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Tag Archives: Italian cuisine

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Cornwall

I’ve recently been traveling in the UK, to sample restaurants, street food and local markets, and to do a really wonderful cooking course at John Whaite’s cooking school, recently blogged about here.

So I should do a few quick reviews, to keep those memories fresh and give my readers a sense of how my experiences gelled into a view of what I liked about the food scene in the UK.

No one who reads my blog could fail to miss that I’m a Jamie Oliver fan! If there was one Jamie Oliver restaurant I wanted to try, it was Fifteen in Watergate Bay Newquay, Cornwall. Fantastic food, located in beautiful Cornwall and on the beach – what more could an Australian want!

I had lunch. The food was fabulous, the service impeccable  and the vibe warm and friendly. From the moment I walked in I was looked after and made to feel at home, even though I was dining solo. Picture perfect window table in a prime position.

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Photographed here is the menu for the day, to give you an idea of what the style of food is at Fifteen in Cornwall. The food is very Italian – with some intriguing dishes that needed some translation even for this seasoned diner and lover of Italian food.

I went for the three course option at a very reasonable £32. I began with two antipasti – artichoke caponata and clementine and pomegranate. The artichoke was  well seasoned and tangy and herby; the clementine and pomegranate so simple and so refreshing.

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The chargrilled Cornish chicken with inzimino di ceci (chickpeas with Swiss chard) and ‘Nduja (a spicy spreadable salami ) was superb – full of robust flavours with none of the flavours taking over.

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Then dessert. I  was tempted by the apple and plum  crumble with clotted cream – well I was in Cornwall – but on the advice of my charming and knowledgeable waitress I had the tiramisu with amaretto. As the photo shows, it was more cake-like than the traditional trifle-like layers of coffee soaked sponge and mascapone, but this layer cake version had been liberally dowsed in amaretto and yielded to my spoon without resistance. Yum!

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A “proper” cappuccino, the second best I had in the UK, (the best was Colombian at the Borough Market) finished the meal. A great end to a great meal.

The philosophy behind the Fifteen restaurants is admirable, and I would happily eat at one to support the concept. But I had the best meal of my travels at Fifteen Cornwall – honest, authentic Italian food, locally sourced, cooked impeccably and served with a warmth and charm that made me want to visit again…soon!

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Dining on the Bund in Shanghai

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I have recently returned from a trip to Shanghai which is to me, a culinary mecca. In previous visits I have dined at some outstanding restaurants which exemplify the best in Shanghainese  cuisine.

The purpose of this visit was to sample some of the best of the historical tradition of sophisticated European dining, part of Shanghai’s fascinating heritage from the economic dominance of European commerce in the early 20th century.

The Bund is one of the most well known sights in central Shanghai, an embankment where the modern financial district of Pudong faces the grandeur of art deco buildings across the Huangpu River. These buildings once housed numerous banks and trading houses from western countries.

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Today many of these buildings have been transformed into high end dining venues, which showcase some of the best European food in the world.

I was fascinated, visiting these restaurants, by the architectural transformation of large internal commercial spaces into sophisticated industrial chic, designs which reflect the clever and at times transformational food concepts on the menus.

Here is a brief impression of some unique dining experiences on the Bund.

Mr and Mrs Bund

http://www.mmbund.com

Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan
Dong Yi Road, Shanghai 200002
+86 21 6323 9898

A “playful haute French bistro headed by chef Paul Pairet” as described by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (and ranked Number 43), was my favourite dining experience of this trip. My second visit confirmed my first: innovation meets tradition, sophistication meets funky, culinary artifice meets simplicity of flavours.

The website will give you a much better idea of the food of this establishment than this writer can produce in one short review.

Here is what I ate on Saturday 14 December 2013:

Soft Egg MayoIMG_3287

Salmon Meuniere IMG_3288

Escalivada – charred-grilled eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and tomatoesIMG_3290

Asparagus Essential ParmesanIMG_3292

Orange and Orange Tart – candied whole orange, orange sorbet and curd, vanilla chantilly and crumbsIMG_3308

The theatricks of this dish made it the epitome of the dining experience: a simple whole orange on a plate, which, when cut open, reveals layer upon layer of flavour, colour and texture.

The Westin Bund Centre Shanghai

88 Henan Middle Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China +86 21 6335 1888

The Sunday Veuve Clicquot Brunch at the Westin Hotel is legendary. I experienced this on Sunday 15 December 2013.

Two floors of sumptuous food encompassing all major cuisines. Ice-cream, chocolate and desserts feature strongly, which was very well received by this writer with a sweet tooth!

And of course the free flowing Veuve Clicquot!

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M on the Bund

http://www.m-restuarantgroup.com/bund

20 Guangdong Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China +86 21 6350 9988

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This restaurant has a more intimate feel than other restaurants on the Bund. Its rooftop terrace and low ceilings create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The views from the paned windows and terrace are stunning, day or night.

While I enjoyed the food I found it it a little un-adventurous. Mood won out over food for me.

The highlight of my meal on Monday 16 December 2013 was dessert:

Baked raspberry Bombe Raspberry-icecream, sponge cake and Italian meringue.

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Mecato

http://www.threeonthebund.com

6F, Three on the Bund, No. 3
Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road
Shanghai, 200002 China
+ 86 21 6323 3355

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This Italian restaurant from three Michelin star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is situated on the Bund in close proximity to Mr and Mrs Bund and M on the Bund.

I was very impressed with the raw industrial concept of the architectural design. The dining space feels like an abandoned commercial space has been superimposed with the makings of a restaurant.

Huge concrete pillars, rusting steel frames and a rough hewn wooden floor create a perfect backdrop for the no-nonsense rustic Italian food.

You can see from the photos the beautiful art deco windows overlooking the Bund which somehow do not seem at odds with the exposed industrial structures within the restaurant.

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On Tuesday 17 December I ate a simple meal of:

Rigatoni and Meatballs, Smoked Chili-Tomato Ragu – House Made PastaIMG_3375

Daily Selection of House-Made Gelati or Sorbetti – chocolate, pistachio and vanilla gelatoIMG_3377

My dining companion ordered a Dark Chocolate Tart with gelato.IMG_3376

This was my last dining experience on this trip, and it was made even more enjoyable as I had broken my ankle the night before, and determined to go to Mercato, I had made it to the restaurant on a cold and rainy night on crutches!

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