Archive for restaurant review

Pinot Noir, Alsace

Posted in Wines with tags , , , , , , on May 20, 2020 by xi'an

going blonde

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2018 by xi'an

In case you are currently visiting Edinburgh, e.g. for ISBA 2018, and wondering where to have lunch or dinner, there is a wee restaurant a bit out of the [tourist] way called Blonde, where I ate several times during ICMS workshops. It is located on St. Leonards Street, next to Rebus‘ former offices!, and serves original and tasty cuisine, with a friendly and unassuming service and vegetarian options. It is but a few blocks away [south] from the conference location, towards Arthur’s Seat as an iconic background. And at a fairly reasonable price. Including the wine list.

Toukoul, Brussels

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2018 by xi'an

While in Brussels this week, I realised I was staying near a well-rated Ethiopian restaurant called Toukoul (from the name of a, Ethiopian hut) and went there early enough to secure a table before it got full. For plenty of good reasons as the food is terrific, with enough spice for the taste

to linger in the mouth long after the dish is gone. (Contrary to the few other Ethiopian restaurants I tested and tasted in the past months.) And plenty of injera available on the table. And a highly friendly service. A place to remember for future trips to Brussels. Definitely! 

Les Enfants Rouges

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 4, 2018 by xi'an

An happenstance reservation at Les Enfants Rouges led to a great and unique meal. The restaurant is located in Le Marais, north of Paris City Hall, and the chef Daï Shinozuka brings a precision in the cooking and presentation of traditional French food that makes each dish a masterpiece. Above the “neo bistro-fare” lauded by The New York Times. But definitely part of the new and exciting food scene in Paris!


Initial, Caen [*]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2017 by xi'an

along the canal from Caen to Ouistreham, Oct 09, 2016In what may now become a family tradition, we sampled for the new year another Michelin starred restaurant in Caen, Normandy, called Initial, which is a small and unpretentious restaurant in one back-street, not far from my collège, Lycée Malherbes. And from Guillaume’s Abbaye aux Hommes.

The food itself was both elaborate and light, with fantastic presentations, like the millimetre thick crepe above. Absolutely stunning! Now, the lunch menu has very few degrees of freedom as the chef cooks according to the local products currently available. Which means the menu changes all the time. And also presumably to cater for local clients having only a lunch break from work: we stayed there for less than one and a half and most of the other customers did not stay that long. The service is very efficient and friendly, advising about (cheap) wines that fit the dishes. (Hence, I tasted an unknown Austrian wine!) And bringing plenty of side pre- and post-dishes as nibbles… This is all quite enjoyable, if not the ultimate culinary experience, and very affordable, since lunch at Initial cost much less than in a mediocre Paris restaurant!

les petites sorcières

Posted in Kids, Travel, Wines with tags , , on June 29, 2013 by xi'an

We went to this Paris bistro, les petites sorcières, by a double piece of luck, the first one being that I had found the name in a restaurant guide at home, the other one being that they had had a cancellation just prior to my call. And it happened to be the Fête de la Musique night, the yearly celebration started by Jack Lang in the Mitterrand era on Solstice night where any musician can get in the street and play the whole night! The whole city was thus inundated by meandering people going from one band to a bar and from a bar to a DJ… No indoor music at les petites sorcières but a nice if cacophonous background. And fairly interesting food with a definitively Belgian touch (incl. of course the Gentse Waterzooi and waffles in many guises!). But no beer on the (short) wine list! And an oversized bill for what remains (good) bistrot food.

Melbourne dumpling rampage

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , on July 28, 2012 by xi'an

(Warning, this post is irrelevant for most readers, except maybe for those living in Melbourne and not yet aware of the best dumpling restaurants in town!)

Having discussed earlier with Brendan McCabe of our common appreciation of Shanghai broth-filled (aka Xiao Long Bao) dumplings (小籠包), we went on Sunday sampling a few places in Melbourne Chinatown offering this delicacy (and mentioned in some blogs or reviews…) We started with Wonton House on Russell St. The place was mostly empty and we had to wait for the dumplings to be made, a good omen in itself! The dumplings (above) were good, with tasty pastry and pork filling. However, the very little juice they had was rather bland and luke-warm. Not bad but far from Shanghai standards!

The second place we sampled was the apparently famous Camy Shanghai Dumpling Village on the tiny Tattersalls Lane which serves fairly cheap dumplings in a no-frill, minimalist service (and borderline dirty) restaurant. There were enough people there but we did not find the queues predicted by the guidebooks. (Again Sunday noon was not such a busy time, check this funny report!) Dumplings came more quickly, presumably because of the larger number of customers, and were certainly warmer than in the first place. The broth was tasty and the pork filling quite good as well. The pastry of the dumplings was somehow coarser than in Wonton House and maybe a bit too heavy, however the whole impression was quite positive. (At $4, these were also the cheapest dumplings of the tour.)

The third and last place we sampled was another famous dumpling place, Hu Tong Dumpling Bar, on Market Lane (that we missed on our fist passage), and it was the culmination of our culinary trip: because of the higher customer turnover (we waited a few minutes, watching the cooks making the dumplings behind a glass pane), we got served very hot dumplings almost immediately, they were superb, with thin pastry, plenty of delicious broth, and a superior type of pork filling. The pepper sauce on the side was also a perfect counterpoint to the rich tastes of the dumplings. Almost on a par with our Shanghai reference! (Service was excellent as well, e.g. tea came in a teapot.) We were thus very lucky in getting an improvement at every place we stopped!