Harden’s review of the reviews

⦿ The Observer’s Jay Rayner reviewed Sambal Shiok, Mandy Yin’s Malaysian evenings-only pop-up at Blend café in Harringay, where he was impressed by the Singapore-style laksa.

“Boy, is it good. The broth is thick, making it more a stew than a soup. It is the Fisher-Price Activity Centre of food, with just so much to see and do and touch and poke.”

⦿ In the Guardian, Tanya Gold visited Osteria Francescana in Modena, to see if “the world’s best restaurant” lived up to the hype.

“It is not my kind of food: too arch, too needy. But I can tell you, having eaten here, that Massimo Bottura is an artist, and that artists must be allowed to succeed, and to fail.”

⦿ Fay Maschler of the Evening Standard reviewed Parabola 4/5 at the new Design Museum in Kensington, where Rowley Leigh has taken over the initial chef residency. His signature dish from Kensington Place, parmesan custard with anchovy toast, is “back to its original oh-so cheesy custard glory”.

“Boned and rolled partridge is served with cabbage chartreuse. Known more prosaically as stuffed cabbage, the tightly-packed savoury hillock turned out from a dariole mould is another gratifying nod to classic French cooking — and tastes extremely good too.”

⦿ In ES magazine, Grace Dent hailed Noble Rot 5/5 in Bloomsbury, which she said was “quietly great but slightly misunderstood” when it opened a year ago, and has since “moved on to being heroically brilliant”.

“Today’s menu is dreamy but accessible and relentlessly, gaspingly good: think Whitstable oysters, smoked eel in parsley sauce, plates of Ibérico Bellota and snails and Alsace bacon on duck-fat toast.”

⦿ In the Daily Telegraph, Keith Miller reviewed Iberia 3/5, a Georgian restaurant in Islington, where he found the food “coherent but full of surprises; amply comforting yet a little strange”.

“Lobio – a braise of kidney beans, served in a massively rustic clay pot – was thick with mashed-up beans and walnut paste, fragrant with coriander, sharpened by just a touch of chilli, a little deep spice – fenugreek? I can’t see why it isn’t a veggie staple.”

⦿ His Telegraph colleague Michael Deacon reviewed April’s Cafe, a lunch-only venue insideBoutique 1, a luxury fashion outlet in Belgravia, which he found mixed.

“I started with the white crab, cucumber, almonds and sea purslane. I wasn’t tremendously keen. The foie-gras and chicken-liver parfait was far better. Unusually creamy, salty, and looking vaguely like a shrunken Jabba the Hutt, but none the less very good.”

⦿ The Times’s  Giles Coren reviewed Veneta in St James’s Market, a Venetian-inspired restaurant from the Salt Yard group.

“There came four large tentacles of grilled octopus as broad and firm as a sailor’s grip with a sweet tangle of grilled and marinated red and yellow peppers; a lovely big charcoal-grilled pork ribeye, dark brown with its caramelised juices and golden-trimmed with sweetest fat .. a beautifully coloured plate of salt-baked carrots and beets with cheep’s ricotta, date puree and oregano…”

⦿ In the Sunday Times, Lisa Markwell reviewed Temper 3/5, Neil Rankin’s new meat venue in Soho, which has a “ginormous central open grill … like an adventure playground for carnivores”.

“My main beef (sorry) is that the main event is hit-and-miss. The goat is very good indeed, a handsome advert for an underused beast. The lamb is raggedy and bland, the different preparations indistinct and uninteresting.”

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