Thursday, 1 December 2016

Le Cochon Aveugle, York.

The process by which I shoot in restaurants I've developed myself, I've no idea if this is the 'right way'. What I do is I take as many photos of the dish as I can think of in as many different angles and compositions. Then I process the ones that are any good before finally selecting the ones I like best giving the client a good choice. This method usually means lots more work for me but I think it's worth it. The problem (if it is a problem) with the images at Le Cochon Aveugle in York was that there were so many good shots it was difficult to try and choose the final selection.
In all honesty when the food looks this good it does make my job a lot easier. It looked so impressive that myself and Mrs B braved the packed commuter traffic last Friday evening and went for dinner as (paying) clients. My god was it worth it. Easily the best none Michelin star meal (along with La Salita in Valencia) of the year.  It was a master-class in fine dining that was superior to a few over-hyped restaurants I can think of but won't mention here. For me flavour is paramount and that is what chef Josh Overington's food is all about, as it should be.
I shot quite a few dishes I didn't eat and vice versa.
I shot and ate this one, it was divine; L'Arpege Egg. From the beginning we knew we were in for a night of very fine food.
House-cured shoulder of pork, pickled strawberries and gochujang mayonnaise.
Langoustine with a squid ‘risotto’, raspberry and lobster bisque. I wish we'd have eaten this one, it looks stunning.
Nasturtium ice-cream with winter squash velouté. Beautiful and surprising.
50 day aged beef tartare with red eye gravy emulsion, savoury granola and slow-cooked egg yolk.
Poached foie gras in a crab consommé with Whitby crab, sorrel and apple.
Blow-torched mackerel with goats curd, fresh almonds and Charentais melon gazpacho. Apologies for so many pics of this one, it's easily the most photogenic dish I've shot!
Hand-dived Scallop with cauliflower and truffle.
Squab with heritage beetroots, teardrop peppers and tasty paste relish.
A dish I didn't photograph but was for us the best of the night (amongst stiff competition) was Scallop, Artichoke & brie purée, truffle jus. The bread was as good as any we've had in any restaurant.
The desserts were very strong too including the Thai Sorbet with coconut and the Warm Chocolate Mousse, sea salt ice-cream, pepper tuile & Corsican olive oil (pictured below).
Le Cochon Aveugle is a superb restaurant we feel they're working at least at one Michelin star level. We'd highly recommend it, one of the meals of the year.
We paid for the longer tasting menu at £70 each.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Hispi, Didsbury.

The question most people ask me when shooting in restaurants is, 'don't you get hungry photographing all this food all the time?' The answer is an emphatic no. I am usually obsessively concentrating on getting the best shots, looking for the best light. It's my job. Whereas eating (and drinking) is one of life's great pleasures. It's only at the end of a shoot might I feel hungry but often I don't have time then. I have to go and download and process the photos which will then take days. There are some places that I've shot at but not actually eaten at yet. Hispi was one of these but like Sticky Walnut and Burnt Truffle I knew I'd love the food. Nobody else is doing it quite like them, certainly in Manchester. They manage to maintain the fine balance between what people want to eat (and will order) and introducing less obvious ingredients (perhaps attracting the food obsessives like me), like calf's brain's risotto and whole quail. Who else puts that on outside of Michelin star restaurants and manages to sell it to (traditionally conservative) Manchester folk? It's quite hard to make food so simple yet so good. I can't think of anyone else doing this here in this city where inspiration or originality can get lost with all the bland chains.
Anyway I'll shut up now and let the photos do the talking. I was pleased with this set as I like the mix of the standard food pics and the more off the cuff shots at the pass.
So I went back to eat as a punter. To begin, the bread and famous paté which I would describe as bloody lovely (although I'm no expert).
Celeriac & truffle risotto, calf's brain. I'm having this one again when I return. Even if you're squeamish about it, give it a go, I'd guarantee you'll like it, it's absolutely lovely.
Braised feather-blade, sprouting broccoli, mushroom purée, truffle and parmesan chips. Very much a signature style, I would always order this over a steak.
Other lovely stuff I've not eaten yet like the whole quail and the bass and duck I think...

Some of the staff, Richard the head chef and manager Gareth.
I'm going back next week week and taking my Mum & Dad and I'll have to go back with Mrs Bacon....

My interview with Gary Usher here.
My post on Burnt Truffle here.
More photos
My lunch, two courses, a glass of red and a mains cost £27.50.
To commission me in 2017 email