January 2009

Monthly Archive

Cambio de Tercio @ South Kensington

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 21 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Restaurants

Cambio de Tercio strikes a difficult balance between having a laid back, hospitable atmosphere of the kind you’d expect from a local Spanish eatery, with modern and elaborate cooking and efficient service you’d expect from a good restaurant.

You can go for starters and mains or just order tapas and we went for the latter, planning to share all tapas amongst the 4 of us. As the menu suggested to order 3-4 dishes per person, we ended up ordering about 15 different tapas (which was most of the menu). This turned out to be a mistake. The food was excellent (I won’t attempt to remember and mention all the dishes, suffice to say that none of them was a disappointment), but mixing several fish dishes with several meat ones, all very tasty but with strong flavours, was overwhelming. We would have been better off with each sticking to a few tapas or just ordering a la carte - and we’ll probably go back and do that as the cooking was indeed very good.

The staff were friendly and seemed to cope with the restaurant being full to the brim, and we got offered (more than one) digestive on the house at the end of the meal from our friendly waiter.

We’ll definitely be visiting this restaurant again, or possibly Tendido Cero across the road, owned by the same people but more of a tapas bar than a restaurant.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon @ Mayfair

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 21 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Restaurants

The name, website and staff of Joel Robuchon imply a definite Frenchness about this restaurant, however it’s classified as ‘Modern European’ by Timeout. The decor and style of the restaurant and the dishes justify the description, so does the sitting arrangement (you sit at the bar facing the kitchen, or at tables and stools of the same height around the restaurant, resembling a tapas bar). The style of the menu is also a bit more original - you can order from a traditional menu with starters and mains, but you also get the option to pick a few smaller dishes and eat tapas-style. There is also a 7-course £110 tasting menu, if you’re really hungry.

The food is very good, as you’d expect from such a restaurant. The Iberian ham with toasted tomato bread was delicious, the langoustine fritter was just about the best shellfish I’ve ever tried (and I don’t even like shellfish), hot foie-gras with potatoes was nicely balanced, the veal fillet was excellent and the beef and foie-gras burgers where a bold and successful combination. To finish off, a Calvados warm soufflé was flavoursome but perhaps slightly too eggy for desert, and the chocolate cube was a proper hit of chocolate. Although both the Sicilian red wine we had with our food and the desert wine were fantastic, the actual wine list was on the expensive side, even for a restaurant of this type - in the numerous pages of the wine menu you could only find a handful below £50. Service was efficient and discreet.

Overall, this restaurant has the cooking and the service to justify the price-tag of haute-cuisine, but has a twist of originality that makes it an interesting night out. Definitely recommended.