Top 5 International Dishes 2015-2016
It’s been a big year of eating and I’ve tasted some wonderful dishes overseas as well as at home. So, rather than knock any of my local favourites out of the Top 5, I decided to give you my Top 5 International Dishes as well. It’s a hard choice – honourable mention must go to an amazing potato tortilla in a rustic café high in the Spanish Basque hills, the best Danish pastry ever in Torshavn in the Faroes, and a wonderful fondue at Café Tivoli above Lake Geneva in Switzerland. But, at the end of the day, here are the dishes that I’m still dreaming about going back for.
Snails (L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, Lyon, France)
Snails in garlic butter seems too simple to order in one of the world’s most legendary restaurants. But I did, and it was a revelation. Who knew snails could be so tender, or that garlic and herb butter could be this vibrant? And I loved the ceramic snail shells!
Fish’n’Chips (The Crown at Bray, Bray, England)
Everyone goes to Bray to eat at The Fat Duck (see below) but there’s a lot to love at Blumenthal’s two local pubs as well. Not least a piece of sweet firm turbot in a light crisp batter (a soda-siphon is the secret) with triple-cooked chips, housemade tartare and crushed peas.
Roast Guineafowl (The Gannet, Glasgow, Scotland)
In Glasgow we discovered yet another Banc alumni, Peter McKenna, whose passion for local seasonal produce saw us eating delicious foraged budding wild garlic shoots (a short-lived annual treat) and Judas ear mushrooms with roasted free-range guineafowl from a local farm.
Salt-aged Eye Fillet (The Honours, Edinburgh, Scotland)
I do like a good steak – and the best one I’ve had all year was at Martin Wishart’s smart Edinburgh bistro, where they take their meat very seriously. Salt-aged eye fillet was cooked medium-rare (as requested) and well rested so that it was tender and delicious. Excellent onion rings too.
Botrytis Cinerea Dessert (The Fat Duck, Bray, England)
It’s hard to single out just one dish from the mind-bending Fat Duck menu, but this is the one I most want to eat again. Inspired by grape noble rot, apparently it contains over 20 separate elements including nitrogen-chilled red grape juice, aerated saffron, pear caramel-filled chocolate and citrus-infused yoghurt. I just know it tasted great!