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The Connaught

Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 5/10)

The review explores the differences in opinion between AA Gill, who described the food at this grand Gallic dining room in Mayfair as “just exquisite”, and Giles Coren’s own view to the contrary. Gill is “quite often right about restaurants”, notes Coren, and “by far most entertaining of the older generation of critics”. So they go back, together. “For a double check.”

Coren’s starting view (in accord with our own, for what that’s worth) is that “[t]he place is just monstrous in every respect. A parade of slapstick comedy paradoxes. A ludicrous clashing of epochs, a laughable collision of cultures, an horrific clattering of flavours on a plate. A deafening symphony of horror.” This view in unaffected by returning with Gill, and, on his second visit, he still finds the whole place “rubbish”.

Buddha Bar

Terry Durack, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 9/20)

The critic visits this “neo-colonial, Indo-Portuguese, high-camp and Buddha-chic” outfit, under Westmister Bridge, where the food is “pan-Asiatic, Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Indian”, and “the music is chill-out, electronic-fusion, techno-ambient-world” It all puts the critic into a “deeply dim mood”, from which nothing which happens subsequently can cheer him up.

Giaconda Dining Room

Jay Rayner, Observer

The critic visits a new West End venture which “pulls on a gastropub ethic, only without the gastropub”. He likes it very much: it is a small, humble, perfectly positioned restaurant, doing what it does very well. And… we have very little of that in Britain today.”

The Lawn

AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 2/5 stars)

“I’ve left very little space for this week’s restaurant”, says the critic – so what’s new? – “because it’s Oliver Peyton, and I like Oliver, and it isn’t very good”.

Hix Oyster & Chop House

Pascal Wyse, Guardian (Rating: 8/10)

This Farringdon newcomer “is decked out with plain quality”, says the critic, and “Mark Hix's first eponymous restaurant is straight-talking, reflecting his passion for quality English fare treated with care but not fuss”.

L'Autre Pied

Jasper Gerard, The Telegraph (Rating: 7/10)

The critic visits the Marylebone spin-off from Pied à Terre. He finds it offers good value, but rather lacks charm.

The East Room

Zoe Williams, The Sunday Telegraph (Rating: 8.5/10)

This review is of a Shoreditch venue which “treads the line between a highly exclusive members-only joint and a regular restaurant by the surprisingly simple expedient of letting non-members into the restaurant”. The critic finds a room that’s “sexy and retro, a bit like dreaming a porn film through the filter of your childhood”. The food turns out to be pretty good too.

Thorpeness Brasserie And Emporium, Thorpeness, Suffolk

Tracey MacLeod, The Independent (Rating: Food 3/5 stars, Ambience 3/5 stars, Service 4/5 stars)

The critic visits a seaside restaurant largely “papered with old magazines”. “It's riotous, playful and totally unexpected, in this oh-so-tasteful corner of Suffolk, where the appreciation of modern design has been most famously expressed by the repeated vandalisation of Maggie Hambling's scallop sculpture on Thorpeness beach.”

It turns out that this is a “funky and flexible all-day haven for the very mixed crowd of visitors that flock to this peculiar place”. (“An Arts and Crafts model village built in the Twenties by a local landowner, Thorpeness is Suffolk's Portmeirion, the expression of one man's idiosyncratic vision, complete with huge, artificial, Peter Pan-inspired boating lake.”)

The cooking shows some inconsistency, but “it’s hard to wish the Brasserie anything but well. It may be idiosyncratic, even a bit mad, but as proved by the visitors who still flock to Thorpeness nearly a century after it was created, just because something is a folly doesn't necessarily mean it's a mistake.”

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