Dean Street Townhouse
The menu at this Soho newcomer presents “the last 10 years of British food in one tidy list”, says the critic. “That's the point. The Soho House Group, the company behind Dean Street, has worked to create a completely unshocking and therefore thoroughly soothing experience. Your granny would like it.” The Group, though, “would all be gauche and nauseating were it not for the professionalism of the operations”, if it were not a “carefully managed machine”, even if one with “some grit between the cogs” at the moment.
Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 8.67)
The critic (who took over most of Saturday’s Times magazine, if you include his long and fascinating article of an American foodie cult) continues to be struck by the sheer luvvie fabulousness of Richard Caring’s Soho newcomer. So many names dropped in a single article: is this some sort of record?
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph (Rating: 7/10)
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Lutyens, Terence Conran’s latest restaurant [in Fleet Street], and yet I walked in and felt underwhelmed… it should pulse with booze and adventurous spirit, not this elegant cleanliness.” And so it continues. Although she has a good meal there, the overall experience is “fun, but it’s not fun enough”.
John Walsh, The Independent (Rating: Food 4/5 stars, Ambience 3/5 stars, Service 3/5 stars)
A review of a Richmond hotel dining room that’s just acquired its first Michelin star. In the best hotel tradition, the room is “heavily designed in textures that suggest opulence, but threaten suffocation”, but, from the start, “the food lifted the spirits”. Even so, there can be a tendency to over-complication.
In Notting HIll, the critic visits the only London restaurant recently promoted to two Michelin stars (and which Harden’s says offers the third-best French cooking in town, which is broadly consistent indication of quality). He proclaims a hugely impressive showcase of “modern Australian cooking by… an emerging Aussie celebrity chef”.
Midsummer House, Cambridge
The critic visits an “extremely well run and likable restaurant presided over by an inventive, gifted chef driven by the desire to please punters rather than inspectors”. “So it bloody well should be, you might say on noting the price”, observes the critic, “but it has been a long time since I paid a bill nudging £80 a head (we had just two glasses of house wine between us) without a rush of psychotic resentment”.
Terrace (Cliveden House), Taplow, Berkshire
AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 3/5 stars)
A review of the restaurant which is, quite literally, located in an “Americans’ idea of a grand English house, conveniently placed 35 minutes from Chelsea in a National Trust garden (closed)”. The style of the place, in particular, doesn’t please him much: it makes an “honest forelock-tugging living catering to business, bonding weekends, conferences, product launches, weddings, daytime telly presenters and game-show hosts having facials and fake tans, and every sort of trumped-up faux hospitality that the PR industry can think up”.