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Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 16/20)

Though the critic acknowleges the faults with Hix’s new restaurant in Soho – “it’s pricey”, “it’s got teething problems” and the décor features a “Brit Art mobile of plastic fish” – she finds that it gets most things right. For her, the venue that was formerly Aaya “has been transformed into a clean, calm room with a vaguely Eastern European feel”, and the menu, with its customary “emphasis on British fare”, delivers some “dazzling” food.

The Luxe

John Walsh, The Independent (Rating: Food 3/5 stars, Ambience 4/5 stars, Service 3/5 stars)

The first-floor dining room of John Torode’s Spitalfields operation may be a “curious L-shaped structure”, but the critic finds it “a welcoming place on a rain-swept autumn day”. From the “very Anglo-Australian” menu he samples dishes that seem to fall into a pattern where the main feature is small and underwhelming, but saved by more “interesting” accompaniments. However, not even the “delicious” sides served with the “roast grouse” can redeem such a “melancholy plate” – this “controversial dish”, served rare, “tastes of death”.

Jasper Gerard, The Telegraph (Rating: 3/5 stars)

“[T]here is lots to laud”, at John Torode’s Spitalfields newcomer, says the critic. He has two criticisms: the name “sounds like soap”, and the “other quibble is price”. “The Luxe’s menu makes Simon Cowell's birthday party look good value. Towards the end of the 19th century Spitalfields was regarded as the worst criminal rookery in London, a reputation Torode seems keen to restore by charging £29 for a steak.”

The end of the review, however, is entirely baffling. The critic forecasts that “this smart, sumptuous restaurant will lead the renewal [of Spitalfields]”. Given that said renewal has been going on for at least half a decade, it’s rather difficult to see how this ‘tail end Charlie’ could hope to be at the vanguard of anything.


Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 7.67)

The private members club at the top of Centre Point “has opened its restaurant to the public”, and the critic visits it twice. On his night-time visit he finds “a wide-ranging, very modern and quite original menu”, the prices of which he finds good-value, considering that it’s “quite a special spot”. On a lunchtime visit he enjoys the “good tapas”, “solicitous service” and “more staggering daytime views”.

aqua nueva

Jay Rayner, The Observer

The critic steps into this Regent Street newcomer, and finds it “a restaurant from a different era” (that of “conspicuous consumption”). It is clear the Hong Kong owners have the money for an impressive interior, but “[w]hat they don't have is a kitchen or a concept firing on all cylinders.” He tries a succession of dishes that deliver on texture and presentation, but not on taste, and finds service “on the stalkerish side of attentive”.

The Kitchin, Edinburgh

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

The critic has nothing but praise for Tom Kitchin’s Edinburgh restaurant. He instantly takes to the “amiable room” which “glows with bonhomie” and the menu elicits the “intense joy of unforced, ingredient-led innovation and common sense.” Topped with “informed and attentive” service, he deems this “the best and most agreeable dinner I’ve eaten all year”.

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