L’Esguard: quite possibly the worst meal of my life

Micri

The usual caveats apply and all that, but I might have just eaten at the worst restaurant in the world. Not that I hadn’t been forewarned; I should have taken note when Rafael Garcia Santos, the One-Man-Michelin-Guide of Spain, contorted his face into something quite indescribable when I told him we were going to eat at l’Esguard. I should have listened to many other concerned friends who pointed out that Roses—and the legendary elBulli—was really not that much farther from Barcelona. One even pulled out a mobile and offered to get us a reservation.

Alas, I was determined. Pigheaded, I should say. I had already been to elBulli, but not yet l’Esguard. We were sticking with our plan, we would not be swayed by anyone, not even the lot of them. Our resolve was, sadly, resolute.

You could hardly blame us. The chef, Miguel Sanchez Romera, has a back-story that is more than intriguing: a brain surgeon neurologist by day, and an haute cuisine chef by night. Ok, it’s more like two and four days a week, respectively, but you get my drift. Quite an iconoclast, Sanchez Romera famously denounced the inclusion of his restaurant in the Michelin Guide for Spain. Whether he had done so pre or post the not-so-favorable mention (ok, a demotion) in said guide is up for question, however.

I knew things began southward not long after we entered the beautifully restored 16th century building. Lining the walls of the reception room were photographs of the food. Beautiful yet strangely sterile. They were blown up, spotlighted, and posed as if to demand no less than worship from the unsuspecting diners passing through the corridor.

Notquite

The hostess’ reception gave me yet another pause. Before we were allowed to see our table, she insisted on giving us a tour of the “beautifully restructed” 16th century villa, to see the wine “cellar” with “more than 500 different types of wine” and the cheese aging cellar where they aged all their own cheese. Frankly, the whole thing was more Disneyland than anything gastronomically inspired. The wine cellar was lined with glass, as though intended for a spectacle and hardly the protection and aging of the delicate wines. The cheese cellar-–though had been there since the 1700′s–was nothing more than a hole in the ground with two or three mesh-door cabinets stocked with cheese. Bernard Antony doesn’t need to close up his operation just yet.

By then we were tired, hungry, and more than a little annoyed, but there was hope yet. We were finally led to the staircase leading up to the second floor dining room, where we would, hopefully, soon be seated and, also hopefully, fed. Then, only two steps up the stairs, she stopped, turned around to us again, one arm motioning toward the cubes just beyond the stairs in the best imitation of a stewardess showing that the nearest exit may be behind you. “And here we have built the toilets”, she said. I scoffed and pushed by her up the stairs.

Finally installed at our table, I was more than ready for some serious nourishing. The table was quite precious, each place setting with its own direct light, illuminating the plate as though it was artwork. Beautiful plates they were, and I was ever so hopeful of the beautiful food that would soon fill those plates and, soon after, my belly. Alas it wasn’t to be, at least not yet. Instead we were presented with a manifesto. Don’t ask me what’s in it. I just couldn’t be arsed to pay attention. It began with some absurd notions about god and creation and whatnot. I put it aside, thinking I’d read it when I got back, perhaps after some food and drinks, a lot of drinks. (FYI, I finally read it properly at home, well-nourished and well-sloshed; it was no less absurd.)

What is it with chefs and manifesto these days? Seriously. We get it. You don’t just randomly put stuff on a plate. You’ve got a grand idea. But you know what? Sometimes all we care about is whether your grand idea was any good to eat. Because if it wasn’t, then it’s just a big pile of crap.

This chef has got a grand idea alright, and it came in the form of Micri®, a special magic powder he invented himself. It’s a sort of hydrocolloids made from, as I understood it, cassava starch. It’s basically used to thicken or stabilize stuff. In the kitchen at l’Esguard, the chef fashioned it into some sort of butter and into transparent, tasteless, and odorless wrappers he uses in place of ravioli wrapper, sauce, and, basically, everything.

Back at our dining table, the chef’s grand idea came early. And often. Quite relentlessly so, actually. It arrived first as a clear wrapper for a mini “ravioli” of potato with oddly fishy fillings and an aromatic sauce. Then it came as a sort of “lasagna” replacing the traditional pasta with clear Micrifilm®. The novelty of it was intriguing enough the first couple of times, but when it wore off it became a bore. It didn’t taste bad, mind you, but it had this very odd, plastic-y texture that refused to melt properly in your mouth. Sort of similar to how agar-thickened jelly shatters rather than melts in your mouth like gelatin-thickened jelly. The Micriflim seemed even more sturdy than agar thickened stuff–not entirely a good attribute if you asked me.

Vegpalette

A square soup plate arrived, laid with a palette of freeze-dried vegetable powder so intricately arranged there was hardly a grain out of place. No Micri, I let out a sigh of relieve. Alas I spoke too fast. The waiter arrived to lay sautéed vegetables artfully atop the colorful carpet. The vegetables were gleaming with what I first thought was butter, but which somehow didn’t taste the least bit like it. It was, instead, oddly inoffensive tasting yet with the sort of gummy, viscous texture that was not entirely pleasant. Yes, it was Micri, MicriButter® to be precise. Another server arrived to pour a vegetable consommé, intended to blend with each square of the vegetable powder to create a new amalgam of flavors. Unfortunately, the liquid was neither hot enough nor in sufficient quantity to dissolve the powder completely, leaving the broth oddly grainy and, again, not entirely pleasant to eat.

Salmon

Oh, no, and we were not done with the Micri. The next dish was a piece of otherwise innocent—if not entirely pristine—salmon wrapped in clear Micrifilm. I was too bothered by the plastic-y Micri to be able to tell you how the fish was. I may have even given up before I got to it.

This was bordering on the ridiculous. All the plates were gorgeously composed, illuminated by the specially directed light. Each one was more beautiful than the last. But this was hardly lunch anymore. It was an absurdly curated exhibit: Micri dans tous ses états. There were more food to come, some sort of seafood dish smelling of a fish market at the end of the day—no, that’s not a good thing—and some pigeon roasted or smoked in something or another, seemingly Micri-free but so vastly overcooked it wasn’t worth chewing.

Icecream_2

The only saving grace of the savory portion of this meal was the cheese cart, filled with interesting local cheeses that I devoured with delight. Or was it ravenous hunger? I couldn’t really tell anymore. The cheese course was—to the palpable relief of the table—Micri-free, but our luck ran out at desserts: white chocolate ice-cream, thickened with Micri powder, came wrapped in a shining Micrifilm® blanket “who hints flowers and fresh herbs”, and some sort of gelatinous white chocolate (again!) soup, also more than likely stabilized with yet more Micri.

We were not quite done with the meal, but were “sent” instead to luxuriate with coffee and tea and mignardises in the comfortable library. That part was quite fun, the chef’s cerebral approach to cuisine is evident in his collection of cookbooks from everywhere. I had fun browsing through the shelves, though I must say the fun subsided more than a bit when I found a book on the coffee table, flagged and underlined. The chef’s own cook book. Of course.

Handkerchiefs

Then the petits-fours arrived. Little “handkerchiefs” of choco-Micrifilm® and gold, filled with chocolate truffles. I stared at them in disbelief. It really was time to go.

———————————————–

Click here the see the full set of pictures from that meal.

P.S. Please don’t ask how much the meal was, the memory of the food alone was painful enough.

P.P.S. I sat on this post for a very long time. I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to post it, but I kept getting asked about this on email, so finally I decided to go for it. Take it however you want, this was just my opinion.

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  • http://blog.kimvallee.com/ At Home with Kim Vallee

    That sounds like the perfect case of a Chef that perfect art to cooking. When you go to a restaurant with very elaborate food presentation, I expect the meal to taste as good as it looks. Here clearly the Chef missed the boat.

  • http://blog.kimvallee.com/ At Home with Kim Vallee

    Ouups! I meant a Chef who prefers and not perfect

  • Velops

    You can tell from the pictures alone what the meal was like. The texture of the Micri sheets reminds me of rice paper rounds used to make summer rolls. It’s a little unsettling how much it looks like plastic.
    I would have reservations about making a similar post if I were in your position. I still think this post was worthwhile as starting point for discussion about issues that are not often discussed.
    Can chefs strike a reasonable balance between the ethics of seasonal organic cooking with the creative experimentation of molecular gastronomy?

  • http://caseyellis.blogspot.com Casey

    I feel sorry for your pain, really, but since I am in many ways a bad person I have to admit that post was a helluva lot of fun to read. I hope you headed straight to a wonderful tapas bar and filled up with great, REAL food.

  • http://www.whatwereeating.com amanda

    i’m never a fan of when a restaurant or chef is more interested in the art and science aspects of gastronomy than in the flavor of food. this meal sounds horrible… and l’Esguard sound incredibly pretentious. gorgeous photos though, and a great read as always!

  • http://www.gastronomie-sf.com Fatemeh

    That fish looks like it is wrapped in a condom. Foul. Simply foul.

  • http://maitresse.typepad.com maitresse

    That sounds perfectly horrifying. WWTBS?
    Just a note– unless there is a double entendre involving the stairway that I didn’t get, the expression is “dans tous ses états.” But apologies if you knew that; I’m just being pedantic.

  • http://campodifragole.blogspot.com campodifragole

    It’s incredible how some chefs or avant garde cuisine are taken too seriuously! Then how is it possible that a brain surgeon by day can be a chef by night? I mean maybe he is simply the owner or better the person with such a big ego that not happier enough of being a surgeon wants to succeed in something else and why not cooking as nowadays- especially in Spain- is considered to be the best you can do…All this show about chefs is becoming a circus. People are prepared to pay a lots of money for crap! It is a shame when there are thousands (just to say a number) of undiscovered little gastronomic treasures… and people waste time and money just to say “I have been toooo”Wow Congratulations!!

  • http://www.amateurgourmet.com Adam

    What was the book?? My guesses:
    - “Mein Kampf”
    - hardcore pornography with essays by Norman Mailer
    - David Lebovitz’s “Great Book of Micri”
    I enjoyed this review, thanks for posting it Pim!

  • http://www.umami.typepad.com/ umami

    This makes funny reading but if I was there I would be p*ssed off as hell too. Clearly the chef is someone who has been transported to another planet by his supreme ego.

  • http://oneserving.com Debbie

    Oh my lord, that picture of the salmon looks horrendous! Not content with plastic-wrapped fish, he felt the need to sprinkle a line of plastic confetti beside it to make the plate look less empty. Urgh.
    Thank you for this post. I shall make a note never to visit this restaurant when in Spain, nor any other by Sanchez Romera.

  • AJ

    Seems like there was a bumper crop of hubris in Barcelona! Certainly a bitter ingredient when used with a heavy hand.

  • Patty

    Pim – I can attest to eating at a restaurant that I was warned about. I am a bit willful when told not to eat somewhere. What you encountered seems to be a carbon copy of what I have experiwnced with a lot of the “molecular gastronomy” / ” nouvelle cuisine” type menus I have tried. I think these chefs get so caught up in the “innovation” of what they are doing that they forget to taste the foods they create. They are first and foremost all about concept and not taste. I think there is a place for these concepts in dining but they need to remember it should always be about the food. Touche to you for posting this story. I appreciate your insight!

  • http://lavieinenglish.blogspot.com Babeth

    Sounds like a terrible experience. You should contact the Men in Black to erase that memory …

  • kero

    oh jeez.It’s fish, in Seran wrap. Honestly, though, when i sayw those….. whats? at the begging, i knew, that is SO not five-spice chicken. And i don’t want to get to familiar with it.

  • http://www.anonymekoeche.net Claudio

    Ouch!
    No risk, no fun, turned into big risk, big disappointment.
    All the best for your next experience!

  • http://www.kittalog.com Kitt

    Well, it made for a good rant, and your photos are pretty, anyway!

  • http://www.aliceqfoodie.com Alice Q. Foodie

    Jeez, that sounds awful. I hope you at least had fun complaining about it to each other!
    I am so curious about the book!

  • The Viking

    I had a similar experience on my visit last year, and most of the dishes were the same.
    Alas: The salmon WAS horrible, definetely off and both texture and taste were not appealing.
    But: The “Freeze dried vegetable squares with broth” dish was for me exquisite, with ample liquid, adequately heated and a beatuiful amalgamation of different subtle flavours.
    The smoked/grilled pigeon was on my visit also perfectly cooked, but not extremely memorable.
    I do not doubt there’s plenty of talent which in an almost Micrifree environment would flourish more…

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thanks everyone.
    I should say I’m certainly not against avant-garde or experimental cooking. In fact the best meal of last year was at a restaurant whose chef is known to be at the forefront of this movement. To be fair I probably should write up that meal too….and perhaps a bunch of others I’ve also enjoyed. Looks like I’ve got such a back-log of restaurant posts I should put up!
    I’m not against what people referred to as “molecular gastrnomy”, just that when things go wrong there’s so little room to hide there. And things certainly went quite a bit wrong here on this meal.

  • tde

    If that truly was the “worst meal of your life” then you are very lucky indeed.

  • tde

    If that truly was the “worst meal of your life” then you are very lucky indeed.

  • http://www.xanga.com/chef_kayenne kayenne

    sounds like a micri-overdose… i believe that the chef needs to use some subtlety is using these new innovative stuff… no more than 30% of the dishes or it can get tired fast! and the fact that if the wonder ingredient flops with the guest, there would at least be other plates to salvage the meal. i can only accept chocolate or cheese in their usual forms as an ingredient in every course. but that’s just me.

  • Robert R

    Now we would like to hear about the restaurant you loved on the same trip. Or at least I think it was the same trip.
    El Poblet

  • http://www.luxeat.com Luxeat

    The food does look beautiful, but i guess the chef concentrates more about the aesthetics of the dish than the marriage of tastes… Too bad…

  • http://blog.liedel.org Nancy Liedel – The Goat Rodeo

    I feel your pain in your thoughtful post and admire your bravery for posting it. I also admire you for eating it. I thought the condom comment was brilliant.

  • http://www.fromargentinawithlove.typepad.com Rebecca

    It’s a shame you didn’t have a good experience, it’s always sad when eating out disappoints so much that you’d rather stay in and cook. The chef sounds completely egomaniacal-a neurosurgeon who is a chef of a menu comprised almost entirely of his own secret ingredient? Sounds like the makings of a pulp fiction novel! As for the micri-sorry, but it looks like latex surgical gloves stuffed with food!

  • http://www.senlek.net sen

    an interesting read…. and definitely worth posting. I didn’t realise how small the portions were until i saw one of the pics with the knife & fork in it…..

  • Diane Carlson

    Well this may have been a truly awful meal, but it was one of the funniest posts I have read in a long time. I was chuckling about it all day in total bafflement. Your pain has provided smiles, and warning (!) to all of us.

  • Chris

    I don’t know, that whole experience sounds pretty interesting to me. You don’t have to like everything you put in your mouth — comfort food will still be there tomorrow. But how often do you get to try micri?

  • Lina and Jean Paul

    Let me be unpolite, it’s sunday and it’s normal, we are french.
    After centuries to eat shit, English and American
    criticizes one of the best chef of Europe. They are definitively poor, ignorant and stupid. In the matter, we can understand them when the refinement of these Yankees or English is limited only to the savour of Mac Donalds, Wimpy, KFC of some Iraqi, Afghan or Guantanamo places. Miguel cheer.

  • Lina and Jean Paul

    Let me be unpolite, it’s sunday and it’s normal, we are french.
    After centuries to eat shit, English and American
    criticizes one of the best chef of Europe. They are definitively poor, ignorant and stupid. In the matter, we can understand them when the refinement of these Yankees or English is limited only to the savour of Mac Donalds, Wimpy, KFC of some Iraqi, Afghan or Guantanamo places. Miguel cheer.

  • Lina and Jean Paul

    Let me be unpolite, it’s sunday and it’s normal, we are french.
    After centuries to eat shit, English and American
    criticizes one of the best chef of Europe. They are definitively poor, ignorant and stupid. In the matter, we can understand them when the refinement of these Yankees or English is limited only to the savour of Mac Donalds, Wimpy, KFC of some Iraqi, Afghan or Guantanamo places. Miguel cheer.

  • http://maceratingshallots.blogspot.com Tommy

    So… the guy wraps everything he cooks in an edible plastic of his own invention? That’s his schtick? Weird…

  • Diane

    Wow – not only super impolite – but impolite enough to post the same nasty rant three times. Surely if you read the blog (you do, dont you?) you know Pim has impeccable taste. Unlike some…

  • http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com Barbara

    Not only does Pim have taste, she isn’t an American. (Which, if you bothered to actually read this blog more than enough to give a drive-by comment, you’d know that.) She’s from Thailand, so stuff your anti-American insults where…well, I’ll let you guess where.
    Oh, and by the way, not every American is an ignorant, uncultured rube, just as not every Frenchman is as much of an insufferable twit as you are.
    That said, Pim–thank you for posting about your experiences. I cannot imagine such an awful meal myself. To me, food should be food first, and art second, which is why I have been viewing this entire molecular gastronomy trend with skepticism. I can see the attraction, and I can see how it could be beautiful and great, but I can also see the food produced by such methods as being soulless and unsatisfying to both the palate and the stomach.
    So, it was good to hear the opinion of someone I respect on the issue. I do look forward to hearing you talk about a good experience with molecular gastronomy as well. I want to hear both sides!

  • http://thiswillhurtme.blogspot.com/ Kris

    That truly does sound like a miserable night out.
    Whatever happened to tasty food, nice portions and friendly staff? When did it become a song and dance routine and pissing competition?

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    I’ll post the great meal at El Poblet next week. Promise.
    Diane and Barbara, thanks for defending my honor. :-) I try not to pay much attention to drive-by trolls like that. Clearly they didn’t pay attention to my blog like you two did!
    cheers,
    Pim

  • John

    This was a very interesting post. I came by it via another link. I enjoyed the review and the photos, as well as the many comments. I am a social worker with two masters degrees and many years of working with people who would find such food ridiculous and could never afford trying it. I am burned out now, and on disability for depression. We really live in different worlds. I am enjoying a meatloaf that I cooked myself. It is very good for one who who does not consider himself a cook. I will be eating it for the next week … every day. Still it was fun to read about someone who knows fine food, being put off by the pretensions of “haute gastronomy”.

  • Pauline

    Pardon Pim,
    Lina( pas français çà comme prénom !)”s’esguard”…

  • http://thedoughball.blogspot.com/ courtney

    thanks for that…i live in barcelona right now and my boyfriend had wanted to go there, now i know to steer clear. however, we’re going to san sebastian in may and trying mugaritz and etxebarri (i’ve read your post on that and can’t wait to go!)
    courtney at http://thedoughball.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.pistoynopisto.com Nopisto

    It looks like Miguel Sanchez Romera is closing L’Esguard and opening a new venture in NYC. We’ll see how it works.

  • craig

    wow, who the fuck cares if he was a brain surgeon, all that means to me is that he spends even less time cooking therefore you end up eating micri films and fish that is shit. when are people going to learn when and how to use these “newer” techniques the right way and not overkill. maybe instead he should not get crappy ingredients and wrap something around it that is supposed to mask the disgust inside and learn how to properly store a fish in a walk in or shop for a a fish, or better yet not concentrate on some “grand” invention and jerking himself off on the plate

  • Annette

    Dear Pim, I totally agree with you. Some years ago I was invited to a dinner at L’Esguard (we happen to live quite near to it).
    The daring and unwise combinations this chef served us, finally provoked my stomach so much that I ended throwing up all of the expensive meal! terrible.
    I recommend Carme Ruscalleda’s “Sant Pau”

  • Melinda

    I’m very sorry about your bad experience at L’Esguard, actually closed for several reasons. I’ve been there four times the last two years always in a great experience. Sanchez Romera is an uncomfortable chef into Spain’s lobby. He’s now working in a huge project opening a restaurant in NY – Chelsea on March 2009.
    Dear Chef Pim, you must visit again Catalonian country. Have you been in Celler Can Roca – Girona?. Also you need to go to Piratas, a very special and small place in Barcelone. I’ll send you some information by mail. Regards, Melinda Ross

  • Hector

    Hola Pim
    dejame decirte que me encanta muchooo tu Blog….es genial he tenido la oportunidad de conocerte en un especial de National Geographic Channel … y solo puedo decirte que como los platos que mencionas asi como cada uno de los ingredientes que se mencionan dentro de tu blog…todos y cada uno de ellos son exquisitos como Tú
    Saludos desde Barcelona, España

  • http://www.istanbuldry.com halı yıkama

    I got really enjoy reading. thank you very much

  • Luke

    sanchez romera just disappeared after getting the michelin star and no body knows where is him now.

  • Luke

    but you are right…micri in every dish…not good….

  • http://twitter.com/gografik gografik

    Looks like he’s headed to NYC. He’s opening a restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Yikes.

  • Felitxe

    I cooked with this guy years ago, he didnt know how to use the knive

  • Oscar

    Dear Pim;

    I had dinner at L’Esguard in 2003 by a casuality when I moved to S.A.
    Llavaneres. I was stonished. It was one of the more impresive
    experiences for me and my wife. After that, I’ve been to Celler de Can
    Roca, Sant Pau, Petit Comite, Hispania (several times) and others in the
    area where I live. No one of them did ever surprise me that much.

    I was amazed at the beginning reading your post. Unfortunately I couldn’t even finish with it, considering nothing but blaming and insulting this guy.
    Then I decided to read your About. Saw no degree, no master, no studies in cooking or technology.

    Thankfully also no much news about you since 2008 but the mention in The Times, which I could not find following the link. And the mention about Fast Company, where couldn’t find you either following the link but “about the most progressive business leaders,” really frightning marketing style intro about themselves.

    So please Pim, keep quite for a while. All the ones looking for intelligent, measured, reasoned opinions over the internet will thank you about that.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    I agree with you, the personal insult here is rather loathsome, isn’t it? 

  • Msalmeron

    I never went to L’Esguard bit don’t need to to agree that too much of any ingredient -specially if it has no flavor and resembles a plastic film- is, well, too much. Sometimes the best way to have a piece a chocolate is just having a piece of chocolate, not fancy stuff involve.

  • bob

    ur gay dude

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  • mick

    Ok we get it, he loves his invention and you hate it. This post is hardly a well-formed opinion. If you’re trying to be an established professional in the very public area of food related *anything*, really, stop throwing tantrums – even on your own blog – and learn to write properly.

    I used to come to your blog for recipes but you haven’t posted a recipe in eons so it’s of no use. And I have a hard time paying money to learn how to make jam, of all things, from someone who apparently is sweet only when someone pays her. Utterly bourgeois.

  • dj

    Oscar, I don’t know if you get the irony in Pim’s reply to you here, but I’m really happy with both your input here… wish more people would post from the heart. In Pim’s case there was something useful in terms of information and context, and I’m happy I could hear her anger, (I have had this kind of anger many times so I understand it).

    Everyone’s opinion is valuable, so thank you for your opening paragraph, and thank you also for your subsequent paragraphs which put your standpoint into perspective, I get a strong sense that you don’t actually understand food from your indefensible position that to be a food critic one must have some form of formal education, in fact this is one area where the data (backgrounds of great chefs, critics,etc) shows overwhelmingly that education is not correlated with quality of food or food analysis, and quite amazingly the chefs with the least formal background have often gone on to be the most scientific.

    Of course we never actually assess food itself, we assess it in the context in which it is presented, e.g. the moods of the diners are an extremely important part of this, so it may be that L’Esguard’s food is great, but the diner in this case was already antagonized to the point to which she couldn’t enjoy it. However the evidence in the photos alone doesn’t support the idea that this chefs food is great, perhaps great to look at, but without Pim’s notes I would still have wondered if this was tasteless art or not… it is clear that this chef is using too much of his own magic powder.

    So folks lets please keep it real, Speak from the heart as Oscar and Pim have done.

    Oscar, I’m looking for “intelligent, measured reasoned opinions” and so I think you’ve been mistaken or let a personal bias or opinion cloud your view here, you surely can’t be arguing that there’s merit in what this chef is doing. You surely can’t be arguing that Pim should not post from the heart, and I think if you reflect on my point above you probably aren’t really arguing that education is a requirement here?. I’m pretty angry myself at this kind of direction in food, it is an insult to food in my opinion. For the alternative look at the cooking of Joan Roca and carefully contrast, I know you’ve been there but did you really understand it?, the science and technique is used simply to enhance the meal not as a component in the meal. There’s a huge difference. However if surprise alone is what you value then fine. These days surprise and over invention is often a sign that the chef is distracting from the fact that they don’t have the magic touch to create amazing purity of flavour or inspired combinations of same. Of perhaps their misguidedness and persuit of the innovation or surprise have distracted them from the flavour aspect, both these are tragic scenarios!.

    No, for me (and most) taste and over all experience is most important.

    (Pim fwiw, this was one of your best posts and you are only playing to the commercial side when you’re not being honest and from the heart. If we believe in ourselves and say what we feel precisely, then our selection will be on fact and our true value, so if you don’t make sense then you’ll quickly find out you need to focus on something else. I’ve found Chez Pim has quite an amount of the kind of sense I’m looking for.)