2018 - a year of great restaurant meals


(John Hartley) #1

This morning, I spent a couple of hours re-reading the reviews I’d written on the meals we’d eaten. 113 different eateries - 59 in the UK, 31 in Spain and 33 in America. Gosh, it’s been a fun way of spending time with my companion in life.

The highlights in each month have been:

January - La Cupula, Costa Adeje, Tenerife. Whoda thought you’d find such inventive cooking in the middle of a tourist resort.

February - Ciao Toto, Los Cristianos, Tenerife. And whoda thought you’d find such a quality casual Italian restaurant in the same tourist area.

March - Forest Side, Grasmere, Cumbria. Local, seasonal, foraged - very 2018. And well worth its Michelin star.

April - Fraiche, Oxton, Birkenhead. We’ve been going for years - even before Marc Wilkinson got his Michelin star. We both used to play on egullet, many years back. With only eight covers, I always wonder how he makes any money.

May - Venture Inn, Ombersley, Worcestershire. We went with low expectations and came away having had a lovely evening.

June - Ocean House, Dennis Port, Massachusetts. Best overall meal in our three week trip to New England

July - Where the Light Gets In, Stockport. Cutting edge food. At last, somewhere inventive near home.

August - Moor Hall, Aughton, Lancashire. Another place into foraged wild herbs, etc. Well worth its Michelin star but our jury is still out on whether it’s worth the second star it got shortly after our visit.

September - Sam’s Chop House, Manchester. “Traditional” British food, with a few modern twists. There should be a place on everybody’s list for somewhere that serves Barnsley chops and corned beef hash.

October - Micatto, Warwick. Town centre Italian. Went in “on spec” for lunch to find authentic regional dishes. You’d be a regular if you were local.

November - Bombay to Mumbai, Bramhall, Greater Manchester. My favourite Indian restaurant - traditional Mumbai street food and fantastic hospitality

December - L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria. The Good Food Guide’s second best restaurant in the UK - and I’m not about to dispute that rating.


#2

You certainly get around. I’m envious. You’re also much better at keeping track of where you’ve eaten. The only way I could reconstruct where I’ve eaten would be to pull out all my credit card bills. 2018 for me will go down as one of my least traveling years in a while. Got to Paris for two weeks, but other than that, mostly ate at the same old places. Its a rut but quite comfortable.


(John Hartley) #3

Ah - but that’s only because I usually write a review for HO (and Tripadvisor) of our meals. I don’t review chains or every meal at regular haunts.

I’ve writen reviews for more years than I care to recall. The UK’s most respected review publication is the Good Food Guide and I’ve been sending them stuff since pre-internet times. Some ten years back, we decided to take up restaurant eating as a sort of hobby and we decided to visit every entry in the Guide within a 60 minute drive of home. Took us about three years, eating out every week or so. That’s when the review writing took off - sending them to the Guide but also sharing them with the small, but very active, UK foody community on egullet.

We keep promising ourselves a return trip to Paris but things seem to get in the way. It’s a goodly number of years since we both went, although my partner has been a couple of times with friends for a long weekend.


#4

Although i have to admit that keeping notes and taking photos can take away the pure pleasure that you want to immerse in the experience, but by not doing so, 3 months later, you don’t remember very well, and two years later, only vague impression.

I will re read some of my notes and post my favorites of the year.

With the recent strikes in Paris, big impact on tourism. Hotels and restaurants are complaining of losing clients, maybe better price especially on Saturdays?!