Master chef winner 2008 James Nathan @ Le Gavroche
We literally ate from 12 pm all the way through to 4pm NON STOP ! There wasn't a moment without a spoon in my mouth , well all except my awestruck chef moments! If you haven't been , there is no money exchanged , you buy a currency called crowns £1 = 2 crowns. Each restaurant then offers 3 chosen dishes and they can range from 6 crowns up to 10. I think this year many dishes definitely cost more crowns. Each stand is a mini showcase of its restaurant and many of the head chefs are there to talk with you.
We started off at Rhodes 24 with a braised beef and caramelised onion gravy. There were many versions of this kind of dish in several places, despite this it was a wonderful dish. There is nothing like a dark rich sauce and meat that falls apart when a knife goes into it. A classic lobster creamed soup followed, from Le Gavroche, which was sooo delicious I wanted another.In the bottom was the softest most flaky lobster bits to have a final seafood hit! One of the most amazing looking soups was a Beetroot velvety acrylic paint colour gazpacho from Aiden Byrne. On the top was one of my favourites , guacamole , but this was a sorbet version. Deeeeeeeeelish.
Le cercle salmon & lemon pulp
After this it was a blur of let down, great and amazing selections. A disappointing overcooked scallop was partaken from Sumosan, with a sauce too sweet and watery to enjoy, a sparky dish of salmon and lemon pulp @ le cercle, (a highly stylised offering there overall!), a bland prawns in apple balsamic dressing @ Aubaine , although their moist french bread with fig jam saved them and a notable scrummy moreish and refreshing chilled melon soup with basil oil from Boxwood cafe. This year Headchef Stuart Giles finally told me the recipe secrets for a good substantial savoury sweet version rather than , in his words a "fruit soup"! In 2006 he was rather more evasive about it when asked! Some friends may now be the guinea pigs for our experiments with this in a few weeks, so I may post our results soon, watch this space.
A dessert highlight was a chocolate layered creation from L' Atelier De Joel Robuchon.
It was true heaven in a cup!!! We tended to go around sharing most things , but with this he the mans said, "get your own, I'm having this all"!!!!! Although I don't recommend beetroot soup to follow , unless you want to be ill and leave green. You eat things a weird way round at these shows!
I am very lucky to have been able to eat in several of the restaurants showcasing , mainly the far eastern and Indian ones for some reason.I feel this show must have really helped the restaurant industry bringing a notched up buzz to London, British chefs and food in general. Its exciting times food wise. It was also interesting to see some different restaurants there that I hadn't seen before. We have a new list of places to try in the next few months. Our philosophy on this is we would rather not eat out in local chain restaurants, stay in more cooking or instead, so as not to be ridiculously extravagant, go somewhere special every few months.