"Wonderful Lasagne, in an average chain with average service. But, if you want a reasonably quick taste of good Italian cuisine, seek out a Zizzi restaurant."
"Heavily booked with a bulging car park speaks for itself. Food is very good but the atmosphere is spoiled by higgledy-piggledy table layout."
"Out of this world cooking the dining room still feels cramped, dark and a little dingy. Lunchtime menu is particularly good value."
"Bright open dining room with clear views of the countryside. Staff were attentive and the food was both as described and cooked properly."
"Good food but a tad pretentious. The old world interior doesn't quite exude charm and the prices are higher than expected."
"great local thai"
"excellent value. hard to find sizeable main courses for £12 or less! decent wine at reasonable prices"
"this isn't an indian restaurant. it's Punjabi, which combines elements from India and Pakistan. lots of lamb, a little bit of chicken and terrific veggie dishes. no licence so BYO"
"Had dinner here from the Tapas menu about two weeks ago. Good food and good service, I even liked the atmosphere (which was a surprise for a brand new glass-and-steel building). I don't know much about tapas so had to ask for a bit of help. The waiter was excellent and even stopped us ordering too much. Similarly, I'm not too knowledgeable on Spanish wine and again the waiter helped us a lot and he didn't even recommend the most expensive wine. I will definitely go back. the downstairs bar area is very noisy."
"Had my birthday meal here with my family last August. We sat outside in the open area and it was splendid in every respect. I love the food and the bustling atmosphere. However, inside eating area can be very noisy"
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.
5 summer terraces
Tip – Try to get there before the post-work crowd!
Just about everyone in London has supped a glass of vino at one time or another at this “one-of-a-kind” ancient wine bar, by Embankment tube; the food – cheese, cold cuts, hot dishes, salads – is “nothing special”, but the cave-like interior is “amazing”, and it has one of the West End’s nicest (and biggest) outdoor terraces.
Tip – Our survey feedback on this Marylebone hotel was less than flattering last year, but the terrace is delightful on a sunny day. Go for brunch/lunch outside where the no bookings policy means you might actually be able to get a table!
“Full of Z-listers, models and wannabe movers-and-shakers”, this achingly hip Marylebone yearling is “so overhyped” it’s hilarious. It’s undoubtedly a “gorgeous-looking” place and “fun” too (especially if you like people-watching), but you pay “silly money” for service that’s “confused” (going on “obnoxious”), and food for which “mediocre would be a flattering description”.
Tip – Go for one of their seasonal summer cocktails using Ognisko's own house-infused vodkas.
“The old-fashioned dining room is a delight”, at this émigrés club near the Science Museum, which also boasts “a wonderful rear terrace, on a garden square”; Jan Woroniecki’s year-old regime doesn’t please all its old regulars, but the “hearty” Polish fare and “exotic house cocktails” were well-rated this year.
Tip – The Waterside Garden is open until September and available for private events.
With its beautiful canal-side terrace, this “buzzy” arts centre brasserie is ideal in summer, especially on business; realisation of the dishes – meat in particular – can be “wonderful”, but can also be “way off-the-mark”.
Tip – Book for lunch or an early dinner if you want to bag a table. They say they accept walk-ins, but it's a rarity.
You need to be “Prince William or Lady Gaga to get a table before 2050”, at the Ivy’s new, all-day west London cousin (on the site that in the late ’80s was famous as Henry J Beans). “Like the original Ivy, the food’s not the point” – in fact, it’s really “dreary” here – “it’s the beautiful design and glorious, not-so-secret garden that make it a sublime addition to the King’s Road”.
5 tip top rooftops
“You can’t argue with the view from the 39th floor!”; this dazzling City eyrie combines “amazing vistas and outside spaces” with “heavenly” Japanese/South American fusion fare – “incredibly fresh, zingy flavours, blended with panache”. And yet… for some reporters “everything is slick, it looks brilliant, but it lacks heart and soul”, not helped by the merciless prices.
“A surprise find in the City, especially on top of a hotel” – the D&D London’s rooftop venture is a superb all-rounder, complete with “great views” and an outside terrace; the fish-heavy menu is “elegantly realised”, and the set-up is “super for business – calm, smart and efficient”.
Fans of this five-story old Georgian townhouse in Smithfield (with summer roof terrace) love its “classy, tranquil and smooth” style, and “funky” cooking; its ratings are dragged down though by refuseniks who say “it’s not as good as expected, and too expensive”
The “stunning rooftop terrace”, and “impressive basement dining room” both win praise for Sir Terence Conran’s “chilled” Shoreditch operation; its “professional” cuisine is well-rated too, although “tiny” portions are a bugbear.
With its “stunning rooftop garden”, this well-known D&D London venue is “perfect for business entertaining” and – especially in summer – something of “a City boy power-lunch extravaganza”; the food is “acceptable but dull” – “if they really sorted it out, it would be one of London’s top spots”.
5 beer gardens of note
The Gun E14
This “quaint riverside tavern has so much charm and history” – not to mention a big terrace, and fab river views over to the O2 – and makes “a refreshing escape from Canary Wharf” (a short walk away); “the food’s fancy for a pub, if not quite in the upper echelons for a gastropub”.
“It’s high time Strand-on-the-Green had a decent pub!” – this refurbished boozer enjoys “a great setting by the Thames” and cooking that’s “very promising”.
With its “fashionable looks”, “eclectic mix of seating” and “delightful garden”, this “friendly” large pub has brightened up the grungy environs of Hammersmith Town Hall; quibbles? – service is “charming but can be wayward”.
“A boon if you’ve got a young family, but adults are well-catered-for too!” – Paul Merrett’s “lovely”, large gastropub is “hidden away in residential Sheen, near Richmond Park”; “kids get to run around in the enclosed garden” (with playground), while others enjoy the “high quality” cooking.
“Strangely rustic in feel for somewhere in deepest Chiswick” – this tucked-away hostelry is “one of the best in West London”; the cooking is “surprisingly interesting and sophisticated”, the service is a veritable “charm offensive”, and the set-up works well both in winter (wood panels, fire, sofas) and summer (“luscious beer garden”).
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