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Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Just what people in Chelsea have been dreaming about! Three times a winner for us. All of the food is really fine quality and the prep makes it shine."
"Some of the most disappointing dining done in the past months. The food was uneventful and the atmosphere badly managed: impressive room but the noise level doesnt marry with the cool setting. I am not going ot be back, and i am not recommending it to any friends at the moment"
"The question that immediately sprang to mind on looking at the tasting menu, that showed quite a few similarities to the one we had had in the Spring, was how many signature dishes should a chef include throughout the year with apparently little regard for seasonality. Sadly our hope that the â€œsampleâ€ tasting menu might be changed on a daily basis was not realised, and, even more regrettably, a comparison of the photographs of the April dinner with what we were served in October confirmed our opinion that the former dishes appeared to be superior. Our review earlier in the year had been full of praise for the quality of the food, and the staff, and our favourable impression was the reason for our return to The Sportsman, so it was inevitable, given the fact that we had experienced five of the dishes before, that we would draw comparisons. What we had termed â€œa copious complement of nibblesâ€ had been diminished by 50% in quantity and the biscuit with cheese and tomato filling, the Bramley apple jelly with smoked mackerel on a bread base, and the turbot with yoghurt tartare and soy foam were not bad but failed to reach the same heights. The oysters did though; two rock and one native, each dressed separately, one with chorizo, one poached and with caviar and cucumber, and the Whitstable native with a mild horseradish sauce. My wifeâ€™s aversion to oysters meant that she was treated to three smoked salmon delicacies with the same dressings. The white crab meat with strips of carrot and creamy sauce that followed, after the homemade bread and butter with Seasalter salt, was good, but the curry powder that had brought this dish up to the top level before was practically absent this time. The mushroom and celeriac tart had been so good that â€œmasterpieceâ€ was the key word in our last review. This time, despite the various elements such as the tart pastry being up to scratch, it suffered from being slightly undercooked and the dish was far from the right temperature. The next two dishes were also served rather cool, the signature slipsole on the bone, once more with no accompaniment bar the seaweed butter, still impressed, and the turbot braised in vin jaune and served with its sauce and with a smoked pork belly rasher and firm green bean shreds providing good texture made for a dish that was fine but which would have benefited from being hotter. When the slow-braised lamb shoulder (saddle in the Spring) came also requiring several degrees more heat to really enable us to fully appreciate the superb taste of the meat, we wondered if there was some trend being set or whether our food had simply been sitting around because we werenâ€™t eating quickly enough for the kitchen. We enquired whether chef was in the kitchen, but it appeared not to be the case. Disappointingly, the ice lolly palate cleanser had been replaced by a runny, unset lemon verbena posset. Finally we got a hot dish, the signature soufflÃ©, this time Bramley apple, making for a perfect match with salted caramel ice cream. A plus point was the continued competitive pricing of the wine list, although we had to pour our own glasses, and overall we came away distinctly less effusive about this Sportsman experience."
"Brilliant venue for a bit of lunch and the seafood is excellent. It's not cheap but it's worth the price for the quality of food. Service is good but could be a little less 'pushy' in order to score even more highly. Whilst it's great to work so close to here I'd love a lunch in there where I didn't have to go back to the office in order to make full use of the white wine to accompany the high quality food in a lovely setting."
"A sure hand at the fryer and well-cooked, fresh local fish. Wine and spirits showcase local talent. Service excellent and the view stunning. Expected a lazy star name rip off - came away thoroughly enjoying the long lunch."
"The best steak I have had in a long time, flavour and texture were very good indeed and much better than I can achieve at home. Triple cooked chips and roasted mushrooms were almost as good and stilton with pears and walnuts was equally good. Coffee was fine. My friend said that the room reminded her of the kind of gentlemen's club where all the waiters are called Charles to avoid confusing the members. (Not that either of us have ever been in such a place!)"
"Why it doesn't have at least one Michelin star is beyond me! My wife and I agree that it was the best meal we have had in 15 years - and that was in Winteringham Fields in its 3-star hey-day."
"French bistro style. Consistently excellent value for simple but consistently enjoyable food. This reminds me of Cafe Rouge or Cote when they very first started"
Harden's review of the reviews
"Individually each dish really does deliver a thrilling whack. But tasting six in a row starts to feel like being shouted at repeatedly by the kitchen."
â¦¿ Grace Dent ofÂ ES magazine also reviewed Foley's 3/5, where a number of dishes disappointed her, including a "super greens salad [that] wasnâ€™t much more captivating than an M&S lunch pot." Â
"The grilled cauliflower is delicious, rich with cumin and littered with smoked peanuts, but a plate of lamb with hummus was oddly something or nothing."
â¦¿ The Guardian's Marina O'Laughlin wondered whetherÂ Chick'n'SoursÂ 8/10 in Covent Garden was merely "poncified fast food". Her answer was: Not at all -- "Itâ€™s not just junk food wantonly gourmet-fied; itâ€™s fine cooking in its own right."
"The most vanilla choice is the Colonel. It is remarkable, somehow managing to taste like the first time you had KFC, a weird, mesmerising return to the palate of childhood, only better. Much, much better."
â¦¿ Tim Hayward of the Financial Times returned to Bentley's, the oyster bar and restaurant just off Piccadilly that has served "a kind of British soul food" for 100 years and has been revived in recent years under Richard Corrigan.
"Bentley's is the very antithesis of cutting edge. It's a slice of old London, lovingly revived by people whore really care about such things."
â¦¿ In the Telegraph, Michael Deacon reviewedÂ Yosma 3/5, a Turkish restaurant in Baker Street, where he enjoyed the hot dishes despite finding them saturated in oil.
"So much oil. The patates kizartmasi â€“ fried potatoes â€“ were bathed in it. The tepsi kebab â€“ spiced lamb mince, onion, tomato â€“ dripped with it. The bÃ¶rek â€“ essentially a kind of spinach and feta sausage roll â€“ was pretty slithery too."
By the end of the meal, he wrote, "I was now so full of oil I was worried the Americans would invade me."
â¦¿ His colleague Keith Miller reviewed Bronte 3/5 in the Strand, where the menu was "a bit footballery: expensive steaks for the geezers; fussily â€œhealthyâ€ pan-Asian dishes for the laydeez."
"There is plenty to like about Bronte. Itâ€™s stylish, not too formal, modern (in a retro-futuro-primitivist sort of way). It doesnâ€™t bang on about provenance, but the ingredients seemed generally excellent. Iâ€™m just not sure the food has that much character."
â¦¿ In The Evening Standard, Fay Maschler reviewed Margot 2/5 in Covent Garden, a new Italian restaurant where she was unimpressed byÂ both the food and the prices.
"I choose a dish of the day of veal chop with black cabbage, described by the waiter as costing Â£32. A diminutive, rather flaccid chop is not theÂ mighty plate-dominating beast it should be and on the bill I notice the charge is Â£34. Cavolo nero is sopping wet."
â¦¿ Tom Parker Bowles of the Mail on Sunday reviewed the revamped Bluebird 4/5 in Chelsea,Â which he said "flies surprisingly high".
"Boeuf en daube, on the other hand, is instantly loveable. Soft, silken and deeply spoonable, itâ€™s blessed with the most shiny, resonant and serious of sauces."Â
â¦¿ AA Gill of the Sunday Times reviewed Elystan Street 4/5, the new Chelsea restaurant from Phil Howard, formerly of The Square, "not a television star or a magazine recipe-monger, just a consummate cook who is still working shifts in his own kitchen".
"Ravioli of langoustine on a shellfish broth was immaculate, but the star of the staters was sweetbreads with the surprising combination of barbecue dressing, hispi cabbage and sweetcorn."Â
â¦¿ Giles Coren in the Times reviews the Hare 7/10 in Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, where "the cooking by a fellow called Matt Dare is exceptionally fine."
"We had a quite stunningly good fillet of black bream, huge, crisped on the skin side, perfectly sweet and moist, on top of a big tangle of crab linguine, dense and gamey."Â