Lunch at Loconda Locatelli (London)
We've already had a lengthy discussion about this restaurant, and I don't want to caste aspersions on any of the participant's of said thread, but I cannot fathom how anyone would be disappointed in the food or service at Loconda. We all know places and menus change, so I'll just give those people the benefit of my doubts.
We had a superb lunch with excellent, friendly and very well-trained staff. There was definitely no 'attitude' in the room except one of professionalism. The food was delicious from beginning of the meal to the end. Husband had a sweet and sour sardine starter with a main of tagliatelle of kid ragu. I had a plate of ravioli (very small) with veal ragu and a sage and butter sauce, followed by the suggested suckling pig with mash and Bramley apples.. fantastic.
I have an American food magazine from 1998 that featured 'modern British cuisine,' and on the cover are a very young Locatelli, Marcus Wareing, and Gary Rhodes. I should have brought it along to share with the staff so they could see how the boss used to look. Who ever thought I'd be living here and eating their food.
Happy to accept that things seem to have changed since 2008 when we ate there. However, with the capital always needing a special trip and it having so many options, I'll probably stick to my negative prejudices.
I'm sure the sardine dish was a belter - it's a classic Venetian offering that can be really lovely.
(PS: I regard Rhodes as the "godfather" of the Modern British style. He's done so much to popularise the cuisine, going back to his time at the Castle in Taunton. There will be many chefs in the country who owe their success to his pioneering work)
Yes, 2008 was quite a long time ago, John. It's nice to know that someone listened to criticism and changed their restaurant for the better. You're right about the sardines. I'm not a sardine lover, but even I thought this dish was very good.
We are spoiled for choices now in the UK. And still some of my American friends who haven't been here for years are thinking we are behind the times. :-) I should buy them an airplane ticket.
The first time I tried Rhodes' cooking was back in 1994 - he was cooking at the Greenhouse then. I remembered it was a very good dinner meal. But during that same trip to London, I'd had lunch at Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, and *that* meal pretty much overshadowed all the other 20+ restaurants I visited in London that year.
Gordon Ramsay was at Aubergine that year, and Marcus Wareing cooked at L'Oranger - both of which I thought were good, but not on par with Blanc. Marco Pierre White was cooking at the Oak Room at Le Meridien that year, if I remember correctly, but I missed that one.
I'm so glad you enjoyed your experience there, zuriga1. Locatelli, Wareing and Rhodes have all indeed "aged" well.
For me, the chefs who'd had the biggest influence on London's restaurant scene in the past decades were the Roux brothers, Pierre Koffmann and Nico Ladenis. Of course, Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay were not far behind.
You must do Koffmann's one of these days (if you haven't done so already) - his coming out of retirement (post-La Tante Claire) is, to me, one of the modern miracles in the London dining scene.