It’s line caught. It’s sustainable. It’s available only between January and April. And it’s delicious.
We’re talking about skrei cod, also known as Arctic cod, which has just made its first appearance on our prix fixe menu.
Skrei is a migratory cod, which swims thousands of miles from the Barents Sea to northern Norway, resulting in a lean, firm, white flesh which is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. In Norway, it is a real seasonal delicacy and in the UK, it appears on the menu of, for example, Michel Roux’s Gavroche during this four month window.
We are delighted that we can offer this superb fish, that is caught under the most stringent regulations and is certified 100% sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
The plan was to go for quality rather than quantity. As it turned out, we went for both.
When one works in a restaurant like Wilde’s, choosing a venue for the traditional Christmas staff party is something of an issue. After all, we have a brigade of chefs who cook superb food every day. And we have a wine list which is the envy of many ‘classier’ joints.
Where could we eat and drink well? Where could we be looked after by a team which has the same high standards as ourselves?
Well, there’s only one Michelin-starred restaurant in Warwickshire. So that’s where we went. Mallory Court, just outside Leamington itself. A Lutyens-style mansion, beautifully and seamlessly extended. With an excellent restaurant featuring the cooking of Michelin-starred chef Simon Haigh.
Wilde’s has a relationship with this excellent relais et chateau, which dates back to its opening in 1976, the same year as Wilde’s, by the wonderful Allan Holland and Jeremy Mort. The owners of Wilde’s celebrated their wedding here, and were involved in the marketing of the hotel and restaurant a dozen or so years ago. Now and again, Mallory people relax in Wilde’s. And now and again, Wilde's people treat themselves at Mallory.
So, it seemed as if it was the perfect venue for Wilde’s to celebrate a long and hard year.
The service was impeccable; the food delicious and accomplished; the wines excellent and free-flowing; the table beautifully presented.
Individually and collectively, Wilde’s had a great time. And we are grateful for the hospitality and exemplary professionalism of the Mallory team: General Manager Sarah, Chef Simon, Maître d’ Dom and the event organizer Natalie.
Thanks to all of you from all of us. And Happy New Year to everyone.
We need your feedback and advice, please.
A regular customer and friend took me aside last week and confided that he was not very keen on the menu. He was referring not to the content, the dishes themselves, but to the way in which they are presented and described on the carte, the A4 sheet of 200gsm card.
You can see the design to which he takes exception on the food page. It lists the main dishes in one column and itemises steaks and sharing dishes in a second, narrower, column.
Modestly, I admit to having received a number of compliments about this simple design, which replaced an even simpler, more straightforward listing of the various dishes available. it is, conceptually (if that is not too grandiose a word), closer to the style of many competitive bars and restaurants which have been using multi-column designs for many years. As have such institutions as The Ivy, The Wolseley and the bistros Galvin. And I am conscious that, since the introduction of the new design, food sales across the board have increased, with all our dishes finding what the marketing people call a niche.
But it appears that not everyone shares this view. 'Everyone in Warwick' finds it confusing and dificult to choose. To the extent that many of them are not dining with us as regularly or as frequently as before.
I have no proprietorial nor authorial pride in the new design. I typed the previous one, too. And I will be happy to revert to the famous original if our customers prefer it.
So, please let us know: if you have an issue with the current format, or indeed any views on on the manner in which you wish to read your dining options, please tell us. Personally, by phone, by email or via a comment on this blog.
Peter Mayle recounts the advice given to him by a French gourmet: at about midday, get yourself behind a truck and follow it. You will end up at a really good restaurant. And the chances are it will display the Les Routiers sign.
This was certainly true back in the early ‘60s, before the French built the autoroutes and adopted le fast-fooding. And it remains true. Truck drivers, travellers and tourists seldom fumble through their Michelin Guide for a place to eat. Rather, they look out for the famous red and blue Les Routiers symbol whenever it is time to pull off the road for a break.
Founded in 1935, Les Routiers was always about a warm, friendly welcome and good value for money. Not necessarily the cheapest in town, but the best value.
Today, the red and blue logo is iconic. It’s up there with the tricolour, with Ricard pastis and Gitanes cigarette packets – part of the memory bank of every Francophile.
And now, it’s up there at Wilde’s. We are proud to be part of the Les Routiers organisation. Their values are our values: hospitality, tradition, loyalty, quality and value.