Fay Maschler, Evening Standard (Rating: 4/5 stars)
A visit to Gordon Ramsay's “innovative and informal” new restaurant in Belgravia impresses the critic on every level. On the reasonably priced menu, “[t]he seven first and eight main courses are the sort of dishes anticipated in this genre of cooking with nothing to frighten the novice — except perhaps the raw liver look of pigeon breast cooked sous-vide — but plenty of thoughtful detail in the garnishes”. “[I]mpressive” starters, “terrific” fish and “eerily lovely” desserts – “the chocolate sphere with milk ice cream and honeycomb was probably what people mean when they talk of food to die for” – combine with an “agreeable sense of intimacy” of the dining room to make an enjoyable experience all round. Top marks too for the “unasked-for scrupulousness” in regards to vegetarian diners.
Bistrot Bruno Loubet
Marina O'Loughlin, Metro (Rating: 4/5 stars)
“The dish I’m eating is the richest, stickiest, most savoury thing I’ve eaten since I absent-mindedly sucked a teaspoon of Marmite. It is a visceral, butch number; the sort of thing you fantasise about finding in the utopian provincial French bistro, where the stock pot bubbles for decades and the meat lives out in the back garden”.
More praise then for Bruno Loubet's Clerkenwell bistro, in particular when it comes to his trademark “slow, slow-cooked meat, no knife required, served with a dash of intensely seasoned vegetable matter, a cheffy flourish and saucing of almost scary savouriness”. When he strays from this “formula”, however, results can be disappointing - special mention to “raw-tasting” bouillabaisse and “truly shocking” gratin dauphinois. Despite these niggles, however, the critic concedes “I’m happy to join the daily growing chorus of praise. Bruno’s back with a bang”.
Paradise By Way of Kensal Green
David Sexton, Evening Standard (Rating: 3/5 stars)
The critic visits a “swaggering” and “ambitious” restaurant that's “more clubby than pubby” in Kensal Green. Dishes including Poole Harbour oysters, smoked mackerel and Drambuie paté, and sea bream are largely successful, although “[t]he constant quest for high impact evident in the cooking here seems sometimes to go too far”. All in all, this is “a slick, impressive operation”.
Time Out (Rating: 4/5 stars)
A review of a “microbrewery, pub and café-diner in part of the newly refurbished Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich”, offering “unusual artisan” beers from the Meantime Brewing Company, plus some 50 other beers on draught or bottled. The self-service café , which at night transforms into “a smart and very atmospheric restaurant”, offers an enjoyable Modern British menu, with mutton braised in ale proving particularly noteworthy. “It was good enough to made you proud to live in the nautical nation once ridiculed by its neighbours for being overly fond of meat and two veg”.