Top 5 dishes of 2015

It’s a bit late but lists are fairly prevalent at this time of year ,so here’s my top 5 for 2015 in no particular order.

  1. X’ian special noodles: X’ian Impression, [London UK]. Wonderfully textured cold noodles with a beautifully smokey sauce and soft wheatgerm. Was not aware of this particular cuisine of China but want to try more.

  2. Percebes:Unknown bar Gran Via, [ Madrid Spain]. My last day in Madrid. Spotted good looking seafood in the window. I’ve always wanted to try percebes. Sitting at the bar sucking out the sweet salty nuggets with a nice white Rioja will stay with me.

  3. Burger, Roti Bros [ Crystal Palace London]. This is a food truck that has decided to park only 10 mins from where I live. Aged chuck steak from Galloway cattle. Great crust on the burger, also cheese slices as it should be, good bun and their pickled watermelon is great. One of the best burgers I’ve had that let the meat shine.

  4. Otak Otak, Georgetown, [Penang, Malaysia]. Beautifull soft fish custard fragrant with lemongrass and chilli. One of the best dishes I’ve ever had.

  5. Small beer pie., Checchino Dal 1887 [ Rome,]
    In reality it was a lovely soft savoury muffin with a good outer crust. The beer added a nice yeasty note and in the bottom was a layer of tallegio cheese which added a nice gooey creaminess to the whole thing.

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Tricky, as I find it hard to separate out an actual plate of food from the whole experience. But these were five bang-on plates eaten during meals that I fully enjoyed. In no particular order:

Pork chop (Cafe Marquesa, Key West, Florida) - tasty piggy, cooked to just medium, lovely BBQ sauce

Arnavut cigeri (Galata Pera, Brentford, London) - Albanian liver. A surprisingly successful solo meal - I wish I’d had someone to Ooooh and Aaaaah with. Liver tossed in paprika and, again, just cooked to medium

Anjou pigeon breast & leg (Le Manoir, Oxfordshire) - came with white beans and girolles. What a way to celebrate a 65th birthday.

“Ensaimada” (Jardin, Port d’Alcudia, Mallorca) - very modern take on the Mallorcan classic - a crisp pastry straw, ice cream, apricots, vanilla jelly. Macarena de Castro’s style is take traditional dishes and play with them in a very successful cheffy way. This was the end of a fab 13 course tasting menu

Seabass (Fraiche, Birkenhead, Merseyside) - perfectly cooked, thin slices of fennel, smoked yoghurt. Clever and delicious.

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― Jonathan Gold