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 10th December 2023.


The Evening Standard

No review from Jimi Famurewa this week, but there were articles about the best restaurants to try in 2024, restaurants open on Christmas Day – from Bob Bob Ricard to Enoteca Turi – the latest food trends and the “UK’s smallest sushi counter” opening in January; six-seater “Juno Omakase will open above Los Mochis in Notting Hill, and will be helmed by executive chef Leonard Tanyag, formerly of Zuma”.

Josh Barrie and Abha Shah reviewed a takeaway, but not just any takeaway, the “new £200 tasting menu from the world-famous Welsh restaurant Ynyshir… now available on Uber Eats”.

“Only for a short time” (three days last week) a box filled with “lobster claws and caviar” could have been yours. Ten courses of “quality ingredients, prepared knowingly, absolutely no doubt” that could have been warmer but was great all the same.

“This is a series and other high-profile chefs are on the way.”


The Observer

“Belfast does steaks like Rome does chapels.”

Jay Rayner was in Belfast and dined at Deanes Meat Locker, which was “doing a brisk trade” on a Tuesday night when “most restaurants of note in Belfast are closed”.

“The womb of a red-walled dining room feels like a happy place, the rhythm of the chatter marked out by the clatter of knife and fork on plate. It’s the sound of a good time.”

There are “strong marks of the skill which has brought all the accolades to Eipic”, Deane’s high-end restaurant that closes next week – Deane “has acknowledged the scourge of Brexit and the pestilence of Covid” plus “increased cost sensitivity” as the reasons behind the closure. Meat Locker is due to expand into the space.

Deane “has long been a standard bearer for the shiniest of high-end cookery in Belfast… but he’s clearly also extremely good at the laidback” end too.

There’s no review from Grace Dent this week.


The Times & The Sunday Times

Charlotte Ivers “followed the money” to Wolseley City, and decided that it’s “a second-rate second helping”.


Giles Coren reviewed Kolae and found it “full of New Yorky Russell Norman-ness”.


The Telegraph

William Sitwell reviewed a very quiet Origin City in Smithfield, which “offers surprisingly good value for pretty decent grub”.

Inside it’s “all white walls, high ceilings and the odd cave-type painting of a cow” and the menu is “hearty stuff” – “food to revive you if you’d been stuck in a wet pothole for a week”. (***)


The Scotsman

Rosalind Erskine reviewed the £45 festive brasserie set menu at Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow; it’s “a seasonal pub grub special” with a menu that’s “well thought out”.

“Once the longest-established family-owned restaurant in Glasgow”, The Chip was sold to the Metropolitan Pub Company, an arm of Greene King, in 2022, but “still seems, thankfully, unchanged and as busy as ever”. (75%)


Meanwhile, Gaby Soutar reviewed the Festive Afternoon Tea at Prestonfield House, possibly “Edinburgh’s most Christmassy spot” (“there are 17 Christmas trees in there”). (80%)


And also…

The FT’s Globetrotter provided an article on where to find London’s best Brussels sprouts, with recommendations of places that “take this wintry veg to new levels (even serving them in martini form)”.


In The Independent, Hannah Twiggs reviewed Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant – his first in four years – and asked if the celebrity chef’s “new showpiece restaurant [can] right his wrongs”.


Tom Parker Bowles reviewed The Devonshire in Soho and found it “perfectly old-fashioned” with a “dream team” behind the stoves.


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