RSJ's 30th anniversary: 1980-2010

2010 was a very special year for us as the RSJ Restaurant celebrated its 30th year. We held a number of special events through the year to mark our 30th birthday.

36th Year: 1980-2016

Another milestone with events happening during our 36th anniversary year.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chef's recipe: smoked salmom mousse

Smoked salmon mousse

Ingredients for one mousse

4 leaves of gelatine
Hot water
12ozs salmon trout
Smoked salmon slices
½ cup (200g) melted butter
8oz sour cream
8oz cream cheese
Juice of one large lemon
Plenty of freshly ground or cracked black pepper

Soak the four leaves of gelatine in hot water until soft
Squeeze dry
Melt butter in a saucepan, then stir in the gelatine and incorporate
Place salmon trout, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice and pepper in a blender/magimix. Blend together. Then slowly pour in the butter and gelatine.

Line a terrine with cling film and line with slices of smoked salmon. Pour in the mixture. Cover with cling film. Place in fridge and allow to set overnight.

Sauce gibiche
Chopped dill
Red onions
Boiled eggs, chopped
Capers, chopped

Bind above ingredients with mayonnaise until of quenelle consistency
Serve with crackers

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 Loire vintage

Bunches of ripe Gamay

Arrived in Touraine yesterday – weather is fantastic: blue skies and warm sunshine. It was still 25.5˚C at 6pm yesterday. Grapes looking fine – very healthy. It is so warm that Vincent Roussely is having to start picking his Touraine Sauvignon at 4am in the morning to ensure that the grapes are cool and to preserve the aromas.

More Gamay

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tasting: 2005 and 2006 in the Loire

21 September 2009

Last night we had a look at the 2005 and 2006 vintages – two quite contrasting vintages. The weather was settled and fine in 2005. This allowed producers to be remarkably relaxed and pick just when the grapes were ready. 2006 was quite different – it was a race against rot. For many producers this was the fastest vintage ever as they pulled out all the stops to get the grapes in before they were gobbled up by grey rot ripping through the vineyards.

A few climate figures from Tours illustrate the differences between the two years:

Total rainfall
2005: 400mm
2006: 684mm

Rainfall: August to November (2005 first)
August: 24 – 40
Sept: 19 – 95
Oct: 45 – 60
Nov: 31 – 59

Average max temperatures: July - October (2005 first)
July: 26.1˚C – 30.4˚C
August: 26.3˚C – 23.2˚C
Sept: 25.8˚C – 24.9˚C
Oct: 23.6˚C – 18.6˚C

Hours of sunshine (2005 first)
Total: 1929 – 1753
From January – October: 1750 – 1592

2006 was the wetter year with crucially well above average rainfall in the September, which provoked the rot. Overall it was cooler although with a very hot July. 2005 wasn't super hot but had a long period of even warm temperatures from July through to October.

Wines tasted:

Apéritif: Crémant de Loire, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau £10.50
Attractively soft and creamy sparkler from Régis made from 70% Chenin Blanc and 30% Chardonnay and two years sur latte.

2006 Expression de Gneiss, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Domaine de l'Ecu, Guy Bossard £10.50
Gneiss is a rock that is similar to schist containing minerals in horizontal bands. Guy Bossard went organic in 1975 and has been biodynamic since 1986. He vinifies his different soil types separately. The 2006 had attractive floral notes and some weight of fruit with long minerla finish. Rather overwhelmed by the creamy risotto, would, I think, have shown better with some prawns or oysters.

2005 Touraine Azay-le-Rideau, Pascal Pibaleau £10.30

This white made from 100% Chenin Blanc is somewhat of a rarity. Only 50 hectares are classified as Touraine Azay-le-Rideau.
Annual production is 1800 hl with rosé accounting for 60%. Grolleau has to makes up at least 60% of the blend with Cabernet, Côt and Gamay allowed as the additional grapes. (I mistakenly said last night that more white than rosé was made.) There is no red Azay – instead reds are classified as straight Touraine. Well made floral, dry wine with some richness reflecting the vintage, hint of wool and a typical touch of acidity and bitterness in the finish to make it refreshing. Worked better by itself rather than with the salmon and risotto where the flavours didn't marry with the dish.

2005 Sancerre, Cuvée d'Antan, Domaine Henri Bourgeois

Served with: Scottish girolles risotto with roast organic salmon
This was a particularly successful dish – 'delicious' was a frequent comment.

2006 Les Châtains, Saumur-Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau

2006 Le Haut de la Butte, Bourgueil, Domaine de la Butte, Jacky Blot

2005 Coteau de Noire, Chinon, Philippe Alliet

Served with: English free range duck breast with potato torte and seasonal vegetables

2006 Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, Château-Pierre-Bise, Claude and Joëlle Papin

Served with Tarte Tatin with Creme Chantilly

One of two Tarte Tatins prepared by George

Report to be concluded ........

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ursula's Italian autumn favourites: 20th September 2009

Photos taken in the RSJ kitchen as Ursula, Penny and Alex prepared the dishes for Sunday lunch.

Ursula practising taking-off

Penny preparing courgette cases (above and below)

Ursula forming pizza balls

Penny rolling out the pizza bases

Zucchini flowers

Now for the pizza toppings

Ready for the oven

Delicious looking Pizza bianca with zucchini flowers straight from the oven

Alex slicing up cooked red peppers

Tray of baked tomatoes

Alex multitasking on the mini dog and bone, while stirring a pot on the stove

Yesterday's menu:

Pizza Bianca with zucchini flowers

Tomato Risotto & Panzanella salad

Stuffed courgettes

Mixed seasonal salad

Formaggio – Caciotta Castellina from the Veneto

Chocolate & hazelnut torta with chocolate sauce
(a speciality from Piemonte)

Ursula has promised me some of the recipes, which I will post when I get them. However, Sunday was Ursula's sixth wedding anniversary, so I may not get them until later this week.

Ursula's next Sunday lunch is on 18th October featuring the ‘The Italian Classics’. Details here and here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Around the RSJ

Abby with the last bottle of 2003 Cuvée Prestige Lamé Delisle Boucard

Alex: in the heat of the kitchen

Confit of duck – ready to plate

Next course arriving......... Jay heads up the stairs

Monsieur Claude – front of house dealing with reservations

Coffees to go – Jay and Abby

Someone has to dry up – anyway Jay seems to happy doing it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

George's treacle tart with lemon sauce and clotted cream

George with the finished dish

Recipe taken from a chat with George, the RSJ's pastry chef.
Treacle tart is often made with just golden syrup but George prefers to use black treacle as well for a more flavoursome tart.
(Quantities for a round tart to serve eight)

The treacle tart Ingredients:
6 ozs fresh white bread crumbs
1 lb of golden syrup
4 ozs of black treacle
grated zest of a lemon
juice of half a lemon

one blind baked pastry tart – either short or sweet pastry according to preference

Combine bread crumbs, syrup, treacle, zest and lemon juice, mix and beat together. Then fill pastry case.

Bake in low oven (1/4-1/2 gas mark – 110C-130C) for between 45 mins - 60 mins. Make sure that the treacle mixture doesn't boil but it should set.

Remove from oven and allow tart to cool to room temperature.

Lemon sauce
(best made the day before)
Three lemons – zest and juice
1/4 pint of water
4 egg yolks
4 oz of sugar

Put lemon juice, zest and water into a pan and bring to the boil

Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl

Add hot lemon mixture to beaten egg yolks and sugar, beat together. Then return mixture to pan and bring just up to the boil. However if it does boil this should be a problem as George says it doesn't curdle – he thinks it is the acid in the lemon juice which prevents curdling.

The lemon sauce

Let sauce cool, keep overnight in fridge and pass through a sieve the next day to remove lemon zest. Serve sauce cold with the tart and a scoop of clotted cream.

Treacle tart plus sauce

Ready for you to enjoy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mentions off

We were pleased to see that Micaela and Sue (La Grande Maison) enjoyed their lunch at the RSJ when they were over in London recently. See here.


Some of the wines

Loire offline (Winepages wine forum)
Yesterday the first offline lunch was held at the RSJ when eight of us tried, in a moderate manner, a number of wines. Some comments on the lunch here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

21st September RSJ dinner party – wines and menus

Sign@Domaine de l'Ecu, Guy Bossard


Crémant de Loire, Domaine de Nerleux

2006 Expression de Gneiss, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Domaine de l'Ecu, Guy Bossard

2005 Touraine Azay-le-Rideau, Pascal Pibaleau

2005 Sancerre, Cuvée d'Antan, Domaine Henri Bourgeois

Sign outside the Bourgeois tasting room, Chavignol

2006 Les Châtains, Saumur-Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau

2006 Le Haut de la Butte, Bourgueil, Domaine de la Butte, Jacky Blot

2005 Coteau de Noire, Chinon, Philippe Alliet

2006 Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, Château-Pierre-Bise, Claude and Joëlle Papin


Scottish girolles risotto with roast organic salmon

Duo of English free range duck
with potato torte and seasonal vegetables

Tarte Tatin with Creme Chantilly

Friday, September 11, 2009

Black pepper gnocchi – recipe from a conversation with chef Ian Stabler

RSJ in early autumn sunshine

Black pepper gnocchi
250 g King Edward potatoes
cracked black pepper
grated parmesan
chopped chives and parsley
75 g of ‘OO’ pasta flour

Make plain mashed potatoes with no milk or butter.
Incorporate rest of the ingredients with the mashed potato in the order listed. Work together to form a sticky round ball.
Roll ball out into long sausage – you’ll probably make several. Cut into 25cm lengths.
Poach these in boiling salted water. As soon as the gnocchi rise to the surface scoop them out. This normally takes around four to five minutes. Depending on the size of your pan you may well want to do this in batches.

Set gnocchi aside. They will keep in a fridge for up to two days.

Ingredients for finished dish

Parmesan velouté
25 g shallot
knob of butter
125 ml white wine
35 ml vermouth (preferably Noilly Prat)
125 ml vegetable stock
250 ml double cream
75 g (approx) parmesan

Warming the finished dish

Sweat the shallots in a knob of butter
Add the white wine and reduce by at least half until it becomes quite sticky without being reduced to a sticky mass.
Add vermouth and reduce similarly
Add vegetable and reduce similarly
Add double cream and bring to the boil and reduce slightly
Add parmesan – approx 75 g but to taste

Finished dish

To serve – accompaniment to roast lemon sole (per portion)
Quarter 2-3 vine cherry tomatoes
Bring velouté sauce to boil add tomatoes over high heat, then cooked broccoli florets, warm thoroughly
Reheat gnocchi in boiling water – remove as they rise to surface. Gnocchi can be reheated in sauce but Ian recommends that separately in boiling water is better.
In dish combine gnocchi, vegetables and velouté sauce. Sprinkle over cracked pepper and parmesan. Serve immediately.

Ian and the gnocchi dish

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vincent Roussely: harvest news

Vincent Roussely: Clos Roussely

Tom has been very pleased by how well the wines of Vincent Roussely, our new find in Touraine, have been selling. The Gamay has already sold out, although there are still some stocks of the Sauvignon Blanc, albeit depleted, left.

I spoke to Vincent this evening about when he planned to start picking:

"I'll be starting next Thursday with the Sauvignon, which is at 11.8% potential alc and 6.7 g of acidity – still a bit high. I think that while the dry weather in August ripened the grapes it also concentrated the acidity. Most of my Sauvignon is at Angé, where some of my vines were hit by hail. I think the hail damage caused stress to the vines and stopped them from developing and ripening for about two weeks, so I'll be starting a little later than people who weren't hit by hail. In parcels damaged by the hail I have probably lost about 40% of the crop. Taking the Sauvignon overall I guess I have lost about 20%.

The Gamay is looking good but I'm in no hurry to pick as I want to let it get properly ripe."

We will be touch with Vincent and our other producers during the harvest will be posting updates as we get them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2009 Loire harvest has started

2008 harvest@Domaine Luneau-Papin: September 2008

The first grapes in the Loire were picked on Monday (6th September). They were harvested in Anjou-Saumur and are destined for sparkling wine – Crémant de Loire, Saumur and Anjou. Some producers in the Cher Valley are starting in the next few days – the Clos Roche Blanche starts tomorrow. Many Muscadet producers are expected to start next Monday. The 2009 harvest is a good 10 days ahead of last year.

Further details on Jim's Loire here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RSJ 2009 autumn wine offer

We have put together a selection of wines ideal for current drinking this Autumn. Please feel free to mix cases

To order please contact Tel: 020-7928 4554


Monique Luneau in the vineyards: 2008 harvest

2008 Saumur Blanc Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers
Delicious fresh ripe dry Chenin Blanc from Dominique Tessier who has made a wine with an excellent balance, weight and length. was £7.50 now £6.95

2008 Touraine Sauvignon Domaine du Clos Roussely Vincent Roussely
Vincent is a new discovery, has made a wonderful organically grown Sauvignon - ripe and vibrant with a good concentration and lovely flavour. Was £8.25 now £7.50

2007 Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur lie ‘Pierre de la Grange’, Domaine Luneau-Papin
Pierre Luneau’s superb Muscadets are vinified by separate parcels and this is a wonderfully balanced fruity and mineral flavoured wine. Was £8.25 now £7.50

2007 Ch. de la Roulerie, Chenin Sec, Anjou Blanc
This delicious Chenin Blanc from Philippe Germain in Anjou has a lovely ripeness and balance. It is a versatile wine which goes well with seafood white meats and oriental dishes. Was £9.70 now £8.95

2008 Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors
This classic Sauvignon is dry, zesty and beautifully balanced. This appellation near Sancerre has become very fashionable. Jean Tatin and his wife Chantal have again made a fabulous wine. Was £10.95 now £9.95

2008 Sancerre ‘Les Pierris’ Domaine Roger Champault et fils
Laurent & Claude Champault, two dynamic young Vignerons in Crézancy, go from strength to strength with their beautifully balanced and charming wine. Was £11.50 now: £10.65

Sparkling: a pair of superb sparklers!
Crémant de Loire, Domaine de Nerleux
Régis Neau’s ever popular, delicious dry sparkler is made from 70%Chenin Blanc & 30% Chardonnay and makes a wonderful aperitif. Was £10.50 now £9.75

Crémant de Loire Rosé, Domaine de Nerleux
Regis’ sumptuous dry pink made from Cabernet Franc. Was £10.50 now £9.75


2008 Rosé de Loire Domaine Ogereau
Vincent Ogereau’s lovely dry fruity rosé is ideal for picnics, barbecues or just any excuse you need to open a bottle on a warm autumnal day Was £7.95 now £7.35


Cabernet Franc: Saumur-Champigny 2008

2008 Saumur Rouge Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers
Dominique Tessier’s Cabernet Franc has lovely ripe mouthwatering fruit with a good weight and fresh finish. Was £7.50 now £6.95

2008 Ch. de la Roulerie, Cabernet Franc, Anjou Rouge
Delicious ripe fruity wine - well balanced with good length and flavour. Philippe Germain reckons it is the best red that he has ever made! Was £8.50 now £7.85

2008 Saumur Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux
Régis Neau’s lovely 2008 is fruity and elegant with a nice weight and balance and is drinking really well. Was £8.50 now £7.85

2008 Chinon, Domaine de la Perrière, Baudry-Dutour
Classic Chinon has a lovely structure and length with wonderful ripe fruit and a delightful aroma of violetsWas £8.50 now £7.85 .

2007 St Nicolas de Bourgueil ‘Les Coutures’ Frédéric Mabileau
Frédéric classic Cabernet Franc is made from old vines and aged in oak for nine months is ripe, charming and tender. Was £12.35 now £11.35

Monday, September 7, 2009

Autumn at RSJ Restaurant

We have put together the following programme of wine tastings and Italian Sunday lunches for Autumn 2009.

Wine tastings with dinner – 3 courses – start 7.15pm

Monday 21st September ‘The RSJ dinner party’ £55.00
Specially selected wines and menu with discussion around the food and wine – we will be tasting 2005 Chinon Coteau de Noire from Philippe Alliet, 2005 Cuvée d’Antan Sancerre (Henri Bourgeois), 2006 Bourgueil Haute de la Butte (Jacky Blot), 1989 Vouvray Marigny Moelleux from Bernard Fouquet as well as other interesting wines from our archives.

Monday 19th October ‘Anjou’ £50.00
A special look at the historic Anjou region, sited on the lower western extent of the Loire. We will be looking at wines from the top growers in this region including Claude Papin, Christophe Daviau, Vincent Ogereau and Jean-Yves Lebreton.

Monday 23rd November ‘The 2008 Vintage’ £45.00
Reduced yields but producing wines with great maturity and breadth, 2008 can be considered a overall better vintage than 2007, except for sweet wines from the Layon. Why not come along and introduce yourself to the delights of the 2008 vintage and taste some stunning Chinons from Christophe Baudry as well as Jean Tatin’s terrific Quincy, the Champaults' delicious Sancerre and various other delights.

Final wine selections for these events will be posted on both our website and RSJ news blog two weeks before the event.

Club discount applies to wine events. Don’t forget to mention your club discount when eating in the restaurant!

For reservations please contact: or tel: 020-7928 4554
RSJ Restaurant 33 Coin Street London SE1 9NR


Italian Sunday Lunches at RSJ
Our autumn schedule of lunches with the passionate Italian cook, prolific food writer and personality, Ursula Ferrigno continues with the following dates at the RSJ Restaurant. Ursula, as usual, is positively brimming with enthusiasm!
Starting at 1.00pm these events will include a glass of wine on arrival.

Sunday 20th September ‘Italian Autumn Favourites’ £30.00
Tomato Risotto & Panzanella salad
Pizza Bianca with zucchini flowers
Stuffed courgettes
Mixed seasonal salad
Chocolate & hazelnut torta with chocolate sauce

Sunday 18th October ‘The Italian Classics’ guaranteed to inspire! £30.00
Pizette – miniature pizzas from Naples – deliciously light and served with tomato and parmesan
Pasta e fagiole – Tuscan classic with fresh pulses and pasta
Gnocchi di patate - delicious light potato dumplings with a fresh walnut sauce ‘The reason that Ursula is married!’
Caponata di melanzane insalata - a very tasty aubergine salad
Torte della nonna - Tuscan pinenut & lemon tart – each family has its own style of this glorious dessert.
Formaggio - Cheese will be chosen a week before the event from our artisan producer to marry with our menu

Sunday 20th November ‘In and around Italy in six courses’ £30.00
Enjoy the Italians’ well loved dishes covering the length and breadth of Italy – full of diversity and a great taste experience!
Crostine alle olive - Umbrian Olives are famous and full of flavour – with Porcini mushrooms they make a delicious combination.
Rotolo di spinaci – Emilia Romagna is well known for its pasta and as a gastronomical capital – fresh handmade pasta rolled with spinach & ricotta.
Polpetti di melanzane – Roman aubergines are special and this is a great example – herbs & pineuts with an infusion of mozzarella and tomato.
Costaletti di tonno – Sicilian Tuna with capers, marinated with lemon and herbs, this has a classic sweet and sour flavour.
Cipollini alla Fontina – from the Val d’Aosta – little onions with parsley.
Torino ‘home of chocolate’ – this luxury desert chocolate salami served with homemade ice cream using of course, Italian eggs.

We have a few places [strictly limited] for anyone who wishes to assist Ursula during the morning, making bread, pasta soup and sauces associated with these lunches.*
This will cost each person an additional £30.00 for this cookery tuition.

For reservations please contact: or tel: 020-7928 4554
RSJ Restaurant 33 Coin Street London SE1 9NR


Have children and thinking about eating at RSJ Restaurant ?

We have now introduced a children’s menu – please refer to our website:

Friday, September 4, 2009

New menus on this evening (Friday 4th September)

Head chef: Alex Lovett@work

Fixed Price Menu

2 courses £15.95

3 courses £18.95

Leek and potato soup (hot or cold)

Terrine of smoked trout and cream cheese mousse, sauce gribiche, Scottish oatcake

Aubergine and goat’s cheese rolls, rocket, and sun blistered tomatoes

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Roast salmon, Dutch carrots, beetroots, horseradish mash, pesto dressing

Grilled chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in ham, new potatoes, green salad, onion marmalade

Confit duck leg, French beans, pepperonata, potato torte

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Choice of desserts from the à la carte menu
(new dessert menu already posted here)

Antoine: keeping all the pans ticking along


Leek and potato soup (hot or cold) – 5.50

Aubergine and goat’s cheese rolls, rocket, and sun blistered tomatoes – 5.95 /10.95

Terrine of smoked trout and cream cheese mousse, sauce gribiche, Scottish oat cake – 6.50

Parma ham, figs, Parmesan and balsamic vinegar – 6.95 /10.95

Arborio risotto with lobster, brown shrimps, chorizo and tomatoes– 8.95 /14.95

Warm salad of goat’s cheese, beetroot, juliette potatoes, watercress – 6.95 /10.95

Linguine with chilli and fresh crab – 7.50 /12.50

Vitello tonnato, shaved cucumber salad, marinated anchovies, caper berries – 6.95 /10.95

Grilled chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in ham, new potatoes, green salad, onion marmalade – 12.95

Roast lemon sole, black pepper gnocchi, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan veloute – 16.95

Pan fried Dorade, pommes anna, fricassee of Scottish girolles, Dutch carrots – 17.95

Catch of the day P.O.A

Roast rump of English lamb, runner beans, spinach and basil mash, red wine jus – 17.95

Grilled British rib eye, baby gem lettuce, crispy bacon, Montgomery cheddar, fat chips – 18.95

Homemade gnocchi, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, giroles, Parmesan velouté – 10.95

Dishes in red – chefs' special selection

Alex putting in his orders

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chefs' recommendations: 2nd September

Easy riding Ian Stabler – Abby doesn't look fully convinced!

In the first of a regular series, Alex Lovett and Ian Stabler, RSJ's chefs, select their current favourite dishes. This week they have chosen from the new menu that starts on Friday 4th September:

First course
Vitello tonnato, shaved cucumber salad, marinated anchovies, caper berries £6.95 /£10.95
A reworking of an Italian classic. Can also be ordered as a main course.

Nigel's wine recommendation:
"This strong flavoured dish will happily take a light to medium red. I suggest either the
2008 Anjou Gamay, Domaine Richou £17.50
Fresh, light style but good concentration

2008 Anjou Rouge Château de la Roulerie, Philippe Germain £19.75
Very low yield, but quality high, good fruit and soft tannins"

Alex Lovett

Main course
Roast lemon sole, black pepper gnocchi, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan velouté £16.95
Alex Lovett: We chose this dish because now is the season for sole, which we are sourcing from the Icelandic waters, and also from broccoli. The black pepper gnocchi is one of our specialities."

Nigel's wine recommendation:
"I'm going for this Saumur Blanc, one of our house selections. It's made by from Dominique Tessier – I've been really impressed over the past couple of years how much Dominique's wine-making has come on.
2008 Saumur Blanc Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers D. Tessier £16.50
Nice weight, ripe balanced finish with lovely freshness.

Ian getting ready to start his shift!

Shaking those pots and pans..........

George's new dessert menu (available from Friday 4th September)

George, RSJ ‘s pastry chef

Desserts all £5.75

Treacle tart, lemon sauce, clotted cream

Pride of Kent apple and blackberry crumble, vanilla ice cream

Coconut and orange crème caramel

Sultana and ginger steamed pudding, honey ice cream

Warm prune and chocolate torte, amaretti ice cream

Poached Marjorie seedling plums, Greek yoghurt, shortbread

Homemade ices and sorbets

Claude and a bottle of Jean-Pierre Chevallier's Saumur-Champigny

Claude looks after the front of house with Nigel.