Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Marvo Stars

Wilkommen. Bienvenu. Welcome.

I have no idea how the Michelin Star system, the benchmark by which fine diners choose their venue of choice, works. I should. I eat in many of them. I know that they let me down, often.

So, I, Marvo, have decided to start my own system to let people know the reality of fine dining throughout the world.

No more bull. I have recently travelled the world (all right, little bits of Europe) and have eaten and (become) drunk in some strange places.

As an introduction to this blog, let me say that of the many Michelin Starred establishments of whom I've recently been a guest, I can thoroughly recommend the Ivy (good for celeb-watching) in London, Arzak (pyrotechnics) in Spain, and Toni Vicente (huge brandy snaps) again in Spain. The absence of a recommendation at this point probably indicates that I haven't been there, or that it's actually pants. 

Michelin base their awards on service and food. Broadly speaking. God knows how they come to their decisions. Trust Marvo though, I won't let you down.

My criteria are these:
  • "Wow" factor.
Ah. You've seen through my ploy. Yes, that's it. Food, service, welcome. Anything. But it must be hugely WOW. Because that's why you're not paying £2.99 for a piece of breaded beef in a crap bun.

It needs to start on arrival. It needs to go all the way through the experience. And in the morning, you shouldn't be thinking "Shit. I paid THAT?"

So, in my inaugural Marvo Star blog, I'll not keep you in suspense. I'll go for the killer. If you think you've got somewhere better, faster, more shiny, let me know.


The Jesmond Dene, Newcastle.

Look it up. It's on Google. Trip Advisor. All sorts.

And it's bloody brilliant. Get a cab (only, obviously, if you're staying in Newcastle). A chap, a very nice chap at that, will open the cab door for you. Even if it's a pikey student-type cab.

They have a "tasting" menu. Go for it. It features wow, wow and wow. The head chef, a Pierre Rigothier, has a seriously sharp knife. And he's on Twitter, so if I'm wrong, you can flay him. But you won't be disappointed.

Compare this with certain places (I'm taking legal advice before I name them). Where they serve foie gras, fresh foie gras, in a lump, lightly fried, in a Silence of the Lambs-stylee. Just DON'T. Where they think that a selection of stupid cuttings on a Chinese spoon passes for an amuse bouche. Just DON'T.

All right, it will cost you. Over £100 a head. Plus the fat end of £50 for the wine to go with it. But in the morning, you'll thank me.

That's the first one. I hope the blog gets better.

Thanks for looking.