Posts for the 'Brassiere' Category


Mr Cooper’s House & Garden

MR COOPER’S HOUSE & GARDEN

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden is located in the luxury Midland Hotel in Manchester. The name of the restaurant pays homage to Thomas Cooper, a popular historical figure in Manchester who came from a family of coach-makers. The family’s house and garden, where the restaurant is currently located, was famous for the fruit that it produced and The Coopers would often open the doors of their garden to the general public so that they could have access to it for picnicking and leisurely strolls.

The décor of Mr Cooper’s House & Garden has stayed true to it origins by offering a multitude of different dining settings. There is a lounge in the garden surrounded by a wall of plants and a 30ft tree, a cosy Library where drinks can be enjoyed, and a study area with leather booths where friends can enjoy intimate chats and some lovely food.

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden comes from the hands of Simon Rogan who is undeniably one of the best chefs in the UK. He tolds two Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel, as well as a one Michelin star at Fera at Claridge’s in London. With Mr Cooper’s House & Garden the food is more casual than that served at his Michelin outposts, but no less engaging. The menu centres on a spirit of flair and creativity, and particularly interesting were the starters with their many Asian-inspired touches.

We started with some caramelised scallops (£11). These were nicely cooked and were accompanied by a delectable cucumber sambal, memorable because it was nice and tangy. To temper the sambal was a lovely tahini dressing, and as garnish there were some jalapeno fritters which were glorious. Surrounded by a light and fluffy batter, they offered a sharp bite to the dish.

London Food Blog – Mr Coopers - Caramelised scallops

Mr Coopers – Caramelised scallops

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Holborn Dining Room

HOLBORN DINING ROOM

Holborn Dining Room opened about a year ago and makes for a welcome addition to the London dining room. Located in the glorious Rosewood Hotel (which was once Pearl Restaurant by Jun Tanaka), it is a bustling restaurant with the look of a grand brasserie. Holborn Dining Room is run by Des McDonald, a restaurateur with a prestigious background. Previously a Head Chef at The Ivy, Des later went on to become the group chief executive of Birley Group, Caprice Holdings, and Soho House, before eventually forming his own restaurant group, Des McDonald Restaurants etc. Des is a man who knows his stuff, and it is easy to see his vision of comfort and relaxed elegance in the grandeur of Holborn Dining Room. Beautifully decorated with red leather banquettes, chandeliers and earthy colours, the restaurant resonates with vibrancy and energy. There is also an outside courtyard that comes alive in the summertime with al fresco diners.

The Head Chef at Holborn Dining Room is Calum Franklin, who previously cooked at The Ivy, Aurora at the Andaz Hotel and Indigo at One Aldwych Hotel. Prior to Holborn Dining Room, Calum was the Senior Sous Chef at Roast in Borough Market. With this wealth of experience, Calum has put together a very British menu that draws upon seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Our first starter was the griddled prawns with lemon and garlic butter (£15). Six fat prawns had been placed on our plate and each offered up lots of firm, meaty deliciousness. The combination of garlic and prawns is always a winning one in my book, and here it was fabulously tasty. With lots of flavoursome butter and a touch of acidity from the lemon, this was a perfect way to start our meal.

London Food Blog – Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room – Griddled Prawns

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Balthazar

Balthazar Restaurant opened in Soho in New York in 1997, and within two years of its opening it became one of the hottest restaurants in NYC. It attracted celebrities far and wide, much in the same way that Chiltern Firehouse, London’s restaurant of the moment is doing. Long recognised as an institution in New York, celebrity restaurateur Keith McNally opened a branch on British shores in 2013 to much hype and fanfare.

Balthazar London looks the business and replicates Balthazar New York’s French brasserie design, from the high ceilings to the antique mirrored walls, through to the red leather banquettes down to the mosaic floors. Similar to its big sister, Balthazar London offers all-day menu with breakfast as well afternoon tea, and on the weekends there is a separate brunch menu. The food is French-inspired and includes seafood from the raw bar as well as a wide selection of classical French brasserie and bistro dishes. Next door to the restaurant is the Balthazar Boulangerie that serves an array of delicious looking artisan breads, pastries, salads and sandwiches.

The atmosphere was a little flat and lacklustre when we visited Balthazar London. Perhaps it was because it was a Sunday night, but there wasn’t the fired-up energy that was reminiscent of my past visits to Balthazar New York. With all the hype that surrounded Balthazar’s opening, this proved to be a little disappointing.

As for the food, it didn’t quite fire on all cylinders with starters of garlic prawns (£10) and steak tartare (£9.75) being acceptable if a little lacklustre. The prawns were firm in texture and came in a buttery sauce filled with garlic and piment d’Espelette chillies. But the sauce wanted for a little more flavour. On the side was a warm portion of fougasse provencale bread that soaked up the sauce nicely. But the bread was rather oily and the crust was not crunchy. As for the steak tartare, the meat was tender and flavoursome, but it needed more Worcestershire sauce and seasoning to give it a greater punch.

Balthazar - Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns

Balthazar - Steak tartare

Steak tartare

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Brasserie Chavot

Chef Eric Chavot is best known for his ten-year stint at the two-Michelin starred restaurant at The Capital Hotel where he offered some of the finest French haute cuisine to be had in London. The French born chef trained with some of the most famous names in the culinary world including the likes of Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. He also worked with Marco Pierre White before venturing out on his own with The Capital.

The Capital Restaurant closed in 2009 after which Chef Chavot left for a two year sojourn in The US. But he came back, opening his self-named Brasserie Chavot in The Westbury Hotel in 2013. It’s a world away from the formality of The Capital. Instead of carpeted floors and white linen tablecloths there has been a move towards tiled floors and banquette seating for a more relaxed feel. It’s still a glamorous looking venue nevertheless, with great accoustics to soften the hum of noise from the conversation of other diners.

The menu at Brasserie Chavot may be less complex then his fine dining days at The Capital, but it still bears Chavot’s trademark of classic French cooking and it was enough to see him win a Michelin star in 2014. We started our meal with a scallop ceviche (£13.50) which showcased scallops of the highest quality. Thinly sliced, they were absolutely glorious with a soft texture and a sweet wonderful flavour. The lemon dressing with basil worked well with the scallops although it was a touch acidic in parts.

Brasserie Chavot - Ceviche of scallops

Ceviche of scallops

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No. 8 by John Lawson at Crown Melbourne

No. 8 by John Lawson is an upmarket restaurant offering modern Australian cooking using prime local ingredients in an urban setting. The restaurant is located in the Crown Melbourne, a multi-entertainment complex with a hotel, a casino, bars and a plethora of dining options including Nobu and Rockpool Bar & Grill by Neil Perry.

As the name suggests, the Executive Chef of No. 8 is John Lawson. Essex born, Chef Lawson has worked in some notable restaurants including the two Michelin starred Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Aurora in London’s five star Great Eastern Hotel and Daniel Boulud’s three Michelin starred fine dining restaurant, Daniel. Chef Lawson was also part of the opening team for Gordon Ramsay’s New York venture at The London and was the Executive Chef at Maze Melbourne before it closed.

Our first starter was a foie gras and chicken liver parfait with sweet mulberries and toasted sourdough ($24 – about £12.90). It was beautifully creamy and flavoursome with the mulberries working well with the parfait. The bread was good, but some buttery brioche might have worked better than the sourdough.

No. 8 by John Lawson - Foie Gras

Foie Gras

Two generous pieces of Portland black and blue tuna (£22 – about £11.80) had been gently seared and were thick, meaty and tasty. Accompanying the tuna was some black garlic, yuzu jam and aged soy which were pleasant. There were also slices of daikon (radish) for a touch of tang and some almond mushrooms, so called as they tasted like mushrooms soaked in amaretto. These added an interesting touch to the dish.

No. 8 by John Lawson - Tuna

Tuna

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Glass Brasserie Hilton Hotel Sydney

Glass Brasserie is The Sydney Hilton Hotel’s signature restaurant by Australian celebrity chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan. Chef Mangan cultivated his craft at Michel Roux ‘s 3 Michelin starred Waterside Inn, leading to the contemporary French influence that marks his cooking. Chef Mangan operates a string of restaurants in Australia and Asia, and in addition to having written best-selling cookbooks and a string of TV appearances, Chef Mangan famously cooked at the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark. Glass Brasserie has won a number of awards including the much coveted ‘One-Hat’ from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide.

Glass Restaurant holds an impressive 240 seats and has been lusciously refurbished in dark glossy tones by the highly claimed New York designer Tony Chi. Glass Brasserie is comfortable and glossy. It makes for a restaurant well suited for power lunches, especially as The Hilton Hotel in Sydney is a hub for business meetings and corporate travellers.

We went for the degustation menu ($140 – about £76.40), beginning with an amuse bouche
 of pumpkin soup with croutons and feta. It was really lovely with a pleasant sweetness. The croutons and feta added a nice contrasting touch to the soup.

Glass Brasserie - pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup

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Gowings Bar and Grill Sydney

Gowings was an Australian department store chain that specialised in men’s casual clothing and camping gear. Opening in 1868, it became an Australian institution with its iconic ‘Gowings’ building on the corner of Market and George Street, Sydney. Sadly Gowings went into administration in 2006 and so Gowings the department store is no more. Today, TopShop occupies the ground floor space that was once Gowings. However the name continues to live on in the guise of Gowings Bar and Grill which is part of the QT Hotel.

Gowings Bar and Grill is neatly perched above TopShop and is styled as a contemporary European brasserie with an edgy modern design. The restaurant holds a One Chef’s Hat as awarded by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide. The menu features a selection of raw fish, chilled crustaceans and salads, as well as rotisserie birds, wood fired oven cookery and steaks from the grill.

Gowings Bar and Grill

Gowings Bar and Grill

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Opal by Gordon Ramsay, St Regis Hotel, Doha, Qatar (Day One – Doha)

Grand Foyer

Grand Foyer

Doha, Qatar is not the choice of destination when most people head to the Middle East. Typically, people think Dubai first. To be sure, Doha is not in the same league as Dubai as far as entertainment options goes, but it looks to be seeking more recognition on the global stage. Doha is due to host the 2022 World Cup, and construction is going up left, right and centre. Currently the city is in the process of building one of the largest airports in the world, which is due to open later this year. The new Doha Hamad International Airport will be able to handle some 50m passengers per year, with some estimates putting it at up to 93million. Once opened it will only come second only to Dubai in terms of traffic passing through the Middle East.

And then there is the weather, which is always guaranteed to be warm to hot throughout the year. To be sure it is a little too hot during the summer days, but it helps that everywhere you go there is air conditioned.

Doha also has a string of nice hotels and restaurants, and for the first of my two nights in Doha I stayed at the St Regis Hotel, which was the epitome of 5-Star elegance. The hotel exudes a sense of Middle Eastern mystique and glamour, and as you walk into the hotel, the lobby, which is almost 4 storeys high, will stun you with its breathtaking beauty. As far as 5-star hotels go, this was in a league of its own and must truly rate as one of the most beautiful that I had ever seen.

St Regis Hotel lobby

St Regis Hotel lobby

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