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Daniel M
Lovely selection of tapas of all sorts, tha...
Overall Value
4
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed Today

"Lovely selection of tapas of all sorts, that arrive in a sensible order at an unhurried pace. What made our visit was the excellent wine suggestions from the waiter, with samples to try before ordering."

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Emma B
Still a gem in Cirencester but slightly los...
Overall Value
3
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 2 days ago

"Still a gem in Cirencester but slightly lost its sparkle and not up to the standard it once was."

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Michael A
Breakfast good, Lunch Average, Dinner poor....
Overall Value
3
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 2 days ago

"Breakfast good, Lunch Average, Dinner poor. Service friendly but erratic and often unprofessional"

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Paul C
We went for part of my wife's 60th birthday...
Overall Value
4.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 4 days ago

"We went for part of my wife's 60th birthday and it was a fabulous experience worth every penny. A completely different approach to 'a curry' but a very special approach the food was fantastic. The service even included a 'signed' menu to take away. One slight problem it was noisy."

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Martin S
Brilliant and innovative sushi prepared by ...
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 4 days ago

"Brilliant and innovative sushi prepared by a master chef. Sashimi, particularly the o toro tuna is excellent. Easily a match for Zuma in respect of the quality its sushi and sashimi and better in terms of creativity. Pleasant comfortable but unspectacular ambience with competent service. Prices are reasonable for the quality of the food."

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Paul A
This was without any doubt the dining highl...
Overall Value
3.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 4 days ago

"This was without any doubt the dining highlight of the West Cornwall end of our trip. A window table with a beautiful view of St Michael’s Mount as the sun went down and the top-class, imaginative cooking made for a wonderful evening. The service was not terribly skilled, but it did not detract from the experience as a whole, the menu had a wide range of possibilities, and for each dish there was a good and remarkably well-priced wine recommendation. A glass of Taittinger while we discussed what to have seemed to lead us both to the same choices, which, curiously, were the dishes incurring a small supplement. As we reckoned we hadn’t satiated our appetites for lobster and crab, the ravioli-style pansotti with these two as the main ingredients was obligatory, and it proved to be an excellent choice, the combination of the two crustaceans working perfectly and the delicious tomato salsa adding a welcome element of tartness together with broad beans, capers and shallots offering an intelligent mix of flavours. The elevated level of skill and invention continued with truly brilliant roast squab which boasted a wealth of tenderness and flavour which was contributed to by the sweetness of the roasted fig and a super back-up of couscous, harissa hummus and a spicy yet almost gamey jus; all the ingredients seemed to meld together and at the same time bounce off each other to provide a wonderful taste experience. There was no tasting menu, but not to be outdone we asked for the cheeseboard (another supplement) before we dived into the desserts, and the excellent comté, local goat’s and blue cheeses were served with oatcakes and very good parmesan biscuits and a perfect quince jelly. And so on to a full house of the same dishes for both of us, this time a clever deconstructed vanilla cheesecake fruitily accompanied by plump poached peaches and flavoursome blueberries. We could hardly believe the bill, which was half of what we would have paid for a dinner of the same high quality in London, and we voted this meal one of the most enjoyable of the year."

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Paul A
The reputation of the Gurnard’s Head seem...
Overall Value
2
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 4 days ago

"The reputation of the Gurnard’s Head seems to have spread far and wide judging from the number of foreign number plates, especially German, in the car park, but when we left the restaurant, disappointed, we had to wonder why. Although we had booked well in advance we were not offered a table in the dining room, the existence of which only became clear to us later when people drifted in on the off chance and were seated there, although it was doubtful whether we would have escaped the pub-level muzak anywhere. The service varied from the cheerful to the sullen, the main example of the latter being when we pointed out that we had been undercharged and we got the impression that we were thereby making more work for the poor soul behind the bar. The wine list contained some interesting bottles and a low mark-up and plenty of helpful explanations from the restaurant’s consultant on why all the wines were really good. My wife started with dunkable monkfish “scampi” which allowed her to make full use of the soda bread we were served, seemingly in lieu of any canapés, and came with good kohlrabi slaw, tartar sauce and some fennel cress, and I indulged my crustacean habit with some decent crab decorated with red basil leaf, pasta and basil gratin. We both chose the red gurnard in honour of the restaurant’s name and the fish was light and well-seasoned and bathing in a fairly tasteless squid ink sauce, accompanied by orange which failed to have any input, an intrusive anise gel, and roasted broccoli. The dessert choice was easily sorted; my wife indulged herself with chocolate pavé, coffee macaron and melted caramel, while I went for what turned out to be a deconstructed Eton Mess with sweet Cornish rhubarb, toasted almonds, lemon balm and chunks of meringue. Our assessment would be that this was no more than run-of-the mill even for Cornwall’s wild west, and if we pass this way again we have better dining destinations to return to."

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Paul A
As we were rather early for booking in to o...
Overall Value
3
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 4 days ago

"As we were rather early for booking in to our St Ives holiday accommodation, we stopped off in Truro to have a look round and also to see if it was possible to have some lunch. Unfortunately the restaurant with the best reputation was not open, lunchtime on a Saturday?, but the extremely helpful tourist office lady directed us to Mannings, a hotel with a restaurant mentioned in Michelin. In for a penny, we decided to try it, and although we were slightly surprised by the canteen-style look of the place, a quick perusal of the menu showed some promise, with quirky fruit-driven “cocktails” and what we think of as obligatory in Cornwall, a lobster special at a very reasonable price. When our plates arrived, a commotion broke out on the surrounding tables because of the size of half lobster, the very generous and well-assorted salad and the more than copious dish of good fries which would have sufficed for four people let alone two. All the accoutrements necessary for the claw and tail had been provided, so we happily went on the attack. It has to be said that the size of the crustacean probably indicated that it either wasn’t local or it was but had been held in the deep-freeze since April. Even so, it was very tasty and cooked to just right level tenderness, and the whole dish very satisfying. A very welcome recommendation."

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Paul A
As we were treating the family, we were num...
Overall Value
5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 4 days ago

"As we were treating the family, we were numerous enough to be able to book the chef’s table and benefited from being right opposite the kitchen with a perfect view of all the amazingly relaxed activity behind the scenes. We had personal front-of-house service from Emma who was assigned to us for the evening and demonstrated a great deal of interest in and knowledge of both the food and the wine and definitely succeeded in helping to make the experience very rewarding, especially when Nathan Outlaw and Chris Simpson were on hand to add to the friendly atmosphere by exchanging a few words with us. It goes without saying that the meal was absolutely top class, and once again it proved to be a masterclass in how to conjure up a whole tasting menu based on subtle nuances of taste, texture and visual and flavour combinations of fish and matching ingredients, with the bonus of an immaculate selection of wines to complete each dish. When it comes to curing fish, whether it be as delicate as brill or as meaty as monkfish, Nathan Outlaw is a past master, and he proved it once more, the former with radish slices, gentle cucumber and a perfect touch of chilli, and the latter with a ginger vinaigrette, plain yoghurt and fennel. Putting pickled onion with crab sounds like a recipe for disaster, but, guess what?, it worked. The lovely local crab easily held its own against the roasted pickled onion because the allium had an unusual degree of sweetness and so did not dominate the crustacean as might have been the case in less skilled hands and this was enhanced by a basil sauce and judicious strips of courgette. A really surprising dish. One item we can never get enough of here is the signature Porthilly sauce. Just the aroma sends us into raptures, and, paired this time with perfect gurnard, we lingered over the dish, luxuriating in the sheer pleasure of this unparalleled gastronomic wonder. For us turbot is the king of fish and here it is always guaranteed to be granted the culinary honour it deserves, this time accompanied by the freshest St Enedoc asparagus, a super smoked mushroom purée, bacon crumbs sprinkled on the fish, and discs of kohlrabi somehow echoing the purity of the fish. The exemplary cheese course comprised Cornish Jack, a local product not unlike Emmenthaler, with excellent sourdough crackers, caramelised walnuts and pickled celery, and this was followed by a lovely pre-dessert of sweet, tasty local strawberries, shortbread to balance the rhubarb granita and an elderflower element with its cheeky grapey finish. The finale of yummy coconut cream tart with raspberries piled on top and a white chocolate and passion fruit “fried egg” just showed the amazing level the pastry chef reaches. Yet again a tour de force from all concerned."

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Paul A
What was immediately noticeable about the V...
Overall Value
4
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
Reviewed 5 days ago

"What was immediately noticeable about the Victoria Inn was that there was evidence of proper staff training, which is not always the case in off-the-beaten-track dining venues, and the menu had been professionally constructed to allow both the diner and the kitchen an amount of freedom to benefit from the plethora of local ingredients (with the notable exception of the Scottish salmon) and provided an exemplary level of value for money. Our party was split three ways on the starters, but everyone went for seafood, namely, a wonderful, lip-smackingly good Porthleven shellfish bisque with croutons, a deft addition of parmesan and aioli; Falmouth bay scallops in a super mix with fennel, a surprising black pudding, orange, just the right amount of capers, and oyster leaf with just the slightest touch of oyster taste; and perfect beetroot-cured salmon balanced with soused fennel and cauliflower and an excellent wasabi mayonnaise. All of these went down extremely well and prompted us into a discussion about which of the two mains we had gone for would be best. As happens sometimes, the two sides agreed that the other’s looked really good but wouldn’t change. The roast sirloin of Cornish beef was absolutely spot-on with its well-judged onion purée, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding like mother used to make, a good range of Sunday lunch vegetables, and proper gravy. The confit duck leg was beautifully tender and profited from a lovely crispy skin, and the cute duck bubble and squeak, local greens, carrot purée as well as the amazing hog’s pudding were all in perfect balance with each other. It goes without saying that both mains were plated up in Cornish portions which were at least the equivalent of their Yorkshire cousins. Balance was again the watchword for the desserts, an admirably light almond slice with clotted cream and Bramley apples affording some tartness but never spoiling the sweetness, chocolate brownie with banana, caramel and vanilla ice cream very moreish especially because of the absence of any heaviness, and a stunning pistachio cake topped with cream and surrounded by raspberries, raspberry coulis and raspberry sorbet; all a real credit to the pastry chef. This was a splendid effort and is definitely one to return to."

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The Editors Review
hawksmoor manchesterJay Rayner weighs in on the north/south restaurant divide question

The Observer's critic-in-chief heads to Manchester to try out the new Hawksmoor and stumbles across a veggie dining room, 1847, serving great food – well, apart from the desserts. Read our roundup of restaurant news in Manchester and enter our Hawksmoor Manchester competition.

 

 

Meanwhile the Guardian's Marina O'Laughlin pays a visit to the much gushed about Kitty Fisher's

Everyone else love, love, loves it but Marina can't help but feel she's ended up at a house party she wasn't quite invited to, particularly as the restaurant staff seem allergic to answering the phone. We can attest to that having called them on at least 10 occasions without success.

 

The award for most ferocious review this week has to go to The Sunday Times's A A Gill

The critic has a thing or two to say about Mayfair's 'ridiculously overpriced' Mexican, Peyote, including: “...fiddly, neurotic preparation with pale, polite taste and silly, parsimonious sharing plates that aren’t bounteous or fun and are more like eating the catering pitch for a drug cartel’s wedding.”

 

Over at The Times, Giles Coren gives his opinion on Russian-imported pizza chain Bocconcino

“Bocconcino isn’t a bad restaurant. It just isn’t a necessary restaurant.” At £202 for pizza and pasta it's not hard to see why Mr Coren might feel that way – mind you, a £46 bottle of wine probably helped nudge the bill up.

 

And last but not least, Ms Maschler reviews Brindisa's new Morada Asador

The Standard's long-standing critic heads to the latest outpost of this tapas chain (in Soho) and finds the meats are the reason to flock here – from the 'delectable' milk-fed lamb to the Secreto Iberico.
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News
search-cuisine-panasianThe result of last week's vote and sharp fall in the value of the pound has left many UK citizens rethinking their summer holidays, while others have pulled out of property deals. But it's not just big ticket purchases that Brexit has affected. On the whole Brits are less keen to spend money in the face of political and economical instability that could rumble on for months as David Cameron makes clear he'll leave tabling Article 50 up to his successor and Boris states there's no hurry to leave the EU in his Telegraph column. How this will affect the public's appetite for dining out remains to be seen. But if you are counting your pennies but still fancy a night out, we have plenty of suggestions. Here are the UK's best cheap n cheerful restaurants...

Dinner (three courses) including drinks and service at all of the restaurants below is less than £35 per head. And all have been rated 'outstanding' (5/5) for food in our annual survey of diners. We would also ask readers to note how few of these establishments are British – just one of the many ways that immigration has positively influenced our lives.

 

Cheap as chapattis...


ragamRagam W1

Three courses with drinks and service: £28

“Standing the test of time over many years” – this “bright-lit” gem “in the shadow of the Telecom Tower” is arguably “the best cheap curry in central London”, serving “terrific South Indian food at great prices”; looks-wise it’s always been totally “nondescript”, but they refurbished in summer 2015. Top Menu Tip – “dosas are a revelation”.

 

Mirch Masala SW17

Three courses with drinks and service: £25

“You get no pretentions, just great flavours” at this “high turnover”, “café-style Pakistani” in Tooting, serving “really tasty food at incredible prices”.

 

al frashAl Frash, Birmingham

Three courses with drinks and service: £25

Probably the Balti Triangle’s most famous feature, this brightly-lit, no-frills curry legend provides notably “splendid” baltis to a very “consistent” standard. It’s not licensed, but you can BYO.

 

Karachi, Bradford

Three courses with drinks and service: £22

This “no-frills Bradford curry house always hits the spot” with “so fresh”, “truly authentic” Indian dishes that are “incredible value for money” – just “don't expect smiles or cutlery”!

 

Jaffna House SW17

Three courses with drinks and service: £16

“Despite its humble interior, well worth a visit” – a family-run Tooting Sri Lankan (the dining space is a converted living room) where the “tasty” grub is “ridiculously good value”.

 

Screenshot 2016-06-28 10.58.22This & That, Manchester

Three courses with drinks and service: £12

“Down a slightly dodgy Northern Quarter sidestreet”, it’s “well worth seeking out” the “best Indian greasy spoon around!”; when it comes to curry, its flavours could “sink a ship”, and the “cost is ridiculously cheap”. Top Menu Tip – go for the ‘Rice and Three’.

 

Bargain veggie venues...


Sky Apple Cafe, Newcastle

Three courses with drinks and service: £30

“Taking vegetarian food to a new level” – a “café by day and a bistro by night”, whose “tastes, textures, presentation and inventiveness make for a gourmet experience in a very unpretentious setting”; “the only problem is deciding what to choose!”

Hansa's, Leeds

Three courses with drinks and service: £31

“Avoiding the ‘brown sludge’ of many veggies with aplomb” – Mrs Hansa Dabhi’s renowned Gujarati is a stalwart of the city centre and “serves lovely food with alacrity”. “It’s the only vegetarian restaurant my meat-loving husband actually WANTS to visit!”

 

Get a Noma experience for next to nothing...


Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.34.41Norse, Harrogate

Three courses with drinks and service: £32

A “well-loved local café” that, by night, is “taken over by a pop-up serving a tasting menu based on modern Nordic cuisine”. “Following the example of Noma”, the cooking offers “plenty of surprises using seasonal ingredients (and the likes of goat, snails, etc)” and results here can be “really exceptional”. “They also make a big selection of very tasty, flavoured schnapps, so don’t even think of driving…”

 

Oodles of noodles for less...


Fuji Hiro, Leeds

Three courses with drinks and service: £25

“Never fails to please” – a “no frills, Formica-tabled” ramen bar in the city centre, where the “food is great and portions are massive”; “you can forgive any shortcomings for the best noodles ever!”

 

kanada-yaKanada-Ya WC2

Three courses with drinks and service: £19

“The hoards queuing outside know they’re in for a treat” at these cheap, “truly genuine”, “cheek-by-jowl” ramen newcomers in the West End (outposts of a chain originating in Fukuoka, in southern Japan); “the broth is so rich, the meat so unctuous, you’ll finish the bowl, even if you feel you’re about to burst!”

 

City Càphê EC2

Three courses with drinks and service: £18

“Closest to the streets of Ho Chi Minh I’ve tasted in London!” – an “astonishingly good” Vietnamese café, near Bank, with “wonderful” salads, báhn mi and pho; “be prepared to brave a queue down the street”.

 

For the best bargain buns...


baoBao W1

Three courses with drinks and service: £28

“A Soho legend in the making!”; this Taiwanese phenomenon has (with backing from the Sethi family, of Gymkhana fame) “successfully made the transition from Hackney street stall to tiny restaurant”; the pay-off for the legendary queues? – “heavenly soft buns filled with tasty, slow-cooked meat”, and “the best, crunchy fried chicken in London”. A Fitzrovia outpost opens in July.

 

Yum Bun

Food and drink: £15

“Great buns!” – the steamed Chinese variety, “cooked with passion and served with a smile” – make Lisa Meyer’s pop-up (now at Dalston Yard and Shoreditch's Dinerama) “a must-go experience”.

 

Bit of a dive, yes, but a total bargain...


Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.11.32Shanghai Shanghai, Nottingham

Three courses with drinks and service: £31

“The real deal” – a “so different” venture serving “truly first-rate Sichuanese cooking that makes no concession to the British palate” (and as such is “packed to the rafters with Chinese students”); as for the “workaday” décor, well, “nobody is there for the stylish surroundings”!

 

Silk Road SE5

Three courses with drinks and service: £24

“A whole new take on Chinese food” – the “bold” and “amazingly unusual” Xinjiang dishes shine at this Camberwell café; “it’s all a bit spit and sawdust” though, and “the line of hipsters outside the door can be tedious”.

 

Roti King NW1

Three courses with drinks and service: £22

“Nothing prepares you for the simply wonderful Malaysian rotis” freshly made “in front of your eyes” at the counter of this “tiny”, “brusque” and “in-no-way-pretty” basement “dive” in “a grotty bit of Euston”,

 

Middle Eastern feasts for less


Fez Mangal W11

Three courses with drinks and service: £26

“Hectic, as it’s often jammed with customers” – an “inexpensive Turkish BBQ” in Notting Hill, whose “freshly prepared” food is “first rate”; “BYO too!”

 

Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.30.59Mezzet, East Mosely

Three courses with drinks and service: £34

“Always busy and buzzy” neighbourhood restaurant that’s a real hit thanks to its “outstanding” and “very reasonably priced” Lebanese cuisine; service is “very much with a smile”.

 

For brilliant, bargain BBQs...


The Rib Man E1

Food and drink: £12

Mark Gevaux’s “meltingly tender ribs and rolls of porky greatness” can no longer be found at KERB – now you need to go to Brick Lane on Sundays instead; his “fiery” sauces are the stuff of urban legend – “Look out! They’ll blow your head off!” You can also find the Rib Man stall outside Euston station.

 

Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.37.00The Joint SW9

Three courses with drinks and service: £28

“The best pulled pork this side of anywhere”, and “ribs and wings like you get in the deep South” are plain “brilliant” at this “lip-smackin’” BBQ duo; “you have to queue around the block at the hustling and bustling Brixton Market original, but boy is it worth it!”

 

Top Thais at bottom prices...


Doi Intanon, Ambleside

Three courses with drinks and service: £32

“Top quality”, “fantastic!”, “highly recommended” – a sample of the glowing feedback on this stylish Thai ten-year-old; evidently the “Thai/English couple who run it know exactly what they are doing”!

 

Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.39.32Oli's Thai, Oxford

Three courses with drinks and service: £30

“This is proper Thai food – the very best you could eat”; it may be “tiny”, but this “basic” café “has achieved cult status” locally owing to its “incredibly flavoursome” food; “you have to be very organised to get a table”, though... “the waiting time is 6-8 weeks”!

 

For cheese lovers on the cheap...


Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.41.21Homeslice (group)

Three courses with drinks and service: £24

“Awesome pizza” – “huge”, and with “obscure combinations that work” – are well “worth the wait” (you can’t book) at these “fun”, but “crammed” and “loud” pit stops, whose Fitzrovia outpost opened in August 2015, followed swiftly by a site in Shoreditch.

 

Kappacasein SE1

Food and drink: £6

“The best toasted cheese sandwich in the history of the world” (and also “very good raclettes”) inspire love (and long queues) for the Borough Market stall of this Bermondsey dairy (which itself opens on Saturdays).

 

fishchipsCheap as fish n chips...


No.1, Cromer

Three courses with drinks and service: £33

“Superb views” add to the lustre of this year-old venture of Galton Blackiston (of Morston Hall fame). Downstairs, the main restaurant, is “a superior chippy, that’s very good of its kind” – his newer ‘Upstairs at No. 1’ has “more finesse and patchier service”, serving “mainly fish, but also tapas-style dishes”.

 

Sole Bay Fish Company, Southwold

Three courses with drinks and service: £29

“The opening of their smokehouse, obtaining a wine license and providing toilets (!) has transformed this delightful harbour shack”, which provides “spoiling, fresh, cold, smoked seafood platters” and a “buzzy” vibe. “Gone are the days when you could BYO”, but it's “still best to BYO salad”!

 

Screenshot 2016-06-28 11.44.20McDermotts Fish & Chips, Croydon

Three courses with drinks and service: £28

Tony McDermott’s chippy continues to win raves for “the best fish and chips in the South-East”. OK, so it's in a “fairly horrible shopping arcade” in the 'burbs, but “this doesn’t put you off an outstanding meal”.

 

Cods Scallops, Nottingham

Three courses with drinks and service: £26

It may be “set on a nondescript parade of local shops in the suburbs” (“about as far as you can get from the sea!”) but this “is no ordinary chippy” – a “heavenly beacon for fish and seafood lovers”, serving an “amazing” variety, prepared “battered or baked in lemon, herbs and garlic”, plus “an extensive range of classy soft drinks, plus local ales and ciders”. Brace yourself though, for a “huge queue”.

 

Anstruther Fish Bar, Anstruther

Three courses with drinks and service: £25

The “BEST fish and chips ever… EVER!” is the main draw at this “popular” venue, with a “good location on the harbour”; this being so, there's “no pretence to excel in terms of ambience, which is a bit in the style of a 1950s American diner”.
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