Review of the reviews

The Mexico Inn, Penzance

Grace Dent for The Guardian travelled down to Penzance to visit the Mexico Inn, a “fun pub for families”, whose name “is perhaps unhelpful if you stop by hoping for enchiladas and tequila” – it’s a traditional Cornish pub run by an ex-Gurnard’s Head couple who have clearly set up “the type of intensely relaxed, gastro-ish pub they’d like to hang out in themselves”.

A “pleasantly cluttered” place with service that’s “lovely: warm and knowledgeable”, and food that’s “twists on pub classics made with produce sourced from local Penwith suppliers” supplemented by “little lovely extras” like “crisp whitebait with a rich harissa mayo, sweetcorn fritters with runner-bean chutney or plates of ham hock”, not to miss out the Asian-style slaw she described as “God’s own garnish”. (24/30)

Cornerstone, London E9

Jay Rayner for The Observer mused on what makes a restaurant great (“the accretion of details done right over time”) but then visited Cornerstone which “seems to have arrived in the world fully formed”.

With a Nathan Outlaw protégé at the stoves, Cornerstone has “a clear understanding of the essentials”: Tom Brown is able to take “the good stuff and make it shine through wit, technique and good taste” – in this case, fish, that notoriously “tricky” ingredient.

Cod brandade is “a dish so handsome it almost feels like vandalism to slip in the knife”, skate wing “comes with a deeply savoury and luscious roast chicken butter sauce” and millefeuille of pear is “a seriously classy piece of work”.

It’s not all perfect – the industrial look could be a little harsh, and the wine list has nothing under £35, but overall, Cornerstone is a winner (and as it recently won an OFM Award for Newcomer in Food & Drink, it has the trophy to prove it).

Gridiron, London W1

Jimi Famurewa for The Evening Standard visited Gridiron, in the space that formerly housed “members-only playpen” The Met Bar. It’s been brought back by the “hospitality equivalent of a rock supergroup” – a team from Hawksmoor, The Clove Club and Three Sheets, with a new look that’s “butch and broodingly dark, with “leaping flames” in the open kitchen.

The menu is “littered with smartly modernised takes on steakhouse mainstays”: big flavours and char-grilled everything. But Jimi was “truly floored” by the turbot dish (of course it was turbot), which was a “hefty wedge of fish” served with “a lavish, outrageously creamy puddle of chicken butter sauce” that necessitated both spoons and slurping.

He was equally floored by the eventual bill (or “financial velvet rope”?) of over £200 for two, which “feels unmistakably Mayfair”, despite the “east London roots of some of Gridiron’s creative team”. (6/10)

Berenjak, London W1

It probably didn’t help Berenjak that Fay Maschler, when visiting to review the place for The Evening Standard, felt that she and her companion were “treated like escapees from a care home who have never come across an aubergine before”.

The “artfully downbeat” Soho spot has a “terrific look” but Fay was fairly stingy with compliments about the food, apart from the breads (“carb-swervers should go elsewhere”) and “house rice with tadig, that brilliant conceit of topping the fluffy grains with the crisp disc from the bottom of the cooking pot”. Even some “outstanding” dishes, including “guinea fowl legs stewed with saffron” were praised (in her trademark, roundabout style) that ended in criticism about the intensity of the dish’s heat. (***)

Amelie, Cambridge

Micheal Deacon in The Telegraph visited Amelie in Cambridge, a new spot from the Crepy family (of The Great House, Lavenham fame) serving Flammekueche, a traditional French dish from Alsace. He had a “quick, fun lunch like you’ve probably never had before”. (****)

Coal Office, London

Kathryn Flett for The Telegraph took a former boss to Coal Office and declared it to have “immense character and muted glamour”. Everything – the décor, the food, the location – all works – “indeed, it’s something pretty special”. Her companion declared an intention to return after just a few mouthfuls of the “Instagramatically gorgeous” food.

The kitchen delivered “a whole bunch of plates of almost jewel-like pretty-somethings. And these become yet more special on account of tasting utterly wow”. In fact, she declares that chef Granit “will surely steal Yotam Ottolenghi’s crown as London’s go-to-guy for Israeli/Levantine cooking”.

Bin Bin Q, London W1

Giles Coren for The Times is back eating Chinese food, this time in the presence of an expert, a lady he met at Kaki a few weeks ago, who has given him a list of the six best Chinese restuarants she goes to in London – obviously he then claims these as his own, instantly doubling his three reviews per week.

They ate together at Bin Bin Q, a supermarket-barbecue stand hybrid in Chinatown, where they ate chicken gizzards that were “crunchy and full of zip” and chicken hearts that were “eggy and rich”, “utterly transporting” lamb skewers and “dynamite” steamed oysters.

As well as providing the bulk of this week’s column, Jing also set Giles up on the Chinese social media app Weixin (WeChat), so we look forward to more recommendations for “all the great little Chinese restaurants in this country that we English don’t normally get to know about”… once he learns how to read Chinese. (8/10)

The Beckford Bottle Shop, Bath

Yes, it is another four star review but Tom Parker Bowles for The Daily Mail was actually in new territory this week, at a place that none of the other nationals have covered yet. Bath might not exactly be out of his comfort zone, but it’s an impressive effort all the same.

The Beckford Bottle Shop’s new Bath sibling is a wine merchant with a restaurant “serving up ‘small plates’, as well as a ‘curated selection’ of British cheese and charcuterie”. While he mocked it as being “achingly on-trend” and a little bit Hackney, TPB loved it.

It’s a “handsome Georgian house, with… a surfeit of space and light, and comfortable leather chairs”. You can drink any bottle in the shop for a corkage charge, but the wine list is “immaculately selected”, with “nothing over £40”. And the food? “The menu’s so beguiling that we order the whole damned lot. And not a dish disappoints.”

“Young head chef Harry Russell” is “a talent to watch”: his food is “simple, straightforward, and joyously confident” “Bath has a new star. Get there, before everyone else does.”

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