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 5th November 2023.


The Guardian

“The place is modern, elegant and cool, but not painfully so.”

Grace Dent continued a tour of Scotland with a trip to The Fish Shop in Ballater, a village “to the east of the Cairngorms in Aberdeenshire”; she was reassured by seeing “gloriously fresh Scottish day-boat fish in the adjoining shop window”.

Husband-and-wife team Jasmine and Marcus Sherry run front of house and cook respectively. Rumour has it that “Fish Shop has become so loved locally that even its owner can no longer just drop by for a table”, which Grace thinks might be down to the signature dish of “Stonehaven lobster taglierini”.

The décor is “a delight” – “everything is pre-loved, sustainable, repurposed” – as you’d expect from “a venture by the hospitality team at Artfarm, which is also behind the The Fife Arms in nearby Braemar”.

“Wonderful, heartwarming places such as Fish Shop are a rarer sight than mermaids’ feet these days. If you’re ever in the area, go.”


The Observer

Jay Rayner was also in Scotland, at Gloriosa in Glasgow’s Argyle Street, where he revisited “the best focaccia I have ever eaten”. He’d previously eaten Rosie Heaney’s focaccia at Alchemilla, and now she is head chef here; “a graduate of Yotam Ottolenghi’s kitchens”, Heaney presides over a “very much vegetable-led” menu.

(“If this makes me sound like a chef groupie… then I am joyously guilty as charged.”)

Small plates are £10, and there’s “four larger main course dishes” with “childish joys of dessert, given a grown-up makeover” to enjoy afterwards.

“Thank you, Rosie Healey. It was a delight to eat your focaccia again. And everything else, as it happens.”


The Telegraph

William Sitwell reviewed the “high-flying high-end dining with prices to match” at Claude Bosi’s new restaurant Brooklands, on the “The Peninsula London, on Grosvenor Place, with views overlooking Buckingham Palace”.

Bosi’s “delicate, enchanting and original takes on classic French food and classic British ingredients have deftly coloured the UK’s culinary scene ever since he fetched up in Ludlow in 1998”. Here at Brooklands – “named after the fabled racetrack that opened in 1907 in Surrey” while “the restaurant itself is a tribute to Concorde” – the kitchen turned out dishes “all prepared and presented with absolute precision, and fascinatingly fabulous”.

“Arch, adventure, innovation and fun. And the price?… if you’re asking, you can’t afford it…” (****)


The Evening Standard

Jimi Famurewa visited the new Arcade Food Hall at Battersea Power Station, which is “so vast that it feels like being hurled into a physicalised Deliveroo interface”. He dined at Solis, “a rare culinary gem” in “a mega-mall of blandness”.

Solis is “a self-consciously nostalgic Ibero-Latin grill from chefs Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng… not especially bold or unexpected” (a style Jimi has christened “Haute Basic”) but here “the sharply whittled details… amount to something magical, affecting and all too rare”.

It is “named after the 16th-century Portuguese explorer who set sail for what is now Uruguay, wants for some adventurousness; it will need volume and consistency to continue to succeed.” (****)


The Times & The Sunday Times

Charlotte Ivers reviewed the Eritrean and Ethiopian fare at Salam in Middlesbrough; “this isn’t Instagram food, it’s food to be scooped up in a frenzy”.


Meanwhile, Giles Coren ate at The Ritz Restaurant: “Ooh, it’s grand. But beyond lovely.”


The Scotsman

Rosalind Erskine had Sunday lunch at The Kinneuchar Inn in Fife, where chef James Ferguson and partner Alethea Palmer have “breathed new life into this historic building”.

“It may not serve the traditional dishes you might expect from a country pub, but the Kinneuchar Inn is showcasing some of the best seasonal produce from the area… and doing so in a delicious style.”


Gaby Soutar visited Fife to try out Sandbanks Brasserie, MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner Jamie Scott’s “restaurant by the Tay”. She was won over by a dish of squash (“I’d definitely revisit this dish”) and “a satisfying plateful” of Scrabster-landed plaice.


And also…

Tom Parker Bowles in The Mail online also dined at The Ritz – with Giles Coren? Who knows. “To walk into The Ritz Restaurant is to abandon the real world and disappear into a heady rococo riot of naked nymphs, gilded sea gods and lasciviously ruched drapes.”


In The Financial Times, an article on how the City of London is seeking to “redefine itself as a dining destination” and “leisure hotspot” with the arrival of a “new Wolseley restaurant”.


In the Manchester Evening News, a review of “unpretentious, seasonal and thoughtful” Restaurant Örme in Urmston; “one of the most affordable – if not the most affordable – tasting menus in Greater Manchester, it is down-to-earth, homely and totally unpretentious.”


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