Café des Alpes, Châtillon-en-Diois
Published 12th August 2018 | Blog
What makes us drive more than half way across France (from Angers in the Loire Valley to Châtillon-en-Diois in the dramatic Vercors National Park in the northern section of the Drome) for lunch?
The answer is because Pierre Jancou has moved to this remote and beautiful village with its dramatic backdrop of forest-clad mountains from Paris where he was well-known for his no-compromise restaurants such as Vivant, Racines, Achille and La Crèmerie which featured dishes based on exceptional produce and wine lists highlighting edgy natural wines almost all of which have no added sulphites.
Jancou has restored a roadside cafe in the heart of the village and is serving his trademark "simple" food and natural wines. We dined here one week after he opened and the place was buzzing!Read more about Café des Alpes in Châtillon-en-Diois
Auberge de Chassignolles, Chassignolles
Published 10th August 2018 | Blog
The Auberge de Chassignolles is hidden away in a tiny village in a forest in one of the most remote parts of France. Yet, when you drive toward the inn you are likely to see guests sitting under the awning on the terrace happily sampling a local beer or local wine while waiting for the feasting to begin.
People come from all ends of the earth to dine here and to relax and enjoy the remoteness, the many walks in the area and to swim in the rivers and lakes nearby. Many come back every year and we are no exception.
Originally put on the map by English chef Harry Lester, the Auberge was bought by the current owner Peter Taylor (also from England) a few years ago. Peter has had success in attracting great staff for both the kitchen and front of house. You feel enveloped and cared for from the moment you walk through the door here. It is an experience not to be missed.Read more about Auberge de Chassignolles
Yard Wine Bar, Paris
Published 23rd July 2018 | Blog
Yard Wine Bar is the sibling of the much-lauded Yard Restaurant and sits next door. Here the food and wine program is designed for a relaxed, not-too-expensive evening where you can enjoy excellent food from top providores and a stunning array of natural wines at prices that encourage you to visit time after time.
One of the reasons we headed here was the presence of a chef whose food we have long admired, Svante Forstorp. And, of course, we were not disappointed. We were served a range of incredibly tasty dishes including mozzarella with fermented Chinese cabbage and kebabs of duck hearts with excellent pita made à la minute - all washed down with a lively bottle of the 2017 Cornelissen Susucaru 2017.Read more about Yard Wine Bar in Paris
Le Cadoret, Paris
Published 15th July 2018 | Blog
Le Cadoret is an excellent restaurant and bar a vins in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. In keeping with the need to move outwards to find places where rents are not too onerous, many of the interesting restaurants that we go to these days are in suburbs where younger people congregate.
We thoroughly enjoyed a recent meal here that was enhanced by a light-filled room, caring service, precise cooking and a carefully selected range of beers and wines.Read more about Le Cadoret in Paris
Napier Quarter, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Published 2nd June 2018 | Blog
Napier Quarter is a jewel of a restaurant, hidden away in the quiet back streets of Fitzroy. It is the type of restaurant that everyone craves for in their local neighbourhood. The service is slick yet friendly, the food is delicious and servings are perfectly sized, the coffee is serious and the wine selection sees some emerging local stars featured alongside some international offerings. Two breakfast dishes that we ate here recently were some of the best that we have eaten recently anywhere. We are looking forward to further visits.Read more about Napier Quarter in Melbourne
The Pot by Emma McCaskill, Adelaide
Published 18th May 2018 | Blog
The Pot by Emma McCaskill is a lovely restaurant just a few minutes south of the Adelaide CBD where experienced chef Emma McCaskill is turning out delicious dishes that are comforting, flavoursome and nourishing. Her food fits clearly into the type of food we seek out all over the world - not pretentious, not too focussed on protein, but the type of food where the ingredients have been treated with respect and skill. Front of house is very capably managed by Drew Hamilton, formerly of Igni Restaurant in Geelong.Read more about The Pot by Emma McCaskill in Adelaide
Published 18th May 2018 | Blog
Hellbound is a comforting space in the basement at this Rundle St address in Adelaide. It is the brainchild of industry veteran Mark Reginato and industry professional and winemaker Louis Schofield. They have an excellent selection of wines (many of which are natural), simple but very good food and passionate staff. You will also find a very good selection of wines from prominent, young Australian winemakers many of who work in the nearby Adelaide Hills and Basket Ranges.Read more about Hellbound in Adelaide
Published 26th February 2018 | Blog
Path is a small, yet inviting, restaurant in the Shibuya district of Tokyo that serves the most amazing pastries and coffee in the mornings along with more substantial fare so that you can have a satisfying breakfast, lunch or dinner here.
The croissants and pain au chocolat are next level and are constantly being cooked during the morning in the oven so you might have to wait a few minutes but then the pastries are served directly from the oven to your plate. Extraordinary!
The Dutch Pancake pictured above is cooked to order and then topped with very good prosciutto and burrata cheese.Read more about Path in Tokyo
Boot Cafe, Paris
Published 16th February 2018 | Blog
Boot Cafe might just be the best coffee venue in Paris! We called in here on a rainy Paris winter evening and had one of the best "pour-over" coffees we have ever tasted. The beans came from Berlin, they were weighed out with precision, the equipment was prepared thoroughly and exactly the right amount of water added. The resulting coffee, once we had allowed it to come down to the best temperature, was round, deep and totally satisfying. We returned to try their espresso the next day and were equally impressed. We are very pleased to find another Paris coffee venue that we can unreservedly recommend.Read more about Boot Cafe in Paris
C.A.M. Import Export, Paris
Published 10th February 2018 | Blog
C.A.M. Import Export has inherited the name from the former business that occupied these premises near rue de Turbigo on the edge of the Marais. This means they didn't have to change the name outside and they made minimal changes to the interior. Diners sit at small tables that are in close proximity to each other, but nobody minds because they are here for the interesting Asian food that is listed on the sparse menu. At our recent dinner we had some exciting dishes prepared by talented chef Esu Lee with highlights being a sambal soup, trenchtown squid, gochujang XO tartare and monkfish with mussels.Read more about CAM Import Export in Paris
Published 9th February 2018 | Blog
Septime is a lovely bistro in a quirky space in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Here produce is king and the chef has the confidence not to contort the food to be what it isn't. Rather he adds touches and twists that help the produce to reveal more of itself to the diner. Deft choices of sauces or inspired combinations of flavours enhance the food rather than masking it here. Chef Bertrand Grebaut is certainly a chef of the moment!
We returned here for lunch on a day that the streets of Paris were lined with snow and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.Read more about Septime in Paris
Ronin, Hong Kong
Published 22nd January 2018 | Blog
Ronin is a Japanese-inspired restaurant in Hong Kong that serves excellent food, very good sake and a staggering array of Japanese whisky. You approach the restaurant down a steep lane below Gough Street but you won't find a sign announcing that you have arrived. Instead you will see an unmarked door that you slide to the right to open. You will be greeted warmly and the staff will quickly seat you at the bar on the left side if you have booked and on the right side if you have optimistically turned up without a reservation.Read more about Ronin in Hong Kong
Cheung Chau Ping Kee, Hong Kong
Published 21st January 2018 | Blog
Cheung Chau Ping Kee is a tiny food store in the Sheung Wan district of Hong Kong (next to Central) that serves some of the most delicious mochi that we have ever eaten. The store started life on Cheung Chau Island which is just a short ferry ride from Hong Kong and a great place to visit for the vibrant seafood served in the harbourside restaurants. Visitors to the island would line up at the tiny store to buy these delicious orbs made from steamed glutinous rice with fillings such as mango or red bean paste. Luckily they have now opened a branch in the Sheung Wan district of Hong Kong Island so you do not have to take the ferry ride to enjoy these treats.Read more about Cheung Chau Ping Kee in Hong Kong
Bakehouse, Hong Kong
Published 20th January 2018 | Blog
Bakehouse is the retail outlet for the amazing pastries and breads created by Swiss chef Gregoire Michaud who formerly worked at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong and prior to that at a number of 3 star Michelin restaurants in Europe. We visited just a few days after it had opened and had to wait in line for a table - however it was certainly worth it. Great, unflustered and incredibly respectful service, very good coffee and excellent pastries (with the croissants being worth a journey) made this one of the best breakfasts we have had in Hong Kong.Read more about Bakehouse and Gregoire Michaud
Gen Yamamoto, Tokyo
Published 17th December 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about Gen Yamamoto
Market Cooking by David Tanis
Published 17th December 2017 | Cookbook Review
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!Read more about Market Cooking by David Tanis
La Ferme de la Ruchotte in Blingy-sur-Ouche
Published 28th September 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about La Ferme de la Ruchottee in Burgundy
Yamamoto Menzou, Kyoto, Japan
Published 18th August 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about Yamamoto Menzou in Kyoto
Frenchie To Go, Paris, France
Published 12th August 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about Frenchie To Go in Paris
The Chef's Atelier, Beaune, France
Published 8th August 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about The Chef's Atelier in Beaune
Cave Saint Martin, Roquebrun, France
Published 29th July 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about Cave Saint Martin in Roquebrun
Madame Jeanne, Marseille
Published 19th July 2017 | Blog
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.Read more about Madame Jeanne in Marseille
Published 7th July 2017 | Blog
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 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.Read more about Antiche Carampane in Venice