2009 in Review

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:
London Restaurants
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.


  1. Oh wow! Over 200 posts?! I salute you.

    Terroirs is fab, one of my favourite places, I go there all the time.River Cafe was lovely when I went too, although that was years ago now.

    Looking forward to trying the suckling pig at St Johns soon.!

    Happy New Year and all the best for 2010.

  2. I loved your 2009 review, and am also amazed that you wrote 204 postings, that is more than one review every other day, very impressed!

    Thanks for linking my blog to your review, and have a great 2010!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  3. Ah, the 2009 roundup…I need to get cracking on mine! I loved the polenta I had at Terroirs. Service iffy during my visit though.

    Sushi Hiro is on my list too so if you need a victim, I am very game!

  4. Great roundup and happy new year! [and also count me in for sushi hiro]

  5. Niamh – Thanks – another Terroirs fan – good to hear

    The London Foodie – impressive or obsessive I suppose! Best wishes to you to for 2010.

    Krista – yours will be epic in proportion I am sure… Sushi Hiro could be a plan

    Alice – great another Sushi Hiro person

  6. I loved Terroirs but was disappointed with the River Cafe. Will be interesting to hear what you think.

    Pizza East and 101 Thai are on my list too. The ever-growing list!

  7. I can vouch for Pizza East too. My veal meatball pizza was fabulous. Going back for my birthday on Tuesday, and I can’t wait!

  8. Good luck with your 2010 wish list, particularly El Bulli! I was one of the first in the door at Pizza East and loved it. I also like Randall & Aubin, but I seem to be the only one who thinks Terroirs is overrated – maybe I struck it on a bad night, but found it hard to find a decent wine.

  9. Kerri – I have heard a few people disappointed with River Cafe as they feel it is over priced for what it is – I am still keen to find out for myself though so will keep you posted

    Melanie – Right that’s it I am just going to have to book it – will keep the meat ball pizza in mind

    Greedy Diva – It is all natural wines at Terroirs isn’t it? I guess that makes the range more limited.

  10. So what are you doing about that funny smell in the teapot, then?? 😉

    I see you’ve already done Pizza East (and in so doing, added it to MY must-do list!). Fat Duck is soooo worht it – I’m thinking of going again this year. And we should form an El Bulli syndicate & agree that the winner has to take the other syndicate members – increase our chances 😉

    And OMG, 204 posts?!?!? I thought you had a day job?!? :o)

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