Monthly Archives: October 2011

Manson – Alan Stewart hired as new head chef

Not far from Fulham’s Munster Road, Manson might not necessarily be right on your doorstep; but walking into the restaurant, you know immediately the journey was worthwhile, and even more so since Alan Stewart, previously at Launceston Place, has been appointed its new head Chef.

The menu is British through and through, striking a fine balance between fresh, seasonal produce, classic English dishes and a level of cuisine you would only expect to find in Michelin stared establishments. The brasserie style restaurant has a wonderfully welcoming and warm country pub feel to it, yet somehow it still manages to maintain the urban and fresh atmosphere of a top London restaurant.


The menus, created by Alan to reflect the best of local and seasonal produce, reveal his field to fork philosophy through the use of Manson’s own allotments, the foraging of British ingredients and sourcing of meat from small Cumbrian farms.  The food was utterly fantastic, beautifully presented and probably the best meal I have had in a long time!


We had a selection of dishes from the menu, which were perfectly paired by Launceston Place’s sommelier Mickey Narea from Manson’s well-selected wine list.  To start with we were presented with the most stunning plate of tartar of highland venison, rich in flavour, yet still light on the taste buds, adorned with meaty pickled girolles and cobnuts and a rather glamorous swirl of celeriac.  What a fantastic way to start a meal!


The venison was paired with a Little Yerring Pinot Noir from Australia, and while I am usually a huge fan of Pinot Noir, I think that out of all the wine we sampled that evening, this was perhaps the least exciting.
Thinking that we had already had the best course of the evening, the next course arrived, a red leg of partridge, with quince, honey and oats.  Utterly delicious, a perfect combination of sweetness from the honey coupled with the gamey flavours from the partridge.   Alongside, this we sipped on a syrupy and rather smokey white, a Marques de Riscal Limousin Reserva. While punchier than the Pinot Noir, this really was so well paired with the flavours of the dish, I’ll be hard pushed to want to drink anything else with partridge in the future.


Next as if it couldn’t get any better, we were fortunate enough to dine on roast grouse – my absolute favourite – and even more so now after having tasted it with damsons and savoy cabbage.  This we drank with a superb Riferno Rossa Riserva, Camillo De Lellis, Molise, Italy.

And last but not least, a plate of cheeses and a sumptuous apple tart with clove ice cream, alongside a soupcon of Coteaux du Layon, from the Loire Valley. 

The cheeses were full of flavour and a great selection, and the tart really was to die for, so much so I forgot to take a picture before I dived on in!  If I am being critical, I’m not entirely sure what benefit the clove ice cream gave to the dish, I think I might have been happier with double or even clotted cream, but 99% ain’t bad… fruitiness from the apples, rich creamy caramel yumminess balanced out by the crispy and buttery pastry. YUM


Overall a fabulous array of flavours, and while it’s hard to say what my favourite dish was because it was all simply divine, if pushed I might say the grouse and damsons, coupled with the Italian Riferno, narrowly surpassed the tartare of venison as the dish extraordinaire of the evening.
Other highlights from the menu include: wood pigeon, spelt, berries, currants and chervil (£7.50); Devon brown crab, chilled tomato soup with pickled cucumber (£8.50); roast coley, leek, fennel and surf clams (£14.00); mutton suet pie, roast loin, baby onions and bacon (£18.00); Cumbrian suckling pig with glazed apple and cobnuts (£19.50); damson parfait, candied rose petals, blackcurrants and brown bread crunch (£6.00) and London honey and almond loaf with plum ripple ice-cream (£6.00).  There is also an extensive wine list with a number of English wines, featuring over 60 bins, with 15 available by the glass from £4.50, and bottles starting from £17.90.
Mark Dyer, Eamonn Manson, and David Minchin, who also set up sister pub The Sands End together in 2007, opened Manson in 2010. 
A resounding success!  I look forward to coming again soon… 
Reservations can be made on 020 7384 9559 or 676 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5SA

Thai restaurant chain Patara puts oysters on the menu


Fine-dining Thai restaurant Patara has collaborated with Maldon Oysters to celebrate the Oyster Festival.  Two new oyster dishes have been created by Patara’s chefs and put on the menu at all four restaurants in London throughout October and November 2011.

The two oyster dishes combine traditional Thai cuisine with seasonal produce from Maldon Oysters and are presented in two ways – raw and cooked, in the following styles:

  • Oysters with mint, coriander, lemongrass, Thai vinaigrette, lemon and crisp shallots.
  • Oysters deep-fried in soda batter served in its shell with bean-sprout and chilli sauce.

The dishes are set at three: £5.50; or six: £9.50, which seems like a pretty fair price.

They are also offering Champagne by the bottle to enjoy with the oysters, which include Moutard Brut Reserve (£35.80); Laurent Perrier Brut (£56.20); Veuve Cliquot Rosé (£66.40); and Moet et Chandon (£148.10).

For August and September, Patara joined forces with luxury resorts and spa group Six Senses to create a special menu with a focus on health and flavour.

Highlights from the menu included Miang pla Salmon – salmon and herb Thai salad with chilli lime dressing; Goong yai op – Roasted king prawns, lime and chilli marinate, spiced mango and passion fruit foam served with tender steamed bok-choi; and Goong Pow, grilled tiger prawns with kaffir lime dressing served on brown rice infused with green curry paste.

I went to sample the six senses menu in the Greek Street restaurant and had a great evening.

While the salad appeared to have been sitting in its dressing for a while before it made it to the table, the fresh spring rolls were light and delicious, the king prawns were cooked to perfection, the green curry sauce was not watery, but creamy and full of flavour, and the service was way more attentive than I have witnessed in the past, so I am sure that the oyster dishes will go down a treat.

I just hope I manage to make it along before December to sample them!