Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Sportsman @ Seasalter

Ok Ok I know it's been a while since I've last blogged. It has been a combination of work, travel, and some computer problems I've had, but I'm back and I hope to be updating this more often. The Sportsman is a place I've been wanting to go to for a while now. It's location (about 1.5 hours from London) and it's constantly being fully booked though are the reason I have not gone here sooner. Well this time I made it. After the long drive, this is the view you get a few steps from the parking lot..

The place itself is a Pub, nothing really that fancy...

But go there without a reservation any days of the week, and this is what you will see:

Anyway, we did have a reservation although failed to remind them that we wanted the degustation menu, which has to be pre-ordered. So we settled for the menu of what they had fresh that day, which was an excellent choice.

First, some bread served with olives and home made butter. Once I tasted this, I knew this was going to be a great meal.

After second orders of bread and a couple of beers, we proceeded with the starters.

Rye Bay Scallops, Black Pudding and Green Apple. As you can see, this was perfectly cooked. Sublime. That's all I can say...

Mushroom Carpaccio and Chicken Liver Pate. Another near perfect dish. As you can see very simple names and dishes but perfectly done. The pate was very light, like an Ice cream practically in texture.

The last of our appetizers, Poached Rock Oysters, Pickled Cucumber and Avruga Caviar. These are native oyster grown very near the restaurant I think. Very fresh. Fantastic.

For main, I had Roast Leg of Mokshill Farm Lamb with Mint Sauce. Very tender lam, sliced and served quite rare. I normally don't like my lamb rare but this was perfectly done. It had some Potatoes and crispy skin under, which was highly appreciated. Mint sauce was home made.

We also had: Braised Brill Fillet with a Crab Bisque Sauce. I just got to try a bite of this one, but the Brill was fresh and cooked just right. The Lobster bisque was very powerful in taste, which was a perfect match to this type of fish.

And for Dessert, Warm Chocolate Mousse, Salted Caramel and Mik Sorbet. Slight warm Chocolate with salt flakes at the bottom. Nice contrast with the sweet/bitter flavors of the Chocolate. This could easily be one of my favorite restaurants in London. Location is an issue but I am always willing to go the extra mile for good food. Next time, I will have the degustation menu. They serve a home made Jamon Serrano and that I have to try.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Latteria San Marco revisited

I've been to this place 2 more times since my first time here a year ago. Second time was last October 2010 and my last visit today for lunch.

The place is tiny (only seats around 20 people) and they don't tale reservations nor credit cards so if you do come here come very early or get ready to wait. It's quite packed with mostly local people from the neighborhood so that is always a good sign.

Last October, we had:

Bottarga con Sancino e Pomodori (Bottarga with greens and Tomato). Simply wonderful and look at the quantity of Bottarga thinly sliced !!

Home made Bresaola (air dried Beef)

Rigatoni- this was delicious.

Farro con Mozzarella di Bufala e Pomodorini (wheat grain with mozzarella and cherry Tomatoes). Very healthy but still with lots of flavors from the olive oil used.

Last was my Spaghetti Carbonara. Nothing can beat a well made traditional Carbonara for me. This was perfection. The egg yolk was beneath the pasta, just the right temperature to mix them. Also lots of flavor from the smoked Pancetta.

Today, I was back for lunch and we had the following:

Spaghetti Bottarga - this time grated, was delicious. See again how generous portions of Bottarga.

Nodino di Vitello arrosto (Roasted veal loin)

My dish, Carciofi crudi con Grana. Raw artichokes with Grana Padano. Such simplicity some tines baffles me but this dish really worked. The Artichoke was crunchy, lots of slices of Grana, loads of olive oil and a splash of Lemon. I've noticed Italian cooking is really simple and straight forward. Why do some restaurants want to complicate it so much? This is not a fancy place at all in fact rey don't even have a wine list. Instead they automatically just give you a carraf of house red wine.

This restaurant is a must for me every time I visit Milan!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Brass Rail Salt Beef Sandwhich - London

Just a quick post from my last trip to London before I start updating with new posts. Salt Beef is very typical in London. This one is one of the better known places for good Salt beef, the Brass Rail is a small shop located inside Selfridges department store on Oxford street in London.

Think of fresh corned beef, but boiled much longer and with salty/herb infused water. The result is a super soft (almost buttery) beef, salty. Its served with Rye bread slathered with English mustard and a giant pickle.

As you line up, the Beef is cut fresh. On the right, they also have Cows Tongue, cooked the same way with Salt and herbs, but I was there for the regular beef, although I will try the tongue soon.

After its cut, its weighed. If you look at the scale, its almost 500 grams, but that was for 2 sandwhiches...

You have a choice of Mayonnaise, Mustard, etc... but the best is to have this with English Mustard. You have to be careful though, since its quite strong and can do major damage to your tongue and nose (think wasabi).

And voila, this is the finished product. I loved the saltiness off the beef, with the rye bread and English Mustard. The pickle is served sliced already, and you normally take one piece for every bite. It gives ita a nice crunchiness. Such a great combination and so simple. I will definitely return to this place hwenever I'm back in London (which is now).