Marina O'Loughlin, Metro (Rating: 1/5 stars)
“Do I think Aldo Zilli gives a monkey’s for the vegetarians of this world? If the food on our plates is anything to go by, not even vaguely”. Yet more criticism for this “bland, narrow, almost empty” Soho veggie, where the “greasy and tasteless” cuisine is marked by its “slimy horridness” - special mention to fried tofu resembling “a ceiling tile in clumsy drag”. “I don’t blame the chef for what we ate, I blame Zilli, who breezes through the place frequently enough to realise how rubbish it is”.
A review of a Bloomsbury outpost of the original City pintxo bar, where “there's enough of a twist” on a menu of “well-executed” classics to make it “a little more interesting than your usual tapas joint”. “[S]uperb cocktails”, churros “worth crossing town for” and “warm, funky, clued-up staff” make for an enjoyable visit.
Time Out (Rating: 4/5 stars)
Praise for this Islington Georgian, where food is “something of a mix between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, combining the vibrant use of herbs and sun-ripened vegetables with subtle spicing and full-bodied, unusual wines”. Aside from “over-optimistic pricing” and the “nouveau riche look of the dining room”, the critic is impressed with the “attentive” service and concludes: “[the] unhurried welcome and interesting, but uncomplicated food made us want to return for another taste of the Caucasus”.
“Nécco is a young Japanese schoolgirl's dream, designed in shades of candy pink and as cute as a Studio Ghibli animation”. Kitten motifs and pink felt menus abound in this Clerkenwell spot, where a “surprisingly lengthy” and “very cheap” menu includes “bargainous” beers and largely successful dishes - sushi is “nothing groundbreaking, but made with good, well-seasoned rice”.
Fay Maschler, Evening Standard (Rating: 1/5 stars)
The restaurant publicity describes the concept of this Marylebone fusion restaurant as “the simplicity, delicate marinades, aromatic flavours and cooking methods developed over time by the street traders of the once British Colonies”. After three visits, however, the critic remains utterly unconvinced. “Drab” and “miniscule” bar snacks, uncomplementary flavour combinations (“pan-fried sea bass with a ginger infused coconut stew and garlic mash doesn't chime melodiously with a duo of lamb meatloaf infused with rose petals”) and a dining area “in the beige spirit of boardroom” combine to make a disappointing dining experience all round. “Atul Kochhar is a gifted chef...but the potential for enjoyment seems to have been spoiled by division of labour into too many menu concepts, a faintly bogus theme and demonstrably bad value.”
L'Art du Fromage
David Sexton, Evening Standard (Rating: 2/5 stars)
“The cooking style here at L'Art du Fromage would suit outdoor workers in Siberia very well; the gentry of Chelsea, I suspect, not so much”. A mixed review of the new restaurant, where décor is “stark” and “very much northern French”. Non-cheese starters prove “disappointing”, and while tartes flambées are “satisfying and a bargain”, the critic can't help but feel that other cheese-rich dishes just aren't “irresistible enough to justify the damage it would do to the waistline and the carotids”.