We are indeed fortunate to have made it through another year on this tiny sphere. Although our existences may be fleeting and small, one’s personal gastronomic experiences can sometimes be out of this world. Hurrah! And so, dear friends, a quick tour de force of some of the highs of 2013 appear below.
Sir Cosmo had been most effusive about Dabbous. The venture of Ollie Dabbous where his focus is on flavours and presentation. One was pleased to hear that Sir Cosmo has a regular table held for him here and one was invited to join him. One’s abiding memory was of the coddled eggs with smoked butter. The egg looked so appetising, a picture! One dared not dive in to disturb the serenity but one did and one’s taste buds exploded with delight. This was wonderful. The smoked butter imparted a complex and nutty flavour to the creamy concoction. One should go just to savour this dish.
On to Avignon, France where one had been touring the vineyards of Burgundy. Next to the Palais des Papes is the Michelin starred Christien Etienne. We had been lucky to walk in and get a reservation that evening. It was a warm, balmy summer evening and Fortescue and I ate al fresco on the terrace. The dish that one most remembered was the ham terrine which unlike most terrines was bursting with flavour and left one wanting more.
The end to the French excursion saw your doctor with his dearest chums eating an extravagant fruits de mer and lobster feast at Aquar’ aile. A restaurant in a distinctly unlikely location of a block of what resemble council flats. However, the view from the restaurant across the Channel is marvellous with large ferries whizzing to and fro. Not one of the assembled party could finish what was before them but it was a most glorious end to one’s three weeks in France. One highly recommends this restaurant if one is passing through Calais and can spare time for luncheon.
The return home saw a trip to the north of England and to L’enclume in the charming postcard village of Cartmel for the stupendous and wonderful 21 course dinner together with 9 wines to accompany it. Truly memorable. It was particularly memorable. Reg’s duck and the soused herring stood out for your dear doctor. On the same trip, one went to Monachyle MHOR which is secreted at the end of a five mile “driveway” in an idyllic situation overlooking the Loch Voil. Dinner was excellent as it does have an award winning chef (Tom Lewis). The friendly service and the setting made it a memorable if somewhat expensive stay.
Then, one must remind one’s readers who love Japanese food that Shiori in London is a must. The beautiful presentation of each dish is matched by the subtlety of flavours that one experiences. It’s a very small restaurant that delivers a very big experience.
Further afield there was the most memorable meal at Le Cirque in New York with one’s chums Tomasino and Cranleigh. Was it the ambiance, the food or the company that propelled this into the Doctor’s top 10? Who can tell? There was also Café Marquesa in Key West which served one of the most memorable salad combinations that one can ever remember.
Disappointments? most notably the remnants of Khan’s Indian restaurant in Queensway which should be avoided. One is still amazed that one gave it five stars. It deserves less.
And finally, the disappointment of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. A gastronomic wasteland in many respects but wonderful if one loves steak or pizza. One day, something special will arrive there. As one’s readers may know, your dear Doctor now has an American outpost in Fort Lauderdale where he has sojourned over Xmas. Withdrawal symptoms for Mc Spigget’s and the siren call of London is irresistible. One must book some restaurants soon!
Happy New Year to all one’s dear friends. Here’s to a glorious 2014!