Alain Ducasse (The Dorchester)
“Exactly how Ducasse's gaff became Britain’s fourth triple-[Michelin]-starred restaurant I'm unsure, but on the evidence of dinner – good and sporadically brilliant though it was – you suspect the name had a little to do with it”, says the critic. This is a “handsome” room”, he notes, and the service – in a good way –“fabulously attentive”.
The splendour of the food, however, “lay mostly with the aesthetics”. The dishes – though “genuinely beautiful to the eye” – are are “less memorable to the tastebud than that triple-star rating might suggest”. Indeed, both main courses were “a touch forgettable”. Whether such an experience is really even, as the critic suggests, at the two-star level must surely be open to doubt?
Galvin La Chapelle
Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 9)
The critic wonders if he can give “an impartial review of the place I am trusting with my first lunch as a married man” (the catering for his wedding). We suspect the answer is ‘no’.
Zoe Williams, The Telegraph (Rating: 5.5/10)
The artistic attractions have their moments, but the food at this new Notting Hill cabaret does not impress the critic.
Cabbage Hall, Cheshire
The critic visits the latest venture from (well known, in the NW) chef Robert Kisby, and diagnoses “an overweening self-regard [and] an emetic preening about the place”. “I try to eat outside London as often as possible”, he says, “but the truth is that it's the gaucheness of restaurants like Cabbage Hall which mean that, too often, I embark upon those journeys with bitter trepidation”.
Milan, Wooler, Northumberland
AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 4/5 stars)
Here’s a turn up for the books. “I have often said that I don’t review rural restaurants because most of them wouldn’t last a week in Putney”, says the critic, but this country restaurant turns out to be an establishment which ‘works’, by serving its community “with good food and an occasion”.
The Artichoke, Amersham, Bucks
Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 17/20)
The critic is impressed by this restaurant, recently relaunched after a long post-fire closure. “Artichoke is some distance above a ‘can't be bothered to cook, let's go out’ local”, says the critic, but such are its “serious without being pompous” charms that she advises “visiting before [popularity becomes such that] you can't get a table at all’.
Tracey MacLeod, The Independent (Rating: Food 3/5 stars, Ambience 4/5 stars, Service 4/5 st)
At Paul Kitching’s recently-Michelin-starred restaurant, “[o]nly three other tables were occupied on a midweek lunchtime”, reports the critic. The food turns out to be “far from conventional, and some of it just “an assault on the taste buds”, “Kitching has claimed that his Edinburgh move would see him putting aside his youthful excesses to focus on a more serious style of cooking”, we’re told. “But I imagine his eccentricities will still prove challenging to many Edinburgh diners. The Michelin men may be impressed; but it's the Morningside ladies he really needs to win over.”
The Royal Oak, Romney Marsh, Kent
The critic visits a “great little boozer”, which – despite is culinary charms – turns out to be unfairly “uncelebrated”.