Welcome to Bon Vivant’s summary of the critics’ restaurant reviews. Enjoy!
Giles Coren, The Times
Giles visits the Bombay Bicycle Club, which ‘used to be quite good’, but now is ‘just a list of bog-arse Seventies slophouse standards: lamb madras, biryanis, chicken korma, sag aloo and chicken tikka ma-bloody-sala’.
‘We ordered. It came. It was terrible. Don’t want to talk about it. Six or seven bowls of brown cloacal waste, containing amorphous protein chunks’. Score of -10.
Lucas Hollweg, The Sunday Times
Lucas visits Redhook, a ‘surf ‘n’turf restaurant’ in Clerkenwell ‘modelled on New York steak-and-seafood joints’ with ‘a nice dining room with a great vibe, a straightforward menu and decent things to drink’.
The seafood platter ‘looked generous and impressive, but was a disappointment to eat’, the lobster ‘came dressed in a red salsa that did nothing for it’, the crab ‘lacked any real sweetness or flavour’, tea-smoked prawns with cucumber spaghetti and peanuts were ‘overpoweringly insistent’, the American T-bone was ‘a good bit of meat’, the langoustines were ‘dry and dull’ and a knickerbocker glory was ‘a satisfying mess of meringue, apples, raspberries, Devon cream and brandy snaps’. 2 stars out of 5.
Jay Rayner, The Observer
Jay visits Dishoom, a ‘new, self-styled Bombay Café in London’s West End’, which ‘ain’t a slice of old Bombay’, but ‘there are some good things here’.
Dishoom calamari was ‘tender’, chicken biryani, cooked in a pastry-sealed pot, was ‘terrific on the aromatics’ ‘though it was a little dry’, ‘dark, pungent sticky lamb chops rubbed with black pepper and chillies were very good indeed’, Bombay sausages were ‘what you would get if a mildly ambitious home cook decided they wanted to make Indian food but only had a pack of chipolatas to hand’, and black daal ‘lacked depth and finesse’. No rating given.
John Walsh, The Independent
John visits The Waterside Inn in Bray, ‘a lovely, friendly restaurant, with super-attentive waiters and confident flavours’ but ‘the cooking wasn’t transformational’ and ‘expectations couldn’t help but be disappointed by the hype and the pricing’.
Flaked Devon crab with melon balls and a salty mango jus was ‘pretty’ and ‘tasted terrific’, foie gras terrine was ‘fine’ but ‘not enough’, a pan-fried scallop was ‘seared to perfection and served with slices of summer truffle’, lobster medallion in a port sauce was ‘delicious and well-cooked, despite being too brashly sauced’, a whole Challandais duck with a lemon and thyme jus was ‘tender to an unearthly degree’, and a platter of three desserts ‘featured a stunning pistachio crème brûlée with the lightest cream in existence’. 4 stars out of 5 for the food and ambience; 5 stars out of 5 for the service.
Richard Johnson, The Independent on Sunday
Richard visits Tempo, an Italian restaurant in Mayfair with a Japanese chef, which ‘is breaking a few rules of Italian classicism’.
Tuna cicchetti was ‘good’, Italian summer tomatoes ‘don’t taste like they used to’, pork belly was ‘overdone and, instead of carrying just the right amount of butter-soft fat, is all crackling’, and the crab tagliolini was ‘just too darned mean on the crab’. 6 out of 10.
Matthew Norman, The Telegraph
Matthew visits Red’n’Hot, a Sichuan restaurant in Euston, where ‘the service is invariably warm and charming’.
Beef ‘presented in tender strips on an evil-looking red lake of chilli oil and dried chillies’ was ‘magnificent in its brutality’, hot and sour soup was ‘lively without being blistering’, crescent-shaped pork dumplings ‘drizzled with yet more chilli oil were gratifyingly plump and juicy little darlings’, ‘ultra-fresh chunks of cucumber marinated in garlic’ was ‘a dish of startling simplicity and deliciousness’, and “tender bean curd with minced beef” was a ‘squishily intimate delight’. 8 out of 10.
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph
Zoe visits Amico Bio, ‘a charming idea, in a charming building, in a charming, higgledy-piggledy Smithfield street’ where ‘the service is lovely, and the atmosphere is sweet and the food is just awful’.
Arancini were ‘too big’, ‘the breadcrumbing was dry’ ‘and the mozzarella and tomato risotto was totally unseasoned’, focaccia with marzolino cheese, olives and olive oil was ‘OK’ but ‘quite dry’, the tofu with cucumber and mint salad was ‘very good, the tofu’ ‘had a good texture’, eliche giganti with mushroom and beetroot was ‘a lively colour’ ‘but the taste was bland’ and a rum baba was ‘high with rum but boring otherwise’. 3 out of 10.
Fay Maschler, The Evening Standard
Fay visits Tinello, a new Tuscan restaurant in Pimlico.
A prawn risotto ‘possessed forceful flavour but the grains of rice had not quite achieved that texture of tiny iron fists in velvet gloves that comes with assiduous, never-take-your-eyes-off-the-pan stirring’, roasted fillet of cod with celeriac and anchovy sauce was ‘a stunner’, char-grilled baby chicken with roasted potatoes was ‘unusually luscious’, and roast fillet of beef served with girolles was ‘also exceptional in its tenderness and possession of personality’. 4 stars out of 5.
Rocket and Squash visits Bocca di Lupo, a ‘cracking restaurant’ in Soho where ‘every dish we ordered was really very good’.
The house salad of shaved radish, celeriac and pecorino with truffle oil and pomegranates was ‘nice’ but ‘a little too oily’, the gnocci with sausage ragu was ‘excellent’, the nettle and chard pansotti with walnut sauce was ‘rich and al dente, the nettle and chard filling was homely, and the walnuts added interest and bite’, the salted pollack ‘flaked beautifully’, and the rustic pork and foie gras sausage with farro and porcini ‘oozed as you cut into it, the foie gras added a sweetness to the drier, chunky bits of pork’. No rating given.