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Michelin restaurants - worth the hype?

Discussion in 'La Cuisine' started by Baldbloke, 20 Nov 2021.

  1. EvilRob

    Gangster

    Joined: 15 Jan 2011

    Posts: 346

    The set lunches are a nice way to access these restaurants but I've found they don't tend to represent their finest cooking. In my experience the dishes, whilst good, are usually more straight forward to cook at volume and less skill, time and effort has gone into their preparation. In addition, the ingredients have a proportionally lower cost although this isn't always a negative, as they can do a lot with less popular but wonderful ingredients.
     
  2. mid_gen

    Capodecina

    Joined: 20 Dec 2004

    Posts: 12,194

    It depends quite a lot on who compiles the local guide tbh, the standard varies across countries and personal tastes.

    There are loads of good restaurants with no stars that are better than those with stars....and almost always better value.

    The best meal I've ever had was at a place called Messina in HK, it was just incredible, with a price to match (£400+ for two), the service was immaculate too. No stars though.

    A star is however, a good guarantee of quality. You are unlikely to have a poor experience at a starred restaurant.
     
  3. Freakbro

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Jul 2010

    Posts: 20,435

    Location: Lincs

    I've only been to one, which was Dinner with Heston at the Mandarin Oriental in London and the whole experience was exceptional, from the food, which was incredible to the service and setting.
     
  4. Punt

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,862

    Location: Gateshead

    I was disappointed with House of Tides too and I wasn't comparing it to the Number One, not been there!

    You're in for a treat. My Wife took me there for an xmas present a few years ago. Incredible! We sat at the chef's table and glad we did, good view of the kitchen and they assembled our dishes in front of us. The maître d', though very young, was an extremely knowledgable and pleasant lad.

    Had a little chat with James Close at the end of the evening. He was very humble, and almost embarrassed when I told him how good his food was.
     
  5. wesimmo

    Soldato

    Joined: 19 Mar 2012

    Posts: 5,601

    Yeah, we had a really good experience there, the waiter liked our description of a dish so much he told James who sent us a thanks for the feedback.

    I've not heard of anybody who was impressed by House of Tides, for the sake of 25 mins down the road, Raby Hunt is another league.

    L'enclume is also worth a nice drive over to Cumbria from Newcastle, there's a lovely hotel on a river we stayed at when we went.
     
  6. alex24

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Jan 2008

    Posts: 10,882

    Some are, some aren't, like anything it can be a mixed bag.

    Spent a fortune going to The Yeatman, and it was absolutely amazing and the best food and dining experience I'll probably ever have. Even though it was hugely expensive, I actually think it was worth it for the quality of the food, the variety and the experience. I had the tasting menu and I swear it was about 13-14 courses and I had the paired wine flight with that too. Just amazing. The attention to detail and flavours in every course were off the charts... Not to mention the Port, wow.

    I've been to quite a few in the UK as well and some were excellent (like Benares) and others I was really disappointed in (like Murano).

    If you want to get an idea of what it's like, the best way is to grab some lunch at one that takes your fancy. Often there are fixed price lunch menus and they can be very reasonable indeed. I'm hoping to go to Marcus next and do just that.

    Now, before people think I'm a fine dining snob about this, I'm not, I just genuinely think food can be amazing, but I've had many other amazing food experiences, like eating market food in Cambodia in the middle of the night which probably cost me pennies but was still fantastic in its own way. It's often about the whole experience, as well as who you are sharing it with. There is absolutely a place for fine dining but it isn't the only way to enjoy food, sometimes the most innocuous basement tapas bar or food stall can leave as much a positive impression! However, if you haven't tried a Michelin star restaurant, I'd say it's always worth a go and they are more accessible than you think.
     
  7. Robi

    Mobster

    Joined: 14 Apr 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    I went to Steirereck in Vienna back in October, it was voted the 12th best resturant in the world, 2 michelin stars. It was my first time eating at a michelin star resturant so I can't really compare it to anything else, but it was the best dining experience in my life by some margin. You're made to feel like a king the moment you walk in the door. Absurd attention to detail. It was a very surreal experience.

    The food was unqiue, tasted amazing and was cooked perfectly, but did I get as much enjoyment out of it as I would with a NYC style pizza? Probably not.

    Was it worth it? Yes, as an experience. It's obviously expensive but you have to look beyond just the food to see the value in it.
     
  8. MikeTheNative

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jun 2012

    Posts: 9,078

    Location: South Wales

    I've had a 3 course lunch a The Kitchen which was great (it was only £35 or something at the time) then have paid £90 for a tasting menu at The Whitebrook. I thought both of them were worth it. It will only be worth it if you appreciate the fine dining food and experience.
     
  9. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,412

    Outside of London, the prices are generally quite good. We have L'Ortolan here in Reading, which is a regular feature of our lives. There are also a good dozen or so 'bog standard' restaurants here that charge significantly more for fairly run-of-the-mill meals!
    Tom Kerridge's place (Hand and Flowers) was just pathetically hideous. Most of the Bray ones trade on the name and have become too touristy. La Becasse lost its star for good reason. Raymond Blanc can **** right off with his insane ******** prices...
    Everywhere else we've visited has been rather good, though.
     
  10. MikeTheNative

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jun 2012

    Posts: 9,078

    Location: South Wales

    The GF has been to Hand and Flowers thought the same, can't justify the cost when compared to the other places we have been.
     
  11. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,412

    The pathetic part was due to how badly they responded to criticism... it was very reminiscent of those self-entitled ***** on X Factor who don't like being told they can't sing for ****.
     
  12. GTanny

    Mobster

    Joined: 24 Dec 2002

    Posts: 2,626

    Location: Barton upon Humber

    Oddly I would say the food at Le Gavroche (2 Star) was superior to both The Fat Duck and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (both 3 star) but the total experience at The Fat Duck was the best meal experience I have ever had.

    I don't have the funds to eat at those sort of places that regular but I would say it is worth the price, I am normally happy with a good meal and will also happily take a Wetherspoons curry but it's all about the experience when you start looking at Michelin stars even going to the toilet in some places can be an experience.
     
  13. spudbynight

    Soldato

    Joined: 8 Nov 2006

    Posts: 6,784

    Location: Hove, UK

    I think the food at Le Gavroche is fantastic but it didn't have any sort of wow factor for me. It was just French food cooked to perfection. The food I had at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as a contrast was cooked as well but was far more innovative.

    If I was going to a restaurant for dinner tomorrow though and had to choose between them I would choose Le Gavroche. I don't always want to be surprised with my dinner. Sometimes I just want good food. I think the service in Le Gavroche is better and the experience is far more relaxed. Although one of the best dishes I have ever tasted was at RGR.
     
  14. Ahleckz

    Capodecina

    Joined: 7 Nov 2009

    Posts: 18,736

    Location: Glasgow

    Seems my experience of House of Tides is similar to others. It wasn't great, wasn't at the level of other Michelin stars and the service was poor. I figured it was a one-off but maybe not.

    I've eaten in a couple of 3 stars (Le Bernadin & 11 Madison Park), and whilst they were amazing from the moment you walked in, I got far too drunk in both of them. Wine whilst getting ready, pre-dinner cocktails and then matched wines, digestif and whisky is too much. I now limit how much I drink before to enjoy it more.

    I've been to a number of 1 stars in the UK and they have ranged from truly fantastic (Number 1 in Edinburgh), to so so (Pidgon) and everything in between. However, as an experience they are hard to beat. You are in for hours and generally service is great and you don't realise the time. There are a number of treats (the Espresso Martini man at Pollen Street Social, or the free brandy at Number 11...!) that you don't expect and it's as much theater as a night at The Globe is.

    I've got Pied a Terre booked for this Friday night, and I'm very excited!
     
  15. Bear

    Capodecina

    Joined: 24 Oct 2002

    Posts: 13,342

    Location: Bucks and Edinburgh

    I thought the Hand and Flowers was overrated and what annoyed me the most was the price they charged for a diet coke and it was so watered down it was like ****, the cheap ****.
     
  16. Housey

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 21 Feb 2006

    Posts: 28,154

    I've never had a bad meal in any Michelin Star restaurant and have eaten in a hell of a lot across the globe over the years. They do vary in different ways however, be that ambiance, event, choice, experimentation and of course price but always (in my experience) high quality food, if not always good value.

    A good way to start is of course a tasting menu, which though not cheap is usually an event and gives you lots of different options over a longer time and is even more improved if that comes with wine options for each course if that appeals. I've done a few chefs table and some work better than others. I love sitting in kitchens and eating as you get to try stuff they might be experimenting with too.

    A single star meal out of London doesn't need to be expensive either and it only tends to be big city, high demand (most are high demand to be fair) that carry the price list.
     
  17. GTanny

    Mobster

    Joined: 24 Dec 2002

    Posts: 2,626

    Location: Barton upon Humber

    Agree completely with RGR being more innovative but there was a 5 year gap between me going to RGR first and then Le Gavroche, having the wine pairings at Le Gavroche really made the difference too where I didn't drink when I did RGR.

    Also plan to revisit Le Gavroche, not sure if I will return to RGR.

    Next one booked currently is Ynyshir but not till April.

    As mentioned by a few a lunch menu is a perfect way to dip your toe in if you're not completely sure it's for you.
     
  18. mid_gen

    Capodecina

    Joined: 20 Dec 2004

    Posts: 12,194

    Was trying to think what my last Michelin star meal was...dredging the memory banks as I live a bit more frugal these days and prefer to cook!

    It was Yoshi by Nagaya in Düsseldorf, 1 star. Tasting menu, incredible sushi, some amazing molecular gastronomy style experimental stuff.

    Duesseldorf has a huge Japanese and Korean community so there's loads of options if you're into asian food....across the price ranges.
     
  19. Minusorange

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 25 Nov 2005

    Posts: 8,010

    Here's a 2 star not far from me

    At the nearest with solely a plate and zero stars it's about £30 for a meal, which isn't too bad considering the area
     
  20. Russinating

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Dec 2005

    Posts: 16,776

    Location: Bristol

    As has been said, if you're asking/questioning, they're probably not for you.

    I've been to about a dozen, maybe half in the UK and the rest in Europe, Middle East and Asia. We absolutely love them - the food, the creativity, the experience, the talent etc - they're amazing. They're all far more than a meal.

    Best we've been to by far is Gastrologik in Stockholm.

    If you're just questioning "value" on whether it fills you up then no, barely anything is compared to a 99p cheeseburger or a scoop of Huel.