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Gen Yamamoto, Tokyo

Published 17th December 2017 | Blog

Gen yamamoto Cocktail bar in Tokyo

Gen Yamamoto (the name of the owner and the name of the bar) in the Azabu Juban district of Tokyo is one of the most intriguing bars we have ever visited. It is where the owner crafts cocktails of such exquisite excellence that we now return again and again for fear of missing out on something special to the season of our visit.

In fact, Gen Yamamoto has recalibrated our attitude to cocktails entirely. Up until our experiences here we were fairly dismissive of the cocktail culture. However, we changed our minds after the first drink we were served by this seeker of perfection.

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Market Cooking by David Tanis

Published 17th December 2017 | Cookbook Review

Market Cooking by David Tanis

It is not often we find a book where you want to cook every single recipe - but this is such a book. David Tanis was formerly a chef at the wonderful Chez Panisse and it shows. The book displays a simplicity in the approach to cooking that we love.

However simplicity does not imply a lack of flavour as these recipes prove. This is a perfect book for those wanting recipes that do not rely on protein-packed heroes but rather a book that elevates vegetables and fruit to their rightful place without eschewing meats.

This is a great book that we are happy to add to our list of best cookbooks!

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La Ferme de la Ruchotte in Blingy-sur-Ouche

Published 28th September 2017 | Blog

La Ferme de la Ruchottee in Burgundy

La Ferme de la Ruchotte is a gourmet paradise in the hills behind the city of Beaune near a tiny village called Blingy-sur-Ouche. The farm is a source of much of their produce which is cooked with skill and flair (the chef, Frédéric Ménager, has spent time in the kitchens at Pierre Gagnaire).

Their vegetables are picked fresh from the garden and there are always vegetable dishes on the menu, including some wonderful potatoes we had with the guinea fowl.

The wine list is comprehensive and many of the wines are organic, biodynamic or natural. We thoroughly enjoyed a Pinot Noir from local star vigneron, Yann Durieux.

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Yamamoto Menzou, Kyoto, Japan

Published 18th August 2017 | Blog

Yamamoto Menzou, noodle house, Kyoto

Yamamoto Menzou in Kyoto is one of the most exciting noodle houses we have eaten at. The style of noodles served here is sanuki udon which are the thick, chewy wheat noodles found in the south of Japan.

The sanuki style of udon noodles which are based on wheat flour degrade very quickly after being made (after about an hour, the Japanese say the noodles are "dead"), so the chef is constantly making new batches of noodles to ensure they are fresh for the customers.

Sanuki noodles are best eaten simply. Here you can have them hot in a beautiful miso-based soup or you can have them served cold and dip them into a broth or a cold dip of yam paste. The noodles should be firm and chewy as they are here, the pleasure is in the texture and the ability of the noodles to absorb the flavours they are dipped into.

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Frenchie To Go, Paris, France

Published 12th August 2017 | Blog

The Chef's Atelier, Beaune, France

Frenchie To Go is a favourite venue of ours in Paris in the uber cool rue du Nil which is gradually being taken over by the Frenchie crew as more and more of their ideas (restaurant, bar, takeaway, wine shop) come to fruition along the street. Their neighbours, Terroirs d'Avenir, are also doing their fair share with their greengrocer, fish shop and butchers shop in the same street.

Frenchie To Go is a great place for a casual lunch or a simple snack during the day on any day of the week. Despite the name, it is also possible to sit inside or out and consume the food while enjoying a glass of their cider or wine by the glass.

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The Chef's Atelier, Beaune, France

Published 8th August 2017 | Blog

The Chef's Atelier, Beaune, France

We have written before about the difficulties of finding good coffee in regional France. Although there has been a vast improvement in the quality of coffee in Paris in the last three or four years this has not translated into the regions.

So it was with great delight that we stumbled across The Chef's Atelier in Beaune and found a wonderful old Italian coffee machine that looked like it could deliver. And deliver it did. We had one of the best coffees that we have had anywhere in France.

The shop also stocks cooking gear, wine, food items and you can book in here for cooking classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is well worth a visit.

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Cave Saint Martin, Roquebrun, France

Published 29th July 2017 | Blog

Cave Saint Martin, Roquebrun, France

La Cave Saint Martin in the pretty town of Roquebrun in southern France is a perfect place to sit on the terrace and enjoy a plate of very good organic charcuterie while sipping a natural wine from the impressive selection in their cellar.

Everyone from Herve Villemade to Eric Pfifferling from l'Anglore, to a dazzling array of local producers (particularly from the Saint Chinian appellation where the Carignan grape variety is king) are represented on the shelves just inside the door. Further inside there is an epicerie section where you can buy some of the best charcuterie and anchovies and sardines available. It is a veritable fairyland of possibilities.

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Madame Jeanne, Marseille

Published 19th July 2017 | Blog

Madame Jeanne, Marseille

Madame Jeanne is the restaurant and bar attached to La Cave des Papilles in Marseille that is an offshoot of the venerable wine shop of the same name in Paris. Both the restaurant and wine shop are located within the broader Maison Buon that also includes a gallery and accommodation. The food is light and cheerful and the wine selection exactly what you would expect from one of the icons of the natural wine movement.

We have written before about the type of food we now seek on our travels. We no longer seek glitzy restaurants where style wins out over substance. We instead seek places where they source the best possible ingredients (preferably organic) and cook them with a light hand. We also look for places that have a preference for vegetables rather than lots of animal proteins. In Madame Jeanne we have found another such place.

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Bunon, Tokyo

Published 7th July 2017 | Blog

Bunon, Tokyo

It is always exciting to revisit our friends at Bunon in Tokyo. This bustling bar and restaurant acts as a magnet for lovers of real Japanese food and natural wines. Their wine selection is one of the best in a city that is obsessed with natural wines. We come back time and again because they always have difficult-to-find wines on their list whether it be the increasingly rare Overnoy wines from the Jura, those of Alain Castex from Roussillon or those of Jean-Marc Brignot who also makes wines in the Jura and elsewhere. On this latest trip we were also lucky to find that there was some shark heart available again. This delicious morsel is served thinly sliced and raw.

Antiche Carampane, Venice

Published 24th June 2017 | Blog

Antiche Carampane, Venice

Antiche Carampane is a traditional restaurant far removed from the normal tourist haunts in Venice. It serves authentic dishes based on the freshest possible seafood and supports this with a very good wine program and very efficient service. The outside seating is perfect to catch the occasional breeze during Venice's gruelling summer heat.

This is a place we will come back to again because they make an effort to source excellent produce, cook the food with precision and the wine selection is appropriate for the food.

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