Welcome to Bon Vivant’s summary of the restaurant reviews from the weekend’s national newspapers. Enjoy!
Giles Coren, The Times
Giles pays multiple visits to Galvin La Chapelle in Spitalfields, the latest opening from Chris and Jeff Galvin, which comprises a ‘beautifully converted’ ‘vast-ceilinged Victorian hall’ for ‘serious eating at lunch and dinner’ and a ‘sympathetically constructed modern’ café for ‘lower-key eating and drinking and breakfasts and stuff.’
In the ‘cinematically fancy’ main dining room, Giles had ‘great’ crab lasagne, a ‘cleverly deconstructed’ pigeon tagine and a ‘gleaming bit of sea bass’. In the café, he tried a ‘great’ squash risotto and a ‘lovely, crisp, dry, sweet pissaladière’. 9 out of 10.
AA Gill, The Sunday Times
AA Gill visits Milan, a ‘characteristically welcoming’ ‘local restaurant’ in Northumberland, which ‘has the cheery glamour of a suburban cocktail bar’.
Highland chicken with haggis and bacon was ‘surprisingly good’ and a hoisin-duck pizza ‘tasted a lot better than it sounds’. A dessert of a trio of ginger was an ‘ideal’ combination with ‘perfect’ gingerbread cake and ‘sublime’ ginger ice cream. 4 stars out of 5.
Matthew Norman, The Guardian
Matthew visits the ‘good and sporadically brilliant’ Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, where the dining room is ‘handsome’, the lighting ‘ultra-gentle’ and the service ‘fabulously attentive’, and concludes that the name must have had a part in the recent attainment of a third Michelin star.
Matthew found the food ‘genuinely beautiful to the eye, but less memorable to the tastebud than that triple-star rating might suggest’ but with one ‘expression of genius’ with a roast chicken that had ‘the texture of soufflé, with lobster, pasta and sweetbreads in a sensational creamy, truffly sauce’.
Baked sea bass with razor clams was ‘lovely, delicate, but a touch forgettable’ and a roasted rib of venison with chestnut and quince was ‘wonderfully tender’ and an ‘irksomely named’ pudding called ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ ‘showcased pineapple in all its myriad glories’. No rating given.
Jay Rayner, The Observer
Jay visits Cabbage Hall, a ‘pub restaurant’ in Little Budworth, Cheshire, with an ‘overweening self-regard’, which ‘gives restaurants of ambition, and therefore expense, a bad name’.
A starter salad of lightly pickled wild mushrooms with celeriac purée ‘looked pretty, was texturally interesting and made sense’, and a slice of sticky toffee pudding was ‘properly executed’. However, ‘underseasoned’ scallops came with a ‘slippery cream sauce that obliterated their flavour’ and ‘hard, overcooked pheasant breasts’ came in a ‘cloying Cognac-bloated sauce, studded with hard nodes of chestnut’. No rating given.
Tracey MacLeod, The Independent
Tracey visits 21212, Edinburgh’s newest ‘deluxe but quirky’ Michelin starred restaurant where the food ‘is far from conventional’ and the service ‘fast paced’.
A chicken salad was a ‘beautiful and colourful mystery tour’ where chicken breast, ‘played but a walk-on part’ and a creamy risotto of Gruyère cheese ‘came with a full supporting cast’ and was ‘an assault on the taste buds’.
Main courses were ‘stimulating and frustrating in equal measure’ where ‘the dishes never quite came together’. 3 stars out of 5 for the food; 4 stars out of 5 for the ambience and service.
Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday
Lisa reviews The Artichoke, a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant in Old Amersham with ‘a deft mix of olde world and crisp newness’ that ‘has the Michelin inspectors in its sights’ and where the maître d’ is ‘courteous, but lacking in warmth’.
A starter of creamed spinach and Parmesan soup with pumpkin gnocchi was ‘earthy’ and lightly curried scallops were ‘sumptuous’. All mains, including duck with a soft apple sauce, lamb with creamy cauliflower and ‘superb’ bass with lobster ravioli and bisque were ‘perfectly balanced’.
Desserts, including sunken warm chocolate cake, home-made ice cream and a plate of English and French cheeses were all ‘exemplary’, and the petit fours were ‘fabulous’. 17 out of 20.
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph
Zoe visits Supperclub in Notting Hill, which was ‘not great’, where the staff are a weird mix of waiters and performers with ‘exaggerated’ ‘bonhomie’, but concludes that, ‘of course you don’t go for the food’.
‘Tough’ sea bass came with a ‘very nice’ carrot escabeche and a ‘chewy’ and ‘crunchy’ fennel salad, lamb loin was ‘very pink and inviting’ but the pudding of ‘dense, mealy’ Genoa cake ‘was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten in a professional establishment’. 5.5 out of 10.
Jasper Gerard, The Telegraph
Jasper visits The Royal Oak, ‘a great little boozer’ in Kent, on a recommendation from a reader, where the specials menu was ‘nicely judged’ with ‘tempting’ dishes.
Bread with caraway seeds was ‘exquisite’, Rye scallops had ‘all the plump juiciness of Jennifer Lopez’, but the pheasant terrine was a ‘disappointment’. The pheasant was ‘delightfully tender and still just pink’ with ‘divine’ dauphinoise potatoes and chargrilled lamb had a ‘sweet’ and ‘deep’ flavour. Desserts consisted of ‘good’ chocolate brownies and ‘fabulous’ treacle tart. No rating given.
Fay Maschler, The Evening Standard
Fay visits the recently Michelin starred Bingham in Richmond, which has ‘a lovely view of the Thames’, where the dining room feels like ‘being inside a mushroom’ ‘lit with chandeliers’ and the chef’s ‘intuition regarding pairings, troilism and even shotgun marriages of ingredients’ was ‘admirable’.
An amuse-bouche of mackerel tartare was ‘coarse and earthy’ and ‘avoided accusations of mimsy or predictable.’ A cauliflower risotto, the main reason for not giving a higher rating, was ‘a masterful assembly’ and a brill fillet with ricotta gnocchi was ‘rather dry’. A glazed veal cheek with truffle mash and salt marsh lamb with sweetbreads both ‘suffered’ from having many different parts that ‘competed for attention rather than complementing each other’.
A dessert of passion fruit curd was ‘notable’ and the petits fours featured a pâtés de fruits of blood orange and ginger that made Fay ‘want to marry the pastry chef.’ 3 stars out of 5.
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