My Restaurant Tips

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Dinner at Bank on October 1, 2007

January 29th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Bank

Bank
4 Brindley place
Birmingham, B1 2JB
UK

+44 (0) 121 633 7001
www.bankrestaurants.com

French British fusion cuisine

Restaurant: 3.5/5

Bank is located in Brindleyplace, in the heart of Birmingham. The decor is very modern and the restaurant is very comfortable. You should note that they have nice terraces overlooking the canal at the back of the restaurant.

Service: 3.5/5

The service was very good. Our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 3.5/5

As starter, I had the smoked haddock and leek risotto. The risotto was served with a poached egg and mustard dressing. It was both original and very good. The texture of the risotto was perfect.

Bank - Risotto

As main course, I had the rump of lamb. The lamb was served with peas, potatoes, spring onions and bacon. The lamb, perfectly cooked was very tasty. It was well complemented by the vegetables. Very classic but very good.

Bank - Rump Of Lamb

Value for money: 3/5

Around $80, including drinks (still water, wine and espresso) and tip. Considering the food, the location and the current strength of the British pound, Bank offers good value for money. I’ll come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Birmingham · United Kingdom

Dinner at New Diamond on September 30, 2007

January 28th, 2015 by philippe · Comments Off

New Diamond

New Diamond
23 Lisle Street
London, WC2H 7BA
UK

+44 (0) 207 437 7221

Chinese cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

New Diamond is located in Chinatown, right in the center of London. The restaurant is relatively comfortable. The decor is very basic without any real effort. As negative, table cloths are not changed between customers.

Service: 3/5

The service was good. Our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

I shared a “menu B” as it offered a wide diversity of dishes. As starter, “menu B” offered prawn toasts, hot and sour soup and crispy aromatic duck. The prawn toasts were served with crispy seaweed and BBQ ribs. The crispy aromatic duck was served with pancakes, cucumbers sticks and spring onions. The prawn toasts were a bit dry but the seaweed was excellent. While the hot and sour soup tasted good, the texture was very artificial. The crispy aromatic duck was excellent.

As main course, “menu B” offered special rice, oyster sauce vegetables, chicken with cashew nuts, sweet and sour pork and spicy beef. Everything was good but sweet and sour pork and the spicy beef were above the rest. Servings are generous, so it’s a lot of food.

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $50, including drinks (beer) and tip. Considering the food, the location and the current strength of the British pound, New Diamond offers a good value for money. I’ll probably come back.

Comments OffTags: London · United Kingdom

Dinner at La Mamounia on September 29, 2007

January 27th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

La Mamounia
20 rue du bat d’argent
69001 Lyon
france

+33 (0) 4 78 28 68 44

Moroccan cuisine

Restaurant: 2.5/5

La Mamounia is located in Lyon city center. The restaurant is relatively comfortable and has a nice Moroccan decor. As a negative, table cloths are not changed between customers. You have to live with the stains.

Service: 1.5/5

While our waitress made efforts to please us, the service was a bit slow. They could do with a bit more staff. When it was time to pay, we found that the card processing machine was broken and had to go to an ATM to get cash to pay. On the bright side, the restaurant conveniently accepts customers up to 11pm.

Food: 2/5

As starter, I shared a tasting plater with eggplant dip, roasted pepper dip and egg bricks (deep fried package of egg enveloped in a very fine flour sheet, similar to an egg roll). While the dips and the brick were good, the presentation was very basic.

As main course, I had couscous with chicken, merguez, lamb chops and vegetables. It was good but nothing exceptional. Actually, the couscous could have been significantly finer.

I had the opportunity to taste the chicken tajine. The chicken was cooked with almonds, grapes and cinnamon. Again, good but nothing exceptional. The kind of dish you could easily do by yourself at home.

As desert, I had Moroccan pastries (gazelle’s horns and almond cigars). The pastries, not too dry, were an excellent complement to the min tea we ordered.

Value for money: 1.5/5

Around $65, including drinks (sparkling water, rose wine and mint tea) and tip. While the location and the decor are nice, the food was average. You can get better and cheaper Moroccan food in Lyon. Next time, I will go somewhere else.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Dinner at L’Est (Paul Bocuse) on September 28, 2007

January 26th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

L’Est (Paul Bocuse)
Gare des Brotteaux
69006 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 37 24 25 26
www.bocuse.fr

French food

Restaurant: 2.5/5

L’Est is one of Paul Bocuse bistros located as its name in French indicates in the east of Lyon. The restaurant is set in the old Brotteaux train station and has a train themed decor. While the restaurant is relatively confortable, tables are very close to each other and you don’t get much space.

Service: 2/5

As you could expect, the restaurant was packed on a Friday night. We had to wait and after 20 minutes ended up with a table hidden behind a door. When we were seated, the service was good but relatively slow. The certainly could do with more staff.

Food: 3/5

As a starter, I had pan fried foie gras. The foie gras, served with cooked apple and mango slices, polenta and a passion fruit sauce was delicious. The combination of foie gras and sweet fruits works extremely well.

As main course, I had red snapper ala plancha. The snapper, grilled the Spanish way, was served with a mix of confit vegetables and a basil tomato sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked and well complemented by the vegetables. The sauce was very flavorful and it was easy to taste the basil.

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $40, including drinks (mineral water, communard, espresso) and tip. While the service wasn’t great, if you consider the quality of the food and the current strength of the euro, you’re getting very good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Lunch at Le Bon Bourgeois on September 28, 2007

January 25th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Le Bon Bourgeois

Le Bon Bourgeois
5, rue des Marronniers
69002 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 72 40 01 22

French food

Restaurant: 2.5/5

Le Bon Bourgeois is located on a pedestrian street in the heart of Lyon. The restaurant is relatively comfortable. The decor is typical of a traditional bouchon.

Service: 2/5

The service was good but a bit slow. They certainly could do with a bit more staff. You may want to avoid that place if you are short on time.

Food: 2.5/5

I had a “salade savoyarde” as main course. The salad was composed of hot potatoes covered with raclette cheese, ham with French pickled cucumbers and salad with vinaigrette sauce. It was simple but very good.

Le Bon Bourgeois - Salade Savoyarde

As desert, I had peach clafouti. The clafouti was excellent. The pastry was crumbling while the fruits were soft and juicy.

Le Bon Bourgeois - Clafouti

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $35, including drinks (red wine, espresso) and tip. If you consider the food, the restaurant and the current strength of the euro, Le Bon Bourgeois offers excellent value for money. I will come back, but this time for diner as the service is a bit too slow for lunch.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Dinner at Leon de Lyon (Jean-Paul Lacombe) on September 27, 2007

January 24th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Leon de Lyon

Leon de Lyon
1, rue Pléney
69001 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 72 10 11 12
www.leondelyon.com

French food

Restaurant: 5/5

Leon de Lyon is located in a small street in the heart of Lyon. The restaurant is very comfortable with a classical decor. From the fine tablecloths to the crystal glasses, everything is perfect. The chef, Jean-Paul Lacombe, is a celebrity in France and the restaurant, which originally opened in 1904, is an institution in Lyon. Leon de Lyon guests include countless celebrities and heads of state. Most notably, the place was chosen for the 1996 G7 summit heads of state private dinner.

Service: 4.5/5

The service, very formal in the French tradition, was excellent. Our waiters provided good advice and detailed descriptions. The sommelier was as good. While our waiters did speak English, I was disappointed not be able to get a menu in English for my American friends.

Food: 4.5/5

As main course, I had the pike quenelle. The quenelle was served with crayfish tails and Nantua sauce. The photo really doesn’t do justice to the dish as the presentation was truly exceptional. The taste was on par with the presentation. The quenelle was soft and fluffy, perfectly complemented by the crayfish tails and the Nantua sauce.

Leon de Lyon - Quenelle

Following the main course, I had cheese. As you would expect, the cheese platter is exceptional, offering a very large variety of all perfectly matured cheeses. They cover all tastes, from a very mild cervelle de canut to a quite strong roquefort. The cheeses were served arranged from the mildest to the strongest.

Leon de Lyon - Cheese

As a desert, I had 5 small deserts with Saint-Genix praline, a local speciality. The Saint-Genix praline has a very distinctive red color. The deserts were praline nougat, praline ice cream, praline sorbet, praline cake and on a separate plate, praline tart. They were all delicious, with a particular mention to the praline tart which was from far the best I ever had with it’s nice very smooth texture.

Leon de Lyon - Praline Deserts

Value for money: 4/5

Around $165, including drinks (mineral water, red wine, espresso) and tip. While this is a lot of money, if you consider the food, the restaurant, the service and the fact that the euro is at an all time high, you definitly get excellent value for money. I will certainly come back

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Lunch at Brasserie Paulaner on September 27, 2007

January 23rd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Brasserie Paulaner

Brasserie Paulaner
4 Rue de la Barre
69002 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 78 42 06 37

French food

Restaurant: 2.5/5

The Brasserie Paulaner is located in the heart of Lyon. It has just been redecorated going from a traditional French bistro style to something clean and modern. The restaurant is comfortable but a bit noisy because of the bar. While you probably can get some food in the evening, it’s really a lunch place.

Service: 2.5/5

The service was very good. We were taken care of by the manager who not only speaks English but has a kind of funny wicked sense of humor.

Food: 2.5/5

As main course I had a bavette (flap steak) with a Saint-Marcellin cheese sauce, a typical dish from Lyon. The bavette was served with cauliflower gratin, penne and stuffed eggplant. While the meat was very tasty, it was a bit too though. The Saint-Marcellin sauce and the vegetables were excellent.

Brasserie Paulaner - Flap Steak

As desert, I had the chocolate tart. The tart was excellent. The pastry was just right, crumbling but not totally falling apart. The chocolate had nice smooth texture and a strong but not overpowering flavor.

Brasserie Paulaner - Chocolate Tart

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $35, including drinks (red wine, espresso) and tip. If you consider the food, the restaurant and the current strength of the euro, the Brasserie Paulaner offers excellent value for money. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Dinner at Brasserie Georges on September 26, 2007

January 22nd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Brasserie Georges

Brasserie Georges
30, Cours de Verdun
69002 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 72 56 54 54
www.brasseriegeorges.com

French food

Restaurant: 3/5

The Brasserie Georges was created in 1836. It is located in the heart of Lyon, near the Perrache train station. While a bit noisy (it’s a very large room), the restaurant is comfortable. The list of celebrities who visited the Brasserie Georges is practically endless. From Auguste Rodin and Jean-Paul Sartres to the Emperor of Japan and Bill Clinton, the list looks like a compilation of the who’s who from the 19th to the 20th century.

Service: 3/5

The service was very good. Our waiter made genuine efforts to please us. As a practical detail, the card is both in French and English.

Food: 3/5

I started with a very typical salad lyonnaise (Salad, warm bacon cubes, croutons and poached egg). It was very good but the egg was a bit too cooked to my taste. I would have preferred to be able to mix the warm and still liquid yolk to the salad.

As main course I had the saucisson chaud. Again a very typical dish from Lyon. It is a pistachio sausage that is cooked on order. The saucisson chaud was server with absolutely terrific mash potatoes.

Brasserie Georges - Saucisson Chaud

As desert, I shared a baked Alaska. As strange as it sounds it’s a baked ice cream. You put ice cream on a sponge cake, cover it with meringue and bake it just enough to cook the meringue without melting the ice cream. At the Brasserie Georges, they add Fruits confits on top of the ice cream and a bit of Kirsch in the meringue. It was very good but far too large for me to finish it.

Brasserie Georges - Baked Alaska

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $50, including drinks (kir, red wine, espresso) and tip. If you consider the food, the restaurant and the current strength of the euro the Brasserie Georges offers excellent value for money. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Dinner at Forte Ristorante on September 11, 2007

January 21st, 2015 by philippe · 2 Comments

Forte Ristorante

Forte Ristorante
362 North Camden Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
USA

+1 (310) 277-7346

Italian cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Forte Ristorante, previously Prego, is located in the heart of Beverly Hills. The mediterranean decor is nice and the restaurant is very comfortable. Parking in the area can be problematic. So, if you don’t find a parking space straight away, head to one of Beverly Hills public parkings.

Service: 3/5

Service was very good. The maître d’hôtel took care of us and provided good advice. While we leaved sometime after the restaurant closing time, we weren’t pushed out of the door.

Food: 3/5

I started with a tricolore salad. This version of the tricolore salad was arugula, endive and radicchio. The salad has nothing exceptional but was good.

As main course, I had swordfish. It was served with diced tomatoes lightly cooked with olive oil and caper, potatoes, beans and carrots. Swordfish is usually dry as most of the restaurant overcook it but not this time. It was tasty and juicy. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, neither too soft or hard.

Forte Ristorante - Swordfish

As desert, I had the fruit tart. The fruit tart that day was raspberry, peach and blackcurrant. It was served with a decor of whipped cream and strawberry on a strawberry coulis. It was very good. The pastry was not too hard or too soft and the glaze wasn’t too sweet.

Forte Ristorante - Fruit Tart

I had an opportunity to taste the Panacotta cheese cake. It was truly delicious. Light, fluffy and tasty. Perfectly complemented with strawberries.

Forte Ristorante - Panacotta Cheese Cake

Value for money: 2.5/5

Around $65, including drinks (red wine, sparkling water and espresso) and tip. Considering the food and the location, Forte Ristorante offers good value for money. I will probably come back.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Beverly Hills · California · Los Angeles · United States

Lunch at Spice Street on September 2, 2007

January 20th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Spice Street

Spice Street
University Mall
201 South Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
USA

+1 (919) 928-8200

www.ghgrestaurants.com

Mediterranean and Japanese food

Restaurant: 3/5

Spice Street is located in the University Mall, in the center of Chapel Hill. While inside the restaurant is pretty large, the Mediterranean themed decor doesn’t make it fell like it. Additionally, they have a beautiful terrace.

Spice Street

Service: 3/5

The service was good. Our waiter made genuine efforts to please us and the maître d’hôtel payed constant attention to every customer. The only problem was with the busboy which obviously was bored to death by her occupation.

Food: 3/5

As we waited, we were served some flatbread with a very nice tomato and harisa dip.

Spice Street - Tomato Dip

As main course I had a spinach, broccoli, tomato, pepper and potatoes frittata. The frittata was served with a small mixed green, cucumber, tomato and radish salad. It was very good, cooked but still moist with tasty vegetables.

I had the opportunity to taste the lamb flatbread. It look a bit like a pizza but is actually minced lamb meat, crumbled feta cheese, tabbouleh and tzatziki sauce on a flat bread. The combination sounds pretty strange, it is truly excellent.

Spice Street - Lamb Flatbread

For desert, I had a green tea crème brûlée. While the taste was good, the texture could have been better. It was bit watery.

Value for money: 4.5/5

Around $30, including drinks (orange juice and espresso) and tip. Spice Street offers excellent value for money. I will definitly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Chapel Hill · North Carolina · United States