Harden’s review of the reviews

⦿ Marina O’Loughlin of The Guardian reviewed Jikoni 7/10 in Marylebone, the first restaurant from “chic and beautiful” TV chef and writer Ravinder Bhogal, which she found “immensely girly“.

“Jewel-coloured saris and handmade Indian tablecloths notwithstanding, the girliest element is the food, which is light years from the usual Brit curry machismo… You can’t escape the cuteness: tiny little prawn puffs are like an elf’s Cornish pasty.

“There’s a dreamy, creaminess to much of it, a little too much sweetness.”

⦿ The Observer’s Jay Rayner visited Mercato Metropolitano near Elephant and Castle, one of several “suitable brownfield sites for new flats at affordable prices [that] are being transformed into vast eateries which take the street out of street food.”

“From a stall selling myriad foccacias comes one of my favourites: £4 worth of thin, lightly salted, crisp-crusted bread stuffed with an ooze of stracchino cheese, served warm. It leaks its way across your fingers as you tear and fold.”

⦿ Fay Maschler of The Evening Standard reviewed Kiln 5/5 in Soho, Ben Chapman of the Smoking Goat’s new northern Thai joint built around a wood-burning kiln for cooking by clay-pot, barbecue and wok.

“Chapman’s obsessiveness — get him talking about fish sauces — dedication, assiduous research, creativity, insistence on well-bred ingredients, his admission that ‘none of it is verbatim Thai food’, tied to a understanding of conviviality and all for less than the price of a pizza, is the reasoning behind five stars.”

⦿ Michael Deacon in the Telegraph 13.10.16 reviewed Calcutta Street 3/5 in Fitzrovia, “an Indian place but not a conventional one. There was no madras, no vindaloo, no balti, bhuna or korma.”

“I wouldn’t say I was blown away by Calcutta Street, but I did like it: the food was distinctive, mostly good, and inexpensive.”

⦿ The Mail on Sunday’s Tom Parker-Bowles Sagardi 4/5 in Shoreditch, where he enjoyed the Basque cuisine.

“It ain’t cheap. But where else can you find braised bay lamb’s feet, and salt cod that’s taken as seriously as this?” 

⦿ Emma Henderson of The Independent reviewed Talli Joe 4/5 on Shaftesbury Avenue, which she found “fun, fresh with sophisticated furnishings, bright colours and, most importantly it’s innovative.”

⦿ In The Times, Giles Coren suffered breakfast at the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in Oxford, which cost £21.50 — “only £2 shy of the set lunch at the Ivy” — and made him laugh out loud.

“This, truly, was the worst thing I have ever been served in any establishment of any kind ever, anywhere in the world.”

⦿ AA Gill of The Sunday Times reviewed Belpassi Bros 3/5, an Italian meatball restaurant in Tooting.

“Three beef and pork with tomato sauce, rocket and cheese in a brioche bun is a pretty unbeatable Tooting lunch, at £7. It’s Italian via New York rather than Naples.”

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