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Benito's Hat

Marina O'Loughlin, Metro (Rating: 4/5 stars)

“[S]omething of a quiet Mexican revolution [is] taking place”, says the critic who – judging from some of the esoteric establishments she cites in her review – is clearly something of a Mexicophilliac. “With El Burrito (from the chaps behind posh Mexican Mestizo), the Freebird truck and now Benito's Hat, the area by Goodge Street looks like it's turning into a Little Mission. Of all the London burritos I've hoovered, I like the Hat ones best. There's a vibrancy to them that comes from good quality, fresh ingredients: salsas, for instance, are made several times a day.” Margaritas are “agreeably lethal” too.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

David Sexton, Evening Standard (Rating: 3/5 stars)

“[T]he new edition of Harden’s… has rated Wareing’s restaurant the best in London for the first time”, notes the critic, and “[w]hen the next Michelin Guide is published, Wareing doubtless hopes to finally win three stars, too”. The problem is that “eating here feels like… being part of a mission to win the top accolade, to press every button of luxury”. The setting is “all so plush it feels a little like a scene in a disaster movie just before retributive catastrophe arrives”, and the cuisine rather effortfully strives for “super-richness” too. It’s not all bad, though, as “the food here seemed personal, not corporate”, as it has tended to be in the Ramsay restaurants the critic has recently experienced, “[b]ut it cannot be said to be well-balanced”.

Confounding an impression Harden’s had formed in earlier ‘reviews of the reviews’, however, the critic denies that he is “generically against expensive restaurants”.

Richard Vines, Bloomberg (Rating: 4/4 stars)

Not much doubt in the mind of the finanical news service’s critic. “[I]f pushed to name London's best restaurant, my response would be Petrus. Or, to give it its full new name, the Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley”, he says.

Two things strike him about the cooking: “[t]he first is how clean the flavors are. There’s no muddle, no over- egging the pudding, no unnecessary bells and whistles”. And secondly, “he then decides how to present the flavors, meaning that the ingredients may show up as foam, jelly, puree or ice cream. This is classic gastronomy enhanced and enriched with modern methods… It's about finding ways to take great, seasonal ingredients and ratchet up the pleasure.” And, “[i]f you are pondering job losses, or just on a budget, the set lunch is great value at 35 pounds for three courses”.

Min Jiang

Brian Sewell, Evening Standard (Rating:3/5 stars)

It’s not just the “sublime” view which commends this 10th floor Chinese newcomer, in Kensington, to the paper’s long-established (art) critic. Its gentle style and high prices ensure it is not the place to take a “hungry rugger-playing godson”, but it is “perhaps the perfect treat to charm a slightly deaf maiden aunt on whose wealth a canny nephew has his eye”.


Guy Dimond, Time Out (Rating: 4/6 stars)

“Although the dishes are (mostly) the familiar roll call, there is a freshness and honesty about the cooking”, says the critic, visiting this “good-looking for a low-budget place”, in the East End. “Go when you’re pining for the tastes of Thailand.”

St Pancras Grand

Guy Dimond, Time Out (Rating: 4/6 stars)

“The stunning £800 million restoration of the St Pancras is a marvel”, says the critic, and you immediately get the impression that the review of Searcy’s new restaurant there is going to be upbeat. And indeed, it turns out to be “a beauty which has clearly been inspired by the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station in New York, mixed up with Continental grand brasserie flourishes”. On the food front, the offer is a “post-St John, Hix-like menu designed to appeal to critics, gastronomes and everyman”, and its realisation rarely disappointed.

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