Cinc Sentits (five senses) – you’ll use em all

We stumbled across this Barcelona restaurant 4 years ago. I think it had not been open for long. We had seen some stylish photos of the food on their website (www.cincsentits.com) and thought it looked interesting. Frankly I expected style over substance. When we arrived for lunch the long room was empty but for one table. Not a good sign I thought.

The young lady who acted as waitress and sommelier brought us a shot glass with some strange coloured layers and explained we should drink it in one go. Well….it turned out be the start of a great culinary experience that truly wowed us.

When a dish uses ingredients that you would normally not be keen on (lemon and blue cheese in my case) and transforms them into memorable moments that you still talk about years later, then you know you have a very special chef in the kitchen.

We left on a high. Thanking the waitress for a wonderful lunch and using my sixth sense stated that they should have a Michelin star. Maybe next year she replied modestly.

Well it took a few more years and now they have their first Michelin star.

So we made a return visit in May this year and I suspect they will not have too long to wait for a second star.

The food and matching wines were the best I think I have had any where. Some of the combinations were simply sublime. The only let down was the oxtail course which was a replacement for the pork belly. Other than that I had a near perfect lunch.

We plan to return again in September as this is one restaurant that deserves all the accolades it gets.

Marks out of 10

Food 9

Service 8

Ambience 8

 

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Le Bristol, Paris – oh la la

Visited Eric Frechon’s restaurant Le Bristol (www.hotel-bristol.com) last Summer, and am so pleased to hear that it now has its third Michelin star, it’s the only restaurant in France to get one this year apparently.  We had the summer tasting menu, which was in a class of its own, everything was perfect. Unfortunately I was so into the food I did not take enough pictures to truly capture the experience.

It was very expensive last year and now with the Euro exchange rate and its third star, it’s way out of most peoples price range (gents also require jacket and tie….argh).

This is my benchmark for culinary excellence, no wonder it is rumoured to be Nicolas Sarkozys favorite.

For more on Le Bristol, check out this video:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABMyH2-UuYk&NR=1

Marks out of 10

Food 9.5

Service 8

Ambience 8

 

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The Fat Duck – OTT

The Fat Duck in Bray is the complete opposite of its near neighbour the Waterside Inn, The Waterside goes for old fashioned comfort (old money clientele), the Fat Duck does “flash” (new money clientele).

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The room is minimalist in style and the food is excellent with very over the top presentation.

We visited before the recent alleged food poisoning problems, and experienced all the trade mark gimmicks – Dry Ice, Dragons Breath, IPods and the obligatory Snails Porridge. We also went for a matching flight of wines. There are two price options here, expensive and extortionate.  We restrained ourselves and kept the wine bill under £100 per person.

It was an experience, but I have to admit I missed the warmth of the Waterside Inn as once the meal is finished, there is no way you would want to hang around or indeed be encouraged to hang around in the rather cold room.  Then again I guess that is why Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head is only a few yards away.

The Fat Duck is currently number 2 on the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list.

 

 

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Pied à Terre – First Foot

Pied à Terre is somewhere you always want to come back to, although the cost keeps this place very much in the arena of a special occasion venue.

We have had so many great culinary experiences here over the years. It was also the place we discovered PX sherry.

Here is a short video showing the restaurant in action:-

The people behind Pied à Terre have now opened a second restaurant l’Autre Pied (the other foot).

Marks out of 10

Food – has been variable, can range from 7.5 to 8.8

Wine 8.9 (on our last visit the wine matches over shadowed the food)

Service 8.5

Ambience 7

UPDATE : October 2010. Pied a Terre has lost one of it’s stars in the 2012 Michelin Guide.

 

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The Capital – post Christmas treat

The Capital had been on my wish list for ages.  I certainly did not expect to get a booking at a few days notice, especially for lunch on the Saturday after Christmas.  However if you do not try, you do not get.  One email reply later and we were all set.  The down side was that the only choice seemed to be the a la carte menu.

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room, it is small and quite intimate.

The style of food was pretty conventional – classic french cuisine.  One standout was a herring fish course, the flavour was so strong and distinct.

The matching wines were also first rate, even if they did push the price up quite dramatically. Overall it was a superb meal.

Update: Since our visit the Chef and a number of his team have left.

Marks out of 10

Food 8

Service 7.5

Ambience 7.5

 

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