John Walsh, The Independent (Rating: Food 2/5 stars, Ambience 2/5 stars, Service 3/5 stars)
The review of this Marylebone Italian gets off to a good start; the bar upstairs is “tiny and cute” and “the welcome from the staff is pure theatre”. Unfortunately, the dining room is in an “oddly shaped basement” with “austere” décor. The “predictable” menu and cooking style are “that of an old-fashioned trattoria”, and the critic feels “annoyed with the place” for believing “it’s something far more special”, and charging as if it were.
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph (Rating: 7/10)
The critic self-summarises her experience at this Marylebone trattoria: “[a] perfectly nice, mainly excellent value, genuine, delicious Italian restaurant, in the throbbing epicentre of London, where you’d most expect to be ripped off. OK, so not all of it made me want to stand up and cheer, but some of it did.”
Gallery Mess, Saatchi Gallery
AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 3/5 stars)
Mr Gill visits the recently-opened restaurant attached to the Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road. He dines al fresco, and doesn’t think that sitting inside – in the “awkward cafe space in a colonnade” – “would be anything like as attractive”. The food, by the caterers Rhubarb, is “generous and nicely made”, and “bordering on really quite good.”
The Glasshouse, Kew
Terry Durack, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 16/20)
For his final review for the Independent on Sunday, Terry Durack chooses a restaurant “that will be here today and here tomorrow too.” This 10-year old Kew establishment seems like a safe bet, as there are no celebrity chefs or clientele, but the same key figures as when it opened, and a “quietly glamorous” air. Being a Platts-Martin restaurant, the dining room has a “lush, rich, vaguely corporate feel”. The French menu is “a seasonal roll call of things the British love to eat”, and the skill in the kitchen “turn[s] the safe into the satisfying.”
A Taste of McClements, Kew
Matthew Norman, The Guardian (Rating: 1.5/10)
Surely one of the worst major reviews of recent times. The critic sets the tone by calling latest venture from John McClements an “apocalypse”. We discover that it “stinks” (literally), it “looks hideous” and the “gigglesome familiarity” of the Frenchman serving has him “yearning for traditional Gallic aloofness.” As for the food, “[t]he best to be said for lunch is thank God it wasn't dinner” (which has a 16-course tasting menu, rather than six). “[T]he first and last things we tasted [...] were properly memorable” but everything inbetween is “desperately oversalted”.
The Bell, Sapperton
Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 8/10)
The critic stumbles across “a little stone pub” in the Cotswolds, and enjoys a “delicious” lunch, and the landlord’s generosity.
Blackfriars Restaurant, Newcastle
The critic has a “bizarre” lunch at the self-proclaimed “oldest dining room in Britain”. The food is “good, solid and hearty” and “well executed”, but everything else – from the dated décor to the “hellish”, loud folk-rock music – “stinks of cheap”.
Age & Sons, Ramsgate
Jasper Gerard, The Sunday Telegraph (Rating: 3/5)
The critic detects the “faintest scent of revival” at the dilapidated Kentish port, which he partly puts down to this new restaurant. It is a “dazzling” space where chef Toby Leigh (nephew of Rowley) has created a “sparse but inventive” menu. The meal turns out to be a “fiasco” and service is “hopeless”, but “when food’s prepared with such joy, generosity and talent”, he can’t help but be forgiving.