Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Le bout de ma langue: Le Pastis Landais

J'adore les posts de Isabelle Spiri...

Le bout de ma langue: Le Pastis Landais: Le prétexte : à la découverte des produits de nos régions, le contexte : le Pastis se mange aussi. Le pastis, c’est pas ma tasse de thé. M...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Man Chui III - the empire of King Kwong

Robert Kwong is the nicest man in the world. He loves his job, and has the knack of inspiring the team of waiters and waitresses at Man Chui III to give of their best.

His presence in the kitchen transforms the quality of the food (which can be uninspiring on a bad evening) into something superb. Take this sea-bass, for example. Robert chose the fish at the market on Tuesday, and it was as fresh as could be when it hit our table. Simply prepared in soy sauce and spring onions, it was an absolute delight. On this occasion, Robert, taking the place of the tableside virtuoso, Tommy, deboned the fish with a few deft strokes and looked very pleased with his work indeed.

Man Chui III is actually a fabulously successful restaurant and, although not in the same class as Jun Ming Xuan (see my post) as far as the food is concerned, it is cheaper, the service is better and it is just the place for a large party or reunion. The wine list is hit and miss, but the house white is very drinkable and very good value. All in all, a restaurant to visit, revisit, and make your own. There are treasures in the menu, and you will find them. Quickly, if you ask Robert to help you.

84 Ballards Lane,
London N3 2DL

020 8349 2400

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stino Ristorante, Muswell Hill, London Again!

Well, Stino's transformation of his restaurant has now been fully finished - he has the new sign for outside. L'Olivo is no more, long live Stino ristorante! That's why Stino looks very happy - he is young(er than me), has a better phone than me and, oh yes, he has a wonderful new cook and a very good team front of house. Bravo!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stino Ristorante, Muswell Hill, London

Well, I was so happy with my last meal at Stino's restaurant in Muswell Hill, that I popped back one morning to try and take the owner's photo for this blog. Typically, Modestino (his name) was modestly avoiding photographers and so you will have to make do with this photograph of the outside of the premises.

Now, Stino (Modestino Fuccillo) is a perfect padrone. He is aspirational, hungry for improvement and charm itself to the customers. He also has the strong support of his new chef, Antonio Pagano. They make a strong team. Antonio has improved the food and seems to be on a roll, bringing in new dishes, designing a new menu (for September 2011) and bringing a new touch to the classics of the house. Veal escalope milanese was delicate, succulent and full of flavour last night. The garnish of vegetables was flavoured with truffle oil, and anyone who flavours anything with truffle oil is a friend of mine. It's good, hearty Italian food with a touch of refinement. I looked with envy at the pasta with wild boar ragù at an neighbouring table, and the pizza also looked delightful.

The interior of the restaurant is tidy and attractive. Table cloths are used in the evening, and, in warm weather, the front of the restaurant opens out onto the pavement outside. There is a nice selection of Italian wines, but Stino can't help having been born in the wrong country.

I look forward to accompanying the ascension of this fine restaurant with my knife and fork, and dread the day that it becomes necessary to book in advance.

Nice website, by the way.


Stino Ristorante
82 Fortis Green Road
Muswell Hill
London N10 3HN

020 8883 6198

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pebble Beach - Barton-on-Sea

I found myself on the South Coast the other day, and, having deposited an elderly relative at hospital for a minor procedure, wondered what to do for lunch. Well, as the said relative usually insists on lunching for a fiver a head, I naturally took the opportunity to phone the Chewton Glen (Relais et Châteaux and all that sort of caper). However, it was 12.40 and they only took bookings at 12.00 and 2.00. Politely declining to have my life regimented by a restaurant, I then phoned Pebble Beach at Barton-on-Sea (breezy Barton, as it used to be known). The man who answered emitted "no problem-come right along-have a good day" sort of noises in what now passes for standard English. Well, I went right along and was guided to a choice of quiet tables for dignified gentlefolk away from the window, where I was left studying the menu and the wine list.

My only complaint was that I was left there for some time, about fifteen minutes. As I had not even been offered a drink when I was seated, I began to emit distress signs in a way that could not be mistaken for mere bonhomie, and was rewarded by my order being taken with an apology. That was the only problem during a splendid luncheon (apart from a neighbour, a birthday boy (late sixties, check shirt, accompanied by four chums) who was not holding his drink in a gracious manner and who was being vile to the staff.

Anyway, I went for the oysters, followed by half a lobster (cold) with chips, accompanied by a really splendid Muscadet. A most pleasant lunch. Recommended. I have never been disappointed by this restaurant. Nice people, excellent food and good value for money.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jun Ming Xuan

This new Chinese restaurant at Beaufort Park is a real find. Consanguinous with the Man Chui chain, it attempts a more elevated and authentic pitch in the world of Cantonese cuisine, as the large number of Chinese customers (particularly at lunch time for the Dim Sum) testifies. Presided over by the scrupulous and devoted Dennis Kem Kwan, this is a real find. There is a reasonable wine list, much better than Man Chui III, and some of the dishes fall into the 'best ever' category. The barbecued duck is extraordinary. The chicken feet are also exemplary, as are the whelks, and the dumplings are magisterial. Thanks to Dennis, I have now tried jelly fish, getting my own back for all those stings when I was a child. I am not sure, however, that my desire for revenge will reassert itself frequently. The revelation that jelly fish are crunchy is just too weird to take. I may content myself with the venison, the goat, the crocodile and the ostrich dishes.

To note: the restaurant currently does not take cards, which is a pity, as it is certainly not cheap. Count on £100 for two in the evening to be safe. At lunchtime, however, it is very much cheaper, in my experience. Your humble servant and son had a booze-free lunch at £25 for two. Recommended with enthusiasm.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pied-à-Terre again

Finally, here is what my companion ate from the the cheaper lunch menu on my last visit: the best râble de lapin I have ever tasted. As I say, the lunch menu is by no means a second-best option at this excellent restaurant. I have also included in this post a photo of the extraordinary apparatus that accompanies the coffee. Both diners were diabetic, unfortunately.