Matthew Norman, The Guardian (Rating: 8/10)
The Guardian’s critic eats in the bistro half of Bjorn van der Horst’s Smithfield operation. He finds the space “buzzes engagingly”, “service is charming, and the food excellent and blessedly unpretentious.” His experience is topped off when he is served a “slice of immortality”, by having a dish named after him. Can you really review a restaurant when the chef has made such an obvious effort to bribe you? So it seems.
AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 3/5 stars)
The pizza at this Notting Hill joint is “very good, served by the yard, a wodge of unleavened bread with chewy, sticky, napalm stuff on top.” With “jolly” service, a “noisy and crowded room”, this is the place to quench “one of those ‘nothing but pizza will do’ cravings”. (Well, it would clearly make more sense than going to a fish ’n’ chip shop, wouldn’t it?)
Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 5/10)
The critic finds this Mayfair Italian an “elegant, genial” space which, on his Friday-night visit, is “a little dishearteningly underfilled”. Perhaps this has something to do with the “[s]taggering prices”. Four “fine” starters come to £82, and four “drab” mains cost £94. “The first sniff... of value” comes with the “lovely” pudding, but only because it is intended for two and is shared between four.
Fishy Fishy, Brighton
Tracey MacLeod, The Independent (Rating: Food 3/5 stars, Ambience 3/5 stars, Service 3/5 stars)
This Brighton fish restaurant, co-owned by X Factor’s Dermot O’Leary, is, we are told, “unashamedly pitched at the mass market, but with a stylish twist.” At first glance, the colour scheme and menu are “spookily familiar”, and appear to be modelled on the Fishworks chain. But the place has a “laid-back charm which takes it out of chain territory”. “The brasserie-style menu” produces “consistently good” food, and the fish – “99 percent [of which] comes from the English Channel” – is “notably fresh”. With the “holiday mood” of the ambience and “crisp and well-informed” service, the critic finds it “a decent mid-market alternative to the [city’s] existing seafood restaurants”.
Due South, Brighton
Elfreda Pownall, The Telegraph (Rating: 5.5/10)
“[T]he hottest Sunday of the year” is perhaps not the best time to dine on the terrace of this seafood restaurant on Brighton’s promenade: “[t]he crowds and the music made [the critic’s experience] as relaxing as the first day of the sales.” Service is “friendly and laid-back” and the odd dish shows “that the kitchen does know how to cook” but, overall, the lunch is “too slapdash to be a real treat”
The Nare, Near St Ives
Jasper Gerard, The Sunday Telegraph (Rating: 4/5)
The critic dines in the main dining room and the newer, secondary dining room at “Britain’s most traditional hotel”. At the former, he enjoys the “nostalgic novelty” of “an hors d'oeuvre trolley”, and the mostly well-executed food. The latter, The Quarterdeck, “is (relatively) informal... but there's nothing sloppy about the cooking.” Overall, “one could grow very accustomed to life at this soothing, lovable hotel.”
New York Grill & Bar, Radisson SAS Hotel, Stanstead Airport
The critic has a “depressing” experience at a restaurant attempting to be “a slice of Manhattan in a corner of Essex”, in an airport hotel. Despite a couple of good dishes, he pronounces it “an ill-focused understanding of what a good restaurant should be, matched to a complete inability to deliver it.” (No criticism of this reivew to say: like so many British, even London, hotel restaurants then?)