Harden’s review of the reviews

⦿ Fay Maschler of the Evening Standard reviewed Elystan Street 4/5, Phil Howard’s new restaurant in Chelsea, where she ate some “sublime” dishes but gasped at the prices and missed having a tablecloth.

“Smoked mackerel velouté with Porthilly oysters — from the River Camel estuary — with leek hearts and eel toast is a secular transubstantiation of humble ingredients into something ethereal.”

“Some chefs brown, Phil Howard gilds. Ravioli of langoustine in the first course and fillet of cod as a main dish, through the application of fierce pan heat, have the golden framing of Orthodox icons.”

⦿ Grace Dent of ES magazine joined the ranks of critics giving rave reviews to Clipstone 4/5 in Fitzrovia, which she described as “a kind of modern French, classically influenced, Japanese-flavoured, denim-acceptable, fine dining spot with a stark laboratory feel and warm, prompt service”.

“A hispi cabbage and some sweet jammy pickled elderberries and smushed-up aubergine on paper sounds like a crime against humanity, but is in fact sharply joyous, in Clipstone’s hands a wonder. Game-changing, even.”

⦿ The Observer’s Jay Rayner reviewed Gino D’Acampo: My Restaurant at London’s Euston station, where he lamented that “the risotto with scallops is where hope goes to die.

“Why spend all this money – on the waiter’s natty outfits, the marble bar tops, the open ovens, the glassware, and the photos of Gino with Donny – and then produce such mediocre food? Compared to the other costs, a good cook is cheap.”

⦿ In The Guardian, Marina O’Loughlin reviewed ‘O Ver 7/10 in Southwark, which “looks as though a mid-century modern fan had inherited a few knick-knacks from their Neapolitan nonna.”

“The star turn: those seawater-based pizzas are doozies – blistered crust as pillowy as marshmallow, with a gorgeous, supple chew, not salty, and perfectly seasoned by the seawater.” 

⦿ Michael Deacon of The Telegraph reviewed The Miller of Mansfield 3/5 in Goring, concluding: “Lovely cosy bar. Pleasant staff. Mostly reasonable food.”

“The hors d’oeuvres were enormous. They consisted of piping-hot breads in a little medieval sack, a tub of freshly made butter, and what was advertised as the Miller Meat Board: goose ham, salt beef, chicken pâté, English feta, artichokes and charred gherkins.”

⦿ His Telegraph colleague Keith Miller enjoyed a meal at Table 11 in Glasgow, relieved to find that — unlike many new restaurants — it does not seem to think itself “an altar for you to worship at”. 

“Easing our transition from surf to turf was the most strikingly good thing we ate: sliced rare rump steak with samphire and ‘shellfish oil’, the latter acrid and smoky — a little strange, a little Asian (like a lighter oyster sauce), perfect with the butter-soft steak’s metallic edge.”

⦿ In the Sunday Times, AA Gill reviewed Norn 4/5 in Edinburgh, where he enjoyed pheasant with celeriac and sorrel, “which was a bar-rasing, perfection-defining, simple, confident and utterly tongue-fluttering plateful”.

“Altogether, Norn is a seriously unflashy, softly spoken, careful but generous restaurant in the finest tradition of Scottish cooking.”

⦿ The Times’s Giles Coren visited Hawksmoor in Manchester, which he declared “quite comfortably the best restaurant in the urban northwest”.

“I tucked into a stunning medium-rare rib-eye, over which I sloshed the contents of three roasted marrow bones and a handful of salt to make dreamlike mouthfuls of a ferrous fattiness that Rossini, with his poxy tournedos, never even dreamt of.”

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