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Ba Shan

Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 8/10)

With the exception of John Walsh’s unenthusiastic review in the Independent, this Soho Chinese tapas bar is emerging as one of the ‘raves’ of 2009. “The point is new and exciting stodge-packaged protein mouthfuls, friendly service, cute decor, mellow environment and a fresh new way to enjoy the most exciting food in the world.”

Terry Durack, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 15/20)

“[J]ust sit back and enjoy a gastronomic tour of the provinces of China that Chinatown forgot” – the raves for this ‘tapas’-style Soho newcomer continue.

High Timber

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

It may be difficult to access, but this City newcomer “really is a room with a view, not just of the Tate Modern and Globe Theatre, but of the passing show of river traffic, from police launches to party boats”. The wine is “the big draw here”, but the food is only “decent enough”.

Indian Zing

Zoe Williams, The Telegraph (Rating: 9/10)

The critic visits an established Hammersmith Indian (well-reviewed in Harden’s, for example), and finds it “the perfect place to be quietly dazzled”.

The Wellington Arms, Baughurst

Matthew Norman, The Guardian (Rating: 9/10)

The critic visits a rural inn, that turns out to be one of those “labour-of-love joints that have you cooing with pleasure”.

The Red Lion, Pewsey

Jay Rayner, The Observer

“I am firmly of the opinion that, being too full of nature, the countryside is an unnatural place for people to live”, the critic tells us – good thing he doesn’t write for the Telegraph, then! Fortunately, however, this “thatched country pub” turns out to have chefs of giddily grand metropolitan (London and New York) provenance, and the food is “big and bold and thoroughly cosmopolitan”.

River Cottage Canteen, Bath

Jasper Gerard, The Sunday Telegraph (Rating: 2/5)

“Whisper it, but is Hugh [Fearnley-Whittingstall] becoming a bit Tesco himself – pile it high with warm slogans and sell it expensive?”, wonders the critic. One of his pet hates, it turns out, is food that “shouts” at him – “[i]n between photos of cows and Hugh and old goats there are enough slogans for an election battle bus”. “And so to another pet hate: floaty, studenty waiters who are too talented to wait on tables.” The puddings may have impressed but, all in all, this is not a good review.

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