I've had a real foodie fortnight! Firstly, to Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons to celebrate 25 years of La Manoir and its genius mastermind, Chef Raymond Blanc. It just so happened to be Bastille Day, too, and we were treated to accordion players and pierrots as we arrived. The canapés were, well, just about the most extraordinary amuse-bouches ever encountered. Scallop carpaccio rolled in a thin sheet of soy jelly, and delicate bites of seared tuna covered in wasabi jelly with just a few sesame seeds sprinkled atop...could life get better? It did. We had a charming piano concert on the lawn, and speeches from the French Ambassador and Monsieur Blanc. Then to lunch... Tartare of scottish langoustine with flavours of Japan was followed by a salad of heirloom tomatoes and Kalamata olive with a cool sicilian tomato essence sorbet. But my favourite was the confit of wild River Severn salmon with elderflower, yuzu cream and garden radish. Not only was it pretty on the plate, it was delicate on the tastebuds, and local produce too. Flash forward to dessert, and my tiny peach (the little Chinese kind) was poached in white wine and citrus fruits and came with a sliver of gold leaf on top, gilding its curves. Sexy! I took photos but am having uploading trouble at the moment- will post pics ASAP.
I have also been to Boca di Lupo TWICE in the past fortnight. I never thought i'd find an Italian restaurant that makes Eggplant (Aubergine) Parmigiana as good as my mother. Boca di Lupo is the only one! Why do I love it here? Because the staff are so lovely and after only two visits I am treated like a regular. And the food- well, my chargrilled squid was so fresh it was still quivering, its charred tentacled perched on its milky body...deelish! The strawberry blonde's gnocchi was pillowy soft, in a spicy sausage ragu. You can order small plates to share, big plates to share...or keep all to yourself. It is also refreshing to go to an Italian restaurant where the list of desserts is as long as the mains, and not a sorbet stuffed frozen lemon in sight. Try the burnt almond granita topped with a scoop of dark chocolate sorbet- with a glass of Amaretto.
And finally to our local Italian for a late Sunday night supper. Il Bordello on Wapping High Street in London is the kind of restaurant you *wish* was just round the corner from your house/flat/crib. Old style waiters in dickie bow ties, freshly prepared great quality food, enormous pizzas cooked in a woodfire oven, decent house wine and a buzzy atmosphere. There is always a wait for a table, pretty much every time of day or night. But it's worth it- and not just if it happens to be in your neighborhood.