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Showing posts from August, 2006

Cecconi's, London

It's just off New Bond Street and across from the soon-to-open Abercrombie & Fitch store. One can be forgotten to walk right past it lugging shopping from Mayfair to Covent Garden. However, Cecconi's turned out to be quite a nice little gem serving Venetian cichetti and prosecoe on draft.

What was enjoyable? The laid back ambiance, good and simple food, attentive service (the waiter proactively suggested us to have the spinach rather than the broccoli).
What was not enjoyable? The Eurochics who visit this place can crowd you out!

Want to express your dissatisfaction in a restaurant / airplane / hotel?

We have all experienced it - below par food, service with an attitude, music too loud, too dark to see what you are eating, etc. I was in one such occasion not long ago with a dining companion - we thought the food was mediocre at best, the service was a wee bit less than attentive, and Evian was poured into our glasses of Badoir. My companion's displeasure was expressed expediently and explicitly. I was watching and observing - thinking how many time I have found myself in such situations.

So you want your displeasure known. Is there a "right" or "wrong" way of doing it?

First - gauge the environment before expressing anything:

Do observe your fellow dinners. Are they content? Do they look impatient?

Do observe the waiting staff. Do they look harassed? Bored? Grumpy?

Second - estimate the likely impact of any critical comments from you:

Do consider the practical options - if the food arrives luke warm because your table is a long way away from the kitchen, then the…

La Noisette, London

"One month and one day" was the reply when we asked the receptionist how long La Noisette had been open. My expectation was that the entire establishment should be on top form - making its mark on Sloane Street. We were taken to the bar on the 2nd floor for a pre-dinner drink. We were taken a back by the virtual emptiness of the bar - hmm - not a good sign on a Friday evening at 7PM.

Our drinks were accompanied by bar snacks - which comprised by some green olives (OK), long flat bread sticks and a ricotta-based dip. The menu made an interesting read. Apart from the "starters" and "main courses", it offered a "Summer Favourites" which comprised of seven dishes - all looked quite light and healthy, and an "Inspirational Menu". My guest and I were both drawn to this latter choice, which according to the waitress, is a series of dishes created by the chef on the fly. We were in an adventurous mood - so we both opted for this alluring choice…

Heaven is Shy of Earth, BBC Proms 32

It's not often you get to hear a world premiere. So it was with much anticipation we (friends et al) went to the Royal Albert Hall to hear this new piece by Julian Anderson in this year's BBC Proms.

Inspired by Emily Dickinson's poetry and recent events, the piece was a wonderful collage of sound worlds and textures - shiny in places, humorous in other. The slapping of the double basses was particularly fun! Angelika Kirchschlager gave a stunning performance of the vocal line, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performed well under the baton of Andrew Davis.

Betrothal in a Monastery, Glyndebourne

It's always a pleasure to head south to Glyndebourne on a sunny weekday. Think of all those poor people who have to stay in the office and work. I had never seen Betrothal in a Monastery - I don't recall it being staged anywhere recently, but what a delight. Although the plot was a wee bit complicated (based on Richard Sheridan’s 1775 play, The Duenna), the cast really pulled it off with flair. The constumes and the set were very effective. Lighting (done by Rick Fisher) played a strong role in portraying the umpteen scene changes. The music, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, was wonderful - both playful and humorous.