Epic Fail… (Review: Epic)

31 May 2018

After that excellent but boozy dinner at Motor Supply Company Bistro in Columbia, I made my way back north of the state to Greenville and had some BBQ, and — far more importantly, some needed rest. Didn’t help that I had to go to the airport at 5am the next day to fly to Atlanta, as I was snaking south-west from there into Alabama. I always enjoy spending some time in this often-misjudged state. But after a long day I wound back to the border town of Phenix City, where I was staying for the night.

Not the best hotel, but what can you do… Dinner was across state lines into Columbus, Georgia. I’m hoping dinner at Epic will be epic, as I’ve seen quite a surprising amount of good write-ups from this restaurant that is a hike from both Atlanta and Montgomery. I got there and it looks quite posh, although not very busy this early Thursday evening. I took a seat at the bar as they put my table together, and shifted there soon after — a nice big banquette for myself. Not a bad starting cocktail as I looked over the menu.

I made my decisions and continued to enjoy that cocktail as a small amuse arrived.

AB-cheese blini

Hmmm, nothing really to write home about. Nevertheless I then looked over the wine menu and ordered a glass in anticipation of my first. Now why did they bring a pair of chopsticks? I shuddered when the dish arrived…

1-octopus

I immediately smelled fish sauce. Huh? It was advertised as “kabayaki” — but I suspect the kitchen had no idea what kabayaki is. It tasted acidic and that fish sauce aroma stuck around…if ever there was a sauce you can call “anti-kabayaki” this may be it. This dish is a total shambles…

I picked off the octopus, which was not bad, after I let the sauce drain off… This dish is like a bad love-child between a PF Chang’s franchise and an arrogant culinary school drop-out that couldn’t be bothered to learn the basics. Just really shockingly bad…

I drank more to get that awful sauce taste out of my mouth before the second dish arrived, the duck…

2-duck

Now the meat itself was cooked quite nicely and it seems to be sourced well, but the sauce was just an acidic, fruity mess. What is going on, is there a mad saucier back there? Again, I just waited for the sauce to drain off the duck as much as possible before eating it.

And as annoying as the food was, there was a table near me blasting media. Come on, this is a nice restaurant! And of course staff do nothing about it, which shows how classy the place really is. It’s all a façade, a Potemkin Gramercy Tavern. Sigh…

I didn’t say anything to the staff about this, but couldn’t resist passing on my flabbergast over the “anti-kabayaki” to my server. And of course, the server did not return to even take a dessert order or a drinks order, and I lost my patience. I just asked the runner for my bill. My server then did return to bring the kitchen’s apology and comped a sherry, but by then the game was over and I was counting the seconds before exiting those doors…

This was such a poor evening I don’t know what’s worse — the poor execution, or the poor ideas. I have no idea how people could think this was top-notch, when the kitchen didn’t even know how to bluff something. Sadly, places like this gives southern kitchens a bad reputation as being out-of-touch, borderlining on ignorant and hick-ish.

If Motor Supply the other day showed how good a southern kitchen can be in a small city, Epic was an EPIC FAIL in that same quest.

Epic
1201 Front Avenue, Suite E
Columbus, Georgia

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Review: Hopkins

9 May 2018

Luckily I had that filling and excellent dinner at Mon Lapin last night, as I had a very busy day in Montréal that also involved hiking some very steep hills. And of course, it was unseasonably warm in town, I had brought the damn heat again. Ugh… Sweaty… But hours of it helped to burn off last night’s excess…

What didn’t help was lunch of a really fabulous and rich fatty at Schwartz’s, the fabulous home of smoked meat sandwiches in Montréal. That helped lull me to take a quick nap in the afternoon heat…

Luckily dinner was on the late side, as I headed to Monkland Village. I plowed through the mostly anglophone crowd to get to my dinner destination, Hopkins. I’ve read so many good things about this place I was really looking forward to it. I was secretly hoping I’ve discovered my “new Hôtel Herman” — after the fabulous restaurant that I frequent each time I come to town that sadly closed due to the pissiness of the landlord (what’s fucking new?).

I sat at the bar and I immediately regretted which side of the bar I sat at, since being next to the service station also meant servers were just loitering so close to my space at times I thought one was gonna put his elbow into my wine. Plus, that one in question seems to have just been hired, and he was being trained right during service…sigh…

I enjoyed a cocktail and ordered 2 dishes, told the kitchen to bring them out as they see fit. I enjoyed some wine when the first item came out, the duck ravioli.

1-duck ravioli

Oh, this was excellent. Lovely flavours all around, and the ravioli were cooked perfectly. Cutting them open, releasing the duck egg, was just a treat. Really excellent, with some duck prosciutto adding to the overall appeal. A really excellent dish! My night is looking quite good!

Another glass in hand, I waited for the second dish — which I thought would have come out first. But in the meantime I was getting annoyed at that new server who really started to crowd my space for absolutely NO REASON. And really, training staff when it’s a full house at 8pm? In any case, my second course arrived, the roasted vegetables…

2-roasted veg

My heart sank when I started at these… I love root vegetables, and I’ve had some wonderful ones, for instance from the Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, but this was a pitiful plate. How many different people on the line worked on this? You had items undercooked, overcooked, burnt, funky tasting, and even cold like it’s been sitting around. What the hell?

I know it’s great having a veg plate full of variety, but when the variety is in which way each item sucked…

How a kitchen produced 2 dishes that are polar opposites is beyond me. But this had the effect of turning me off this place, plus that novice server was really annoying me. I just lost my interest. Despite being hungry, I was done, and I finished up and headed out. Plus it was annoyingly warm inside…

Goodness, I really miss Hôtel Herman just about now. Tonight started off well, then just landed in the crapper in such a drastic fall from grace. What an awful, awful vegetable dish that was. You’d fail high school home-ec with that dish!

So glad I had the foresight to have bought a second sandwich from Schwartz’s, just in case this happened, and that ended up being the rest of my dinner… What a joke this Hopkins is…again, overhyped. I miss Hôtel Herman…

Hopkins
5626 Avenue de Monkland
Montréal, Québec

Review: Cúrate

21 April 2018

Got up with a little bit of a headache, having consumed a bit too much last night…what’s new, right? But I hopped back into my car in the morning and started on south-east into the Great Smoky Mountains. Explored this fascinating area, taking more of those windy mountainous roads. Slowly I went around and by mid-afternoon I rolled into Asheville, back into North Carolina.

Now people talk up Asheville all the time, and I had put a place called Cúrate on my list for a few years. I was told by many that it’s one of the few serious Spanish places in the US, so I had to check it out. Of course my overpriced motel was on the outskirts…

Just driving into the compact centre was a nightmare, like a bad amalgamation of Las Vegas, Nashville and Berkeley all into one… Traffic a total joke, parking a complete nightmare. For a town without proper public transportation, the parking situation is out of control. Took me 20 minutes INSIDE A PARKING GARAGE to find parking…not to mention a few near accidents with obese SUVs that the garage was NOT designed to hold…

I got to Cúrate and was put into a crowded service counter. As I was ordering, I can tell the staff was not as comfortable with Spanish names of things as I was, so I did both…tho some of the menu confusingly was written in Catalan also… You can tell this is a volume business, but I ordered a few things — like I would do in Spain or any other Spanish place — and went from there…

Wine in hand, I relaxed, although so far I’m not impressed. Then the first item arrived, morcilla

01-morcilla

Hmmm…stuffed full of rice that seems to be semi-raw (to elaborate my problem with this was not seeing rice, just a bad rice). This just seems a little poorly made, flaky. And they put some weird vinegar on it too… When they brought me the next item my heart sank…

02a-paleta

This was supposed to be jamón…this looks suspiciously like paleta. So did are they that confused, or did they try to rip me off? I ate it in slow motion, as even paleta this was sliced poorly… Eventually I asked my server, and he told me he “misheard” me. Now HOW YOU CAN NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN HAMOOOOON AND PALEEEEETA is beyond me. But to his credit, he took it off the bill. What a mess this place is…

03-ramps

Next up was just a big ol’ plate of grilled ramps. Probably the best thing all night, because they didn’t mess with it that much… Then the lamb…

04-lamb

Well, poor quality lamb, stringly and tasteless. Compared to the ones I had 2 nights ago in Greensboro, this was awful. I’m done. Ridiculous. People think this place is authentic? FFS…

I settled up and headed out, only to be met by ANOTHER 20-minute traffic jam INSIDE THE PARKING GARAGE because the many obese SUVs trying to park have blocked up the way out… I so hate this place… I ended up having Burger King for the rest of my dinner that’s how far I sunk… What a shitty way to end this trip…

Avoid, avoid, AVOID!

Cúrate
13 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, North Carolina

* The next day I snaked back towards Charlotte, and as most things were shut on a Sunday I just ate at my airport hotel before my morning flight home…another trip over…

Possibly the WORST Michelin Experience of My Life… (Review: Magorabin)

24 February 2018

This is a very special day for me personally, as my beloved Estonia is celebrating its 100th birthday… Gutted to not be there, but it was just logistically not sensible…

I got up and checked for train delays, as the storm was still blowing. Nothing, so headed to the station. An uneventful ride to Torino, and I went to check into my hotel near the station. Then I headed out to grab some lunch.

I was once told my a milanese friend that food in Torino tastes like Fiat, so I never expect much. I’ve never had good food here, although the last time I was in Piemonte was also over 20 years ago on that same trip. At least this time I wasn’t stuck in Cuneo due to a bad train… Nevertheless lunch was unremarkable (will detail in next entry), not to mention the idiots blasting media on their phone next to me…just no shame these people…

I spent the afternoon doing various logistical things as some unexpected surprises popped up, so didn’t get to explore much. Eventually it grew close to dinner time, and I had a booking at one of the top places in town, the 1-Michelin restaurant Magorabin.

A busy Saturday evening, I made my way out to the area of the restaurant on one of the city’s rickety trams. Wandered around a little until it opened and I made my way in. I was seated at a nice table and almost immediately a series of amuse came and the server went on utterly rapid-fire Italian and just walked away…

AB1

The only part I caught was cozze (mussels) for the third one, but all of them were not very memorable or full of taste. I could barely reach the middle one without either poking my hand or having it fall apart (btw it did). Sigh… Then another four came rapid fire again!

AB4

Well, the ham was so-so, the croquette was meh, the puff was a spongy joke, and that last thing with the edible gold I spent more time removing it than eating all 4 items combined… Not a good start at all. And I asked my server if he could slow down a little during the descriptions, and the response was DOUBLING HIS VOLUME and slowing it down to a point like I was a fucking moron. I wanted to slap this guy at that point…

This is all going pretty bad already. The service is a joke. They all stand there and STARE at you as you try to eat. Who the hell is the FoH manager here? Ugh…

I then got the menu and said fine with the tasting. There’s no pairing, so the sommelier was happy to help me with a wine. She, frankly, was the only FoH person who actually worked at a professional level all night. The rest of the service staff were slacking at best. When they brought out the amuse in rapid fire, the server actually knocked over stuff on top of some of the items with his sleeve. Ugh… Just unprofessional. You can see that leaf behind that yellow spongy monstrosity that nearly got stuck to his sleeve…

The wine came and I calmed down a little and tried to relax. Then not too long after the first dish arrived, the veal tartar.

01-veal tartar

More like pulverised. Did they put this in the blender? It’s actually a little disgusting when it’s hacked to this extent. And all that wasted roe… Poor stuff. I just had more wine… Next up, rather quickly, shrimp.

02-shrimp

That sauce is just awful, and it frankly looks awful. Poor quality seafood too. Many of the other ingredients were also awful, like the crisp. What is going on? This is a Michelin star restaurant? I’m already shaking my head… But if anything they were also lightning quick, as the dishes are appearing within 90 seconds of me finishing…

03-scallop

Poor scallop now. Plus the radish was stupid sour that made my jaw cramp up… This seems so amateurish so far… Then the next dish, the tongue…

04-tongue

Well someone forgot to season this meat. It had absolutely no taste. What an awful dish of what could have been excellent! Stupid, simple mistakes! This should not be happening at a Michelin starred restaurant! And it’s bad when the side shellfish tasted better than the main shellfish in an earlier dish…

Plus the SAME FIVE MUZAK BEATLES SONGS are being repeated ad nauseum. What is this? And to give you a sense of how fast they are doing this, from the time the 1st dish (veal tartar) arrived to the time the 4th dish (tongue) arrived, the elapsed time was 20 minutes. Yeah…

05-sweetbread

Whoever is doing the meats on the line should be sacked, because the sweetbreads also have no seasoning. This is just piss poor! And the fact this came out less than a minute after I finished labouring through the tongue dish tells me something. They are just trying to get rid of me. This is ridiculous. If the FoH was a joke, the BoH was even worse…

Then for some reason everything got slow…ah, I look at the menu…because it’s a pasta dish. They can’t just bring it out raw or fuck around with heating lamps. What utter crap this evening is. I’m already thinking of abandoning this dinner… Then a surprising 15 minutes wait for that pasta…

06-spaghetti

And FFS they cannot cook pasta right. The spaghetti was undercooked (how, they had 15 minutes instead of the 60 seconds between dishes!), and after 2 dishes of no seasoning this ultra-salty anchovy has my jaws locking up again… Are these people just incompetent or sadistic? Ugh… Definitely thinking about abandoning this tasting any minute. Just trying to finish my wine…

07-baccala

Then now on the 15-minute clock again (I think they are doing it by clock), we have the baccala. Poorly cooked yet again! One side is overcooked, the other is undercooked! How amateurish is this? This is stuff you learn the first week of culinary school or any kitchen apprenticeship! I’ve never tasted so many poorly executed dishes in a row anywhere, not especially in a Michelin place!

AND WHEN YOU CAN’T COOK PASTA RIGHT IN ITALY…

Well, at least the food is photogenic — partly caused by the DIRECT SPOTLIGHT above me. It was blinding me all night with the silverware… I decided to quit after the next dish, as my wine is just about done. And it came, the baby lamb.

08-lamb

Well, at least they seasoned it this time! Problem is that it’s very, very undercooked inside. But hey, at least it’s seasoned! I didn’t even finish this and I asked for the bill… DINNER ABANDONED.

I think they get it as they gave me the bill and took some of the charges off. Just piss poor. I headed out extremely pissed off. How can a Michelin starred restaurant be so bad? I can see if FoH or kitchen has a bad day, but both? And so extremely poor? Not one dish was good. And service was piss poor. Attitude from 2 of the servers too.

This may be one of the very worst fine dining experiences of my life. Avoid, avoid, AVOID!!!

Magorabin
Corso San Maurizio 61/B
Torino, Italia

* And shit, Michelin, is your Torino assessor drunk, stupid, on the take, or all of the above???

Review: HanTing

26 January 2018

I had a pretty productive day in Den Haag, despite the limp. It’s better, but still a bit trying. But still fuelled on by last night’s nice dinner at Calla’s, and definitely not by the bad lunch I had…

I chilled out in my room a little, doing some late travel logistical stuff before I headed out to dinner. Now I usually avoid non-indigenous ethnic cuisine when I travel, but for some reason I decided to make a booking at HanTing. Reading all the descriptions online I figured it was more fusion than Chinese, so went with it.

I was wondering why the restaurant lost its Michelin star from the time I booked it, but that’s never a good sign. Possibly because of a format change announced on the website? In any case, I arrived a bit early on a cool evening and was promptly seated at a table with two rather voluminous ladies that reeked of tobacco…great…

Then before I could do anything, including take a sip of water, the amuse tray was brought — and placed right on the fork so the handle popped right up. No care at all…hmmm… Anyway…

AB1a-tray

The wee pumpkin soup was not bad, the cherry macaron too sweet for before dinner (would be good later), the beet was mushy, and the weird cream again best saved for dessert. A bit inconsistent, things are all over the place so far… And of course they brought me my menu as I was working on this, in mid bite. What is the rush? Sigh…

I put the menu away and finished the amuse. Then looked over it and placed the order. And also got a half bottle of white to go along with it. I have a weird feeling about this place that’s preventing me from ordering more… Then after quite a long time a second amuse arrived — pork belly.

AB2-belly

Well, this must have sat around for awhile… It was chewy, mushy and awful frankly. Seriously this should have been brought out maybe 10 minutes earlier. This is just rubbish… And of course the first dish came out in about 2 minutes…wtf…

01-hamachi morel

This was supposed to be hamachi and morels, but was a very weak dish. The horseradish saved it a little, but the dish was pretty boring. Fish was okay, but the morels were pretty poor as were some of the other elements. Beautiful plating is not an excuse for mediocrity in taste…

Of course the wine came AFTER the dish…a half bottle of pinot gris. The sommelier kept trying to upsell stuff but I went with this one. The whole things had a weird odour…then I realised, it’s chlorine. After the first glass I asked to switch glasses, and it was exactly the same. It must be how they wash the glasses…this is AWFUL! Destroys nearly anything you want to taste in wine!

My goodness now I can see how they lost their Michelin star! How did they get one in the first place? Ugh… Then dish two arrived…

02a-urchin marrow

Not bad, so that’s a good change. The langostine worked in this also, but there seems to be contrasting flavours here and there, and a rather tasteless chawanmushi… Why do people try to make it without learning that it’s NOT THAT SIMPLE when you have it in Japan? Like the boring one at Konstantin Filippou the other night… And this wasn’t helped by the chrorinated wine…

I was pretty much deflated by now, but at least the odour of heavy tobacco from next to me have departed. I’m sorry, but fancy clothes does not make you classy… Then the third dish, the duck…

03a-duck

Again, lots of odd, clashing flavours here. The duck was not very good, but the offal on the side was a pleasant surprise; the heart not bad, the tongue was the best. The jellyfish thing on the side was hacked into bits and hard to eat, which kind of defeats the purpose of it.

And by now I’ve finished the white and had ordered a glass of grenache, which came in YET ANOTHER CHLORINATED GLASS. Ugh…I felt ill… Why did they clean their wine glasses like this? It DESTROYS THE WINE! I was totally deflated and wasn’t even looking forward to the final dish, the lamb, when it appeared…

04a-lamb

Meh, meh, meh… The lamb was just boring, which ever way they chose to cook it. I really had lost all hope in this meal I barely ate this. I just needed a strong drink to fuel my way home after this disaster…and of course I forgot until after I ordered about the horrible chlorinated glass problem…and of course that wrecked the tipple…

And just to make things worse, it took me EIGHT tries to get my bill. After rushing me at the start now this? This is a total shitshow. One of the worst dining experiences in many years. Avoid at all cost. No doubt how they lost their Michelin star, but how did they get one in the first place?

Just awful…a total shitshow…

HanTing
Prinsestraat 33
Den Haag, Nederland

Microcosm of Brussels Miserableté — Review: Sea Grill

15 December 2017

I left Kraków frustrated by not just some mediocre food, but just infrastructure issues. The annoying thing about discount airlines, of which Brussels Airlines is basically a glorified version of one, is that they keep costs low by not using jetbridges. This makes airports feel like bus stations…so bloody annoying… Kraków Airport has all the modern facilities, but it’s got a fleet of buses because airlines like Ryanair are so damn hcheap…

An annoying flight to Brussels, and more chaos there. There we were connected to a jetway, but — Sod’s Law strike again — it was broken. So we had to go down some hazardous stairs to a waiting bus. The bus sped through the airport, nearly colliding with other vehicles several times…absolutely NO caution being used here. The bus took us to an area that required another 10 minutes of walking to get to the baggage area…WTF… And of course, it took another half hours for the bags to come out.

Brussels is just such a fucking mess…and you wonder why people find it symbolic with the EU’s own disfunctionality… As much as I hate the concept of Brexit, you deal with this and you start to think about it…

Eventually I hopped onto the train and had to help a few foreign tourists lost. We rolled into Noordstation and I headed for the short walk to my hotel, constantly being reminded how shitty the area around the station is… Checked in and had a nice room, but had to get ready for dinner already due to the idiotic airport delay…

I walked into the centre and got to my dinner destination, the 2-Michelin Sea Grill. I got there and was led to a nice table. They tried to push some champagne on me but I declined, and they left the menu there. Within a short time, just as I was planning to order a cocktail, the amuse started arriving already. First up some mackerel, which was a bit meh…

AB1-mackerel

Looked good, but really tasteless — which is sad, because it’s one of my favourite fish in the world. This was just…no other words to describe it…but that onomatopoeic utterance of mediocrity… The second was salmon…

a

Even blander, if you can believe it…not boding well for this night’s dinner. And I felt so rushed as they quickly asked if I was ready to order…I had barely looked at the menu, but was a little puzzled why both tasting menus had so many similarities — including a main course that I really wasn’t interested in. So I decided to order ala carte…and my eyes nearly popped out at the prices. Oh well… I ordered and asked for them to pair the wines.

I relaxed, and thank goodness they brought out the first wine early on, so I had something to sip on. But the service seems a mess here. This seems as messed up as the service in France as I had a flashback to that ridiculous night at Le Chantecler in Nice… But soon the starter arrived…

01a-burning prawn

The prawn was set ablaze in Auchentochan apparently, and that goes with a plate that contains foie and mushrooms. Not bad, though the flavour of the whisky did not really go into the prawn; the left pix you can see wee bit of the flame, the right is it “done” a bit… One thing that annoyed me is that one of the slices of mushroom is glazed in edible gold. WHY?!?! Sigh…

The paired wine worked and it was pretty tasty, but frankly really cannot justify the price for this dish. It all went into the stupid golden mushroom… They brought out a different wine for the main course and that was a nice one too. Then the dish appeared…

02a-crab with rice

Mmmm, a simple tasting of crab, which was excellent. A bit of rice along the side, and it worked out well. Stupid expensive for what little was done to it, but it was delicious. I slowly worked on it and when my wine finished it took ages to get my server’s attention — which he proceeded to pour the WRONG wine into the glass…and did it so quickly he didn’t see me starting to protest. Ugh…what shitty service is this?

The wine was from the first course, so it wasn’t bad, but this is unprofessional. I finished the nice dish, just as I polished off the rice. This was good enough. I relaxed a little before the pre-dessert arrived…

PreD-marshmallow

Hmmm…this marshmallow tasted like when you have a mushroom cap that you left in the fridge for too long, and it’s partly dehydrated and crusty. This was awful…just awful. I told them I didn’t want a dessert wine as I’ve had about enough of this place. Once my dessert hits I’m out of here. And here it is, and I screamed in my head again…

03-mango

The mango is mango, but WHY ALL THIS FUCKING EDIBLE GOLD? IS THIS WHAT I AM PAYING FOR?!?!?! I removed all the edible gold and nicked bits of it that I could eat, and just asked for the bill. The number was ridiculous, one of the most expensive meals of this trip…ridiculous.

I headed out unhappy and the service head greeted me as I left. If I wasn’t so annoyed with everything today I may have just thanked him and went, but I decided to stop and give him my two cents on what went wrong this evening. From the wrong wine to the ridiculous edible gold, I just went all out. He seemed ashen when I was done…

I’m sorry, this is not what I consider fine dining. Poor service, crazily overpriced, mediocre cooking, and just a ridiculous overuse of edible gold. This is EXACTLY why I’m this close to being done with Michelin-starred places, especially in this part of Europe.

What a shitty day and night…just glad it’s fucking over…

Sea Grill
Wolvengracht-Rue du Fossé aux Loups 47
Brussel-Bruxelles, België-Belgique

* And OF COURSE, it wouldn’t end there. Went for a nitecap at my hotel bar and the bartender had such a ridiculous attitude I nearly abandoned my glass of wine… This damn disfunctional town, especially during the weekends…

Review: Py-r

20 October 2017

I had made my way to Toulouse despite an overnight turn for the worse for my right foot. Now it was extremely painful to put any weight on it, so my limping speed had slowed even more. Got to Toulouse and hopped onto a cab, not wanting to damage the foot more. Stupid me, I nevertheless walked from my hotel to lunch, what was usually a 10-minute walk turned into a 20-minute trial.

In any case, a stop to pick up some ibuprofène was much needed as my Advil supply ran out. The afternoon was basically wasted sitting in my hotel room, albeit a very nice one — thanks to an unexpected upgrade. So rested until dinner time when I descended into the Metro — where it was extremely painful to walk down flights of stairs thanks to some knackered escalators…

I made it to my dinner destination, Py-r. It seems to have good write-ups, and it does hold 1 Michelin star. I have decided after that Chantecler debacle to avoid anywhere in France with more than 1 star, but even that may be too much. But I went into dinner tonight with an open mind…

And of course, a long flight of stairs down for me to limp…sigh…

Was seated, and I ordered a martini and looked over the menu. They had all sorts of substitutions for the printed tasting menu, which made me think they had supply issues… In any case, I ordered and then two nibbles appeared…

ab1

Not bad, but the beet gelato was nice and crisp. Then when the martini (yes, I emphasised the cocktail, with gin and lemon twist) showed up…

martini

Oh dear, that told me plenty… And the several staffers that handled my table went from friendly-but-clueless to careless-standoffish. One even told me she spoke no English, despite the restaurant obviously catering to many foreigners. This is Airbus central, after all… The service was all over the place, and that’s being generous…

ab2

The next set of amuse was poorly done, hard to eat. The crisp with bean paste fell into pieces. The crudo was very meh. The gnocchi was huh, and the mussel was drowned in cream… What a mess… At this point my notes are already pretty bad, with comments like “amateurish” and “long night coming”…

At this point the dinner has been for almost an hour already when the first dish appeared, and they claimed it was John Dory…

01-dory

One of my favourite fish and it’s just awful. One side utterly overcooked, one side undercooked. Who was watching this? Really poor stuff. And the wine service was a mess, as they tend to pour the not-very-generous wines way after the dishes are presented. Just poor FoH co-ordination all around.

02a-monkfish

The second dish was monkfish, which was underwhelming. It seems it had sat, as it was cold at parts — like it wasn’t even left directly under a heat lamp. A wilted cep crisp on the side was so sad I’m not gonna post the photo. This is piss poor…at least Chantecler was trying. This is just awful, and by now in my notes I’m writing about abandoning this dinner.

I asked them to hurry things along a little too as we’re already over 90 minutes into the dinner when the 3rd course came out, the pollack.

03-pollack

Flavourless. There was nothing here. Could have been any ol’ whitefish the way it was cooked. My notes now read, “why am I here?” That’s saying a lot. I’m already pondering abandoning this even before the savouries end.

Then we get our first substituted dish. They said the mushrooms were sub-standard today, so they are offering foie instead…

04-foie

Foie is foie. There was also no pairing for this item. Just a cluster this place. I’ve made my decision to bolt already. Then the last savoury…

05

Alright, I’m done. I polished it off very quickly and asked for the bill. They didn’t seem surprised, nor did they offer much in response. I just wasted 2 hours of my life here. At least it wasn’t too expensive.

Took ages for a taxi to arrive due to my busted foot. Got back to my hotel and just sat there asking myself why…in pain, and wasted my evening with a place that has no business boasting a Michelin star. Just poor.

Again, Michelin discredits itself…

Py-r
19 Descente de la Halle aux Poissons
Toulouse, France