Hakkasan @ Hanway Place, London

>> Feb 23, 2011

Note: if you're seeing this post somewhere else, his post has been shamefully plagiarised from www.tummy-rumble.com. *Lifts up middle finger to the thief.*

Facts about Hakkasan:

1. Best Chinese Restaurant in the world (2008)
2. Number 19 restaurant in the world (2008)
3. Opened in 2001.
4. 1 Michelin Stars since 2003.
5. Currently has 5 restaurants, London - (Hanway Place, Mayfair), Miami, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai. (Opening in New York soon)

Facts about Alan Yau:
1. Founder of Hakkasan and Yauatcha (Alan has sold it to Tasameem, a property arm of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority)
2. Founder of Wagamama Japanese Noodle Bar and Busaba Thai.
3. Received an OBE from the Queen of England.

There are only 3 Chinese Restaurants with Michelin Stars in London (Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Kai). 2 of them is owned by the same group whereas Kai is owned and run by a Malaysian (Bernard Yeoh). Click here to read about it in The Star (newspaper).

Anyway, enough of the history lesson. I went to Hakkasan 3 times during my stay in London. Initially, I wanted to try Yauatcha on my 3rd visit, but Yauatcha was a little bit too noisy (we had guests and we wanted to talk). Yauatcha specialises in dim sum whereas Hakkasan is famed for their dinner menu.

Hakkasan

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Chez Bruce @ Wandsworth Common, London

>> Feb 19, 2011

Note: To the fag who's plagiarizing my blog, its flattering to know that the things I write are worth copying word for word. As your script is probably gonna steal this post as well, kindly go f*ck yourself. This is property of www.tummy-rumble.com.

Chez Bruce was the 1st Michelin Restaurant I had during my long vacation in London (I'm currently back but still have lots of post to write up about UK). Chez Bruce is located in Wandsworth Common, which is about a 20minutes train ride from Victoria Station. It is another half a kilo meter away from the station.

Anyway, the restaurant is a cozy little place with an average size dining room. I felt a little cramp up in that small corner I was seated at though. Then again, I know people who will be grateful for the privacy provided.

One can only go for the 3 course meal at Chez Bruce. Each course consist of a choice of 8 dishes. I was served a Parmesan biscuit upon seating down followed by fresh bread after I placed my order. I must say, the biscuit was darn good.

Smoked Eel with Herring Salade Lyonaise, Beetroot and Horseradish

Smoked Eel

I had the Smoked Eel with Herring Salade Lyonaise, Beetroot and Horseradish for my appetizer. Smoked eel and herring is one of the more prominent English produce. Most restaurants usually have them in their menu during winter. The herrings were beautifully seasoned, and went well with that dash of horseradish cream. The eel was a delight as well. It was a very well balanced dish.

Plaice Fillet, with Herb Crusted Razor Clam, Jerusalem, Artichokes, Gnocchi and Almond

Plaice Fillet

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Wheeler's of St James @ St James Street, London

>> Feb 16, 2011

Taken from Wheeler's Official Website:
Wheeler's of St James's is a collaboration between Marco Pierre White and Sir Rocco Forte, reviving the world's oldest and finest fish restaurant in the heart of one of London's most distinguished locations.

After a stunning makeover, the restaurant's glamorous dining room, private room and bar belies its traditional exterior and is a popular fine dining destination for both tourists and locals alike.

On the site of Madame Prunier's fish restaurant, one of the capital's most fashionable eateries in the first half of the last century.

For those of you who haven't watched The Great British Feast, do click here.


Anyway, enough about Marco, click on the above link if you're interested to find out more. After watching all 4 episodes of The Great British Feast, I wanted to taste some of the dishes that were served in the show.

I was thinking to myself, I've tasted quite a few top restaurants in the UK, and yet I haven't tasted any traditional English food served in a proper restaurant. Initially, I wanted to go to Marco at Stanford Bridge. Unfortunately, they only do dinner and are only open from Tuesday to Saturday. So, I had to make do with one of his other restaurants (which was thankfully nearer to my place).

Anyway, upon stepping foot into Wheelers, I realise the place was empty for lunch (on Valentine's Day). Immediately, I wondered if I had made a good choice in picking this restaurant. Service was good. Freshly baked bread was served immediately upon seating down.

Fresh Bread

Fresh Bread

As they were running a promotion, there was 50% of any main upon any order of a appetizer or dessert. The promotion ends at the end of February 2011. Anyway, my aim was to sample the dishes I saw in the Great British Feast.

Prawn Cocktail

Prawn Cocktail

Prawn cocktail is one of those ever green dishes that has been served in the same manner for the last 30-40 years (or probably longer). It tasted fairly good. No complains there.

Wild Halibut Steak

Wild Halibut Steak à la Sicilienne

This dish was recommended by the waiter who claimed it was his favourite dish. When a waiter says such a thing, expectations are high. The fish did not disappoint. It was perfectly cooked, with the meat just falling off the bone (yet the bone was still red). The fish was moist and well seasoned with green peppercorn, lemon and olives. It was a good dish.

Fish Pie

Fish Pie

Fish Pie

As seen in The Great British Feast, the fish pie was almost identical. It contained pieces of salmon, smoked haddock, prawns and scallops and was topped with mash potatoes. It was a good pie. The flavours were well balanced. The peas certainly went well with it. No wonder Marco served it to 200 people.

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The Great British Feast

If anyone thought British food was plain and tasteless, you better take that back. Why you ask? Watch the videos below and you'll know why.

Special thanks to the person who posted these videos on youtube. I was very inspired by all 4 episodes. Marco Pierre White is really a legend. If you guys don't know who he is, maybe a few points would enlighten you:

1. He mentored Gordan Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and a few other famous chefs.
2. He used to be the youngest chef to have won 3 Michelin Stars.
3. He gave his 3 Michelin Stars back claiming he knew more about food than the Michelin inspectors.
4. He took over Hell's Kitchen after Gordan Ramsay left.
5. Go wiki him to read more.

Enjoy the show below.

Great British Feast: Episode 1


















Great British Feast: Episode 2

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The Fat Duck @ Bray, United Kingdom

>> Feb 6, 2011

Facts about The Fat Duck:

1. Best restaurant in the (world) 2005, currently rank 3rd (in the world)
2. Best restaurant in the UK (2007-2010).
3. 3 Michelin Stars since 2004.
4. Most expensive restaurant in the UK.
5. Only serves 45 guests per seating.
6. There is more servers + chefs in the restaurant compared to diners.

Facts about Heston Blumenthal:

1. Self taught chef.
2. Molecular gastronomist.
3. Some describe him as a Mad food scientist but I personally feel that he's a genius in his own sense.
4. Owner of The Fat Duck, Dinner (at Mandarin Oriental), The Crown and The Hinds Head.

The Fat Duck is situated about 25miles West of London. One could either drive there or take a train to Maidenhead station and catch a cab from there. As my brother was working, we had to take the train. Personally, I am willing to go out of the way for good food. So no complains there.

Maidenhead Train Station

Maidenhead Train Station

The picture above was edited.

The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck

Fat Duck Logo

The Fat Duck Logo

Flowers

I was just bored

We arrived a half hour before seven. As the servers were being briefed inside, we decided to walk around. As it was rather dark and there wasn't much to see, we finally went in at 6.55pm.

Service as expected, was top notch. There were 3 servers to take our coats and bags. They were also thoughtful enough to seat us at the brightest table after seeing me pull out my camera (or it could be a coincidence).

Upon being seated, we were shown the menu (there is only the tasting menu), and told to inform them on what we couldn't eat or any food allergies. We were then shown a wine list that was so thick (3 inches at least) I was pretty certain it'll give anyone a concussion if I threw it at them. Anyway, none of us had any allergies so we told them to bring it on.

There were 14 courses to the menu. I shall elaborate on each individually.

1st course: Nitro Poached Aperitifs

Nitro Poached Aperitifs

One had a choice of Vodka and Lime Sour lemon rid, Gin and Tonic with green tea, Campari Soda with raspberry powder.

Nitro Poached Aperitifs

Liquid Nitrogen

A choice of the preferred alcohol is aerated into a foamy mixture, bathed in liquid nitrogen and then powder with its accompanying condiment. I chose Campari Soda and raspberry. What a way to serve an aperitif huh?

Aperitif: Alcoholic drink to be taken before a meal.
Nitro Poached Aperitifs

Campari Soda and Raspberry Aperitif
The server kept prompting me to eat it before it melted. The things I do for my blog. The aperitif was suppose to be eaten whole in a bite. In other words, one is suppose to pop the whole thing into your mouth. It was extremely cold and the slight bitterness of the Campari was a nice shocker to the palate.

Campari: an Italian alcohol usually used in aperitifs, served with soda water in a cocktail.


Unsalted and unpasteurised butter served with a choice of brown or white sour dough:


Unsalted and Unpasteurised

Sour Dough

The best part of the bread was the crusty end bits. The butter was extremely creamy and had a very nice butter flavour. If only I could get such butter everyday, getting fat would be worth it then.


2nd course: Red Cabbage Gazpacho

Red Cabbage Gazpacho

The red cabbage gazpacho with Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream somehow went well together. Surprisingly, mustard ice-cream tastes very good on its own. The slight sourness from the cabbage soup was a nice balance to the ice-cream. It certainly tasted better than it look.


3rd course: Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream, Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast

Oak Moss

Fat Duck Film

The whole course was suppose to be an experience on its own. The film came served on a bed of oak moss. Truffles are found under oak moss. The whole experience of the dish is to present the atmosphere of truffle hunting and to allow you to taste the country side.

We started by taking a film each and placing it on our tongue. It had a mild woody taste to it. Next came the truffle toast, and the quail jelly.

Truffle Toast

Truffle Toast

Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream

Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream and Pea Puree


Finally, before tucking in, some water is poured over the oak bed causing it to emit a nice foggy mist around the table.

Oak Moss

The bowl was layered so perfectly. The way to savour the dish was to take a bit of everything and eating it and then taking a bite of the truffle toast. The truffle toast tasted darn good. How I wished it was bigger. The content of the bowl tasted nice and was extremely rich. The flavours were bold, and when eaten with the toast, matched perfectly. Only trouble was, I ran out of toast before I could finish the bowl. 3 thumbs up to this dish.


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Atariya Sushi Bar @ Swiss Cottage, London

>> Feb 1, 2011

Atariya is known to be the primary sushi and sashimi grade fish importer in the UK. Don't quote me on this, but I think the UK government has impose a ban on fish from Japan. I personally have no idea where does Atariya source their fish from, but Atariya is known to supply a few of London's high profile Jap restaurants (namely Nobu and Zuma).

Anyway, to celebrate the last day of my brother's post graduate exam, we headed over to Atariya for some sushi.

Stewed Tuna

Stewed Tuna

Stewed tuna chunks were served as a pre-appetizer. I must say, the tuna chunks were rather meaty for something served on the house.

Edamame

Boiled Green Soy Beans

Boiled soy beans would taste like any other boiled soy beans found in any Japanese restaurant. The beans were priced at £2.20.

Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber

Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber Salad

The salad (£3.20) came dressed in a soy and lemon dressing. It was a nice change to the usual Western salad I've been eating almost every single day. In fact, I really enjoyed the seaweed.

Black Miso Cod

Black Miso Cod

Black Miso Cod (£12.50) was well seasoned and cooked to perfection. The meat was flaky yet soft. Just thinking about it makes me want to eat it again. This dish is one of Nobu's specialty (the fish is probably supplied by Atariya). Compared to what one would get at Nobu, the cod at Atariya's is slightly smaller, but a lot cheaper compared to Nobu. Then again, one is paying for the ambiance and 5 star service at Nobu.

Assorted Sashimi

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