It’s that time of year. The time to drink lots of champagne (fantastic!) but also time to reflect and look back on the year that was 2009. Here’s my take:
1. Best meal in London in 2009: Whole suckling pig at St John’s. What an experience, all you need is £320 and 18 of your closest friends and you are presented with your own crispy skinned roasted pig which is carved up to reveal the most tender melt in the mouth pork you will ever taste.
Suckling pig at St John’s
2. Best meal outside London in 2009: Fillet of John Dory with almonds, baby carrots and blossoms at Le Chateaubriand in Paris. At this Michelin starred restaurant the menu is set so sit back and let yourself be seduced by the culinary wizardry of Basque chef Inaki Aizpitarte.
3. Worst meal in London in 2009: Ginger chicken stir fry at The Banana Tree Canteen. The menu is far too ambitious, covering the whole of South East Asia and the food was bland and gluggy. What made this so disappointing is that friends of mine had recommended the Banana Tree Canteen so I was expecting at least a reasonable meal.
Ginger chicken at the Banana Tree Canteen
4. Worst meal outside London in 2009: Portugese chicken salad at Senhora Mae in Lisbon, Portugal. The problem with Senhora Mae is that someone in the kitchen was trying to be too clever. What could have been a simple chicken salad was ruined by adding crisps to create a truly bizarre and almost inedible dish.
5. Cookbook of the year: The Eagle Cookbook. The recipes are unpretentious and hearty and there is a whole chapter devoted to “meals on toast”, now that’s my kind of cookbook. Try the recipe for whole baked sea bass, it’s a winner.
6. Total number of posts this year: 204. Who knew I had so much to say!
7: Most far flung reader: whoever it is who semi regularly checks in from Peru – I salute you.
8. Weirdest search term used to get to Gourmet Chick: “funny smell in silver teapot”. Ok then.
Portugese chicken salad at Senhora Mae
On my wish list for 2010:
Pizza East, Bethnal Green – This new pizza joint is garnering rave reviews from critics and bloggers such as Essex Eating and The London Foodie.
101 Thai Kitchen, Hammersmith – a recommendation from Limster on Chowhound, that I still have not got around to – over a year later.
Rosa’s, Shoreditch – recommended by American in London as a good cheap Thai place in the city.
Terroirs – I love wine bars, and I am imagining this place is something like my beloved Vinoteca.
The Fat Duck, Bray – for obvious reasons.
The River Cafe – Hammersmith – again, for obvious reasons.
Sushi Hero, Ealing Common – lots of people, including London Eater, say this is the best sushi in London (outside the high end restaurants) I am interested to see how it compares to my go to sushi place, Pham Sushi.
Kitchen W8, Kensington – I loved my meal at the Square this year so I don’t think I will be able to resist trying the latest project from Philip Howard despite some mixed reviews.
Randall and Aubin, Soho – Londonelicious liked this place and so did my friend Alice who is always great with restaurant tips.
Gourmet Travel wish list
Sri Lanka – for the colour, the curry and spices.
Croatia – for the seafood and to go sailing on a yacht.
A meal at El Bulli in Spain – I have been trying to get a reservation for a few years now, maybe this year will be the year.
Thanks for reading and here’s to more good food and travel in 2010.
If you liked reading this you can read my review of 2008. Embarrassing to say that a few of the restaurants on my “must go” list then, I still haven’t got around to visiting.