Review of the reviews

Here’s our weekly round-up of what the nation’s restaurant critics were writing about in the week up to 4th February 2024


The Evening Standard

“A scrappy, DIY sunburst of a space.”

Jimi Famurewa reviewed Paradise Cove in Wandsworth, the latest in a string of restaurant that Tarell ‘Chef Tee’ Mcintosh has opened and lost, for various reasons.

“Armed with a gently recalibrated roster of Caribbean crowdpleasers” he is trying a new location, “a short walk and a veritable world away from the money-hosed silliness of the Nine Elms sky-pool”.

The “spirited eccentricity” of the owner and “hugging domesticity” of the offering won Jimi over, as did the “spectacular” ital vegan curry and an “exceptional” ginger cake.

“Go to remind yourself that the very best of this city lives not in corporate sheen but in the toil, talent and tenacity of real Londoners.” (***)


Also in The Standard, a Valentine’s round-up of London restaurants that are “romantic but not schmaltzy” from Trullo to Luca, plus places to eat late at night, from Max Halley at The Hipppodrometo J Sheekey, after Sarah Jessica Parker (currently appearing in the West End with her husband) claimed that London lacked a late-night, post-theatre dining scene.

There’s also news that Le Gavroche (which closed down last month after 57 years) is to pop up annually in Wimbedon, partnering “with sports entertainment group Keith Prowse at the tennis championships, serving a full tasting menu at The Lawn, Wimbledon’s fine dining space”.


Joanna Taylor continued her new “review in a few” feature with a visit to Capilungo, the new Covent Garden Italian café-by-day, wine-bar-by-night with “very intriguing baked goods” – “specialties from the Apulian city of Lecce”. “I’d run to beat the impending queue if I were you.”


Finally, there’s an interview with Jeremy King on his plans for the future, with three major projects on the go, one of which is his revival of Simpson’s – including the trolleys.


The Guardian

Grace Dent inexplicably reviewed the fifth, and newest, branch of Eggslut, in Stratford; the chain has grown “since 2010… from a humble food truck into a global, albumen-focused fast food conglomerate” that “does not care what you think about its name”.

The general aesthetic is “stark, industrial, cement-chic”; the menu is “brief; it is comfort food made ostensibly of good produce, and almost everything comes in a brioche bun” and is almost guaranteed to fall apart (“another problem with almost everything at Eggslut is the sheer drippy, oozy messiness of it all”).

 “I can’t help thinking that, for the price, it should all just be a bit better”; the scrambled egg and salmon roll costs £15.


The Observer

Jay Rayner reviewed Levante in Lewisham; he found it after the greasy spoon he was planning on visiting was closed due to “unforeseen” circumstances.

“When I am travelling the country and know I’ll need dinner late at night, I generally search first for Turkish grill houses. This is because they are never bad… I’ve never been to one that didn’t deliver on the fundamentals: bright fresh salads; puffy, charred breads; smoky grills.”

“On a cold winter’s day, it was restaurant not just as refuge, but as happy find. I left invigorated, fed and very grateful.”


The Telegraph

William Sitwell visited 1 York Place in Bristol, the third establishment from “local heroes Freddy and Nessa Bird – whose restaurant in Westbury Park, littlefrench, can do no wrong”.

The thin, two-storey site was brightly lit, but “the staff and ensuing food and drink more than made up for” the evening daylight effect.

“The menu, which is beautifully crafted and written… casts a net across Europe and is matched by a clever wine list.” Dinner “felt like being pummelled by waves of gorgeous food”.

 “Sort the lights at night and Bristol has yet another culinary paradise.”


The Times & The Sunday Times

Chitra Ramaswamy reviewed Montrose in Edinburgh, a new bar and restaurant from the family behind Timberyard. “It’s similarly serious but in a more relaxed neighbourhood” — “I’m desperate to go back”.


Also in Scotland, Charlotte Ivers reviewed Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow: “You almost feel you’re robbing them.”


The Scotsman

Gaby Soutar reviewed Dine Craiglockhart in Edinburgh, the fourth establishment in the Dine chain, and it’s “a smart but casual bistro to suit the neighbourhood”.

Chef patrons Stuart Muir and Paul Brennan have “imported their signature vibe, with dark walls, plump velvety chairs and smooth twinkly jazz on the stereo”, plus it’s “less spendy” than the city-centre branches


Rosalind Erskine visited restaurant-with-rooms Gordon Arms in Yarrow in the Scottish Borders; owners Bryn and Oxana Jones “been here for almost two years” and “clearly are putting their heart and soul into this venture, and it shows from the warm welcome to the delicious food and personal touches”.

The “very reasonably priced five-course tasting menu” kicked off “an evening of good food” and “excellent service”.


And also…

In The FT Magazine, Tim Hayward reviewed Jamie Oliver Catherine St, London: “the celebrity chef’s Covent Garden restaurant has theatregoers and tourists in its sights”.


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