Welcome to Bon Vivant’s summary of the critics’ restaurant reviews. Enjoy!
Giles Coren, The Times
Giles visits Field and Fork in Chichester, which has ‘lovely, folksy-cum-hoity-toity cooking’ with ‘very efficient and helpful’ service.
The asparagus was ‘perhaps not as tasty so late in the season’, a ‘very good’ ceviche was ‘full of bright wild trout and plump, sweet scallop’, a rabbit tagine was ‘a little wan’, beef cheek with summer vegetables was ‘beautifully slow-cooked, dark and chocolaty with a good shine’, and the raspberry, chocolate chip and pistachio soufflé with vanilla sauce was ‘the most exciting thing I’ve had in years’. 6.67 out of 10.
AA Gill, The Sunday Times
AA Gill visits the Ashmolean Dining Room in Oxford, ‘a shabbily constructed, ill-seasoned clearance sale of last year’s food fads’.
Salt cod croquetas were ‘quite nice potato cakes, shy of the salty fish’, a plate of hummus, mashed aubergine and labneh was ‘worthy face exercise rather than epicurean joy’, a haddock and salmon fishcake was ‘more piscatory potato in a thick skin of fried breadcrumbs that defied pleasure’, lamb chops were ‘skimpily butchered’ and ‘overcooked’, an almond and apricot tart was ‘too much undercooked pastry’ but a panna cotta was ‘perfect’. 2 stars out of 5.
Pascal Wyse, The Guardian
Pascal visits Lanterna, a ‘worn and loved’ restaurant in Scarborough, where ‘all the passion comes out in the food, which steams with pride’.
Battered langoustine was ‘to die for’ with ‘oozing sweet flesh’, chickpea and oxtail stew ‘ran deep with flavour’, venison ravioli ‘proved too good to miss’ and fillet of sea bass ‘lounged on a thick bed of sage, rosemary and thyme’. 8.5 out of 10.
Jay Rayner, The Observer
Jay had ‘a rather lovely dinner’ at Trullo, a ‘dream neighbourhood restaurant’ in Islington that looks like a ‘classic Italian trattoria’.
‘Wide, butter-yellow ribbons of papperdelle came with an earthy stew of wood pigeon’, tagliarini with ‘nutty, intense brown shrimps and fine strips of courgette’ was ‘perfectly seasoned and judged’, lamb rump was ‘charcoal charred outside, baby-cheek pink inside and properly seasoned’, slow-cooked veal shin ‘oversalting aside’ ‘had a soft, melting texture’, and a Charentais melon sorbet ‘tasted simply like melon blitzed through a sorbet machine’. No rating given.
Tracey MacLeod, The Independent
Tracey had ‘a soulless experience’ at Cantina Laredo, ‘an entirely featureless air-conditioned box’ in Covent Garden with waiters who are ‘clearly well drilled in the American style of service’.
Quesadillas stuffed with ‘gooey’ Oaxaca cheese, mushrooms and caramelised onions ‘offered a flavour experience straight out of Pizza Express’, Cilantro chicken salad ‘failed to deliver any of the expected jolts of flavour’, a whole poblano pepper, stuffed with ground beef, pork, almonds and raisins was ‘the worst thing I’ve eaten in my professional career’, and pork shanks in chipotle-wine sauce ‘had, in apparent defiance of the laws of gastronomy, been left dry and tough by their alleged braising’. 2 stars out of 5 for the food; 1 star out of 5 for the ambience; 3 stars out of 5 for the service.
Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday
Lisa visits Chipotle on Charing Cross Road, that’s ‘built for speed, not for comfort’.
A bowl of ‘stringy, but not unpleasant’ barbacoa beef came with ‘rice, beans, salsa, sour cream and chillis’, ‘the pork version’ came ‘wrapped in a tortilla’ and ‘sealed in tinfoil’ and guacamole was ‘surprisingly zingy’ and ‘ fresh’. 5 out of 10.
Lisa also visits El Camino, a ‘sassy little restaurant’ in Soho that feels ‘authentic’.
Jalapeño poppers (peppers stuffed with cream cheese and deep fried) were ‘crisp then creamy, delicious’ but there was ‘no heat’, a grilled prawn ensalada was ‘disappointingly generic’ and a pork tostada was ‘similarly modest’. 6 out of 10.
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph
Zoe visits The Elephant in Torquay, where the food ‘has character’ and ‘the vegetables in particular are stunning’.
A ‘simple’ beetroot and goat’s cheese salad was ‘a pretty root mixture of pink and gold’, scallops with apple and cucumber was ‘pretty good’, Cornish sea bass was ‘great’, confit duck leg was ‘so soft it bordered on crumbly’, the cheese plate ‘could have been more eventful’ but the crème brûlée was ‘totally stunning’. 7 out of 10.
Fay Maschler, The Evening Standard
Fay visits Koffmann’s at The Berkeley Hotel, where ‘the dishes read flirtatiously’ with ‘reasonably priced wines’.
A crouton of boudin noir on celeriac remoulade set ‘a slightly plodding tone for a meal where some of our choices seem like work in progress’, crab salad tasted ‘fine’, lapin roti à la moutarde was ‘masterful, a simple dish taken to the heights’, confit de saumon sauvage was ‘actively disagreeable’ ‘with no discernible flavour’, fries were ‘crunchy, greasy and saltily delicious’, pêche Melba was ‘fine’ but ‘orange macaroons sandwiched with chocolate’ were ‘delightful’. 3 stars out of 5.
Anthea Gerrie, The Travel Editor
Anthea reviews the ‘gastronomic novelty’ of Wabi in Horsham, an ‘alien arrival’ ‘on the site of a grotty old pub, across from a Pizza Express’ with ‘food of extremely pleasing complexity’ and ‘a pukka sushi bar’.
Yellowtail sashimi ‘tasted every bit as good as the slices of this unctuous fish I’ve eaten in the Pacific’, crispy salt and pepper squid with green chile dipping sauce was ‘tangy and delicious’, the foie gras Martini was the ‘stand-out starter’, the lobster tempura worked ‘against all the odds with its creamy kimchee dressing’, and sautéed jumbo shrimp ‘dressed judiciously with a yuzu truffle egg sauce and tiny golden tobiko fish eggs’ was a ‘triumph’. No rating given.