"Reasonable food in a decent setting ruined by bizarre sudden increase in muzak volume, and complete failure of staff to take an order correctly, or know what was on the menu. They ended up forgetting our 7 year old's food, and she had to share! We won't return!"
"A convivial place, with a wide range of Spanish and other Mediterranean tapas."
"Not the best day at delilah's today. Underseasoned burger with oversalty bacon and rubbery cheese that hadn't melted properly. And polenta chips are not a good substitute for potato"
"Come for the beef Wellington, stay for the owners! Forever friendly, reliable and delicious plus a decent and sensibly priced wine list. the loos are starting to feel a bit in need of a refurb."
"Boozey sunday dim sum set lunch is the way to do it: I am not sure it would be worth the eye watering a la carte. The venison dim sum particularly memorable."
"Excellent and attentive service, although bizarrely only the female half of our group were offered aperitifs! Food was top notch, well balanced flavours. Portions could have perhaps been a bit more generous with the starters but the mains and dessert meant left feeling full. Would go back for a date or a special meal."
"Classic dishes. Fantastic addition to Marylebone"
"will return for the Canard presse"
"Great brunch - bacon and eggs and sausage muffin - all ingredients of the highest quality. Attentive service. Interior as its predecessor Sam's but that is no bad thing. Will be back to try the steaks soon. Cocktails very very tasty e.g. grapefruit soda."
"Fantastic food - fish / seafood cooked to perfection. Food presentation is perfect. Portions are good, not one of those tiny-portions restaurants. Service very attentive and helpful. Ambiance - nicely understated decoration, formal, very busy yet enough personal space."
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.
“This is by miles and miles the most expensive bowl of soup I’ve ever eaten. You could go to any one of the not terribly encouraging Chinese noodle bars and takeaways within 300 yards of this place and get a far more agreeable slurp of soup made by a real cook for a quarter of the cost.
And you can’t send this stuff back. You can’t tell them to sack the chef. This is an anxiety-inducing concept — there is so much that can go wrong. So many moving parts, so much heat, with too many chefs in the kitchen. Though what they have cleverly, unintentionally, invented is a consumer product where the customer is almost guaranteed never to be right.”
Meanwhile, over at The Times, fellow restaurant writer Giles Coren admits a shocking truth – he knows nothing about wine! It doesn't stop him from enjoying both the plonk and the food at Bloomsbury's new wine bar Novle Rot, from the founders of a wine magazine of the same name.
“I suppose it’s never too late to learn. But if I were going to take on some massive new subject now, in my late forties, and devote thousands of hours to just barely scratching its surface, then I would probably choose Chinese or car maintenance or computer coding. I reckon that getting twatted at mealtimes is something that I can carry on doing pretty much as I have always done until I die.”
The Evening Standard's Grace Dent gets up and close personal with the chefs at Simon Rogan's new development kitchen Aulis at Fera at Claridge's, where a meal will set you back £150 a head – perfect for those pushing the boat out this Valentine's Day.
“After being whisked through the kitchens, one finds oneself in a culinary nerd’s paradise of Rotavapors, sous vide machines and hot infusion syphons. Pull up a stool next to the dehydrators and the captivating display of mid-distillation homemade woodland saps. Savour the soothing opening and closing of Lock & Lock stackable airtight boxes filled with obscure Cumbrian-nurtured microherbs. Rest your weary Valentine’s bosom by the Sonicprep Ultrasonic Homogenizer. Don’t worry if all of this sounds like gobbledegook, Aulis’ earnest chefs will explain as they go.”
At the Observer Jay Rayner finally stops by Vauxhall's Brunswick House where chef Jackson Boxer (one-time protege of St John's Fergus Henderson) serves up effortless cuisine in an environment where the decor appears to be thrown together at random but 'somehow find their way into each other's company'...
“And yet for all that nose-to-tail St John heritage, a lunchtime menu – £16 for two courses, £19 for three – displays an ambivalence towards things with a pulse. There is meat, but it is not front and centre. A dish of pumpkin, both in thinly sliced curls and sweet roasted hunks, comes with slices of crisp black radish and pear. There is a thick smear of nutty brown butter across the bottom of the plate, though each ingredient on top of it has been sharply dressed, too, and then the whole sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.”
And we feel that Marina O'Laughlin's hour-long wait between courses may have soured her experience slightly at chef Matthew Young's latest venture Ellory in Hackney. Writing in the Guardian she admits that everything issuing from the kitchen shows serious culinary skill, but 'there's a point at which purity teeters towards Puritanism'...
“I’m not suggesting that Ellory isn’t a very good restaurant; it is. But I feel a bit like the stylist pal when a long-held rock-star crush turned up for a fitting in mustard and brown Y-fronts, and not in an ironic way: a little disillusioned. I absolutely get Young’s cooking: it’s that pared-back, ingredients-fetishising style crystallised by Faviken and done so well by Lyle’s, Lake Road Kitchen, and the high priest of the UK movement, Hedone. But his technique has evolved to a point where purity teeters towards Puritanism.”
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