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Restaurant Diner Reviews
"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"
"What a gem. Lovely food, sensible and very good wine list, delightful service. Well worth the detour"
"Solid cooking with meat the king as the restaurant is part of the adjacent family butchers."
"I haven't been to the Waterside for several years and recently went there with six members of my family who all have very different tastes to my wife and I. Everyone without exception thought the food and the service were superb but what impressed us most was how they have been able to still produce such superb traditional style dishes full of flavour and complexity without succumbing to the trend that at times puts presentation beyond taste. Still a stunning restaurant in a stunning location."
"Very charming but extremely inefficient coupled with a lot of noise (loud music plus a full restaurant) ended up having more of an impact than the extremely good food. An incredible menu but service was bordering on the non-existent. (A portion of prawn crackers to have with drinks came halfway through the meal - albeit with an apology and offer to remove them from our bill.) The Asian fusion food was wonderful: great flavours enhanced rather than overpowered by chili. However, not sure the food is so good that I'd go again."
"Stunning! The staff make the meal into an occasion - they really CAN make you feel very special, in a personal way - and the food's damned good too."
"It is a mystery, if not a surprise, why Casamia has not been promoted from having just a single Michelin star, which means it remains on the same level as inferior pubs that we have eaten in, restaurants where the star has been inherited at least three times over by the sous chef and offshoots opened by â€œnamesâ€ with no real reason for existing apart from easy money for the owner. Perhaps it is because Peter Sanchez is something of a pioneer, dreaming up dishes with unusual combinations of ingredients, designing dish-specific crockery, and melding techniques to formulate an advanced approach that could be seen as a step too far for a chef who should be still finding his feet, and is perhaps not always fully understood by judgemental inspectors with a strict agenda to adhere to. We are struck by the friendly nature of Casamia, where every diner is regarded almost as a member of the extended family, as shown by the willingness of the staff, both kitchen, with the chefs bringing up the various dishes, and front of house, to listen to and discuss things with the punters. Once again stunning dish followed stunning dish, right from the snacks, 3-year aged Parmesan mousse in a light bric tartlet with cheese sprinkles, deep-sea carabineros prawns on a seaweed meringue which gave up a sweet seafood aftertaste, and a smoking sandwich of venison tartare with cavolo nero and horseradish cream, to the petits fours, a superlight and delicious mix of damson and bay leaf Turkish delight, and a clever porcini mushroom fudge, which could almost double as a canapÃ©. Interposed between these delights was a succession of delicately complex taste, texture and visual wonders, some merely brilliant and others simply world-class. The combination of yoghurt sorbet, pickled fennel, sweet beetroot risotto with soft and firm rice and pistachio for extra texture was superb. The duo of brown trout, loin Japanese style with coal dust, wonderful skin crisps, shiitake and a ginger dashi perfectly balanced with the fish, and roast belly in a smoked mousse with trout roe and, this time, kombu dashi, was a winner. I tend to avoid vegetarian dishes where possible, and when faced with something named autumnal salad, my defences are activated; but the scorched radicchio leaf, the concentrated taste of sweet carrot, the goatâ€™s curd and yoghurt, the celeriac jam, the parsley dressing and the swede all made for an outstanding, complex and wonderfully satisfying dish which completely belied its simple appellation and I was fully won over. The Casamia version of sole VÃ©ronique relies, quite rightly, on the best fish with an egg emulsion sabayon, perfect grapes, amazing leeks and a roe powder condiment to produce a truly top-class dish. Itâ€™s game bird season, so a duo of grouse seemed just the thing, and the confit leg with pasta was quite astounding and beautifully supported by quailâ€™s egg yolk on potato purÃ©e and the lovely herby touch of oregano; not to be outdone, the melt-in-the-mouth breast with a grouse jus worked really well with cold rose petal variations and an intense hit of ras el hanout on the crisp skin. Dehydrated butternut squash matched with natural caramel, from which a pleasant clove aroma emanated, and brown butter formed an historic pairing with the â€œorangeâ€ RulÃ¤nder (aka Pinot Gris) from Austria, just one of a series of well-considered bottles in the wine flight, and this set the scene for an intense passion fruit mousse with light tarragon meringue, and the final dish â€œCollection of applesâ€ comprising multiple elements of different types of apple with varying but never clashing levels of acidity and sweetness washed down with a complement of Herefordshire apple liqueur. For us this one of the best meals of the year and, with regard to where Casamia should figure in relation to its peers, we think that The Sunday Times Top 100 list, which represents the view of the food-loving general public instead of the usual anonymous inspectors in guides such as Michelin or AA, is where one should look."
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