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Showing posts from January, 2006

Le nozze di Figaro

Just got back from the Royal Opera having seen the first night of Le nozze di Figaro.

I could not quite figure out what Pappano was doing with Mozart's score. The tempi were quite elastic. For instance, the Countess' aria at the beginning of Act II was beautifully sung by Dorothea Röschmann though there were quite a few recognisable rubati. The stage direction was superb (by David McVicar) and the excitement that the cast brought to the production more than compensated for the occasionally wayward tuning.

Ervin Schrott as Figaro was very good - he had flair and energy.

I think Pappano was taking the entire cast with him - given the elastic tempi - there were many places that could have taken a bad turn yet I could feel everyone on / off stage was giving their best.

Verdict: Go see it.

Asia de Cuba at St Martin's Hotel, London

Asia de Cuba at St Martin's Hotel, London.

It must have been 8-10 years when I last set foot in this Starck
designed hotel in the middle of London. It was one of the hippest
places opened within a month of its sister hotel Sanderson near Oxford
Street. Asia de Cuba, the main restaurant, has not changed much since
it opened all those years ago. There other restaurants within the St
Martin's have had more radical changes.

How was the food? I had the Cuban Bento Box - essentially an eclectic
collection of fusion (Japanese meets Cuba) dishes presented in a
Japanese bento lunch box lacquer ware. Mine included a couple of pieces
of chicken skewered /grilled, a tuna tartare stacked with tortilla
chips, a deep fried wonton and pan fried udon noodles. The taste of
pleasant without being offensive, though I was not entirely sure about
pineapple slices with the grilled chicken (was never a fruit and meat
fan). In offensive - though no gastronimic  experience.

I ordered a chocolate brownie with caramel…

Caprice at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong

Went to Caprice just after Christmas 2005.

It's the "posh" restaurant at the new Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. The decor is very glitzy - with chandeliers and thick carpet. The centrepiece of the restaurant is its open plan kitchen - kind of an interpretation of the gastropubs that you would find dotted around London. Trying too hard I thought.

How was the menu? OK - classic French restaurant menu though nothing was written in French ... shame as that's one of the little things that reminds you "This is a French restaurant". Or was it a French restaurant?

And the food? Everything was cooked well, but not exciting enough to warrant a postcard home. My mum and sister ordered the Bresse chicken dish for two. It's carved at the table and served as two courses. It looked good but I was told the dish tasted of chicken.

And the service? Yes, interesting. The four of us arrived and I had to attract the attention of one of the garcons to get served a drink (sur…