"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"This restaurant is a hidden gem in terms of ambience. Hidden away just by Marble Arch the place is huge, a converted Edwardian house with a French colonial feel and an indoor waterfall and palm trees. The food is unfortunately overpriced, although the menu contains some interesting regional dishes. Cocktails are worth a try. The service was good but nothing to rave about. Worth going to see the decor but don't expect a spectacular meal."
"Food and wine were special, space was cavernous and loud with tables very close together"
"Despite some cleverly put together dishes, they don't taste particularly good. My Tamworth pork chop was not as tasty as chops from our butcher in Hove and my wife's tomato and broad bean broth lacked depth of flavour."
"Not even if you have some money you do not know what to do with it"
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.
And you can explore the capital with Priceless London experiences today. All you need to do is choose one of the exciting wining and dining opportunities below. All experiences are valid until 30 June 2016 and MUST be booked via Priceless London to secure the experience.
Why should you join Priceless London?
1 The world's greatest cities. So much metropolitan magnificence to be experienced.
2 Here. There. Everywhere. Amazing things are happening where you live – and travel to.
3 Detour the everyday. When tourists go this way, you go the other way.
4 Got a MasterCard®? Perfect! A card in your hand is all it takes to join in.
5 So very exclusive. Ultimate insider access. Feels good, doesn't it?
6 Eat. Play. Shop. Stay. Invitation-only events. Premium offerings. The VIP life.
7 It is all waiting for you. Our world of possibilities if ever-changing. Start exploring today.
There’s a secret on St Martin's Lane – a hidden door that opens only to those in the know.
What lies behind this mysterious portal? A hedonistic, impossibly glamorous world of decadent furnishings, cocktails and fine dining – and what’s more, we can get you in. Shake the golden hand and discover Blind Spot, the secret speakeasy hidden within the St Martins Lane Hotel. Because we pride ourselves on giving you the inside track on London’s hottest new nightspots, Priceless London members can embrace the exclusive ambience with a complimentary blind shot (served in an empty shotgun cartridge), signature cocktail and an item from the menu for only £60 for two. Experience one of London’s best-kept secrets at Blind Spot and book your table today. T&Cs apply.
Stunning Views and Exceptional Food at Sea Containers.
If exquisite seasonal food, stunning views and iconic London history are your thing, look no further than Mondrian London at Sea Containers - you're unlikely to find a better spot for a leisurely lunch or an early romantic dinner anywhere else. MasterCard cardholders are guaranteed a window table, a complimentary glass of prosecco and their pick of dishes from the seasonal ‘Spring on the Southbank’ menu (two courses for £25 and three for £30) when dining at Sea Containers. For more details and to book this experience click through to Priceless London now.
Asian culinary accents meet vibrant Cuban cuisine at the bijou Asia de Cuba bar in the St Martins Lane Hotel. Because we’ve always been sweet on you, we’ve arranged for you to learn the origins of sugarcane and how it has been used in Asia de Cuba’s range of delicious cocktails. They’ll treat you to a delectable flight of signature cocktails paired with matching ceviche to get you in the mood, after which you’ll sink your teeth into a main course and dessert from a special set menu made up of Asia de Cuba’s most popular dishes. Expect bold flavours, expert cooking and a delightful Asian twist! Don’t miss out on the chance to transport yourself to exotic lands at Asia de Cuba for only £60 per person – bookings must be made via Priceless London. Click here to secure your table. T&C’s apply.
Treat yourself to a selection of irresistible dishes in the cicchetti style at Four to Eight. Not only will you thrill your taste buds with 5 dishes from the exclusive Cicchetti Menu, you’ll be immersed in the non-stop action of a working kitchen from your seat at the exclusive Chef’s table and enjoy a free cocktail on arrival! The Chef himself will talk you through the provenance of dishes such as smoked swordfish carpaccio, chicken liver brulee, and beetroot pannacotta, while Four to Eight’s sommelier will guide you through over 25 distinct wines. Don’t miss out on this sumptuous and personal dining experience for only £60 per person – book your table now! T&C’s apply.
Treat yourself to a five-course tasting menu at one of London's finest restaurants. Only the very best is good enough for MasterCard cardholders, which is why we've teamed up two of France's most revered Michelin-star chefs, Florian Favario and Eric Frechon. You’ll be treated to an exclusive five-course tasting menu that showcases Celeste's freshest ingredients and most accomplished gourmet cuisine for £85.00 per person. You'll also have the privilege of meeting Celeste at The Lanesborough's head chef at your table, which combined with the exquisite food and The Lanesborough's flawless decor, makes for a unique and thoroughly refined dining experience that's not to be missed! T&C’s apply.
Discover a delightful slice of sunny Sardinia just off the King’s Road at Pellicano, the place to go for exquisite Italian food and exceptional service in West London. MasterCard love to see you well-fed and smiling, which is why they’ve devised an irresistible four-course tasting menu with matching Sardinian wine for £60 per person, exclusively for MasterCard cardholders. You’ll be treated to a selection of Pellicano’s signature dishes like homemade fregola with fresh clams and Sardinian saffron, mixed grilled fish Campidanese style served with sautéed fennel or homemade Sardinian ravioli filled with potato, pecorino cheese and mint – dishes fit for a king (or queen!). Better still, Pellicano’s knowledgeable staff will be on hand to enlighten you about the history and ingredients of your meal. T&C’s apply.
Indulge yourself with afternoon tea inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and meet Willy Wonka himself! Prepare yourself for a plethora of delights, from delicate finger sandwiches to specially-blended chocolate tea and a multi-coloured host of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory-inspired cakes and pastries. Kids will be in their element, which is why we’ve also designed a child-friendly Oompa Loompa menu that will sate their desire for sweet treats. The magic doesn’t end with tea, however – the irrepressible Willy Wonka himself will make an appearance to hand out lucky golden tickets, gobstoppers and lollipops and he will personally greet you at your table for photo opportunities all around! Tickets are £36.50 and £17.50 for children under 12 years old, and reservations are a must – so book your enchanting Charlie and The Chesterfield Afternoon Tea today! T&C’s apply.
Delicious Food & Private Screenings with Firmdale Film Club. Go to the movies like a true VIP at The Soho, Charlotte Street and Covent Garden Hotels! Sometimes we all need a little luxury – and nothing says exclusive luxury like a private film screening with dinner and champagne! Click here for the dinner and show options available. Gather your friends and family and head over to one of the Soho, Charlotte Street or Covent Garden Hotels for a refined and memorable Firmdale Film Club experience. Book your Screening today! T&C’s apply.
These experiences are exclusive to Priceless London and must be booked via a dedicated link on the Priceless London website.
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