Harden’s review of the review

Jay Rayner in The Observer finds the cooking at Roth Bar & Grill, Bruton – housed within the Hauser & Wirth gallery – more than a match for the art.

“The whole proposition is so damn civilised that the quality of the cooking is an extra. The site, part of a working farm, is a pastoral English outpost of the international art gallerists Hauser & Wirth. Wander towards the loos and you’ll find yourself on the threshold of a series of vaulting galleried spaces that drift one into the other, displaying vivid works you can’t afford. Behind those is an extraordinary garden, created by Piet Oudolf, a proper walk via gravel paths and grassy mounds through a planting of grasses and wild flowers that sway and rustle in the breeze… with all this going on, they could probably have phoned in the menu and few would have complained or, frankly, noticed.”



The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin was en-route to Bristol to test drive the type of cool, clever new restaurant the city specialises in, when disaster struck – the restaurant was unexpectedly closed. What to do? Review two restaurants and a street food shack, of course…

“So I can tell you about Kuch, serving “southern Persian soul food” on Whiteladies Road, and its bowls full of fresh, colourful salads, glossy olives; its hot, oily flatbreads and spiced meats; and its shelves stacked with jars of “liquid curd” kashk, pickled vegetables, sour orange juice and quince jam.”

“There is also the lovely Bertha’s at the buzzy Wapping Wharf development, in its airy, vaulted premises with a vast beehive of a Neapolitan oven that blurts out fine examples of the pizzaiolo’s art every 90 seconds or so. In these days when nearly every pizza, unless it comes via Domino’s, is all slow-food-wood-fired-artisan-whevs, these are properly special: airy and blistered, the dough is supremely light from its long fermentation, the tomato sauce sparky, the toppings never less than delicious.”

“And, finally, I can tell you about long-standing Bristol food heroes, Grillstock, and their minuscule “smokeshack” at St Nicholas Market, where the burnt ends were like meat toffee (in the most seductive way), the pulled pork a sultry beast of a thing light years beyond the horrible ready-meal cliche that it has become elsewhere and the sauces (also available to buy to take home) that would turn the humblest grilled hunka meat into a thing of hot loveliness.”


Meanwhile, in London, the Standard’s Fay Maschler heads to the West End where the new Neo Bistro proves a smash hit for the critic – a tribute to nouvelle cuisine and its originators like chef Alain Senderens…

” Definitely something to perk us up. Fluttering pink silk hankies peel off cured Tamworth pork. Herdwick lamb and smoked eel may never have met before… but they get on brilliantly… crisp, snappy skin and lush flavourful interior, this is the best lamb I have eaten in years. Soft and waxy cheeses accompanied by smoked potatoes and walnuts are visited by a charred spring onion with its roots still sprouting looking like the mad guest at a party.”


Yet another good review for Highbury’s relatively new Westerns Laundry (from the folks behind Stokey’s Primeur) – this time from Kathryn Flett at The Telegraph

“The Laundry aesthetic is all cool Crittall windows and concrete, bare bricks, blackboards, long shared tables and a big open kitchen galley at the back of the room, while my name has been scribbled in chalk on the table. The menu is piscatorially-orientated and rather seductive… The food arrives and there’s quite a bit of silence. This is good food, verging on the very good indeed. Cubes of salmon ­tartare with seaweed are briny and refreshing. Pig’s head croquette unctuously porcine with their accompanying gribiche the perfectly eggy contrast. I can’t remember the last time I had this much spontaneous fun in a restaurant.”


Victoria Turner in The Independent reviews Le Roi Fou, Edinburgh, a self-proclaimed “bijou restaurant for bon vivants” which proves a welcome surprise…


The Mail’s Tom Parker Bowles reviews Brighton’s long-established English’s, but feels the seafood specialist has become a tad too pretentious over the years…

“English’s of Brighton has been flogging seafood from the same site since 1945. Which means they must be doing something right. Here, among the screech of seagulls and trill of average jazz, are icy bottles of rosé (the wine list is a cracker), and sweet, smiling service and the prospect of serious shellfish succour… splendidly stodgy lobster croquettes, heavy on the potato, but suffused with deep crustacean soul… these simply don’t make up for the mess of the rest. All this strange-shaped porcelain and unnecessary flourishes and half-cocked attempts to keep up with the culinary kids simply doesn’t work. Ingredients are mainly excellent, but lunch is let down by ambition unmatched by kitchen skill. In truth, we felt cheated.”



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