Overall Best Dishes – 2018
This list (in no particular order) details the very best dishes I have eaten in 2018. A Nottingham-specific overview will be coming soon!
- A visit to Berlin in frosty February took me to the 2* Tim Raue. His interesting background was the subject of one of the Netflix series of Chef’s Table and a lot of his influence comes from Japan. My favourite of his dishes was a stunning langoustine with wasabi. The strong flavour of the wasabi tempered skilfully and complimented the perfectly cooked, sweet shellfish.
- Despite visiting Sat Bains on a number of occasions the menu changes so often that great new dishes are always to be found. The creativity of Sat and his team shows no signs of abating and a meal for my 30th Birthday in the summer was probably the best of all my visits. One course that particularly stood out was an aged beef tartar with beetroot, inspired by Anish Kapoor. Quite apart from the striking resemblance it was a delicious plate of food, the soft, earthy, sweet beetroot flavour in harmony with the meat
- Claude Bosi’s Bibendum in South Kensington had been on my radar for some time, his move from Hibiscus has seen the surroundings change from a pretty basic dining room to a fantastic, light space in the old Michelin building, complete with old Michelin paraphernalia which does enhance the experience. The meal itself was generally good, the service a little too formal for my taste and in the odd instance they were simply lacking attentiveness. There was one outstanding dish though, the dessert. A chocolate souffle was perfectly prepared, a cherry ice cream placed on top of it at the table to melt into it was a luxurious combination of flavours, textures and temperatures. The final hurrah were some boozy cherries at the bottom. A very memorable finish to the meal.
- Perhaps the most surprisingly good meal of the year was at Bohemia in Jersey. It has held 1 star for a little while but whilst no dishes blew us away it was consistently excellent cooking. I would recommend it over several 2 stars I have been to over the last few years. A delicate crab dish utilising both the white and brown meat in different ways showcased the best of the islands produce.
- I’m pleased to be able to feature a second Nottingham restaurant on this list. Alex Bond’s Alchemilla has gone from strength to strength. The Guardian visited it gave it a positive review as well as Alex being awarded “Chef to Watch” in the Good Food Guide. The menu continues to change on an impressively regular basis but one dish stood out. A main course of lamb with goats cheese and miso aubergine was easily comparable with 2 star cooking elsewhere.
- Both Alex Bond and Gareth Ward of Ynysir are alumni of Sat Bains kitchen, they have both emerged as some of the best chefs around. Gareth winning the “Chef of the Year” in the Good Food Guide. In my mind the most impressive thing about Ynysir is the impressively distinct style that has emerged from the cooking there. Meat, particularly aged is at the heart alongside some Asian influences. Most impressive was Char Siu pork, one of the best mouthfuls you’re ever likely to have
- Late 2017 saw the arrival of Core and immediate promotion to 2 stars in the Michelin Guide in 2018, thoroughly deserved in my opinion. A meal fairly early on in their opening was impressively consistent experience from start to finish. A potato dish with caviar and a dulse beurre blanc was a perfect example of something that appeared simple but serious work and skill gone into balancing the flavours. That sauce itself a highlight of the year!
Morston Hall has been a place for an occasion for my family over the last few years and has never let us down. October 2018 was no different, the lunch menu outshone many other of the years experiences. There is nothing too innovative about the food and you may not get these truly memorable dishes but consistently great cooking on show as well as it being great value
Midsummer House saw a family friend’s 60th Birthday celebrations. Its private dining room is a great space and the food, particularly one of their now signature spherical desserts was fabulous. I didn’t think the menu was quite as strong or exciting as the full tasting experience but was again an overall success.