Tag Archives: Michelin

Restaurant Martin Wishart ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎĆ

Chic, sadly roadside, restaurant by the port in Leith just outside Edinburgh. Supposedly the best restaurant in the Edinburgh area. Major drawback: cars and buses buzzing by every few minutes reminiscent of dining near an airport. Not good…actually very bad. No double-glazing in Scotland? Very sad. Noise and rumble died down after 9pm, but still rears its ugly head now and again.

Place is thumping on Tuesday. Not bad. Book well in advance. Continue reading Restaurant Martin Wishart ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎĆ

The Hinds Head ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

We¬†slowly¬†strolled¬†2.5¬†miles¬†(4¬†km)¬†from¬†The¬†Oakley¬†Court¬†Hotel¬†to¬†the¬†little¬†–¬†I¬†mean¬†teeny,¬†itsy¬†bitzy¬†–¬†village¬†of¬†Bray¬†where¬†quite¬†surprisingly several of the most highly rated UK¬†restaurants¬†call home.¬†¬†If¬†you¬†sneezed¬†while¬†driving¬†down¬†Windsor¬†Road,¬†you¬†easily¬†could¬†miss¬†the¬†village.¬†¬†To¬†use¬†such¬†terms as¬†“adorable”¬†or¬†“quaint”¬†would¬†not¬†be¬†inappropriate¬†when¬†describing¬†the¬†village¬†and¬†The¬†Hinds¬†Head,¬†which¬†is¬†the¬†famed¬†Chef¬†Heston¬†Blumenthal’s “gastro-pub‚Ä̂Ķ.our first after more than 30 years of ‚Äúpub-grub‚ÄĚ experiences around the world.

Continue reading The Hinds Head ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

The Royal Oak ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

 

We followed the GPS to a dead-end street before doubling back to find this unassuming pub surrounded by fields of green and yellow.  This is THE definition of a gastro-pub.  The Hinds Head could learn a thing or EVERYTHING from this competing, Michelin One Star establishment.

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The Waterside Inn ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

The¬†world¬†of¬†fine¬†dining¬†begins¬†and¬†ends¬†at¬†the¬†Waterside…Inn.¬†¬†A¬†fairly¬†simple,¬†countryside¬†entrance¬†to¬†a¬†non-descript¬†building¬†blossoms¬†into¬†the¬†true¬†meaning¬†of¬†an¬†exceptional¬†culinary¬†–¬†I¬†dare¬†say¬†epic¬†–¬†event.

Diego,¬†the¬†maitre‚Äôd¬†of¬†maitre‚Äôd¬†exceptionalism,¬†swooshes¬†around¬†the¬†dining¬†room¬†with¬†an¬†elegance¬†of¬†a¬†conductor¬†bleading¬†his¬†orchestra.¬†¬†The¬†definition¬†of¬†service¬†and¬†only¬†challenged¬†by¬†the¬†likes¬†of¬†Restaurant¬†Gordon¬†Ramsay¬†and¬†L’Enclume.

Continue reading The Waterside Inn ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

Palazzo Petrucci, Naples ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

This was far¬†from the easiest restaurant to find in the old town of Naples, but it was worth our¬†evening stroll through the dark, winding streets of this, from our perspective, under-rated city of Southern Italy. ¬†A beautiful restaurant¬†with a cool atrium that opens up to the kitchen where all can see the magicians at work. ¬†Mega-Cool!!! At 8:30pm, we were¬†the only diners on a Saturday night…when do people eat lunch that allows them to wait so long for dinner? ¬†We did not eat one bit of food all day as we were nursing our colds (Bless Big Pharma) and the pizza from the night before…so we were ready to rock!

It was great fun to watch the Chef finish off dishes before the waiters whisked them away. ¬†We always enjoy watching¬†“artists” at work! We sent Chef a small glass of our¬†red to say “grazie”. ¬†We loved seeing the Chef ringing¬†an ole fashion “Call Jeeves the Butler” bell to summon¬†wait staff to collect the dishes. Far more civilised than¬†screaming.

We were greeted with a sparking rose wine to start. ¬†Very¬†kind. To say it is not our¬†fav sparkler would be a British understatement, but no worries. We were a¬†little embarrassed as the reservation from The St Regis was not recorded in the Scrooge-style, 1800s ledger/book for diners. Fortunately, they found a table for two as the place was hopping by 9:30pm as¬†two very large parties were celebrating something. ¬†We made a note to inform the concierge about the cock-up…someone almost ruined our night!!!

We walked more than 3km to and plan to walk the same distance back to the hotel after dinner.

We thought service¬†was a bit fast….so only a three hour dinner. ¬†The joint¬†started jamming at 10:15pm. We were almost¬†ready to sleep….the beauty of different cultures!

It was absolutely¬†entertaining to watch the interaction between¬†wait staff, chefs, etc. Nothing seemed¬†straightforward with every conversation¬†looked like an animated debate. ¬†We sorta felt like the restaurant offered a micro-version of Italy, i.e. reasonably well-controlled, charming and mostly friendly chaos. ¬†We loved it…smiling big time….

WINE

We decided to choose wine from¬†the Campania region tonight. This decision really, really helped the budget as the most expensive wine was, well, inexpensive! When we¬†ordered a white and red, the waiter said “you want two bottles?” We¬†countered with “only if it is fine with you.” He did a double take, smiled and chuckled¬†“of course, fine with me.”

* 2010¬†Fiordiva Costa d’Amalfi – Marisa Cuomo. Blend of Femile, Ginestra and Ripoli. The waiter proclaimed “this is the best white wine in the Campania region.” ¬†Rock it, baby!!! An odd, powerful aroma of strong flowers, a bit rough on the palate with a very unique character, almost impossible¬†to describe other than in your face and a short finish. ¬†We could not¬†say we loved it, but we could not¬†say we¬†hated it. Just drink, idiot!!! We¬†held back a glass to see how it tasted after 2+ hours and warm….no difference!

* 2008¬†Vigna Piancastellli – Terre Del Principe. Blend of Casavecchia and Pullagrello. We dunno¬†anything about these grapes. We could not¬†place the aromas. Very rough tannins and heavy, sweet dark fruits – black currants – on the palate. ¬†Hmmm…

 

FOOD

Lady menus without¬†prices…we always like a bit of chauvinistic, old world charm.

The bread sticks, which we usually find to be eh, were very, very good!!!  Happy start!!!

The bread was very good, particularly the roll baked with some cheese and ham and the rolled baked with spinach. OMYG!!!  We ate way too much bread given the Yank-super-size portions. No more bread!!!

ANTIPASTINI

A small slice of smoked trout on a very thin slice of parma ham with a fine mustard sauce. OMYG. We immediately thought if¬†the balance of the meal was¬†half as good, then we¬†were in for a treat…good guess as it turned out!

STARTERS

Millefeuilles of Campania’s mozzarella cheese with raw prawns and sauce of zucchini flowers. Wow, an excellent dish despite the prawns still being alive! We¬†would have preferred them cooked – boiled – slightly, but Italians seem to like their version of sushi. The mozz was¬†fantabulous!!! ¬†Oooweebaby!

Fantasy of raw fish. The¬†still living fish was¬†“excellent”, “very fresh” and “perfect without any seasoning.” We¬†ate everything including the¬†green veggie on the¬†plate, which was some excellent sort of spinach!!! ¬†Although we¬†liked, the raw fish “crudo” was better at Quinz & Gabrielli in Rome. ¬†No complaint…just an observation!

FIRST COURSES

Stand up paccheri with ricotta cheese and Neopolitan ragout and mature ricotta cheese. We had munched on this dish in the past but only when it was sitting down. Fairly typical, sitting down, of Naples cuisine for Sundays. We loved it!!! Too funny standing up. Perhaps the Chef has a certain complex? The ragout was incredible as it was huge on the palate, but fine almost like sun-dried tomatoes. OMYG!!!

Gragnano’s Spaghettoni with broccoli sauce, lobster and provolone cheese fondue.¬†The pasta was special as slightly thicker than spaghetti and very, very fine. ¬†The broccoli sauce was¬†very light and nice. Never unhappy to have some provolone cheese mixed into anything! Too, too much food!!! Why, oh why did we¬†order a second course!!!??? Another Chef will be¬†be unhappy when we¬†do not finish more than half of an excellent dish! ¬†We did mention quite excitedly that we loved it!

NEARLY UNCOMFORTABLE EVEN BEFORE THE SECOND COURSE!!! Something is wrong either with Europe or us….we simply could not keep up!!!

SECOND COURSES

Seared red mullet with chives and cheese provola, salad, yogurt and potatoes with extra virgin. ¬†We¬†guessed the Chef meant¬†“extra virgin olive oil” because, sadly, no virgin or other similar creature was served. Too, too pretty! ¬†Slightly breaded, baked and the cheese was¬†only barely, but happily, noticeable. Light, nice. We¬†almost finished…stunning!

Rabbit with leek sauce with rosemary, tomatoes pappa, chickpeas chips and chard. We helped¬†to reduce the bunny population¬†with this dish. Ooops….yikes we¬†forgot to be¬†more PG….Politically Goofy. OMG‘ing the tomatoes pappa. We¬†thought the rabbit was good, but nothing special, albeit very well-cooked.

We thought about ordering¬†the local cheese plate, but we opined that we could not eat another bite of anything even if it came from “the divine bum”. Ooops, we¬†do have our¬†moments when we¬†say exactly what we¬†feel before we¬†think about how inappropriate….old age? At least we are¬†cute…or at least our¬†mothers¬†says so.

 

Menu/Price

 

Palazzo Petrucci ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć
Chef Lino Scarallo
Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, 4, 80134 Napoli
Italy
http://www.palazzopetrucci.it

Photos (Palazzo Petrucci)

Palazzo Petrucci
Rabbit
Palazzo Petrucci
Red mullet
Palazzo Petrucci
Paccheri
Palazzo Petrucci
Mozzarella
Palazzo Petrucci
Spaghettoni
Palazzo Petrucci
Crudo

Palazzo Petrucci

Palazzo Petrucci
Palazzo Petrucci

Arnolfo – Siena, Italy ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć

We arrived at this modest, historic building a short taxi ride outside the little town of Siena. ¬†The restaurant basically is a well-appointed dining room on the ground floor. ¬†Upstairs is home to¬†four bedrooms (Relais & Chateaux) for guests to sleep overnight after a wonderful night in the dining room…we would have killed for a lift after the wonderful wines and sumptuous victuals. ¬†We stayed¬†in one of the rooms as getting back to Florence after this “event” would have been¬†unpleasant! ¬†The room was adorable with all the expected niceties.

Giovanni and Gaetano are brothers, who have worked together developing this family business in this house for 30 years. ¬†We were honoured to join the celebration of their 30 year anniversary. ¬†Giovanni handles¬†management, wine (Sommelier), marketing, taking orders, etc. Gaetano is¬†the Chef. Both Giovanni and Gaetano introduced themselves…nice! ¬†Gaetano has been¬†a guest Chef at Grissini in Hong Kong.

They named the restaurant after an Italian architect by the same name, Arnolfo, who built their family home as well as the building in which the restaurant and guest rooms are situated.  We were impressed with the brothers sense of history.

The family hails from Sicily, but moved to Siena in the 1960s.  They do lunch and dinner five days per week. The kitchen is huge, ie 800 sq feet, and they now have permission to expand another 600 sq feet. Why!? We have seen many restaurant kitchens in our lives, but never one so large and beautiful.  A very happy place to work!!!

Giovanni told¬†us about the places around the world he has visited during his one month per year holiday (they close for one month in January/February…nice), ie Bhutan, Myannamar, China, etc. He is an adventurous fella… ¬†We shared¬†a glass of the 50/50 with the Chef while discussing Italian Chefs in Hong Kong and Italy. Good fella!

A table of four Italian men are so drunk and loud. I have had my share of idiot moments, but not in this quality restaurant unless, of course, I booked a private room to act the part. They are now high-fiving in suits. C’mon, fellas, there is a private room downstairs…open your wallets!!! I hope they suffer immense hangovers!!!

Food

Crostini. Very nice with each piece having a parmesan flavour.  Yummy!

Antipastini. Several sweet, sour, salty and bitter victuals for the palate. Very, very good. Nicely presented.

Sea bass in a potato puree.  Another small offering from the Chef.  Excellent. Great texture for the fish!

Bread tartlets.¬†OMYG! One tomato, one onion, both stunning. ¬†Then a ricotta filled roll and another roll with sesame seeds. Yikes, we ordered the Gourmet Menu. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!! Now they added a mini-croissant and baguette. Killing us…happily!!!

THE ESSENCE – GOURMET MENU

Here we go….

Scampi, Goose Liver, Passion Fruit Sauce and a Side of Cold Scampi Sashimi and Passion Fruit Sorbet. OMYG, please end it now!!! The combination with the Frog Grass was inexplicably wonderba!  The passion fruit went extremely well with the perfectly grilled scampi, which was so so succulently soft!!! A magnificent hot and cold combination!

Scallops, Lardo di Cinta Senese, Lentils, Beetroot. It was too pretty to eat.  Yeah, right!!! Outstanding, especially the lentils. The beetroot really made a nice contribution of almost a BBQ-ness flavour.

Lasagnetta, Prawns, Clams, Broccoli. Yet again, far too pretty to eat, but we¬†sacrificed our¬†eyes for our¬†tummies. ¬†A wonderfully light “pasta” dish. ¬†The lightest yet. ¬†We love the Chef!!!

Ravioli, Sea Robin, Fish Soup, Squid, Red Mullet. WOW, we¬†loved this SUPER-FISHY dish. Exceptional. All the fish and seafood were very soft. Wow!!! C’mon, stop it!!!

Cod, Yellow Pumpkin, Herring Caviar,¬†Carrots, Oranges. ¬†Carrots and pumpkin puree….OMYG!!! The cod was beautifully prepared. Everything worked wonderfully together. We¬†found the orange slice a bit too tarty. The caviar went well with the entire dish. WE enjoyed the¬†dish of salted cod with a crispy biscuit “sandwich” and sesame seeds. Hey, this Chef¬†is an outstanding genius!!!

Pigeon Leg and¬†Breast with¬†Shallots, Hazelnuts and Coffee. Coffee and hazelnut flavors covered up the apparent or natural gaminess of the pigeon. Thick piece of meat, both leg and breast, compared to the starved version we usually enjoy in Hong Kong. Another story….

Turbot Encrusted with Almonds with Black Olive Sauce, Spinach and Potatoes. The black olive sauce was¬†nice. The fish was¬†perfectly prepared and worked exceedingly well with the almonds…exceedingly. The spinach and crunchy lil potatoes were very, very yummy. Ranked right up there as one of the top dishes ever to work its way down my gullet! OMYG, AWESOMESAUCE!

Vanilla Cake and Grapefruit Sorbet as a PRE-DESSERT!!! ¬†C’mon….done!!!!

Millefeuille, Pears, Cardamom, Gianduja, Pine Nuts from Pisa. C’mon…so succulent!!! The pears were stunning! We felt¬†so healthy….self-knowledge and self-deception…

Petit¬†Fours. ¬†We were¬†barely looking…we really could have used¬†a lift to make it to our room on the next floor…ugh…

Wine

The wine list was separated into white and red with 90 pages of, well, everything!!! The books were bound by hand and printed on beautiful, parchment-like paper. Molto interessante!  Each year they print a new version. Wow!!! 20,000 bottles cellared on the premises with the balance at Capanelle, which has state-of-the-art storage.  Wonderful wine people!!!

Gaetano loved Capannelle so we did¬†both white and red from the winery. If we want to do a tour, then he will arrange. Hmmmm….

Ca’ del Bosco Spumante. Very good aperitif.

2008 Chardonnay Capannelle Ratfaele Rossetti – James Sherwood. Only 15,000¬†bottles produced each year. Bangkok klong (the whiff of human kind wafting through the air) on the nose of this 100% Chardonnay. Excellent, smooth, elegant, slightly powerful. Beyonce with Hanna Montana (Miley Cyrus)…when she was one of Mickey Mouse’s gals ;-). Unfiltered…the cloudiness is showing…no problem on the nose or flavor. Excellent drop!!!

2004 Avignonesi Capannelle 50 & 50 Ratfaele Rossetti – James Sherwood. A blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot. Giovanni made us¬†a believer in this winery. A to Z excellent. Big, soft, fruit, licorice, good tanins, spectacular finish that went¬†on for quite a long time. Decanted in a huge, bowl-like “glass”. The actual glasses also were large-mouthed. Good choices for glassware, we¬†thinkist! This wine easily could¬†lay down another 5+ years, easily!

Menu/Price

Arnolfo ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć
Chef Gaetano Trovato
via XX Settembre n 50,¬†53034 Colle di Val d’Elsa¬†Siena
Italy
http://www.arnolfo.com

 

Photos (Arnolfo)