Falstaff Restaurant of the Month 2022
Signature trout from Clarisse restaurant, Hungary
Park utca 37, Tura
Can grown-ups believe in fairy tales, albeit culinary ones? A visit to Clarisse should enchant even the most life weary diners.
Within a large and ancient forest about an hour from Budapest (and pragmatically even closer to the airport) is Botaniq Castle in Tura. It was built by Baron Sigmund Schossberger in Neo-Renaissance style for his wife in 1883. The conversion to luxury hotel-restaurant was only completed two years ago. The new fine dining restaurant opened a mere eight months ago has Executive Chef Ádám Mészáros, Hungary’s only chef to have achieved two Michelin stars, taking guests on a poetic gastronomic journey ‘from the forest floor to the canopy’ exploring the different levels of the magnificent forest. It is a most luxuriously comfortable exploration, no wading through mud or thrashing tree branches.
L'ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON
Quai Wilson 37
1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Chef Olivier Jean presents an extensive menu. Going all out à la carte will be pricy, but the three-course lunch menu only sets you back a reasonable 79 Swiss francs. This deal came with a great selection of bread plus an amuse bouche, a mackerel tart with a wafer-thin pastry base and wonderfully juicy topping. The main was a beef with Malabar pepper, kohlrabi and the legendary Robuchon mashed potatoes – the secret of which is an inordinate amount of butter, of course. Between the fish and the meat courses, we also opted for an intermission in the form of a large portion of foie gras au torchon, ordered Patrick Piuze Chablis and were delighted with our dessert of rice pudding with mango and kaffir lime.
Hythe Road, TN25 6NH Ashford
England, Great Britain
Koyla is owned by the family behind the Everest Inn restaurants, established spots in Hythe, Ashford and Blackheath, with this newest addition being Executive Chef Shanker Pandey’s modern interpretation of his Nepalese upbringing. The confidently short menu delivers dishes with nuance and subtlety, crackling with creative energy yet maintaining a balance and integrity to their Nepalese roots without freewheeling into self-indulgent ‘twists’: a clever combination of artistry and restraint.
66 Weston St, SE1 3QJ London
Maybe it was luck that pulled me in here – I later find out that Andanza means ‘fortune’ or ‘fate’ in Spanish – but a couple of small plates later I’m charmed enough to start plotting another visit. It all starts to make sense when I find out that Head Chef is Paulina Irzyk, formerly senior sous chef at the excellent London Basque hang-outs Donostia and Lurra, two fantastic Spanish resaurants from the same owner. A tiny open kitchen adds a homely bustle to the room, and each time I’m impressed with the quality and playfulness of the dishes coming out. The clever knack of appearing effortless is achieved impeccably here.
Attention to detail is all around, from the quality of the ‘picos’ bread sticks, several notches above the usual with more heft and artisanal grain flavour, the filtered clarity of the ice in their excellent gin and tonics, and the perfect char on the bread for the classic pan con tomate that carries a luscious smear of garlicky tomato pulp, soused with plenty of good olive oil – details matter, and they’re nailing them here.
2591 University Avenue
92104 San Diego
California, United States
In a hip and happening San Diego neighborhood lies Black Radish. As you enter the dining room, you are greeted by a custom art light fixture reminiscent of the roots of a mighty tree. The dark interior is tastefully highlighted by gold leaf art, exposed brick, and clever brass patches where holes had once been now adorn the original wood flooring. The overall vibe is classic French bistro meets Southern Californian.
Helmed by owner and chef, Itze Behar, the restaurant has been a welcome addition to North Park. Classically trained in French cuisine, Mexican by heritage, and a staunch Southern Californian, chef Behar creates dishes as diverse and storied as she is.
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Falstaff Restaurant of the MonthEach month, Falstaff highlights a restaurant somewhere on this globe, reviewed by one of our professional eaters.
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