November 2011

INVITE to my launch :)

Leopard: Restaurant Review

The Leopard opened a few weeks back and has been booked ever since. The shop is an eclectic mix of chairs that don’t match, tables that feel kitchen-y and waitrons that dress up every night, “because we can”.

The food is just what you would expect from Andrea Burgener, the ex-Deluxe & Superbonbon owner and chef. Thankfully. Luckily. And Amazingly. As we all know, too many restaurants get it all wrong, and here we have a place that has it all right. For starters a pile of asparagus (a now dish - i.e. still in season), smoked, charred a bit on the grill, a balsamic underneath, and a healthy grating of a creamy white cheese. For mains, mussels with an Eastern leaning - coconut cream, cream, ginger sticks, lime circles, and hot baby tomatoes. I wasn’t so sure about the tomatoes - I suppose they are supposed to pop in your mouth, delivering delicious mouthfuls of hot tomato yum-ness, but in that case the tomato was not actually sweet enough, and the rest of the mussels are already in a delicate bath of cream and balanced flavours, so I reckon the tomatoes are totally unnecessary.

On another occasion: Slutty Quail

Another time…

Incl Asian mussels, Caesar Salad, Beef noodles, cucumber and mint soup, Italian bread salad with cumin and chili, perfect spinach.

It may be a meet-n-greet (at any given time, it’s likely that you know others at other tables) at the moment, but it doesn’t have the stuffiness of air-kissing. The overall feeling is that it is a great place to visit on a regular basis.

It’s still bring your wine - tho there is a “gift glass” if you’ve forgotten and they make a damn good Negroni, which I can’t drink because I have that genetic gin-cry-button in me - even one tot of gin can make me bring out tales of woe betide. Despite keeping the cost down, bring your own also makes the outing exciting in that you really should take the time to visit that new(ish) bottle store at Dunkeld and find something interesting to enjoy with this fantastic menu.

Leopard telephone number: 011- 447 6012. But you can’t book.

The Bear Necessities

THE BEAR NECESSITIES

WISE WORDS FROM BALOO: The Bare Necessities will come to you :)

Re the book version of Jungle Book,

Did you know Rudyard Kipling was the first English person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature? And the youngest. Ever. Still. He was also the Poet Laurette for quite a while - but refused knighthood - and the Kiplings liked to holiday in Cape Town over Christmas (as one does) expect this was 1898 - 1908. If I was an Imperialist in 1898 that’s where I would holiday, too.

Chocolate & Hennessy

I have - not under duress - discovered that I really really like cognac. Hennessy in particular - maybe because I have been given two bottles now. But definitely because you can taste roses. Like those big stinky ones. And contrary to modern taste (orchid anyone?), I fn love roses.

So when I got invited to a Hennessy and Choc Masterclass I was v excited. I had just finished my last bottle - the end slopped into a roast pork gravy (served with wasabi mash, and a salad of grilled courgette salad with basil leaves and an orange-peel dressing) - and had no more for after-drink-servings, that time when the Lindt bar comes around. Chocolate + Hennessy = good thinking.

But, I was not excited because even tho I now have a 7.1 batting average for not messing up in the kitchen (3 mess ups out of 7 is quite a lot), I still cannot chop.

First I am late.

Second I have to chop. Cabbage. I cut it wrong - into chunks, thereby halving the amount of cabbage we have.

To get this shot of hot judges I had to crouch behind the stove. The French cognac specialist on the left is saying is: You r keeding me, a cabbage in chunks? I am not sure they are going to get thru to the next round … Stern food specialist judge: This is devastating hot French Cognac Specialist, she’s really let her team down.

Our chef, Spencer Sykes of Kream, was lovely - he didn’t shout at us once, even when I couldn’t open the fridge because there was no handle. My teammate was also nice, even though I introduced myself as a Food Blogger.

Watching over the food blogger.

Our menu entry:

Springbok carpaccio rolled with red cabbage and amurula jelly
Shin pie - this was really good, a sort of musty, tobacco-y stock
Seared venison rubbed in coffee
Plum-yum
All dribbled with Hennessy & Chocolate sauce!

We didn’t win the competition (robbed! I tell you, robbed!) but I did get a bottle of The Privilege Hennessy, which I definitely won’t use for cooking, anytime, but will be serving at the end-end of dinner parties, with that Lindt slab that goes around the table.

Nice.

PS_ You will notice there are product shots. Such is the nature of days like this, but when the day is fun and the people are lovely, well - such is the nature :)