Welcome to Bon Vivant’s summary of the critics’ restaurant reviews. Enjoy!
Giles Coren, The Times
Giles visits Koya in Soho, which is ‘cheap, authentic and brilliant’.
The tempura was ‘impeccable’, a plate of mixed veg was ‘beautifully dry and sparky’, fried lotus root slices and little tempura cod chunks was ‘better still’, but the braised pork belly in cider was ‘rather too cold for me’. 8.67 out of 10.
Camilla Long, The Sunday Times
Camilla visits The Swan at Southrop, in Gloucestershire, where ‘the food’ ‘is good, fresh, well made and quick’, despite cleaning the tables in between courses.
Char-grilled country toast with asparagus, morel mushrooms and a poached egg was ‘a bit too creamy and not salty enough’, the chicken liver and goat’s cheese tart were both ‘good’, the tuna was ‘the best: fresh slices of ozone with soft, burning lime and ginger, chunks of avocado and tomato’, the cod was ‘light and melting’, sticky toffee was ‘a yummy, nannyish wodge of cake and sauce’ but the lavender panna cotta was ‘not so great’. 3 stars out of 5.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian
Sam visits The Mulberry Tree in Kent, ‘which has about it a certain correctness, but also a sterility’, where ‘some’ of the food is ‘quite good’.
“Compression of Pig’s Head” was ‘tasty’, a cocktail glass filled with prawns and chunky raw fish was ‘smoky and delicious’, the veal was ‘well cooked and tender without being overexciting’ but the halibut was ‘insipid and flabby’. 5 out of 10.
Jay Rayner, The Observer
Jay visits Roux at Parliament Square, which is ‘polished, professional – and heart-stoppingly dull’, where the décor is an ‘orgy of beige’.
A foie gras starter was ‘dry and featureless under a dusty pistachio crust’, roast quail with hazelnuts, crunchy pickled radishes and a scatter of pomegranate was ‘an evolved riff on textures’, a tranche of confit salmon with crab in a jelly tube was ‘fresh and inoffensive’, a fillet of veal with a sweetbread was ‘as overcooked as the room was underdesigned’, a “smoked pomme mousseline” ‘did not deliver on its name’, but desserts were ‘the high point, especially a passionfruit soufflé with a white chocolate and rum sorbet, and a fine chocolate mousse with a very good banana sorbet’. No rating given.
Tracey MacLeod, The Independent
Tracey visits The Old Brewery in Greenwich, in an operational micro-brewery where you can have beer pairings with your dinner.
Devilled whitebait were ‘pretty damned fresh, dusted in paprika and served with a caper mayonnaise’, main courses were ‘decent, without living up to the spectacular heights of the setting’, pan-fried cod ‘failed to deliver on the taste front’, beer-braised mutton was ‘like a pie-filling without the pie’ and puddings were ‘notably good’. 3 stars out of 5 for the food; 4 stars out of 5 for the service and ambience.
Matthew Norman, The Telegraph
Matthew says you ‘simply have to go’ to Cambio de Tercio on Old Brompton Road, which is ‘unbelievably good’ with a ‘warm and charming’ welcome.
“Lollipops” of aged Manchego cheese and acorn-fed Iberico ham served with toast were ‘sensational’, ‘glorious, garlicky’ gazpacho with lobster and cherry sorbet was ‘a thing of genius’, a sous vide reworking of a tortilla ‘balanced’ ‘indecently well’ and the ‘highlight of highlights’ was caramelised oxtail in red wine, which ‘exploded with herby-wino—bovine flavour’. 10 out of 10.
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph
Zoe visits The Walnut Tree in Wales, ‘a beautiful place’ whose ‘reputation is deserved’ with a ‘confident’ menu.
Sweetbreads were ‘absolutely perfect in every respect’, tuna tataki with wasabi panna cotta ‘didn’t have so much oomph; the tuna was a bit tasteless’, calf’s liver with bacon and cassis sauce was ‘tip-top’, rack of lamb was ‘totally wonderful’ and ‘exquisitely juicy’, and a hazelnut and strawberry meringue was ‘fine, but it didn’t blow me away’. 8.75 out of 10.
David Sexton, The Evening Standard
David visits Trullo in Islington where the ‘menus change daily, using ingredients in season, presented simply’ where ‘the price-quality ratio is quite amazing’.
Ravioli verde with homemade ricotta and sage butter were ‘fantastically fresh’, tagliarini with brown shrimps, zucchini, butter and chilli was ‘fairly hot’, bucatini with lemon was ‘absolutely perfectly done, tangy and refreshing’, chargrilled wild sea trout came ‘crisped on the outside, pleasingly undercooked inside’, chargrilled whole mackerel ‘seemed at first glance overcooked but it turned out to be smokily delicious too’, vanilla pannacotta with grappa ‘tasted fantastically luxurious’ and an ‘unsweetened melon granita was ‘a healthier option, still vibrantly fruity’. 4 stars out of 5.
Marina O’Loughlin, The Metro
Marina visits Supperclub in Notting Hill, which ‘has hit London’ ‘about two decades too late’, where the food ‘comes in teeny portions, in curious containers and tastes of cardboard and plastic’.
Raw red mullet was ‘obliterated by enamel-stripping quantities of citrus’, a spring roll was ‘apparently stuffed with damp Spam’ and a ‘tooth-coating chocolate pudding’ ‘appears to require a full cabaret performance to realise’. 1 star out of 5.
Chris Pople, Cheese and Biscuits
Chris visits The Ledbury in Notting Hill, where the food is ‘characterful and intelligently experimental’ with ‘smart, professional, discreet and efficient’ service.
A scallop cerviche with horseradish “snow” was ‘simply brilliant’ with ‘delightful texture contrasts’ and ‘intelligently balanced flavours’, the flame-grilled mackerel was ‘up there with the scallop cerviche as the standout dish’, monkfish was ‘in perfect harmony with the other ingredients, and each mouthful was a little voyage of discovery’, tiny cubes of chicken were ‘delicately flavoured, tender and with a good crispy skin’, slow cooked lamb was ‘served with a truly exceptional slice of miso aubergine’ and caramelised banana galette was ‘just slightly less exciting than the others’. 9 out of 10.