Le Gavroche

Plate still empty
If you happen to be in London but feel the urge for really old-school French gourmet dining look no further than [Le Gavroche](http://www.le-gavroche.co.uk/main.html). The settings resemble of an antiques store and the full two-dozen strong hierarchy of waiters (all French, *bien entendu*!) are so stylishly arrogant that I almost felt let down by the gray-haired gentleman who first welcomed us at the door: he was actually willing to shut an eye on my blue jeans on the condition that our whole party of three men wore the ugly blue blazers he lent us…
At least on your first visit, stick to the 8-course *Menu Exceptionnel* (with wine pairing). My favourites from that shockwave of tastes remain the grilled scallop and hot foie gras with cinnamon duck. And the word is that people travel from all over the world just to try Chef [Michel Roux Jr](http://www.michelroux.co.uk/)’s (who was also visibly present at the venue all night) cheese souffle.
[Our full culinary trip is available as a photoset here](http://www.flickr.com/photos/seikatsu/sets/72157604148051496/).
**Verdict:** Le Gavroche might have lost one of their top Michelin stars since the eighties (today they have “only” two), but they are still very much worth your four hours of time and money.

Notting Hill Breakfast

If you have moved to London for four weeks, your son has fallen sick on the first night, but thankfully, two doctor occurences and five days later he can actually hold some food in, the sun is shining and spring is in the air, and to top it all, it is a Sunday which happens to be the (British) Mother’s Day, do no more than head to Tom’s Delicatessen for breakfast. And even if you’re lucky enough to escape the context we had by today, I can still recommend the place.

Get a fresh juice, one of their excellent coffees and, if you are not the full English breakfast type, Eggs Royale with salmon and caviar (pictured above).

Googling around I’ve found people calling this the best breakfast in Notting Hill. Have to agree, even if I haven’t had many out here. And, they are extemely kid friendly.

By the way, they say that Tom is the son of Terrence Conran. And what a talented, but down to earth gourmet son he is then. See more of his places to eat.

Sushi heaven

Ikeda chef
This is actually a very very simple restaurant review: [Ikeda](http://www.london-eating.co.uk/1981.htm) has the best sushi I’ve had outside Tokyo. Period.
When (shouldn’t be “if”!) you go there for a first time, say Omakase!*, sit back and watch the chef’s choice of freshest sushi and sashimi magically appear on the red counter pictured above.
Apparently Ikeda has been around for 25 years already. And there is a reason why.

*Footnote: *In Japanese, “Omakase” means “entrust” or “Chef, I’m in your hands”. (Taavet)*

Dinner Joys Galore

A free tip for your next social event. Get a group of friends together in a Skype multichat. Set a date for a dinner. Divide courses and entertainment responsibilities and set no further rules.
If your friends are anything like mine you will end up with six hours of pure joy featuring:
* Three types of game sausage (boar, deer & moose)
* Pickled wild mushrooms
* Home made bread
* Thai-style chicken skewers with cucumber-coriander salad
* Veal carpaccio parmigiano
* Phaesant leg on grilled portobello mushrooms pictured above, with a topping of pomme grenade foam (latter á la El Bulli)
* Crème brulée
* Alsace Gran Cru Riesling, Cotes du Rhone Villages and 1er Cru Sauternes on side (not to mention the vodka for carpaccio)
* A pop quiz revealing the true usage of whiskey in 7th century Ireland (involving donkeys) and greeting traditions in Tibet (involving tongues)
Just lovely.

Which Michelin gave Hakkasan Their Star?

Canadian jumbo crab
Hakkasan (SkypeFind reviews) has been on my to-go list for a long time. Can’t even remember who was the very first to recommend it (and maybe the place was just better a year+ ago?). It is right around the corner from our London office, but for a reason or another I never made it.
Now I did and what a complete disappointment it was.
* Those who had ’em, praised the cocktails.
* Dimsum & duck appetizers were nice.
* That’s it.

* Well manned (headcount-wise), but careless service. The wet wiping cloth coming between you and your food kind.
* Robotic sommelier who says his lines and just does not listen if you ask something about the wine. As in ignoring you.
* Loud and overcrowded as a cocktail bar… on the restaurant side on Monday night.
* Most appetizers could not compete on Cheap Chinese Takeaway championships if they tried.
* My crab (pictured above) tasted like paper towels. I rarely leave my seafood uneaten.
* All this and more for about 100 pounds per head.
Who exactly decides on Michelin stars these days? Some Anatoli Michelinovski running a parallel business in some dark alley?
And #19 in the 50 World’s Best Restaurants list??? Come on…
PS: my friends say that the same owner’s Yauatcha is still a good place for dimsum.