Review of the reviews: Critics agree Brat is the place to be

This week sees three near-identical reviews of Brat from Tom Parker Bowles, Keith Miller and Fay Maschler (despite Fay saying last week she’d wait until a restaurant settled in to visit!), not including Grace Dent, who appeared to go with TPB…

Jay Rayner in The Observer apologises in advance for loving The Dining Room at Beaverbrook – an expensive restaurant in the middle of a Surrey hotel and golf course (not his natural habitat)…

“Local environmental groups, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, opposed the development, especially the proposed golf course. Obviously, they lost.

“First impressions are brutal… the house has been restored carefully… deep of cushion and gilded in all the right places.

“…they have gone for a Japanese “grill”. It is more than a little incongruous.

“Pricing here is pure Surrey golf course by way of Land Rover Discovery.

Japanese “tacos”…We’re not sure whether to eat them or enter them for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.

“Extremely good ingredients have been treated here with extreme care… glorious tempura, a rustling plateful.

“Beaverbrook sushi is not cheap, but it is shockingly good. Two words never to get excited by are “cheap” and “sushi”. They’re like “amateur” and “brain surgeon”. Or “Michael” and “Gove”. All are terrible ideas.

“Revel… in the crisply pressed sense of place; in extraordinary country house glamour, and a moment of countryside peacefulness.”


Grace Dent in The Guardian heads to Manchester where she has one of her favourite meals of the year so far at D&D and Aiden Byrne’s joint project 20 Stories…

“…on the 19th storey of No 1 Spinningfields… overlooks all of Manchester… the panoramic views of the city feel rather magical”

“Most food served at the top of very tall things transpires to be expensive and loveless.

“Byrne’s cooking treads a fine line between hearty and dainty.

“… you could still spend £200 with wine here and leave hungry.

“… service was so lovely, prompt and non-intrusive, and the dishes so relentlessly excellent, that it’s hard to quibble.

“… it’s hard not to be won over by thoughtful plates of non-cynical loveliness… one of my favourite dinners of 2018.

“… order the chocolate, peanut praline and caramel mousse… it’s basically a gigantic Ferrero Rocher lying on the booziest banana ice-cream imaginable.”


Ben Norum in The Evening Standard revisits Jason Atherton’s Japanese offering Sosharu after a menu overhaul…

“[Jason Atherton] and executive chef Alex Craciun have shaken things up and overhauled its menu, with the main effect of making it cheaper.

“The best thing about the the new-look restaurant… is that it seems to have gained a more buzzy atmosphere.

“… less fine dining, more fun dining.”


Vice writer Joel Golby is the latest journo to take a crack at writing reviews for the Standard. Find out what he thought about Hackney’s Via Emilia…

“This is a concept that is bulletproof.

“… the kitchen… slams out plate after plate of perfectly rich eggy pasta, thin, thin deli meats and life-altering tiramisu… staff are cutlery-reluctant.

“… pillows of gnocco fritto — the restaurants’ version of a starter carb, which taste-wise lands somewhere between bread and a fairground doughnut… ‘bolognese… was how it should be: eggy, eggy tagliatelle shot through with salty, meaty sauce.

“… enjoy this meal with Lambrusco, the region’s iconic sparkling red. Via Emilia isn’t a place for a private meal… but the food makes you want to give up on British life and move immediately to northern Italy.”


Fay Maschler in The Evening Standard delivers the first of this week’s three Brat reviews, Tomos Parry’s new Basque-inspired BBQ spot in Shoreditch…

“Contentment flows unimpeded through the space.

“…at night the place gleams in a particularly enticing way.

“Provenance is not all because knowledge and imagination are also involved. Bonfire night potatoes cooked in the ashes are [an] important side dish. Nothing on the menu that I try jars.”


Keith Miller in The Telegraph reviews Finsbury Park fish ‘n’ chip shop via a Japanese tempura bar Gilly’s Fry Bar…

“…an odd place, somehow austere and whimsical at the same time: a paean to nostalgia that is also obscurely futuristic… we are the first national to pay them a visit.

“The “salt and vinegar martini” … isn’t just a martini: it’s a martini and a half, a queenly, dreamy, sweet-sixteeny martini.

“…chips and curry sauce… any self-respecting North Briton’s answer to Proust’s madeleine.

“Everything was exceptionally good. Gill is a Zen master of the arts of patience, precision and restraint… we loved our dinner – even the ultra-ironic deep-fried Celebrations and mini-doughnuts with which we rounded it off.”


Michael Deacon in The Telegraph is accused of gaslighting the restaurant industry with his latest review after saying he prefers Pizza Hut to Santa Maria Fitzrovia…

I want to be so full of E-numbers, I feel like a drugged racehorse.”

Keith Miller (again) in The Telegraph is the second critic to review Tomos Parry’s Shoreditch newcomer Brat…

“…a long-awaited and often-rumoured new project by fancied chef Tomos Parry. Brat seems cut from a different cloth” [from Kitty Fishers, Parry’s last place].

“The space is dominated by a big wood grill festooned with scary little iron cages… making a thing of hefty, spendy, shareable grilled meat and fish dishes… many Basque touches on the menu.

“The wine list has been devised in collaboration with Noble Rot …and is almost pathologically interesting… the merest suspicion of Prog Rock Cooking” [cooking to impress other chefs and foodie influencers rather than your own customers]. Parry’s heart is true… he’s doing it for the kids.”


And Tom Parker Bowles in The Daily Mail is the third critic to pay a visit to Brat this week, and guess what? He loves it too…

“Grace, my friend and fellow restaurant critic, said she once worked here. 

“… tables crammed in hugger-mugger, the lighting dim and warm, with an open bar for walk-ins. Service is smiling and switched on, the chefs working with methodical intensity… the constant sizzle of fat on glowing ember gets the taste buds suitably priapic.

“Even the side orders impress… when cooking over flame, there’s always the danger of overdoing things… But Parry is a master… grilled Galician steak was sublime.

“… the sort of atmosphere you want to gulp down in deep drafts. Parry has done it again. This Brat burns hot.”

Tim Hayward in The Financial Times discovers ‘London’s best chip’ at rejuvenated Clerkenwell pub The Coach (now under the guidance of Henry Harris)…

One of my favourite pubs has been rescued by one of our most respected chefs. How could I not be happy?”

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