As from this week, we’re recasting our press review service. Firstly, press reviews will now appear twice-weekly, generally on Thursdays and Mondays. Secondly, we will provide a narrative summary, rather than referring to the individual reviews in turn. If you like the changes – or hate them – please let us know.
The major opening reviews this week have all been of establishments which are more or less Gallic, and it‘s an online reviewer who’s got to the biggest name of all first. It’s certainly impressive just how much Jan Moir didn’t like Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, which opened on Tuesday. (Jan, for those who don’t know, used to write the Telegraph reviews. She now publishes them on her own site.)
In the first few words, Jan tells you that water is £6 a bottle, that the “bread isn’t hot, and is a little bit stale”, and that “some of the tables are terrible”. It doesn’t get much better thereafter.
And it hardly looks as if Ms Moir has gone off on a rant of her own. Andy Hayler – a blogger who at one point had eaten in every three-Michelin starred restaurant in the world – comes to an equally damning conclusion.
Another joint with a bit of Michelin ‘previous’ is L’Autre Pied, the new Marylebone offshoot of the (two-starred) Pied à Terre. Ms Maschler at the Evening Standard awards a miserable 2/5 stars – she finds tastes unbalanced, pricing greedy and portions small.
Ms M’s Associated Newspapers stablemate at Metro, Marina O’Loughlin, is much more generous to L’Autre Pied (4/5 stars), even though she too finds “miniscule” portions, and a tendency to charge ‘extras’. Richard Vines at Bloomberg notes similar concerns, but he too was impressed overall.
In her traditional first-with-the-news role, Mrs M is first to review Le Café Anglais, the new gaff of ex-Kensington Place supremo Rowley Leigh. And what a hit (4/5 stars) she finds it. Perhaps this place is, as trade buzz suggests, the ‘new Wolseley’. In Bayswater?
On the minor review front, Marina O’M is unimpressed with Kensington Square Kitchen. Has anyone written a nice review of it yet?
Time Out offers first reviews of Harrison’s (the former Balham Kitchen & Bar; 3/6 stars) and a new Hammersmith Italian Bianco Nero (3/6 stars). Northbank (4/6 stars) is hailed as a “classy riverside treat”.
And across the Pond, Frank Bruni at the NY Times visits Harry Cipriani. And, guess what? He concludes that it “exists to affirm its patrons’ ability to throw away money”. How lucky that we Brits only need to go as far as the Mayfair outpost to do just the same.