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Ba Shan

John Walsh, The Independent (Rating: Food 2/5 stars, Ambience 3/5 stars, Service 3/5 stars)

Perhaps because of the rave reviews elsehwere, this Soho Chinese newcomer was “insanely crowded” when the critic visited. His experience, however, was of: “listless cooking, underspiced, everyday-lunch-in-the-canteen cooking”.

Terroirs

Matthew Norman, The Guardian (Rating: 9.5/10)

“You may be deliriously happy with your local bistro, but that’s only because you don't have a Terroirs of your own”, says the critic, who is swept away by this Gallic newcomer near Trafalgar Square. The chef, Ed Wilson, is “a name to watch”. “[D]espite its English cook and English wine merchant ownership, [Terroirs] has the simplicity, honesty and gift for producing whacking great flavours at affordable prices of the truly authentic, first-class French bistro.” “[I]f ever a lone venture had a moral obligation to become a national chain, this is it”, he concludes. (That was a joke, right?)

Dockmaster’s House

Jay Rayner, The Observer

The critic visits a “new Indian restaurant in a grand Georgian villa on the edge of London's Canary Wharf”, and finds an establishment beset by an “excruciating combination of pretentious and underachieving”.

The Double Club

AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 3/5 stars)

“There is something profoundly awkward, something morally indigestible, about eating the imagined food of people who are getting emergency relief, in a cool restaurant in Islington”, says the critic. “But hey ho, Mr Gloomy. Brushing all that aside with a cheery shrug and a wink, it is interesting and rather good, served with a jaunty care”. But the food is a bit beside the point. This ‘pop-up’ (temporary) restaurant “really is achingly, rockingly fashionable, thrustingly sexy, modish and smart, clever, and icy cool”.

Rotunda

Zoe Williams, The Telegraph (Rating: 6/10)

A rather up-and-down review of the waterside brasserie in the King’s Place development, near King’s Cross.

The Royal Oak, Maidenhead

Terry Durack, The Independent on Sunday (Rating: 16/20)

The 2007 appointment of Dominic Chapman – former head chef of the Hind’s Head at Bray – “turned the Royal Oak into a serious food destination overnight”. The establishment, known as “Parky’s pub”, thanks to its ownership by the famous interviewer, “is no sleepy, quaint country pub, but a smart restaurant with smooth, anticipatory service and astonishingly light, fresh, bright, clean-flavoured seasonal food, cooked with intelligence and consistency”.

Sat Bains, Nottingham

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

The critic makes his “finest discovery of the year” at this implausibly-located restaurant, where a “Sikh [chef] has mastered modern French cooking and flipped it on its head’. Bains, we’re told, is ‘[s]imply… the most wildly inventive chef to emerge from Britain since Heston Blumenthal”. “My (trifling) reservation is that Bains is growing a little comfortable with celebrity. He signs a menu for us, but isn't an autograph one of those rare gifts to be bestowed only upon request?”

Babington House, Nr Frome

Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 9/10)

“The difference between a good restaurant and a good hotel is that in a good restaurant you expect to find high standards of service and product, decent value, and then also originality, flair, wit and sophistication, whereas in a good hotel you just cling to the dream that it won’t be utterly dismal.” Ah, how true. It turns out that this rural outpost of Soho House is an exception to all the general rules, and that its virtues include a “terrific” restaurant. “No Michelin stars, just a big airy brasserie, full of light from vast windows through which the green and blue of field and sky had plenty of room to pour. And the room had a buzz. An actual buzz. Like in a big city. And the menu was like a big-city menu, too: totally confident, relaxed, eclectic and enticing.” “Babington House is, I think, the only truly good hotel that I have ever known.”

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