Friday, 8 April 2011

Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche!

 Right how to start this post; well I have wanted to go to le gavroche since I started in a kitchen a little under 13 years ago. Being a trainee chef at the time I never had the money to go to the smoke and eat in a restaurant of that calibre. Then as you get older and earn abit more money it was the forward thinking restaurants like Tom Atkins and The Greenhouse where the ones I went to. So when one of my friends phoned and asked if I wanted to go to le gavroche for his birthday dinner there was no way I was going to turn that down, so we meet in London and go to shepherds market for a couple of pre dinner drinks then jump in a cab to upper brook street. When you enter you are greeted by a friendly hostess who takes you bag or coat, gents are still required to where a jacket at the table so unfortunately the jacket has to stay on but never mind I can deal with that for a few hours. You are ushered downstairs to a low light but inviting dining room, where a team of highly trained, polished waiting staff greet you, seat you and set menus in front of you. It is then you remember why you couldn’t afford to go when you where an apprentice, the prices are high but as you will read absolutely worth every penny. Then the bread arrived a choice of three types, baguette, granary and sour dough, I started with the sour dough but you are offered bread a lot here and the two types of butter were constantly topped up thought the meal. We were served our canapés on little silver tray, silver features a lot at le gavroche the first bites were very simple but tasty and nice to get something to nibble on whilst reading the menu.

 Canapés seem to have died a death in most places probably because it was done quite badly by most places and whenever a top restaurant does something that a lot of other places nowhere near the level the original is at start copying the idea, the most recent version of this is “The Noma effect” which I believe in the wrong hands is going to make people ill as chefs with no really knowledge or prior experience go wandering around they local parks picking things they not sure about, I’ve just bought Miles Iwings “The forager Handbook” and have been reading some of it every day but still won’t be going out picking till I find someone with more experience to go with just to be safe. For our amuse bouche we had salt cod brandade served as a little breaded ball and an artichoke soup, delicate flavours but very well.

 For my starter I had roasted bone marrow & air dried ham salad, I love bone marrow so this course was a no brainer for me. Crisp, sweet and plump bits of bone marrow served in a split bone with slices of air dried ham and micro herb salad. 

My two dinner companions had the duck and foie gras pancake and veal belly with crispy egg both had them eating in near silence which normally indicates a great dish. For my main I course the assiette of pork consisting of pork loin on the bone, belly and bath chap served with Tartiflette,

 my friend also had this and his lady enjoyed one of the days specials of roasted rump of lamb, asparagus and wild garlic jus again beautifully presented after being carved tableside.

 Next up the desserts now I chose and chocolate dessert with dark chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream and puffed rice great little pudding and a nice sweet way to finish the meal.

 Ben had cheese well he shared the cheese with me and had half my chocolate too, the cheeseboard at le gavroche is something to behold as well at least 25 cheese on the board and we were asked to pick 6 sample served with celery, onion chutney and crisp walnut bread, for her dessert jo decided to have the gavroche assiette of desserts to many desserts on this to say but the rum baba was so soaked in rum you probably shouldn’t drive after eating it.

 Finally we are served petit fours of coated walnuts and nougat again beautiful but so stuffed by this point I couldn’t have anything else. After all this we were asked if we would like a tour of the kitchen which we accepted of course, then the manager came over and told us it would be 15 minutes as the kitchen were still serving mains at this point which was no problem for us but he bought us over a little drop to while away the time. 

Kitchen tour done, chefs meet and thanked it was time to settle up and be on our merry way, as I said earlier le gavroche is not cheap but is worth every single penny you will hand over. As I have not mentioned it yet the sommelier is very chilled out and is really great with her time and picked the wines for our courses perfectly.

Remember live to eat don’t eat to live

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Kai We Care

Right as anyone on twitter will know Monday 4th april was the date of kaiwecare which was in short a fundraising event for the earthquake fund for Christchurch, new Zealand. It saw 9 course with matching wines being served by a team of over 40 chefs and 40 front of house staff. The 9 courses where assigned to a team of 2 or 3 lead chefs with the rest of us assigned to one of there teams.

the menu for the event was 

Selection of artisanal breads (potato, seeded, spelt) from the Isle of Skye Baking Company with British butter 

Pre starter:
‘Beetroot’ Simon Hulstone
Tasting of beetroot textures with elderflower curd.

‘Pork and truffle’ Dominic Chapman; Adam Gray
Rare breed pork ‘Scotch egg’, warm tartare sauce, pea shoots.
English quail and summer truffle pie with buttered kohlrabi 
‘Fish’ Russell Brown; Adrian Oliver; Kieran Smith
Saffron-poached tiger prawns with piquillo pepper salsa, sherry reduction, olive oil foam 

Main Course:
‘Lamb’ Mark Poynton; Russell Bateman
Slow cooked NZ lamb, broccoli puree, smoked garlic, Olde Yorke cheese, almonds, wild garlic jus 

‘Eggs and Soldiers’ Alex Wood; Ben Goldsmith; Darren Goodwin
Coconut white, carrot yolk, carrot juice toast 

‘Chocolate orange’ Matt Tomkinson; Mark Lloyd; Tom Kneale
Dark chocolate delice, lavender ice cream, burnt orange syrup 

Marcus Bean, Johnny Mountain
Goats cheese pannacotta & artisan cheeses; Bournes Cheshire, Stichelton, Cenarth brie. Served with quince jelly, spiced apple chutney, cheese tuilles, oatcakes, fruit crisps. 
(no cheese photo, sorry)
Petit Fours & macaroons
 Luke Mackay; Edd Kimber
Pistachio macaroons with saffron butter cream; Rosewater and raspberry macaroons; Rhubarb and hibiscus fruit pastille; Salted Dulce de Leche milk chocolate truffle

I was assigned to Mark Poyton of Alimentum restaurant in Cambridge & Russell Bateman of Collette’s at the grove, Hertfordshire with us was Alyn Williams who is opening his own restaurant in the Westbury hotel, Mayfair later this year and Matthew Adams who will explain his love of food and all things here

Mark and Russell had been given the main course for the event using New Zealand lamb, they decided to do
Slow cooked NZ lamb, broccoli puree, smoked garlic, Olde Yorke cheese, almonds, wild garlic jus

A great day was had by all involved and was a great place to put faces to alot of the guys and girls i follow on twitter, many beverages where consumed in the bar after and lots of tales and banter from all the chefs involved. It ended up being a really great day and raised about 60k for the charity which is nothing to be sneezed at. The event was well covered by mark at the staff canteen and the girls from the caterer so im sure lots more photos and items are going to be forth coming, the photos i have used on this post are from and all credit for them goes to him.

Right time to get ready for London and le gavroche tonight, so another restaurant review post will be on here shortly. Thanks for taking the time to read this as the event took a hell of a lot of organising but a big well done for all the people who gave their time up to work at the kaiwecare dinner great to meet you all.

Remember live to eat don’t eat to live