All reader reviews by Vince75016

Hawksmoor Guildhall

steak!!!!'s a piece of steak on a white plate....

nice though.....but come on......this isn't cooking....

sides??? OK-ish. Bearnaise......maybe they should learn how to make it...I could teach them....

service nice but very pushy on spending....rude when you ask for a Chateaubriand 600 g for 2 to say "sorry but we have only it ok?"...cheeky

never again.....

I like real food and real creativity in it's for people who eat to survive....not to appreciate.

and on top of's one of the noisiest place I've been in the UK......good luck for listening and get ready for aspirin in the end..

Shame to waste such amazing decor with that kind of food......

Friday, February 17, 2012
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 1

The Hand & Flowers

I don’t even know where to start, seriously. Hand and flowers is this kind of place - not being their fault - but trapped into the endlessness vicious circle of Michelin establishment and early stage rating and granted 2 stars by the Michelin guide in the 2012 edition. OK this is nice, this friendly, this is overwhelming…but STOP with young staff, waiting for you (as we were 36 min late – our fault, I’ve to say).

This is a fact, after 7 years being living in the UK I’ve always been easy with the rating of restaurants in the country, trying to identify the difference and understand. When we go back to France, I do feel the rating is more serious and professional than in the British country one. However I’ve so say it’s sometime difficult to even understand, within the UK itself. From the lovely Sportsman in Whistable with 1 star, where despite being served the classical tasting menu, at least they had the decency of showing a certain hospitality, to Alain Ducasse in London, there is a huge gap (of price as well).

From most starred restaurant in the world, to the best places in France and the UK, I’ve to say, that in this particular occasion we reached the level of the ridiculous. Certainly supported by an unexperienced staff, lovely crew of people, but young.

Not for the respect of the chef, certainly not. After a full meal I think I had quite a decent experience for 3 hours. But come on, this is not acceptable to compare some places in the UK to the Hand and Flowers. How can this be marked 2 stars. This is illogical and can't be reproduced.

This is not acceptable to compare the Green House (two stars) in London to this pub, or the Maison Lassere in Paris, all those teams in the world suffering every day to bring an experience, a moment in the life for you and me. This is not simply acceptable to compare the Gavroche or Joel Robuchon to the H/S. Even the Mid-Summer which I detailed over a full post was to be applauded in this particular day. Something is going wrong in the Michelin rating establishment and we will have to understand what is happening.

Is it a kind of mafia surrounding the French established born guide ….. carrying what they did for the some recently recognized Chef in the world, and almost being creating a subsidiaries of connection with some grown up chef.

I’m seriously fed up with this outrageous way of the Michelin guide to establish new scales, new benchmarking where there is definitely none. This is a real downfall and this is bad from a guide which has established a reputation of regularity and impartiality in their judgment. I will take the example of some Tailevent in Paris. How dare would you rate Taillevent the same level as the Hand and Flowers? How rude is that.

Am I missing the point here? Are we saying the UK Michelin got a different rating as the rest of the world? Then if the anwer to that question is a Yes, then I’m giving up. I though Michelin was establishing a global and standard level of rating all cross the world and this is what we’re paying for? This would be my mistake.

Here Tom Kerridge, with all the best respect I got for his talent since I’ve seen him in Great British Menu, I can’t understand how you could have the respect to be part of the group of established Michel Roux or Joel Robuchon and not being ashamed of been awarded the same level on a simple pub in the middle of Marlow. I would be you, I would write to the Michelin headquarter telling that there must be a misunderstanding.

The first minute of this moment, when we arrived, I think we all been shocked almost.…was close to nothing....I think I almost thought for two seconds that we must have made a mistake and this is not the place we were suppose to open the door....maybe it's was 200 meters IT WAS THERE.

on top of that, like Matthew Norman for the telegraph said here, “It’s the absolutely generic Home Counties gastropub,” with a referenced Classic Posh Pub Décor No 4 (B).

We arrive, we see a nice pub, a team chatting, a usual hesitation on taking your clothes and then the noisy dining room, then the waitress telling you that you’re late (which of course, you apologise and I suggested we could take the dessert/coffee in another room to arrange, we’re flexible…..but no other option I’m told)….are you sure this is the place you’re coming to have a Sunday roast?? Almost surreal.

Two Stars? This is a joke!!

My god….Michelin Guide UK is driving the people nuts by doing this kind of analogy. This is really bad, and this is not even the fault of mister Kerridge. Seriously.

The Michelin star in the UK is not on the first time proceeding to this kind of operation. They did it recently in 2011 for Arbutus in London. Same scenario, as the good (or bad) surprise was random and unexpected from the staff (I’ve been told by an established 1 star chef – friend of mine).

Come on Michelin team, you can do better and be realistically independent. Stop trying to ruin the level you established in other countries by just rushing and creating stars where there is none. This is a competition, but a real high level one. You’re destroying the credibility of your own establishment by acting as such.

I’ve been recently to the Elephant in Torquay* and this was a far better experience than the Hand and Flowers….how weird.

Also I’ve to say, on top of that, we’ve been commended to leave the table for a certain time….what the hell is that…if you’re a 2 stars…you deal with that, aren’t you? I can’t wait to see serious people coming to your restaurant (pub), some people who are filling up the places like Gavroche or Robuchon un Tokyo….there will be an issue…I’m telling you.

Stop it Michelin……

In essence…..forget about this place, as a 2 stars this is simply NOT a good pub...yes, certainly one of the best .... but in this case I would put 1 star to the Great-house in Lavenham then.

This is stupid, as if the food can be nice….and the fact than such a bad start can ruin the full experience.

But about the food, I'll not even comment about it as I use to do usually….as I’ve been so much disgusted by the treatment and the rudeness of the management and staff.

Enjoy the photos below and I'll make short comments....rude as they could have been....but still fair.

Braised Pearl Barley, pan fried foie gras with Orange Oil and Sommerset Hare

Interesting one, with the crackling effect of the pearl. Overall interesting, nice try on the combo of orange and foie gras (maybe a variation of the Heston classic). But I'm afraid the orange flavour is too subtle, the hare totally disappear in the sauce. Over all feeling a richness more than flavour. Nice but not fantastic.

Salt Cod Scotch Egg with Chorizo, red pepper sauce

Quite nice flavour, I've to say, but you'll tell me it's a big bacalao with a chorizo base. Good point for the red pepper purée....superb to balance the chorizo.

Parsley soup with smoked Eel, Bacon and Parmesan Tortelini.

The winner without any doubt. Amazing parley potage (not velouté in this case). the eel was supberly balancing the herb effect.

Breast of Suffolk chicken with Pistachio crumble, lovage poached turnips, Soft Polenta and Winter Truffle

I was my first attempt, what a shame. I'll not reveal the location of the intruder. However the flavour of the truffle was sublimed by the richness of the creamy polenta. I'm afraid the turnips didn't turn up (ahahaha) as being the most flavoury vegetable to go with this dish. However the chicken was super moist and the creamy polenta was adding so much value to the overall combo. The pistachio crust was just sumptuous. Well done. Shame I didn't finish it.

Red Wine Braised Shin of Beef, with Hand and Flowers carrot and Shin sauce. (Replacement)

My second main course, I have to say has totally rebalanced the overall drama. The carrot slow cooked in somewhat an essence of flower I guess, was just the best carrot I had ever. The sous vide technique is bringing here a sweet carrot, glazed at the last minute. Stunning.

And the beef shin, covered with a layer of simple potatoe purée, all wrapped in caul fat. The beef was superb, maybe a little bit rich again. But this is a very good traditional dish. Almost a boeuf Bourguignon, revisited.

Cornish Day boat Skate, with bacon roast parsnips, trompette, cockles and lardo.

I've tried also this one. I'm afraid we all agree the skate was dry. On this kind of variation around a Classical Grenobloise Skate dish, I would have expected a kind of noisette butter on the side.

Essex Lamb “bun” with sweetbreads and salsa verde.(closed)

Essex Lamb “bun” with sweetbreads and salsa verde (open)

This one was of course the most impressive. Just by the look. However, seem like the expectation was again too high. When you open it you'll find a nicely wrapped in caul fat lamb minced meat. Surprisingly no sweetbreads as they've been mixed up in the meat.

I would cook this same dish, I would separate the 2 elements, do one big for the lamb, one for the sweetbreads, as the client can enjoy the combo like a game. This would have been more ludic and the client would have enjoyed the flavour separately.

Amazing good point here for the Salsa Verde, the best one I've ever tried. Purée of Parsley, Garlic and Olive oil.....simple but done to PERFECTION.

Tonka Bean Panacotta, poached Rhubarb, ginger wine jelly and rhubarb sorbet.

I've to say this one, despite a really non glamorous presetnation was from far the best dish on that day. Light but creamy. Full of flavor and I've to confess I'm not the biggest fan of rubarhb as well. The sorbet was stunning, the jelly tasteless...unfortunately. But overall a WINNER

Warm Pistachio Sponge cake, melon sorbet and marzipan

This one was defo my favourite, as I LOVE melon. Very surprising to have melon in the middle of Jan, but who cares. I was essentially tempted by the pistachio sponge cake. I have to say my pistachio financier are stronger in flavour than this one. I like the chequers of melon. Nice one also.

Hand and Flowers Chocolate Cake, salted caramel and Muscovado Ice Cream

Maybe the boring one. Chocolate.......again!! and certainly not the the WOW you'll expect. Nice ganache made of good quality chocolate, but the texture was somewhat too creamy. The Salted caramel and muscovado Ice cream was low in flavor and I've to say, this version of this dessert a the Elephant in Torquay was far more futher comments.


To put an end to this bad story, I even had to claim to cancel the price of counted replacement dish???? …….in a history of good food and Michelin star, this is a pure disappointment, leaving me with anger against my favourite guide and the fact that some people are currently committing into the selling of the quite old and established guide. We’re losing in quality and independence. This is a shame.

I hope this is not the start or even continuity of a downfall. I’m working to make people understand the real rating established a long time ago by people with passion. Recently the Michelin guide has committed a self-suicide by promoting too many places ….and not really looking to their own rating benchmark or policy guide. I would recommend to those people currently working at Michelin to travel more. To experience more places in the world. To come back to the root of the rating and system they implemented. Also to the Management to introduce some level of double checking (I can’t possibly conceve that the H/F has been double checked in this case).

You should go to Tokyo messieurs. You should go to Paris or Spain messieurs. How can you rate Noma, Robuchon, Gavroche, Carré de Feuillants, …..or even Mid-Summer with a 2 stars when you are rating 2 star at Hand and Flower.

I would recommend you to extend your bib gourmand to different level…..this would be wiser.

As a lover of food and quality…….I’m sorry Hand and Flowers is a nice pub…maybe the best….but this is a PUB. Don’t get me wrong, this must be the best food I’ve had in a PUB, indeed…..but if you establish a rating with Hibiscus in London, or Taillevent in Paris as challenger….the Hand and Flowers can’t compete….and this is the issue with the rating here.

Please do try to enjoy the food…….unfortunately on shade by the silliness of an international rating established by the Michelin currently falling regulators.

It seems that we’ve got here some similarities with the big financial rating agencies… seems that some food rating agencies are currently diverting from the core established policy to please a maximum of people and maybe to create virtually some stars where there is none…..this could be their downfall soon….the scale you established mister Michelin is not a race, it’s a recognition, and this need to be given fairly. Some people, clearly strong in this industrie will soon dislike your judgment. And I’m starting to be one of the people, and I’m not the only one… that space.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 6 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5


I was expecting more from the Albion runners in Shoreditch...but overall ok. At least if you like Sea'll be pleased.

Don't go for steaks ....even Gaucho is better.

a good spot for silent City Dining with high level collegues...but you can easily find other nice places....and more trendy.

Friday, February 25, 2011
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 5 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 4

The Cow

oh my god.....a gem...

Nice atmosphere...and the food on first floor is simply really nice.

I've to confess the cote de boeuf was just unbelievable....and the venison as well...

and nice not too pricey choice of wonderful oyesters...

I'll be back....I love it..

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8

La Petite Maison

went there on last saturday,

except that definitly this is the "in the crowd" and very loud atmosphere, the food is so perfect that it balances overall the disagrement of the noise.

Anyhow I'll advise to book on of the table on the terrace.....definitly better.

The service is correct. The food is totally perfect......enjoy...

Monday, June 01, 2009
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 10 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 7


Went there for 1st time after a long time of being told about the famous MPW place. And now I have to say, wow...I'm impressed.

Creativity, excellent service, perfect dressing table with cristal glasses and silver place setting. You feel like in a proper restaurant....a classy one I mean.

Then the menu....not over priced...starters between 8 and 10 and main 12 or 14....easy .....simple. And the's all about flavor and creativity here.

in brief, this restaurant will now be my favorite restaurant in London.......well done Mr MPW.

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9

The Gun

went several times in this pub for brunch.....and BBQ in summer time.....just brilliant.....the sight view is awesome...the food really nice...service really friendly....just perfect for Sunday Brunch.....go for it

Saturday, February 09, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 7

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Went last Friday for diner with friends (5 total). Had first drinks @ the top floor bar, really cosy, lovely intimate place, amazing cocktail.

Then come back to the Atelier for diner. Decoration amazing, plates, glasses, .....all crazy.

And then the service, all waiters really cool and funny, doing their best for you to have a great moment.

And then here we are "the Menu"....brilliant.....superb.....what a choice...loads of really "high class" product and idea. I took the "foie Gras" then the "ris de veau"....all full a flavors and fragrance....superb again.

The list of wines perfect as well.

Facinating dessert (Dome Croquant) with a Viennoi Chocolate dressed on a gold Meringue.... crazy..

in brief, one of the best restaurant in town.

We finish by the top floor bar with Cognacs.....


But perfection have a price......

Monday, February 05, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7

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