It's a well-known fact that most top restaurants have a well-priced lunch menu. Some
are more cynical than others in what you are being offered for the price, but some
give you a really good deal with the opportunity to experience the chef's skills
albeit on a reduced portion size, but for lunch that's not a bad thing either. There
are two places where we have been for lunch recently and have been extremely satisfied,
not only for the quality of the cuisine at a fair price, but also in experimentation
with East meets West flavours that are much more subtle than many we have previously
come across. L'Etranger, which combines French cuisine with some subtle Japanese
flavours, and Zaika, which matches refined Indian cuisine with the tastes of both
Italy and France.
We make no apologies for being unashamedly elitist. We have no time for the half-baked,
the corner cutters, the rip-off merchants. We're too old to drink bad wine - and
there's plenty of that about. We also have no truck with fashion and paying over
the odds to be seen at a restaurant frequented by film stars, yuppies and (heaven
forbid) international footballers (unless they are French). This is simply not what
we are looking for.
In most high-class establishments, the food is too cheap and the wines are too expensive.
A lot of work goes in to preparing first class food, from the time taken selecting
ingredients, to the time taken in preparing, cooking, serving; and if you compared
the hourly cost of labour per dish, it comes nowhere near to what you are paying
to have your car serviced. And most of the time, wine service is just pulling a cork.
(Well, not quite!)
We will continue to mark down establishments, where the wine prices are outrageous,
but we will bear in mind the cost of producing first class cuisine. What we are really
looking for is a memorable experience.
Being the old cynics that we are, no establishment will be rated unless we have been
there on at least two occasions.
Our maximum scores for restaurants, which total 100, are...
Value for money... 15
Any establishment scoring less than 60
will not be rated.
60-69 is worth a try if you are in the area.
70-79 is worth seeking out.
80-89 is worth going a long way for.
90-100 is worth a special pilgrimage.