Langdon Hall's world's best restaurant rating - What a joke!!! Sacrilegious and insulting!!
- Charles Yu Apr 17, 2011 03:58 PM
Langdon Hall, in the latest S. Pellegrino World's 100 Best restaurant, was voted #77. This was ahead of some of the best Michelin 3* restaurants on earth eg., Quintessence ( Tokyo ), Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester ( London ) and Le Pre Catelan ( Paris )!!!
I have eaten in ALL of the aforementioned establishments. NO WAY is the food and/or whole package experience of Langdon Hall better than the other three!!! In fact, when I ate at Alain Ducasse and Le Pre Calelan a few years back, they were not even 3 stars but their food was already way better ( innovation, presentation, smell and taste ) than what I had at LH a few months ago!! Service of LH, though good by Canadian fine dining standard was no where near the professionalism and attentiveness of the above 3*s. In fact, its not even better than the ' Old Splendido' with Yannick, Carlo and Adley running the floor!!
Man! Sometimes I do miss the 'whole package' - wine pairing tasting menu experience of the 'Old David Lee's Splendido'!!
There is a 'How we do it link' in the Academy section which explains that voting is broken up regionally. I'm not clear if Canada is a region or is it part of N. America. My guess is that LH will not be on the new list. Obviously the panelist travel and eat a lot but if I had to vote for four restaurants within my region where I have eaten in the past 18 months, there would also be choices which would be ahead of many of the world's best restaurants.
Actually the 'panels' are broken into regions. Each panel has 31 members, there are 27 panels (regions). Each members on the panel has 7 votes to cast, 3 of which must be for restaurants outside their region (meaning they can vote for a maximum of 4 restaurants in their region), other than that they can vote for whatever restaurant in the world they wish. Canada is part of a region that includes all of Canada and the 'mid' USA.
Knowing all that, what about the initial statement? Is LH's placement on the list at #77 (or at all) a 'joke' or 'sacrilegious'? I see it as an opinion, nothing more, nothing less. The OP clearly is of a different opinion, which he is entitled to. People like to debate food like there is a correct answer. I don't. In the end their are opinions, and when it comes to food, they vary far and wide in my experience.
I am not sure what cause there is to get worked up about the opinion of some group, the majority of whom we don't know or dine with. Who cares. They won't be picking my next meal.
p.s. I also miss the old Splendido, but all good things must end it seems.
Charles, S. Pellegrino has a very skewed voting system as pointed out by dubchild & JPJ, which threw up anomalies each year. BTW, I'm also perplexed at how my hometown (Singapore)'s eateries made it to the top 100, for example
- Iggy's (#28) - they don't even have a recognizeable chef de cuisine, Iggy's thrive on replicating/copying dishes from other successful/trendy restaurants, and presenting these dishes in a luxe environment;
- Jaan par Andre (#39) whose chef, Andre Chiang, left a year ago to set up his own restaurant;
- Les Amis (#78). It's the grande old dame of French fine-dining in Singapore but looks out to a small backstreet, and the entrance to Shaw Centre's carpark. At least I presume Langdon Hall has a view?
- Gunther's (#84) - have to admit Gunther Hubrechsen (ex-Les Amis) is hugely talented & the small restaurant on Purvis Street does churn out surprises. But world's top 100? Hardly.
I wonder who buys S Pellegrino's food guide?
1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8, Canada
This was the 2010 list (not that it wasn't just as egregious a year ago!). The 2011 list comes out later today.
The key is to watch for places moving up that were new 'last year'. Many people plan to visit the up-and-comers so in the second year you find out whether they were 'one-hit wonders'.
If Langdon moves up, then try it again. My local sources in Cambridge claim it's hit a consistently high standard - but, like you, my previous experiences (with both location and the chef, when at previous restaurants, have not inspired confidence).
e.g. Noma soared (deservedly) as more people tried it, whereas (IMO) El Bulli slipped because the 'qualified voters' couldn't get in (and hence were not able to vote for it).
I expect a couple of other Copenhaged restos to score well also, as when the voters go to Noma, they'll try several other places in Copenhagen - and they'll also get votes too (deservedly).
When we ate -- at my girlfriend's insistence -- at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester I walked away thinking it was the worst waste of money. Academically it was sound but there was nothing about it that stood out. I can see how someone who lives and breathes by rankings and stars and needs 'expert' advice to help them determine what is a good meal would appreciate it because it hit all the 'technical' marks. But for actual enjoyment it was a waste. It was a clinical exercise in fine dining.
Also Charles, I think you may have had your hyperbole key on lock when you wrote the original post.