Tim Ho Wan, New York City 06-2021

I'd heard about this Michelin-starred dimsum restaurant from Hong Kong when they opened in London. Due to many things including the price and never getting around to it, I never got around to it.

After 2+ weeks of Middle Eastern food in Egypt and Jordan, it was time to get some variety and NYC was a fine place for that. Asian was first on the list and having so many restaurants near us around Times Square, yumcha brunch at this well known name seemed a good idea.

The restaurant opened at 10am, and there was a queue forming already. By 11am the place was full. People really go early for their dimsum here.

The menu items are pretty standard in addition to their well known ones of baked pork buns and egg cake.

- Baked BBQ pork buns USD6 - their specialty rather than the usual steamed bao. I have to say I wasn't a fan of this Cantonese sweet bread;
- Steamed egg cake USD5.5 - definitely wasn't expecting this but this tower looking sweet bread is also something I have tried previously and not liked that much. What's with all the sweet?;
- Pan fried turnip cake USD5.85
- Deepfried dumplings with pork & dried shrimp USD5.85 - nice hot chewy dumplings the way I like it;
- Steamed rice roll with shrimp & Chinese chives USD5.95 - a bit stingy to have 2 prawns rather than 3. But I guess the price is no different to the other dishes to make up for it;
- Steamed dumplings with shrimp & chives USD5.95;
- Steamed shrimp dumplings USD5.95 - smallish but still ok.

Hit the spot at a slightly higher price. If I'd choose better next time and avoid their sweet creations, I'd be happier.

(It's not in my top restaurants, but because they do have a Michelin star I suppose I should add it to the list.)

The Athenian House, Santorini 07-2020

With accolades such as World's Best 50 Restaurants Discovery, World Luxury Restaurant Awards winners for best Greek restaurant and most romantic restaurant in Europe, it was difficult to choose another place for one memorable meal in Santorini. Even better that it was located in Imerovigli, a short 5min walk from our accommodation at Kasimatis. Even even better was the ability to book this restaurant for a sunset dinner only a week beforehand given how low the tourist numbers were.

The walk from Kasimatis to The Athenian House was a lovely experience in itself, wandering along the whitewashed houses with views of the setting sun glistening across the sea and land. We spotted the Skaros Venetian Fortress as a place to visit the next day along with its precarious climb to the top.

The outdoor setting balcony is stunning and we were given the corner seat perfect for an unobstructed view and photos of the sunset and also able to see the cliffs and houses. Maybe I told them it was an anniversary dinner or maybe we just got lucky as they filled seats next to us first. Nonetheless I'm not complaining. There are plastic shields to protect against the wind. €16 cocktails were a perfect start for me with the delicious one I tried being Anisotis (ouzo, tsipouro & mastiha, cucumber, lime, strawberry & basil) - a light fruity mix with the aniseed flavours mildly noticeable. A flight of Santorini wines were consumed by my other.

The occasion had to be celebrated with the full €120 Grand Anniversary menu. They had a smaller one which had their signature 3 kebab plate (as tempting as that was) but I had to go more sophisticated for this meal.

- Our Chef's Amuse-Bouche - crisp lentils served with a dill yogurt. The brown bread looked good but was a bit dry. The white bread had a less complex flavour and was ok;
- Santorini Bouquet 2019 (Santorini cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, capers, Kalamata olives, Ios goat cheese) - an excellent and fresh combination of goat cheese, peppers and caper leaves making up the flavours. The olives were perfect in taste and texture. Balsamic and EVOO dressed it all;
- Grilled Baby Calamari 2018 (potato "risotto" with crispy onions in dill & citrus olive oil) - soft tender calamari and an al dente potato risotto with dill and lemon. Well seasoned and really excellent;
- Tomatokeftedes & Lobster Bisque 2019 (tomato balls, lobster bisque, basil oil, marinated cucumber & brik) - a thick bisque but sadly no lobster meat (I wonder what they do with it?). The balls were a savoury tomato flavour and touch of acidity;
- The Athenian Fava 2016 (fava selected from local Santorini farms with caramelised onions, chorizo & tomato confis) - the fava mash was smooth and intense with a smoky nutty flavour. Other bits planted there for contrast. This was truly outstanding and blew my mind about what Santorini fava is (yellow split peas rather than your standard fava/broad beans).

The sun had truly set by the time the mains arrived with the little decorative box turning into a lamp and blankets given to shield from the cool breeze.

- The Athenian Lamb Chop Moussaka 2016 (smoked Santorini eggplant, tahini, potato crisps & feta ceese bechamel) - creamy moussaka mash and mince although I couldn't detect (or see) any eggplant, topped with potato thins and fried onion. A delicious tender medium-cooked lamb chop was spiced with cumin and sat on top. Really good;
- or Fish of the Day 2019 (grilled fillet, piccata sauce of capers, green olives, lemon, basil & onion) - Soft grouper with very crisp skin on bottom and a salty caper topping. An acidic salad balanced out the salinity nicely;
- Lemon & Basil Panna Cotta 2019 (coconut milk, lemon & basil jelly & bergamot sweet preserve) - wobbly soft panna cotta with a very basil and tangy flavour that was great. Soft fruit pieces of preserve decorated the sides;
- The Athenian Baklava 2016 (crispy phyllo pastry, chocolate peanut butter, salty caramel & pistachio nuts) - although this dessert reads like a dream to me, it was actually an odd dessert. The pastry was ultra crisp to the point of crushing everything below in order to break through. It seemed too far from the tradition with the modern flavours not doing it justice.

The meal with excellent overall and quite truly the most romantic setting one could imagine. The meal didn't have any extra dishes or anniversary gifts (other than a keyring that all the females seem to receive) and the service was good rather than great (for example some dishes had little or no explanation depending upon who served it, and similarly the wines were served together to drink progressively rather than course by course).

Nonetheless a lovely experience and one I would do again, although it is difficult to imagine a combination of the weather, low tourist season and being back there that would all fall together so nicely.

D'Berto, O Grove 09-2019

Apparently D'Berto was rated the Top Seafood Restaurant in Spain 2014. That's a huge accolade considering the seafood quality in Spain generally, particularly in Madrid and Galicia. I had been somewhat underwhelmed by the seafood fiesta in O Grove, and although part of me wanted to buy seafood to cook at home, part of me also wanted to go to a restaurant to see what they could do (in what would be probably the last night in O Grove for my lifetime).

Then there was the choice between restaurants, the more standard ones with standard prices, or D'Berto with its reputation and premium prices. I managed to get a Saturday night booking by calling on Friday. Considering it was the seafood fiesta opening weekend, there's a few interpretations - it really isn't that busy a town anyway, or people are happy eating locally rather than paying premium. Maybe a bit of both.

After finding a street carparking spot (not realising until a few minutes later they have their own private carpark), we walked past the front and were immediately confronted by very large crustaceans. The lobsters and langoustines in the tank were enormous, almost certainly the biggest I've ever seen. Once walking inside, some huge clams and percebes were in the display also.

The wait staff spoke English and were very friendly. Essentially they have no limits - order as little as you want of each dish and they will do it for you. Flexibility is always appreciated.

- Galcian broth €6;
- Oysters €4 each and Warty venus clams (carneiro) €2.5 each - both were good with nice flavour. The clams weren't as big (they seemed to not give us the giant ones) or as strong as those I have in London. It was one of the few places where I've preferred the oysters over the clams. I thought the clams were the spiky shelled ones (but I was clearly wrong);
- Percebes grande from Cedeira €19.8 for 100g - quite large, but not the biggest they had there. The largest one served was about thumb sized. It was definitely more satisfying than the thin types I got from the seafood fiesta. They were also cooked in very salty water, maybe just a little too much;
- Crab (necora) €27 - this tiny crab was coated in salt and had crystals on the shell. It made it difficult to eat and stung our lips. I mentioned it to them and they didn't really say anything. I probably should have been more insistent;
- Clams to the Frying Pan €15 for half portion - standard. Didn't need both these and the raw clams;
- Scallops "The Original" €6 for 2 - these were actually very nice grilled (with butter I think) scallops that retained their thickness through the grilling. Very good;
- Fried lobster (bogavante) €44 for 500g - the smallest lobster they had, which was fried in butter. Very nice too. Oddly served with freshly fried chips, that weren't cooked properly such that several were stuck together and therefore soft;
- Cheesecake (tarta de queso) €7 - unusual in that it had a very strong milk flavour to it.

For €159.3 for 2 people, there was good variety but it just didn't seem worth the money. I suppose it feels like they are priding themselves on the size rather than the cooking quality. In fact most things are raw, boiled in very salty water, and the few extras are fried (which is a bit better). For comparison, I'd have to say Ramiro in Lisbon is better (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/cervejaria-ramiro-lisbon-10-2013).

I was disappointed to find they also had charged €1.5pp for the bread and €2 for tap water. That is not a standard in the region and probably should have limited my tip. Oh well. I won't be back.

The Test Kitchen, Cape Town 10-2019

It was lucky that the October reservations for The Test Kitchen only came out in September. It gave me plenty of (last minute) time to read about where I wanted to eat in Cape Town and decide if it was worth paying the R2250 + 12% service to go to The Test Kitchen. The alternative would have been to try The Pot Luck Club, and in hindsight maybe I should have tried both. But there were other food places in Cape Town I liked the sound of and food there is otherwise relatively cheap.

When the bookings were released, I (like many others I'm sure) quickly logged in. I had hoped for an early session but somehow after nabbing one, it got taken and left me with 8pm. Oh well - that's not too bad. Actually since the sunset was around 7pm in October, 8pm worked out really well. It gave us plenty of time to return home after the drive to Franschhoek and more time to digest the large lunch and cheese platter from the afternoon.

This developed section of Woodstock is really quite nice. I've read the surrounding streets are not safe (in the evenings), so it would have been nice to come back during the day or even to the development area in the evening for a more relaxing night. There are security there and also designated door people from the restaurants to keep order and safety. It really is well organised.

Immediately upon entering the industrial and relatively indistinct door, there is the dark room. Dark it is indeed with eyes needing to adjust to see the lovely artwork and sketchings in the walls. After a brief hello and introduction, it is immediately onto welcome drinks and a tour of the world starters.

Sour (lapsang souchong old fashioned) was mildly sour, a bit smoky and very nice. Bitter (num-num & rose) was only mildly bitter, a bit sweet and also very nice.

The Dark Room
- Scotland: Billionaires - chicken liver parfait, porcini mushroom and truffle jelly, topped with 24 carat gold. The standout dish from the San Pellegrino website and it was pretty good I must say, if you like/don't mind the liver taste;
- Korea: Ssamjang Veg - marmite crackers and porcini dust are mixed into ssamjang paste of fermented soy beans. Raw micro vegetables are the vessels to eat it. An excellent delicious umami dip to eat tiny beetroot, carrot, cauliflower etc.;
- England: Pork Scratchings - pork scratchings with vinegar and celeriac dust to dip into a foam of Guinness flour;
- USA: Morel Burger - the world's smallest slider made of a morel mushroom patty. Not bad, could have been stronger flavoured;
- Ethiopia: Berbere Curry & Sheep Amasi - very crispy berbere cracker made from sorghum. Topped with shredded lamb. I could eat these all day long. Sheep cheese amasi (fermented) had a mild flavour unexpectedly;
- Mauritius: Coconut langoustine - langoustine piece with coriander paste, shellfish oil and fried curry leaves. Nice;
- India: Tandoori - perfectly textured swordfish on some slightly smoking coals, topped with cucumber, angel hair chilli, jalapeno. It was warm with a strong flavour and crunchy texture peanut salsa. Excellent morsel.

Then it was through the door with a secret knock into the more conventional The Light Room. We were offered the bar or a standard table, and the bar was the atmospheric place to be in front of the kitchen and with some overly exuberant Americans to the side, 2 having a domestic argument over wine, and an older 2 constantly proclaiming it's the best meal they've ever had (they had left by the time I took my photo of the room).

The Light Room
- Sword Belly "Greek Salad" - light and juicy swordfish served with pickled tomato, olive ice, skordalia dip and feta;
- TTK Lobster Salad, Coconut, Thai Aromatics - possibly my favourite dish with a perfectly balanced flavour profile. Poached lobster served with kalamansi caviar (for the sourness), coconut ice, coconut flesh scooped into little balls, chilli, shredded kaffir lime, and tiny basil and perilla. Drizzled with lobster oil and a nam pla dressing. Simply perfect;
- bread - sage beurre noisette glazed bread with snoek butter. Very soft and buttery bread and very mildly smoked fish flavour to the butter;
- Butterfish Bibimbap - teriyaki butterfish which was very soft and served with 3 types of kimchi vegetables, masterstock caviar, mushrooms and sushi rice. Very good to mix all around although I feel like gochujang is needed for true bibimbap;
- Sundy Roast - red wood smoked beef didn't make the flavour smoky but lightly accentuated beef tartare flavour. It was very soft and tender chunks of meat, horseradish cream and celery dust;
or daily special of Beef Sweetbread - pancetta wrapped sweetbread with walnut port jus. I'm not sure which sweetbread it was but they said it was beef. The texture was very creamy and soft (like brain, but it wasn't brain);
- Butter Poached Kingklip, Chestnut Jam, Snoek Extraction - kingklip fish with an excellent tempura cabbage on top. Served with snoek fish stock and a side of saffron mash;
or "Pap En Vleis" - local South African specialty Karoo lamb with a bolognese sauce. Full of flavour. Lamb was ok for tenderness, could have been more so;
- Rabbit & Ham in Two Servings - soft pork belly skin although the skin wasn't that crisp, cooked until only a thin fat layer remained. Tender rabbit rolls and celeriac foam. Served with a strong meaty sauce with rabbit chunks and topped with another micro vegetable.

Desserts from Light to Dark
- Rhubarb Trifle, Elderflower, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose & Mascarpone - very wine-y flavour and light;
- Pear, Jerusalem, Bourbon Oak, Pine, Sheep's Milk, Espresso - lovely poached pear, pistachio crumb and bourbon ice cream;
- Petit fours 1 - foie gras jam donut, crushed peanut snow and dessert wine
- Petit fours 2 - a tiny trifle to bring the meal back full circle to the box.

There was a creative non-alcohol drinks option of Tea Pairing for R500. Each was served in a wine glass and cold. They all had nice light flavours, a bit of fruity, a bit of sweet, and complemented the food well.

I thought the meal was creative, balanced and overall good, with some definite standout dishes (for me the ssamjang veg, lobster salad in particular). My partner thought it was outstanding. I'm glad we went and experienced one of the best restaurants in the world. I don't feel the need to return though and would do to The Pot Luck Club next time in Cape Town.

The Test Kitchen Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Accent, London 07-2019

During the (now quite long ago) trip to India, the best Indian restaurant in New Delhi was noted to be likely either Indian Accent or Varq (for modern), Dum Pukht or Bukhara (for traditional). All sounded great and in the end I chose Varq (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/varq-delhi-01-2015) and Bukhara (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/bukhara-delhi-01-2015). Indian Accent is actually #60 in The World's Top 50 restaurants for 2019 and #17 in the Asia list.

Fate would have it that several years later Indian Accent would open a London branch in the expensive curry area of Mayfair alongside Gymkhana and others I haven't been able afford yet.

Indian Accent is certainly no cheap one either, but a special occasion meant that the price would have to come second to me getting one long term place off my eating list. Interestingly enough the clientele was unexpectedly Indian for the most part. However there were also some rich obnoxious loud Greek men with their much younger females. The waiter apologised but it's not his fault some people have too much money.

The cocktail Green chilli sour (hari mirch infused tequila, lemon oleo saccharum, mezcal) £13 was perfect. A drink with decent alcohol, smoke, chilli and a bit of tart/tang for balance. Really excellent.

Amuse bouche of a cheese stuffed naan and a delicious shot of spiced pumpkin soup started proceedings.

- Tofu masala, shishito pepper, quinoa puffs £9 - for a first choice I expected a few small expensive bites, but this was a a decent size starter of tofu fried with crisp puff texture for contrast;
- Tadka hamachi, avocado, calcutta chutney £17 - hamachi (he said it was a type of tuna, but it isn't quite) served raw with pieces of pomegranate, avocado (that was too hard and underripe) and some roe. It was actually very delicious;
- Baked sea bass, amritsari masala butter, sweet corn kadhi £25 - a nicely cooked fillet spiced with masala and served on top of kind of textured mash;
- Ghee roast lamb, roomali roti pancakes, chutneys £28 - I expected a roasted joint and ended up with a DIY set of condiments for wraps. There was coriander sauce, a spicy tamarind sauce (that actually tasted more sweet like hoisin), a strong garlic one and a moderately hot green chilli. It was fun compiling it all together and the flavours were good. A hot green chilli was available for the daring;
- Black dairy dal £7.5 - unusually sweet version for what I'm used to and less creamy. Still nice;
- Wild mushroom kulcha, truffle oil drizzle £6.5 - a bread stuffed with mushrooms and with some truffle flavour. Nice but I don't think it went well with the other dishes we ordered;
- 'Aamras', mangoes, cardamom cheese cake, summer berries £11.5 - a beautiful dessert. The cheesecake wasn't as strong in cardamom as I hoped (others could taste it more) and the mango sauce was very nice;
- complimentary Doda barfi treacle tart, vanilla bean ice-cream - a moist sweet warm cake with dotted icecream on top. For our special occasion.

The food is definitely nice, well executed and presented. For the price I do think I would prefer Farzi. Nonetheless I'm happy to have been here.

Dominique Ansel Bakery, London 04-2019

The inventor of the cronut and World's Best Pastry Chef 2017 has this London store that isn't the most conveniently located (ok, it isn't that far away but I don't go to Victoria very often) where the wares are on sale and display. And they all look delicious I might add. Lots of people ogle and decide what to choose and how much to spend. Funnily enough the cronuts aren't (or weren't this day) on display at the counter and so I didn't see anyone in front of me order them. Silly them.

Takeaway is cheaper than eat in (although to be honest you could probably just sit after getting your takeaway and they wouldn't mind...

The cronut £4.5 TA is designed with one flavour topping per month. For April is was topped with raspberry. The icing probably wasn't that necessary (or maybe it would be to break through and add contrast to the cronut alone) but the cronut itself was excellent. Sweet, crisp, soft insides. More donut than croissant.

I also like kouign amman £4.1 TA (affectionately known here as Dominique's Kouign Amman or DKA which is a homage to diabetic ketoacidosis) since tasting the syrup soaked delicacies in Brittany (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/le-petits-caprices-rochefort-en-terre-06-2017). These were much less sweet and wet than the traditional ones but still good and more buttery than the cronuts.

Both were good, I probably prefer the cronut more.

The cakes also look delicious at between £6-8 each. I'll have to try one or two next time when my sugar levels are at a low.

Dominique Ansel Bakery Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Don Julio, Buenos Aires 11-2016

Argentina is known for beef and the parrilla. Therefore all carnivores naturally should eat the meats on offer at a respectable parrilla. Of course there are cheap ones and higher end ones and not all beef and not all chefs are created equally. After testing the parrilla waters and enjoying Patagonian specialties at La Tablita (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/la-tablita-el-calafate-11-2016), the cheap everyday version at Nuestro Parrilla, and also something in between as El Desnivel (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/el-desnivel-buenos-aires-11-2016), it was time to finish with the reputed star of the show. La Brigada was another nearby option in San Telmo and La Cabrera another big reputation place, but I couldn't go back the San Pellegrino rating for Don Julio in the decision.

Don Julio is listed in the SP Top 50 Latin American restaurants this year at #21. For a steakhouse that's a pretty big accolade. For it to therefore be the highest rated parrilla in Argentina is another accolade. It was convenient that Don Julio was open on Monday which was my last night in BA - if not, I may have been likely to have been there earlier and so the meat journey may have descended rather than finishing with the culmination.

The neighbourhood of Palermo is nice to walk through, although I wish I'd know the nicest looking streets to walk down are probably Armenia from Costa Rica onwards, and so spent less time above it closer to Plaza Italia. Nonetheless walking from MALBA to Palermo was a good way to initiate hunger. The reservation was at the opening time of 7pm, very early for a BA dinner. I'm glad though because it was a nice time to eat, leave just as night was settling in to catch the bus back to San Telmo. Additionally from about 8pm onwards, there was a constant large group of people waiting outside having a drink and waiting for a table.

I really would have liked to have tried a starter of fried empanadas, mollejas (sweetbreads) or kidney, or the provoleta or chorizo. In hindsight I should have starved myself more tactically beforehand but in the end I came for beef and was leaving with beef in my stomach. The SP information page says the owner recommends housecuts like rump and skirt. I'll be honest and say I wanted that sirloin has been my favourite cut since the meal at A511 (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/511-tokyo-01-2012) when I finally understood that at the highest end fillet gives you a tiny bit of extra tenderness for a lot less flavour. My sirloin was asked for "MUY jugoso" and then confirmed in English as rare. What surprised me was the waiter asking how we wanted the ribs, "medium?" The question took me by surprise and I never knew ribs were cooked to order as always low and slow but cooked through, especially since undercooking the ribs will mean the meat sticks to the bone. Sure, medium sounds good.

A large selection of bread is served initially with a mixed chilli/chimichurri, a tomato and onion salsa, butter and 3 strengths of EVOO. I've never been given a choice of EVOO strength before and naturally the strongest and best was quite grassy.

- Bife de Chorizo ancho (thick sirloin steak) ARS311 - an immaculate piece of perfectly rare meat, with a nicely seasoned crust and exceptional slightly salty flavour to the meat. It was wonderfully tender and a joy to eat without needing any condiments;
- 1/2 Asado de Tira (short ribs) ARS333 - medium ribs served medium with a pinkish hue belying the tender layers of meat and fat in short cross section. Similarly exceptional flavour, probably a little stronger saltiness than the sirloin given the higher ratio of Maillard surface. The softest beef ribs I've had without exception (although expectedly less tender than the sirloin);
- Salad of quinoa, roasted squash, toasted hazelnuts, green onion, fresh mint ARS165 - the salad was presented beautifully at the table. The waiter asked which strength of EVOO to add then proceeded to mix everything up before I could take my photo. Oh well. The salad was a nice complement of textures and some balsamic added for tang;
- dessert of caramel flan with cream and dulce de leche ARS125 - this was an unnecessary sweetener to finish the meal. It was fine but if I had stomach space, I'd go for a meat appetiser next time.

Are they the best pieces of beef I've ever eaten? The ribs is an easy yes for that cut. The sirloin may be (perhaps second only to 511 but different prices, availability and reasons to enjoy each) and if not then equally or pretty damn close. Both cuts were superb and if again I'd probably opt for the sirloin of the two. However the best would be to go with a few extra people and share the full rack of ribs or a ribeye and some starters.

It makes me wonder how good Asador Etxebarri is to be highest rated woodfired grill and smoke in the world. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long to find out.

El Baqueano, Buenos Aires 11-2016

Buenos Aires has a heap of restaurants in the San Pellegrino Latin America Top 50 Restaurants list. Choosing one for a special meal was very difficult with the competition including Tegui (9), El Baqueano (13), Don Julio (21), Aramburu (26), Elena (31), La Cabrera (33), Chila (35) and Pura Tierra (50).

I'd already skipped Borago (3) in Santiago so this choice had to be made carefully. I automatically removed anything that wasn't Argentinean but that really didn't change much. In the end the appeal of local "indigenous meats" as is advertised such as llama, alligator and the such from all over Argentina won out. Additionally being located so close to my Airbnb in San Telmo certainly helped too.

I was sent the degustation menu via email when I made the booking. On the night itself no menu was presented (perhaps they thought I wouldn't be able to decipher a cryptic gourmet Spanish menu anyway) and simply informed it was a 9 course degustation menu (for ARS1300) and emphasised the theme of all local ingredients around Argentina. It was surprising for a Thursday night that there were so few diners in a Top 50 Restaurant but I suppose there's so much choice in BA including the other top rated places.

Apertivo Consome de Setas (Costa Atlantico)
- This dish comprised of many forms of mushroom from the coast. It started as the visuals of powder and mushroom pieces in the bowl then the mushroom wine consumé was added at the table. The textured ranged from crumbly powder (that stuck rather than dissolved), slimy pieces (not unpleasantly so) soaked in vinegar and a mild watery broth;

Aguachile de Vegetables de Estacion
- A "ceviche" of seasonal vegetables including asparagus, some kind of taro-like root, cucumber, dill and edible flowers. The carrot-looking pieces were made of egg yolk. It was topped with an asparagus sorbet (strong and unusual) and at the table with a lemon, cucumber and chilli dressing. It was very refreshing, well balanced chilli, citrus and tangy, and multiple textures;

Bread arrived after the 2nd course (a little odd for timing) and consisted of a mild garlic white, rye and a salt crystalled (and thus most flavoursome of the 3) focaccia.

Crudo de Llama, Quinoa, Amaranto (Desierto Andino)
- My favourite dish of the night was a llama carpaccio from Salta which had a surprisingly mild flavour like fish. I did expect something more game tasting. Amaranth crackers enabled picking up of the meat. The most impressive part was actually the trio of coloured quinoa, half cooked first then either fried or roasted (or both) which had a sensational crunchy texture and a wealth of grain flavour;

Pil Pil al Reves (Atlantico Sur)
- A delicious dish of translucent, soft prawns from Puerto Madryn with still a slight crunch. Tiny clear krill added extra flavour and the orange sauce (of unclear origin, perhaps prawn brains?) and olive oil were beautifully mopped up with the bread until none was left. Potato garlic crackers were there but I much favoured the bread-soak method;

Roca de Mar Mimetica (Atlantico Sur)
- This dish was identified as Camouflaged Sea Rocks and left to determine the ingredients ourselves. It turned out to be a soft but meaty and stringy white salmon coated by black vegetable colour (not squid ink or charcoal) with a delicate mild salty flavour. There was wasabi yoghurt, floret cracker of kale, and egg white and seaweed sponge. So much variety of texture and hints of flavour;

Wanton de Sudado (Dorado)
- Perhaps I have a different concept of wonton. This skin was very thick and dense and neither crisp nor soft. It housed dorado riverfish and topped with bonito flakes wilting and dancing. The consumé made from the fish had a strong umami and slight chilli edge;

Liebre Patagonica, Espuma de Hibiscus (Meseta Patagonica)
- This was indigenous meat at its finest. Delicious tender Patagonian hare glowing red. Unlike typical white and dry rabbit presentations, this was incredibly soft and tender with a mild flavour. The flavour wasn't gamey and overall flavour/texture similar to the best chicken you've never had. It was accompanied by a berry combination of fresh blueberries, red berry emulsion and dried blueberries and raspberries;

Limpiabocas Estacional
- A palate cleanser where again was asked to determine the ingredients. It was a basil, mint & parsley granita served with a citrus emulsion, green apple pannacotta, celery (looked like thin slices of onion) and bouncy pieces of cucumber. Overall sweet & refreshing;

Buñuelo, Papelon
- Yucca potato that acted like Greek loukoumades with a bready wheat middle and mild crisp shell. Two icecreams of soft sugar and delicious arroz con leche (rice pudding) flavours accompanied.

Finally petit four of peanut brittle, biscuit with dulce de leche and a small piece of meringue finished the procession.

After many months since the last fine dining meal, it was nice to briefly return to this realm. I couldn't say it was the best meal I've had but it certainly a creative tour around Argentina with dishes I could never make from ingredients I could never access, and that's something I'm happy to pay for. I had hoped there would be more "meats" as such and the dishes that showcased this - llama, prawn, hare - worked exceptionally. If you add white salmon and dorado I suppose 5 out of 9 for meats isn't a low ratio to complain about.

Pierre Herme, Paris 06-2016

It must be nice to be awarded the 2016 San Pellegrino Best Pastry Chef in the World.

It must be nice to credited as having the best macarons in the world.

Although I'm not huge on macarons, it seemed difficult to pass up the opportunity to try them. This particular store in Galeries Lafayette  Maison (35 boulevard Haussmann) serves macarons but not pastries so I'll have to leave the latter to another time.

The macarons eaten included the recommended, popular and award winning mogador (milk chocolate with passionfruit) and montebello (half strawberry, half pistachio). The flavours are nice and sweet but not sickeningly so. The flavour starts off very lightly and intensifies at the end. What is most impressive is that the shells are soft and delicate, unlike the firm crispy versions I've sampled elsewhere all over the world. This is refinement.