Thursday, May 19, 2005

A comment on The Best 50 Restaurants in the World by Restaurant Magazine

I read the list of the world’s best fifty restaurants with great interest.

Of course by definition the list will be an aggregation of opinions.
Nevertheless it is hard to believe that based on any reasonable criteria Britain has achieved the highest number of entries in the top fifty (14) followed by the U.S.A. (10).
Britain is therefore better than France, Italy, Spain and Belgium!
Certainly the quality of food in Britain at all levels has improved over the last eight to ten years.

Most gastronomes would include the likes of The Fat Duck, El Bulli, Pierre Gagnaire, Restaurant Alain Ducasse,
Troisgros, L’Auberge de L’ill, French Laundry, Charlie Trotter and maybe Gordon Ramsey in their top 20.

The inclusion of The Ivy and The Wolseley in a top fifty is totally ludicrous as are The Waterside Inn, and Le Gavroche. Are the latter pair better in any respect than say L’Ambroiserie or Grand Vefour in Paris?

Is St John, tenth best restaurant in the world? 40 places higher than say La Tupina in Bordeaux?

London’s Nobu together with Hakassan are in the top 50, neo Japanese and Chinese respectively. Surely Tokyo, Hong Kong,Shanghai and Singapore have the odd hostelry deserving inclusion.

One can only conclude that the Restaurant Public Relations companies have been working overtime and the composition of the esteemed panel for Restaurant Magazine was made up of people who reside in the UK or the U.S.A.

Finding a good curry in London

This is almost as difficult as finding a good couscous in Paris.

The vast majority of restaurants serving food from the Indian sub continent are really poor and use the heavy spicing to hide poor ingredients. Furthermore following the pattern of immigration the style of the cooking seems to be predominately Bengali.

Over the last few years some new establishments have opened and have tried to "refine" the cuisines by providing better ingredients and decor. Some of these restaurants have even attained a Michelin star.

On the whole my feeling is that somehow these newer restaurants produce cooking that is far too westernised and even sanitised.

There are a few exceptions here in London but I will not mention names at this juncture.

My criticism of Indo- Pakistani food can equally be applied to Italian and Greek, these will be treated in future posts.