Thursday, 29 April 2010
I was quite surprised to read some mixed reviews for this much-acclaimed new opening for the Galvin brothers. I have always been a big fan of Galvin at Windows although I accept that it is, perhaps, not to everyone's taste. I guess its a marmite thing, in the fact that you either 'love it or hate it'. I always find that the food at any Galvin establishment is always beautifully executed and so I struggle to digest people's reviews saying certain dishes at La Chapelle were unspecial, because simplicity is exactly what they do so very well. Having said that, often what we refer to as 'simple' is not always reflective of the labour involved in creating these perceived to be simple dishes.
There is no denying that La Chapelle is an absolutely stunning restaurant. It isn't trying to be trendy, it isn't trying to be glamourous, but it does have 'old-world' charm and an effortless sophistication that no matter how hard you try, cannot purposely be engineered these days. It is a comfortable style and elegance combined with faultless service and a smooth experience from start to finish that really makes these rare little gems so wonderful.
I chose the Dorset crab lasagne to start with that was a delicate tower of sweet crab meat bound with egg layered between fresh pasta sheets, nestled in a veloute of chanterelle mushrooms that was smooth and creamy and very moreish. For main course, I chose the absolute last thing I would EVER choose in a restaurant... CHICKEN. This is how much faith I have in the Galvins to deliver a good dish, because I almost always choose meat or fish in restaurants, heck even vegetarian mains over chicken.... Supreme of Landaise chicken with an abundance of plump Morel mushrooms, vibrant green peas and aromatic crispy shards of fried Jambon cru - an incredible amalgamation of salty ham, sweet pea, succulently moist chicken breast with the luxurious flavour of those oh-so-special Morel mushrooms that perfume the light cream sauce.
Desserts are never my thing, but this still wouldn't deter me from ordering. I plump (stupidly) for the chilled chocolate fondant with banana yoghurt ice cream and 3 meteor-looking chunks of honeycomb and a nice glass of Chateau Monbazillac to accompany it. Needless to say I made the mistake of picking the richest dessert on the menu and only managed to finish half before settling back into my chair feeling like I had swallowed a pillow.
Overall, a very enjoyable meal and I will most definitely go back soon, perhaps when the summer menu kicks in, to see what lovely summery offerings they will have for us. If you are thinking of going to Galvin La Chapelle, I wouldn't listen to reviews, instead just have a look at their menu online and if you like the menu then you should go, because - what the Galvin brothers do, they seem to do very well indeed!
Posted by Sabrina Ghayour at 15:40
Monday, 26 April 2010
What an incredibly lucky girl I was to be invited to attend the prestigious 'San Pellegrino - World's 50 Best Restaurants' awards evening at The Guildhall in London this evening. All the world's greatest Chefs including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi and Ferran Adria but to name a few, were all present. Top writers and members of the press were out in force, joining hundreds of other Chefs and industry heavyweights to see who made the 2010 honours list.
And the winners are:
1. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark (Chef Rene Redzepi)
2. El Bulli, Roses, Spain (Chef Ferran Adria)
3. The Fat Duck, Bray, UK (Chef Heston Blumenthal)
4. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
5. Mugaritz, Errenteria Gipuzkoa, Spain
6. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
7. Alinea, Chicago, USA
8. Daniel, New York, USA
9. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
10. Per Se, New York, USA
11. Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France
12. La Colombe, Cape Town, South Africa
13. Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France
14. Hotel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
15. Le Bernardin, New York, USA
16. L'Astrance, Paris, France
17. Hof van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
18. D.O.M, Sao Paulo, Brazil
19. Oud Sluis, EA Sluis, Netherlands
20. Le Calandre, Padova, Italy
21. Steirereck, Wien, Austria
22. Vendome, Gladbach, Germany
23. Chez Dominique, Helskinki, Finland
24. Les Créations de Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
25. Mathias Dahlgren, Stockholm, Sweden
26. Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York, USA
27. Quay, Sydney, Australia
28. Iggy's, Singapore
29. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris, France
30. Schloss Schauenstein, Graubunden, Switzerland
31. Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa
32. The French Laundry, California, USA
33. Martin Berasategui, San Sebastian, Spain
34. Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany
35. Combal Zero, Rivoli, Italy
36. Dal Pescatore, Milan, Italy, Italy
37. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
38. Tetsuya's, Sydney, Australia
39. Jaan par Andre, Singapore
40. Il Canto, Siena, Italy
41. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Paris, France
42. Oaxen Skärgårdskrog, Holo, Sweden
43. St John, London, UK
44. La Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France
45. wd~50, New York, USA
46. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
47. Die Schwarzwaldstube, Baiersbronn im Schwarzwald, Germany
48. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
49. Hibiscus, London, UK
50. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
Posted by Sabrina Ghayour at 16:12
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
London is about to get so lucky. Culinary legend Chef Pierre Koffmann is set to make his return to London in June at The Berkeley Hotel. Koffmann’s new venture will open on the site of Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café, which is to close shortly (Another swift kick in the crown jewels of the Ramsay empire) and this will be the first time since 2002 that Koffmann has had his own restaurant in London.
Fuelled by the success of Koffmann’s ‘Pop-up’ restaurant on the roof at Selfridges in October 2009, Koffmann has put his creative energies into, once again, starting a new restaurant – this time, with a more relaxed and informal approach to dining. Menu will be inspiration comes from the rustic country cooking of his home region of Gascony in France.
After the unprecedented level of write ups from the media and blogging world alike, Koffmann’s new venture will undoubtedly whip us all into yet another frenzy and ensure his restaurant is booked solid from the very first day of opening. I wonder if 6 months is all an icon like Koffmann will need to impress Michelin guide inspectors. Regardless, you already know in your heart-of-hearts that literally everything this man touches has the tendency to turn to gold. So we wait… patiently, until June for the birth of yet another big-named venture and with the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Daniel Boulud opening ventures just a stone’s throw away, Knightsbridge is set to become one of the hottest foodie spots in town, so watch this space.
The Berkeley - Wilton Place, London SW1X
Posted by Sabrina Ghayour at 12:07
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Having sampled Macaroons from every corner of the earth from Tokyo to Seoul and Paris to Manhattan, I have to come to the conclusion, that despite numerous claims from lots of different sources, Laduree are still the leaders when it comes to making Macaroons. The benchmark for me, is their pistachio Macaroon. Making chocolate ones taste good are a much simpler feat than making a decent pistachio version. Tragically, the temptation to use that dreadful neon-green pistachio flavouring is something that even the most reputable of Laduree's competitors have been unable to resist. What a complete and utter disappointment. The end product is a sickly, mock-pistachio flavoured mouthful that should just be spat out. Offenders include Maison Blanc, Bagatelle, Paul and Pierre Herme. ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES, Laduree is simply the best and cannot be replicated by the unacceptably acid-coloured reproductions that certain Patisserie houses are trying to hock to us. With, hands-down, the best and most interesting assortment of flavours, both regular and seasonal... just a teeny little box of 8 of these wonderful little treats is enough to send my mood sky-rocketing into the orbit of satisfaction.
Two London locations: 'Harrods' and Burlington Arcade, W1.
Two London locations: 'Harrods' and Burlington Arcade, W1.
Posted by Sabrina Ghayour at 10:55
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
One of my weirdest discoveries was in a funkly little bakery attached to an Asian-Fusion restaurant in New York called 'Momofuku Ssäm'. 'Milk Bar' bakery offers a wide selection of weird and wonderful baked treats for the adventurous and sugar addicted glutton. Treats such as 'cinammon and wasabi sausage rolls', 'crack pie' and the odd, but surprisingly delicious 'compost cookie'. Why 'compost'? Well because literally everything except for the kitchen sink has been thrown into the cookie dough! They contain pretzels, potato chips (thats crisps to us!), coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips, sounds absolutely disgusting, but you'd be wrong... They aren't. They are actually scandalously good in a 'pregnancy-craving-ish' sort of way. Another gut busting version of their cookies are the 'Cornflake, marshmallow and chocolate chip' cookie... Again, highly delicious, highly naughty.
If that isn't your cup of tea, you may find sanctuary in 'crack pie' - which contrary to it's label, fortunately, does not contain any illegal substance (although the actual ingredient would probably legitimately kill you anyway) - made with an oat crust and copious quantities of butter, double cream, brown sugar, white sugar and some corn flour... Its basically high in fat and contains astronomical levels of sugar, so you see kids, it can be addictive! Just like crack!
They also do Kimchee croissants, green curry banana bread and incredible soft serve ice cream with a salty, crunchy pistachio topping. Delicious and totally unlike anything I have ever tried anywhere else. I like it, thumbs up for all things weird and wonderful!
Posted by Sabrina Ghayour at 14:03