with my dearly departed best friend, bodyguard , and other half of the comedy duo –  “The Laird” …. Gone but never forgotten. The main reason why the Ritz will always hold a  very special place in my heart.

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So on to  Sunday lunch. There`s actually a couple of choices and the best value by far is the Ritz set Sunday lunch for £49. This consists of a 3 course meal with a couple of complimentary treats added. Then there`s the `a la carte` where dishes are priced individually. For those feeling a little adventurous then there`s always the option of the Ritz tasting menu consisting of several courses of seasonal delights priced at £95. I just like to let Chef cook whatever he wants to send to me. It`s a lovely surprise because I don`t know what to expect and I always get any `one offs` that arrive fresh that day with the morning order.

Selection of Ritz Classic Canapes. – Cheese Gougere , Smoked Salmon Macaroons ,  Prawn and Seaweed crackers.

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Lobster , Mango , Melon ,  Caviar amuse bouche.

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Goose Liver ( foie gras ) with Quince , Almond cake  and Yoghurt.

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Dressed Crab cocktail with spiced Avocado and Radish.

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Scottish Langoustines with Heritage root vegetables , Chanterelles , Pea shoots and Langoustine cream reduction.

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Turbot with Pumpkin , Mussels and Lobster sauce with candied Chestnuts and  Black Truffle. The finest fish that swims in the sea paired up with the Black diamonds of the Perigord….Do I really need to say any more ?

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Roasted Partridge with Celeriac , Bacon , Walnut and Salted Grapes and a sauce made from the goodness of the bones.

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Apple and Sauternes – This was a little pot of goodness served up just to get the taste buds on to the sweet treats that were to follow. Sauternes Cheesecake with Sauternes ice cream , compressed Russett Apple and Apple jelly.

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Raspberry and Lime –  A very clean looking and mysterious little cube consisting of Vanilla mousse , White Chocolate  Feulletine , Raspberry and Lime insert and Raspberry sorbet.

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Banana and Hazelnut tart – What lies beneath  the Chocolate masters creation here ?. The removal of a carefully crafted Gold dusted lid  revealed the delights within. Hazelnut Ganache with caramelised Bananas , Hazelnut ice cream  and Gianduja  cremeaux.

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Coffee and Marsala. – The photo says it all. 10/10 for technical skills here and probably the best dessert of 2014. The chocolate cage was so fine that it almost broke from my breath alone. Chef informed me that the cage was created using tempered chocolate and a comb device on Acetate. This was then rolled up and allowed to set . A work of absolute precision and the taste of the Amaretto and Marscapone Mousse….Ohhh wow.

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Mont Blanc –  Yet another variation of the French classic  Chestnut dessert. I think i`ve now had 3 different versions so ill look forward to the 2015 creation. This one was Caramelised Pear with Rum , Chestnut Chantilly , Rum ice cream and wrapped up in a crunchy Chocolate Sugar Tuille.

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Sweet treats from the Ritz.

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Once again I had to leave early to catch the train back to Cumbria so I missed the beautiful sweet treats , a lazy Coffee and a little tour of the kitchens. Next time i`ve made my mind up…. I`ll book and extra night in London and for once I won`t have to rush off back to work again. Thanks to Lewis and the team at the Ritz for giving me such a wonderful end to a fantastic year. Now I just need to start planning something even better for 2015….Watch this space.

To view all of the photos from my Ritz Sunday lunch then please CLICK HERE.

To follow Lewis Wilson on Twitter then please CLICK HERE.