Tracey MacLeod, The Independent (Rating: Food 4/5 stars, Ambience 4/5 stars, Service 5/5 stars)
Oh dear, no disrespect to Mr Corrigan or the critics concerned, but – just looking at the grades so far awarded – we fear there’s going to be a bit of a ‘Hix-effect’ (which is rather akin to a ‘Rowley Leigh effect’) in reviews of Richard Corrigan’s new Mayfair venture. Both man and cuisine are so critic-friendly that one has to be alert to praise that non-members of the foodie-luvvie world may find just a touch too rich.
And we’d written the above introduction even before we began to read the review itself, which starts off by noting that the “larger-than-life’ Mr Corrigan is “an admired figure”, who “[o]ver the past decade or so...has created a beautiful restaurant, The Lindsay House in Soho, lovingly reinvented Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill, done some consultancy and a little bit of telly; not spreading himself too thin, but sticking with things and doing them properly. And never more properly than at Corrigan's, which is miraculously good”… And so it goes on. And on.
(Of course, it’s entirely possible that the restaurant really is that good, and our own visit was just on a middling sort of night.)
Terry Durack, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 18/20)
The Indie’s man too notes early on in his review that Mr Corrigan is “Britain's favourite Irish chef”, and records his “years of hard graft at Lindsay House in Soho, and rejuvenating the famous Bentley's oyster bar”. He does have the very occasional complaint, but his overall conclusion is that this is “a restaurant that means business, and pleasure”, and that “a table here [is] one of Britain's best”.
The Star Inn, Harome, nr Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Jasper Gerard , The Telegraph (Rating: 9/10)
“[Y]ou don’t feel this good that often” – the critic is swept away by his visit to this famous inn (which holds not only Harden’s top rating, but also a Michelin star).
Belle House, Pershore, Worcestershire
This, it seems, is a restaurant with an “identity crisis” – “It hasn’t decided whether to focus on being a destination joint for the foodies of Worcestershire (on leaving, we were handed a slip urging us to email praise to Michelin and other guides) or a cracking neighbourhood joint”. Sadly, “[b]y soldiering on in the misguided belief that it can be both, Belle House manages to be neither”, and “[c]onfusion abounds in every direction”. Even if the chef is a “jolly young woman [who] worked at Gordon Ramsay's triple-starred Chelsea place”), the food, “brilliant” puds aside, turns out to be a disaster.
The Allotment, Dover, Kent
“You would have to be a miserable, thin-lipped, scumbag with a diploma in misanthropy and a good humour bypass not to like The Allotment in Dover”, says the critic, where the basic proposition is “a simple urban bistro, in a town short of them, serving a changing menu of solid, honest dishes”. “These often use ingredients fresh off either the owner's allotment or those belonging to other locals” too. “Don't talk about food miles; use food yards.”