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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Restaurant Critique's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
11:18 pm
Шоколадный коллайдер
Почему шоколадный? Потому что в Швейцарии? Почему колладер? Потому что тоже в Швейцарии.
Почему такое сочетание? Потому что мне подарили булаву из Киева! А зачем мне булаву из Киева. А мне на самом деле хотелось большой шоколадный колладер из Женевы.
И это не смотря на то, что я как и всякий путешественник собираю магнитики на холодильник, но получить магнитик с коллайдра как то страшновато, наверняка он будет не той полярности. А шоколад в самый раз!
И если коллайдер уничтожит мир, то у меня всегда будет возможность уничтожить коллайдер!
Вы можете подумать что я схожу с ума! Но нет – мысль такая появилась у меня после посещения ресторана Две палочки. У них очень странное видео для возбуждения аппетита - крутят образовательный фильм о принципах работы большого адронного коллайдера!

Вот! Попробуйте посмотреть за обедом:

Уверяю Вас – после этого очень хочется шоколада или хотя бы в Швейцарию!
Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
1:35 pm
Shanghai 30's, Oxford
I don't write reviews often, but I really want to recommend this place. Best meal I've had in ages.

I was with my family, R, and my sister's boyfriend's family. So there were 9 of us. Because we were all friendly we opted for two different set menus for 4, and an extra main course - Seafood stuffed Tofu for me. The starters were tasty appetizers, I had a perfectly cooked scallop, and some vegetarian spring rolls, the others rated the duck pancakes and the almond chicken in lemon sauce highest. All the food I tasted was gorgeous, the seafood in abalone sauce was lovely, but my tofu was even better. My meat eating chums particularly seemed to enjoy the Beef in Berry sauce, the Duckling in Tsingtao beer sauce, and the Pork a la Shanghai. Pudding was an icey fruit salad, and the cold sweet fresh fruit was a perfect finish. All of it was very good quality, especially the oranges and lychees. Then they gave us mint chocolates and sweets with the bill and a guylian chocolate bar each on the way out. As if any of us had space for it!

The service was so good, that I didn't even notice the waitress refill my water glass. And although the meal took a while and was quite pricey, it was well worth it, and didn't feel slow at all, we were all surprised on the way out how late it had got. The staff were all very friendly, and were careful to point out to me what dishes I could eat from the set menu as they arrived which was a lovely touch. The place is also prettily decorated, although opposite where I was sitting was a painting of a half dressed lady looking in a mirror in which the perspective and proportions were slightly out. She had a lovely face and boobs though!

Shanghai 30's, St Aldates, Oxford, next door to the Alice Shop, http://www.shanghai30s.com/

Current Mood: still full
Tuesday, June 5th, 2007
6:51 pm
I Fratellini, Via Dei Cimatori, Florence
Eating out? Guess this may be a bit of a cheat...this is very literally eating out, eating on the street, in fact; Lonely Planet describes this as the best fast food joint in Europe, and while I can't compete with their experience, I can't argue with it either.

I Fratellini is a hole in the wall; It's been around since the 1870s. Squaring round the inside are various bottles of wine, water, spirits, whatever. On the wall is an astonishingly varied list of sandwiches they'll make for you, luscious and very swiftly prepared in gorgeous warm crusty bread. There's no seating. You eat, you drink your wine and you leave your empty glass on the wooden shelves beside said hole in wall. Delicious, fresh, cheap (the equivalent of £1.80 per sandwich) and somehow managing to be convenient and laid back at the same time; so much so that when we went there, one sandwich and glass of wine somehow multiplied into three...and four...

I know a sandwich bar doesn't necessarily count as a great culinary experience, but if you ever find yourself wandering wearily around the cultural overload at the heart of Florence and you try this place, you will thank me for this post!
Friday, October 20th, 2006
10:37 pm
Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
7:38 pm
Thursday, March 9th, 2006
9:37 am
Corte Sconta
Castello 3886, Calle del Pestrin.

Go to the Arsenale Vaporetto stop, head right until the next canal, and turn left. Turn left again towards the far corner of the little square and when it opens up again, cros the bridge ahead of you that goes diagonally to the right (you have to walk past another bridge that heads more perpendicularly right). Turn left when the path by the canal runs out; in a few steps you will see the Corte Sconta's sign on the left. Do it now. Or at least at the next time you and a dinner partner can get a flight. They're open for lunch, but not on Sundays or Mondays.

"Corte Sconta" is Italian for "hidden courtyard", and even in the March night I can see how in warmer months it would be a pretty place to spend an evening. But what it means to the gourmand is exceptional fish and seafood. The staff are warm and friendly, willing and able to banter in English about the food and the wine about which they are knowledgeable and helpful. There's no menu brought to the table, though there is one in the window; La Patronne comes to you and declaims the choices of the day for you choose from.

Have the Antipasto selection. This is why you need a dinner partner, since it is only served for two or more, and is quite superb. It's a week ago now and I don't remember them all, but there was tuna and sea bream variously marinaded, and spider crab pate, followed by clams in a butter and ginger sauce, followed by a platter of baby octopus, prawns, cuttlefish heads and crayfish and some sort of creamy fish thing on polenta which I didn't catch the name of. All beautiful, though the baby octopus was... challenging. This selection will vary according to what's good in the fish market that day. I saw the ingredients being delivered when I booked the table.

After that, we had a choice of 3 pasta dishes. 7 of the 8 of us were seduced by the scallops in the scallops and black spaghetti one, which was divine, and unstinting in its scallopiness, but one of us had the gnocchi and those who sampled it agreed that it was even better. I forget what the third option was.

Now, after all this, we were to have a Main course... Our hostess had suggested that we have a platter of a half portion of each main course to see which we wanted to order. I suspect that she knew beforehand that we wouldn't have room. Or perhaps it was inclination. I'm afraid by this point that it had all become something of a fishy blur. I know there were grilled fishes (Sea Bream, Sea Bass, Swordfish at least) and other things, but after the first two courses, we were universally fished-out and there wasn't enough interest for even me to plough through a chunk of grilled sea bass, delightful as it was.

So we moved onto pudding. Twice. Welllll, there was sorbet! And rich chocolate cake. Others had zabaglione and "the best" Tiramasu. Dessert Wines and liquers came too, and coffee to finish.

For wines, we started with a Pinot Grigiot Gris, and ended with the house still Prosecco. Both very passable. I didn't know any of the dessert wines, and the waiter recommended a red Muscat which was perfect with the chocolate cake.

Without a shadow of a doubt the best meal I have ever eaten, and I can't imaginme a better one. If I ever do eat better, I may just die of pleasure.

The cost? We weren't holding back, and it came to 100 Euros a head. Plus flights and transfers. Go.
Wednesday, March 8th, 2006
9:00 pm
Sunday, October 9th, 2005
2:49 pm
A small Resturant Review
I posted this review of 'b one' in Birmingham to the Birmingham Metroblog a few weeks ago. I've been asked to repost it here, although I do urge you to visit the original and read the other entries on that site.

'b one' recently opened on Newhall Street and as I walked past last night one of their employees rushed out to shove a menu in my hand. As I work literally just accorss Great Charles Street from the resturant I thought I'd give it a try this lunch time (about 12:30).

The menu lists typical chip shop fare (fish, chips, batterred sausages, saveloys, pies, kebabs &c) plus sandwiches (hot and cold), jacket potatoes, soup and Panini. Being partial to a kebab I popped in and joined the queue. And waited. And waited. And waited.

I'd really like to comment on the quality of the food, but I can't. After about 20 minutes of waiting in a queue that hadn't moved forward at all (other than due to people in front of me giving up waiting and leaving), I gave up and went to buy a sandwich from the newsagents just down the road. My first thought was cannabis use amongst the staff was causing lethergy that was responsible for their inactivity in serving customers. This was contradicted by the fact that they were shouting and arguing with each other, obviously a much more fun activity than actually serving customers.

I realise that here in the UK we don't put as much emphasis on the word 'fast' in the phrase "Fast Food" (many places don't really pay much attention to the word 'food' either, the McDonalds in Broadstreet (opposite Old Orleans) bothers with neither word) as many countries do, but 20 minutes without serving a single customer when there is a queue nearly to the door is not on. One can only hope that the owner will whip the staff into shape (a whip may be the only thing that will get through to them) else the resturant will surely fail quickly.

'b one' is located at 58 Newhall Street, City Centre (0121 200 2662) and is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on Saturday, closed Sunday
Tuesday, May 10th, 2005
4:13 pm
Studley Castle
Located just East of Studley in Warwickshire and owned, regrettably, by the people who presided over Rover's demise. It is a conference centre during the week, wedding venue on Saturdays, and they have just started a carvery on Sundays. It's not really a castle, but has plenty of mock-castle features and an imposing driveway and edifice. The inside matches the outside, with loads of panelling, plush furniture and old paintings.

I started with field mushrooms in a filo pastry case and creamy garlic sauce, followed by a heaped carvery plate - lamb and beef, and they also had turkey - with all the usual trimmings, including some honey-roasted parsnips. Maxine started with a seafood medley with rather too intact squid (or were they octopodes?). For desert she chose strawberries and cream and I had a chocolate and amaretto torte. It was all delicous.

Although we saw one bottle of white wine sent back for being too warm, I sensed that most of the other diners were equally impressed with their meals.

We were both very well fed, in up-market surroundings by attentive and well-trained waiting staff. What more can you ask for for £15 a head?

One thing though, book ahead as the restaurant is quite small.
10:39 am
The Green Dragon, Sambourne, Warwickshire
I've been a bit slack and not reviewed the last three or four places I've been to, but I think this place deserves special mention...

...because it was yummyCollapse )

Oh, and I forgot to mention that there were two troupes of dancers out on the village green whilst it was still light - one troupe of morris women in pinafores and clogs, and a troupe of morris men with blacked up faces, bells, ragged clothing and the likes of tail coats. I didn't think they could be proper morris men because they were almost all under 35. They were clearly having a whale of a time 9with Mr Adnam's assistance) and once it got dark they came in and danced around in the bar, which was quite entertaining. It was possible to avoid them entirely by staying in the room where the food was being served, but they were too much fun to want to miss!

(NB I am not so uncool as to find Morris men entertaining generally, but this lot were a giggle)
Wednesday, March 30th, 2005
12:05 pm
Friday, January 28th, 2005
11:35 am
Tuesday, December 14th, 2004
5:04 pm
The Warehouse Café, Digbeth
On Saturday night I trundled along to meet up with a few other Brumgoths at the Warehouse Café in Digbeth. A bit of an odd evening eateries, it's actually above the Friends of the Earth centre, and you have to ring the bell to be let in as the downstairs is locked up! Oh yes, it's cash or cheque only as I found out to my horror - the nearest cash point that isn't in a pub full of scrotes is up at the Bullring..

Anyway, onto the meal! The evening menu is a set £15, for which you get choice of one of two starters, main meals and pudding plus coffee (or Brandy punch in our case, as I think they'd turned the coffee perc off by the time we finished!). It's exclusively veggie, so no meat on the menu; no booze either although they are happy for you to bring your own (and there's an excellent range of non-large corporation soft drinks like ginger & ginseng, root beer, hot mulled grape juice).

Starter was a choice between mushroom pate or butter nut squash soup. The mushroom pate looked fine, and no complaints from those who had it. As I had the soup, i can't say how it stacks up against the real thing though. The soup, at any rate, was lovely - really nutty taste, very thick and grainy so lovely texture too. Served with a hunk of pleasant bread.

The main courses were a little disappointing to me, however. The vegetable gumbo was a fairly generic ratatouille affair & rather bland. I couldn't help thinking it would have been much nicer with a handful of prawns, some pork or bacon, a bit of chicken and some spices. I suspect I'm not cut out for vegetarian restaurants! the organic rice served with it was excellent though; full of flavour and very well cooked, lots of bit to it and not bland at all. The other choice for main course was a veg casserole (I think!) in a pastry crust, with roast veg on the side. Looked very nice, and again no complaints from them as had it.

Pudding was also pretty ordinary - apple struddle or christmas cake. Not bad, but nowt special.

Service was good, and the atmosphere is decent - you'd hardly know you were in Digbeth until you come out!

Overall - a good effort, definitely worthwhile if you're veggie but otherwise likely to leave you hungry when you've finished!

Nathan, The Toxic Pixie

Current Mood: amused
Friday, December 10th, 2004
11:14 am
Monday, December 6th, 2004
11:27 am
The Cat Inn, Enville
Enville, for those of you who don't know, is a pretty little village on the road out from Stourbridge to Bridgnorth. It has about four houses, a church, a pub and a brewery.

PreambleCollapse )

The actual reviewCollapse )
Saturday, December 4th, 2004
12:52 pm
Belgo's Centraal, Covent Garden
Belgo's Centraal
50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London WC2 9HP.
Tel : 020 7813 2233

This review relates to a visit on the 6/11/04

The five of us turned up Belgo's unplanned on a saturday afternoon. Fortunately they were able to arrange us a table.

Belgo's has an interesting layout. You enter it onto a metal walkway which overlooks the kitchen. There is a bar on this level and the main restaurant is below. Once you're table is ready you are ushered into a large freight lift and lowered down to the main floor. Somewhat different from normal.

Either the place has changed since my last visit (admittedly about four years ago) or we were sitting in a different section. Last time the room was full of long trestle tables and benches which you were shuffled onto. This time however there was a more convetional resaurant layout with indivdual tables and chairs.

So once seated we consulted the menu. There are two menus, one for food the other for drinks, or it belgos case mainly beer, lots of different types of beer. Indeed they claim to be a Bierodrome.

Belgo's does excellent mussels and it was these that the vast majority of our party chose. They do however offer a range of other mainly belgian dishes. I chose the bucket of mussels in a bisque sauce and a hoegarden beer to go with it. Nice. They also provide you with a bowl for all the shells which is something quite a few places neglect to do.

So in general not a bad place to eat if your in Covent garden.
12:14 pm
Franzls Austrian Restaurant
Franzls Austrian Restaurant
151, Milcote Rd, Smethwick, West Midlands B67 5BN
Tel: 0121 429

This review relates to a visit on the 26/11/04 for my mothers birthday. I'd been the previous weekend aswell for another birthday but that will not be included here.

Franzls is a rather unassuming restaurant located in a converted birmingham end terrace house behind Bearwood High Street. The nature of its outward appearance should however in no way disuade you from going in.

We'd taken a taxi to get there and managed to turn up twenty minutes early for our meal. This was however not a problem and the staff took our coats and showed us to the bar. Franzls' bar is infact downstairs and is a smallish pine panneled room. The bar is well stocked with a variety of normal drinks plus a selection of different beers. So we settled down with our drinks and the menu and decided what we were going to order. Our order was taken and after about 15 minutes we were shown to our table.

(Franzls doesn't charge per item as most restaurants do. Instead you purchase a main course, which vary in price, and the starter and dessert are included in this price)

We were sat at the table and accepted the recomended bottle of wine. At Franzls they have large wine optics. So instead of leaving you the bottle they fill the optic. And interesting variation from the normal restaurant experience. The wine that we accepted was in fact very nice.

And now to the food. I ordered the Blunzen Strudel as a starter, which comprised a pastry packet containing black pudding, bacon, potato plus other things. In practice it looked like a spring roll. However it was in fact very good. The same can indeed be said of the other starters that my parents chose.

Main course next and for this I chose the Rhin Fillet Mozart (at least thats what I think it was called). This was a steak in a cinamon and something else sauce. A varierty of vegetables were also provided (roast vegetables, rice, potatoes, cabbage). The steak was excellent. Done rare as I requested (this is unlike most places where rare seems to mean medium) and from an excellent cut. Indeed this is probably the best steak I have had for a couple of years. The restaurant certainly has access to a very good butcher. The sauce was also first rate. Cinammon is a spice not often used when cooking savoury dishes, but should certainly be considered.

Dessert soon followed. In my case a "Drunken Monk". This best described as a luxury chocolate muffin, soaked in Gluwein surrounded by cream. And it was delicous. The chocolate and the wine were a good complement and it certainly wasn't your run of the mill muffin.

This was followed by coffee.

In all a very nice evening. Unhurried. I get the impression that a table will only have one occupant each evening. The staff were attentive and the woman who was running things clearly knew what she was about. Very knowladgeable about things. Especially the wines.

The bill for the three of us came to a little over £85 so quite reasonable as well.

In all a very nice evening.

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004
10:58 am
Massala Merchant a different perspective
Myself and Anne decided to give the Massala Merchant a try on Sunday. Having seent eh earlier criticism I was wary but thought things may have bedded down a bit. And they have, the service was quick friendly and efficient. I had a starter and main and Anne and a main only. We were served had eaten and drunk our complimentary brandy and were out again within an hour. The food was interesting and different, I liked the idea of contemporary indian food and they didn't dissapoint. So my advice, give it another go, but maybe like me, go on a Sunday.
Thursday, November 18th, 2004
6:10 pm
Monday, November 8th, 2004
3:06 pm
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