Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 6/10)
The critic tweets his way through his meal at the recently-relaunched Piccadilly restaurant, his final tweet summarising his experience: “criterion is totally bridge and tunnel but decent cooking, clumpy service, room v gay in a great way.” Although he believes this mode of “deliver[ing] instant verdicts” on restaurants “really is the future”, however, “for as long as The Times puts ink on paper, ... [he] will write properly, and not do it like this again”.
The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen
Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 14/20)
Benugo’s latest venue, in the pavillion in Hyde Park, has had “a few months to polish up its act” before this critic’s visit. It seems to have helped, as does the fact that things were “a bit slow” on the evening in question. The café serves “substantial snacky stuff which is just right for a bustling, drop-in joint”, and – though her main is “dry and dull” – the other courses are a “triumph”. All in all, “[t]he building’s chic, the view is wonderful and if all else fails, the chocolate cakes are scrumptious.”
This Camberwell restaurant – a “simple, brightly lit room with communal tables and benches” – has “a reassuringly short menu” of “really nice and really distinctive” Xinjiang cuisine, says the critic.
Gareth Wyn Davies, The Telegraph (Rating: 7.5/10)
“The awfulness” of the location – an industrial part of Bethnal Green – makes this the “perfect spot for the fashion crowd’s favourite restaurant”, opines the critic. Once inside, he recovers from his “cissy squeamishness” and finds “it is really very cool”. He likes the “utilitarian chic” of the “airy dining-room” and finds the food “holds its own well enough” (with puddings “the undoubted triumph of the evening”). So, “for all its hyper coolness”, this turns out to be “a warm and welcoming kind of joint”.
AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 3/5 stars)
Another critic chooses to review Paul Kitchin’s latest venture whilst at the Fringe Festival. Mr Gill recognises that it produces “good food, made by a good chef”, but – unlike other critics so far – he does not feel the cooking rescues the ambitious concept. For him, “[t]his is not a good restaurant”, and he advises the chef to “untangle his desire to impress from his talent to cook.”
Whatley Manor, Malmesbury
John Walsh, The Independent (Rating: Food 5/5 stars, Ambience 4/5 stars, Service 5/5 stars)
The dining room at this Wilthshire hotel goes “straight to the top of [the critic’s] list of Unmissable Restaurants”. The décor may be “eclectic to a schizophrenic degree”, but the service is “charming” and he has “the finest meal in a year” here, thanks to chef Martin Bruge. The chef produces food that is “unmistakably at the top level of modern Anglo-French cooking”, and, though it is not cheap, he recommends a visit “as soon as your personal economy allows”.
The Bull at Broughton
Nigel Howarth and Craig Bancroft – owners of several “brasserie-pubs” and Northcote Manor in Lancashire – have taken over this Yorkshire pub. They “give serious thought to the kind of food we like to eat” and the food has “a discrete polish” that places it above much gastropub fare. From his visit, the critic proclaims this a “fun, good value” place “with terrific grub”.
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Jasper Gerard, The Sunday Telegraph (Rating: 4/5)
With its “vaulted” dining room, this rural hotel strikes the critic as rather “colonial”. He enjoys a meal there of “local, seasonal ingredients”, “beautifully presented”.