Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Harrods London

Introduction: Harrods food halls at Knightsbridge are a feast for the eyes
Ambience: Every food counter is overcrowded making it slow to get a seat and claustrophobic when you do

Service: Feels like a pub with bright lights

Food: Seafood, Oyster bar and sandwich bar. King size sandwiches toasted - tongue beef or cornbeef One sandwich and a handsome but not very good glass of wine a mere A$50

Comments: Go there to see it or perhaps to be seen Not to eat
Score: 13/20

Sushi Hiroba London

Introduction: Part of an International chain this one at 50 Kingsway London
Ambience: Utilitarian

Service: Self serve and waiter service

Food: Typical Japanese sushi, sashimi and a variety of small dishes go past on different coloured plates on a conveyor belt. Green tea Udon soup and other dishes can be ordered. The quality is very ordinary

Wine: Saki is available

Price: A$65 barely filled a cavity in one tooth

Comments: Expensive and poor value

Score:13 /20

Restaurant Bilbao Berria Barcelona

Introduction: ATapas house on the Cathedral square
Ambience: Crowded with rapidly changing clientelle

Service: Efficient

Food: Moderate variety Mussels stuffed with crab meat are very tasty as was thevegetarian eggplant and pepper construction. Elvers (called Angula here) which look like long white worms and are actually eel larvae, are a delicate specialty

Wine: House wine is barely acceptable

Price: Most tapas cost between A$3-6 depending on size

Comments: Excellent for a snack or meal

Score:13.5 /20

Restaurant Colón Barcelona

Introduction: Attached to the excellently placed hotel of the same name at Avenida da Catedral, 7.
Ambience: A very pleasant room

Service: Laughable pleasantly incompetent

Food: In a word AWFUL. The prawns in the prawn salad entree had not been cleaned and contained grit in the intestine The pumpkin soup was thin but acceptable Paella marinara had a recently deep frozen langoustine sitting an a bed of rice with a few limpits. Their special local fish only known in this area was inedible -extremely fatty with an overwhelmingly strong fishy taste. The ox sirloin requested blue came medium and the laquered lamb was as dry as a chip - cooked to death

Wine: The only good thing was the Domaine de Nidoleres, Syrah, 2002 - we needed 2 bottles!!
Price: Not cheap four dried little rolls cost A$11 3 entrees 4 mains and coffee and petit fours which I could not find on the bill came to A$270 Entrees about A$22 mains about A$40

Comments: I must say the staff were very nice

Score:11.5 /20

La Galvinos - Barcelona

Introduction: Facing the Marina at the port area of Barcelona. The many outside tables were empty at 10.00 pm on this winters night. Despite the hour staff greeted us warmly (almost fawning) and diners continued to arrive well after us the kitchen closing at about 11.30
Ambience: Gave me a vague feeling as tho I was on a shipwith huge porthole windows looking into the kitchen

Service: Plenty of uniformed staff for the number of diners meant as much attention as we wanted

Food: We started with the fish and shellfish soup Thick and filled with plenty of fish and prawns it was a good beginning. The mussels mariniere were large and satisfying in a slightly sweet thick tomato soup very much to my taste. The sweetness seems to come from the tomatos which are tastier than those in Australia

For mains I had the Angler fish in a thick fish sauce packed with oyster mushrooms and eggplant. Despite being much firmer (and less delicate ) than the one I had in Rome a year ago it was a very good dish
On the other hand the Hake with shellfish was extremely delicate. The flesh of this fish, also not available in Australia, very white and very fine. Wine: The house white was quite acceptable but the red rather rough
Price: We paid A$160 Starters A$12-20 Mains about A$45 You pay for bread everywhere in Spain

Comments: There are some meat dishes available but this is really a fish restaurant

Score: 15/20


Introduction: I don`t know if this specialist fish restaurant at Gran de Gra`n, 81 Barcelona has Michelin stars or not but it deserves them

Ambience: Bustling with waiters and patrons. A large display case is filled with awards and includes a Chaine des Rotisseurs chain. Photograhs of patrons includePresident Clinton and heaps of film stars and glitteratae. There is a long counter at which some ate presumably because the restaurant was full but most diners are seated at white linen covered tables

Service: White coated waiters are efficient but unhurried, considerate and willing to spend time on explanations

Food: We took our waiters recommendationfor 2 entreés and 2 mains

The crab salad in a light olive oil was exquisite with plenty of fine almost sweet crab meat
The grilled prawns were astonishingly tasty. Smaller but much sweeter than the Australian prawn they are caught 100 km up the coast. Only about 20kgm are caught each day for the whole of Spain and they could not be fresher ~ alive only a few hours ago
The Spiny Lobster (about A$170/ kgm) served with a mayonaise or a red mild sauce was again remarkable for the taste of the flesh
Finally the Sea Bass - a queen of fish, served with a cream sauce and sliced potato left us totally satisfied.
Wine: Again on our waiters advice a bottle of Bojus del Rios from the Galicia area proved to be an excellent accompaniment to the meal
Incidently they did have a few meat dishes available
There were complimentary sweets and Muscat to finish
Price: About A$430 but $300 if we did not have lobster
Comment: Undoubtedly a top restaurant
Score 18/20