Harden’s review of the reviews

⦿ Jay Rayner of The Observer reviewed Margot in Covent Garden, a “fancy Italian” where dinner-jacketed waiters have “that easy, relaxed style around food which really pisses off the French because they haven’t a clue how to do it.”

“At Margot they can offer you a special of tagliatelle with white truffles for £55 and not even raise their eyebrows while doing so.” 

It’s “a reassuring space where you drop more money than you know is reasonable, on carefully poised comfort food. Cooking is Maurizio Morelli, whose pasta dishes I fell in love with at Latium, and whose pasta dishes I’ve now fallen in love with all over again.”

⦿ Marina O’Loughlin of The Guardian visited Farmacy 3/10, Camilla Fayed’s “clean-eating” venue in Notting Hill, which is “clearly an absolute smash, but I pray I never have to eat here again.”

“There’s a ‘sourdough’ pizza with all the personality of an inflated Ryvita topped with spurts of lurid vegan cheese looking and smelling like burst boils…  Flavours are muddy, textures claggy, thrills few and far between.”

“Beautiful restaurant, lovely staff, horrible, bullshit food. As ever, just my opinion.”

⦿ In the Evening Standard, Fay Maschler delivered a damning verdict on StreetXO 1/5, star Madrid chef David Muñoz’s “large, dark, black, red and neon turbulent basement” in Mayfair, where dishes “arrive in a bullying rush and all are unappealingly tepid”.

“Muñoz may not be trivialising the classics but he is belittling the huge strides that have been made in gastronomy and hospitality. In this town anyway.”

⦿ Grace Dent of ES magazine was almost as disappointed by Yosma 2/5, a Turkish venue in Baker Street that she described as “a half-decent nightclub currently being spoiled by ovens”. 

“The plain truth is that there is much finer food being served in the no-frills Anatolian kebab houses of Leyton.”

⦿ Kathryn Flett of the Telegraph reviewed Veeraswamy in Regent Street, where “the fact that nothing really changes is, I suspect, both a strength and a weakness.”

It’s all tried-and-tested, confidently delivered Indian cooking that will please most of the punters most of the time… So while it’s not my idea of great, it’s all good.”  

⦿ The Financial Times’s Tim Hayward reviewed Peace & Loaf in Newcastle, an “immensely creative and ultimately entertaining” place where “everyone seemed to be having a great time. In fact, I can’t remember a happier room.”

“Tiny white loaves [were] smeared with whipped beef dripping. I’ve gone my whole life content that beef dripping was unimprovable but, apparently, flagellation is the way forward.”

⦿ Olivia Blair of The Independent reviewed Hotel du Vin‘s gin-inspired afternoon tea in Wimbledon Village.

“As well as swapping champagne for gin, the food also deviates from tradition replacing finger sandwiches with tartlets and Victoria sponge with candy floss.”

“A refreshing gin and tonic flavour knickerbocker glory-style dessert … is best saved until last to wash everything down.”

⦿ Tom Parker Bowles of the Mail on Sunday joined the critical chorus of approval for Kiln, Ben Chapman’s “authentic roadside Thai” in Soho.

“The Burmese wild ginger and short rib is quietly magnificent; mild, coconut-spiked and warmly spiced with clove and star anise; the meat is obscenely soft and fatty.” 

⦿ AA Gill of The Sunday Times reviewed Fucina in Marylebone, “a new Italian that denies everything you love and know about Latin eating.”

“The plates arrive like eager lapdancers, overproduced, wearing too little, designed to impress rather than feed.”

⦿ In the Times, Giles Coren reviewed Clipstone 8/10 in Fitzrovia, which lived up to his high expectations.

“A couple of scallops were blasted nicely on the shell with hot butter and a few lentils, and three young leeks were fried in batter and serviced with an excellent, mild gribiche.”

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