Japanese in Geneva?

I recently visited Geneva on business and finding ourselves exhausted and weary after a long day travelling, we opted to dine at our hotel, which some may say is a risky business.

Not so much at the Movenpick, for their Japanese restaurant Kamome is ‘the best in the region‘ according to the front desk, but as it turns out this isn’t far from the truth and we tasted some of the best sushi any of us had ever had.

Seated at the sushi bar, we had a prime view of the expert chefs making an incredible amount of sushi at breakneck speeds. All were beautifully presented on platters made of ships or accessorized with fans of leaves which had been cut out in doily-style patterns.

We started with a range of sushi including california, spicy tuna & avocado and plenty of pickled ginger. It was fresh and delicious – basically everything you could ask for from Japanese! Next course we opted for teppan yaki meat – duck for two of us and beef for the other. All beautifully cooked (pink at our request) with stir-fried vegetables and rice, the dish was light and full of flavour.

Definitely recommended for those staying in Geneva on business, especially if you happen to be situated near the airport! Take note though, this is Geneva, so NOTHING is cheap. You can expect for spend around £60 per person for a meal such as this which includes a couple of glasses of wine! Ouch.

(Kamome, Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Genève, Switzerland)

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Who’s the daddy?

Mexican food – everybody loves a bit!

Fajitas, burritos, tacquitos, tacos..you’re bound to have tried them. But finding a burrito in a hurry isn’t always easy. Step up Daddy Donkey, the ultimate lunchtime burrito van which has a bit of a cult following in the city of London.

I first stumbled accross Daddy Donkey when working in my previous job in Waterloo. My colleagues were so obsessed they would take taxis up there and back, just for a bite of the ultimate burrito – serious dedication to the lunch time cause!

Joel & Sergio – the Daddy Donkey team, first started trading on Leather Lane in 2006 and basically the word got out. They offer 3 types of burrito, 6 filling options, 4 strengths of salsa and a range of extras inc. fresh guacamole (my weakness!) Ask around – you’re bound to know someone who’s tried it and wants to tell you how great it is!

So, don’t just listen to me – get down there and try for yourself. The return taxi may cost more than your meal, but some people say it’s worth it!

(Daddy Donkey, Pitch 100-101, Leather Lane Market, EC1N 7TE)

If it’s good enough for Obama..

A recent trip to Berlin found me sampling some of the finest food the city has to offer in top restaurant Borchardt. Our party knew very little about the place apart from a city guide which had given it 4 stars so we thought it was worth a shot. It was only when our taxi driver proudly announced that Obama had eaten there, and my subsequent research which revealed it as something of a celebrity hotspot. Who knew!

From the outside, Borchardt does not appear to be anything special – a simple awning stating the name on a nondescript building was not insightful. The inside is also quite minimal, having an atmosphere of a cross between a church and a museum. Marble pillars and tables closely parked together gave it a rather eerie, claustrophobic feel and yet we knew we were experiencing something special. The cuisine is french-german and certainly impressive, despite being limited in choice. I opted for goose on a red cabbage jus as a main dish. It was delightfully rich and the portion – enormous. Other choices included sea-bass and your traditional wiener schnitzel.

All in all, I enjoyed my meal and this is certainly somewhere you should try, but don’t expect anything cosy or intimate. I get the feeling that half the diners are more interested in who is sat at the next table than their food and as such it makes for a rather odd atmosphere. Also, bizarrely there were hoards of people smoking by the toilets. It isn’t cheap, but these places never are so I guess it helps if you have a celebrity to ogle / pay for you! Prost!

(Restaurant Borchardt, Französische Straße 47  10117 Berlin, Germany)

Heston’s dinner

So, where does one start? I was privileged enough today to go for lunch at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge to sample the food at Heston Blumenthal’s latest venture – Dinner by Heston. Having previously had an excellent experience at The Crown (one of Heston’s 3 restaurants in Bray), I could not have been more excited!

Initial thoughts? Suitably impressive.. Having entered the restaurant via the perspex arches containing wines stacked to the ceiling, we found ourselves in the private dining room with a prime view of the spit-roast pineapples (our dessert dating back to c.1810 according to the menu!) The waiter informed us that the dishes we were tasting today had been compiled following research undertaken by Heston in conjunction with Hampton Court Palace and the British Library. I felt as though we had entered into a bit of an experiment in conjunction with someone who meant serious business!

Anyway, to the main act – the actual eating of the food. It more than lived up to our expectations. Our first of 5 courses was the calves tail risotto dating back to c.1390. Tender, slow-cooked meat with delightfully crunchy rice (at chef’s insistence) was the perfect entree. This was followed by Heston’s most celebrated dish – meat fruits. Seriously, this is incredible. The steps taken to construct fois-grois into a mandarin-shaped existence are mind-boggling, but results are suitably impressive. Even more so when the waiter tells you they make 900 per week! I’ve included a picture below because seeing really is believing in this case.

(Heston’s infamous Meat Fruit)

Main course, I opted for spiced pigeon which was accompanied by mash consisting of 45% butter. Decadent and full of flavour – the pigeon was so rich, it was comparable to duck. The table fell silent as we feasted. My fellow diner commented that this was pure ‘food porn’ – I think he may have had a point..

I won’t bore you with a play-by-play, but all in all, our experience was hugely positive. The service is second to none and this really does highlight why Heston Blumenthal is our chef of the moment right now. The attention to detail and hours of cooking which go into every single dish is the result of a chef’s passion for food like no other. Awarded 1 Michelin star in the Michelin travel publications 2012, this is more than deserved. The golden age of fine dining is upon us and Dinner is one not to be missed.

(Book a table at Dinner by Heston at the Mandarin Oriental)