Harden’s review of the reviews

foleys_interiorsdetails-21⦿ The Observer’s Jay Rayner reviewed Foley’s in Fitzrovia, a restaurant taking inspiration from the Near and Far East under former Palomar sous chef Mitz Vora.

“Individually each dish really does deliver a thrilling whack. But tasting six in a row starts to feel like being shouted at repeatedly by the kitchen.”

⦿ Grace Dent of ES magazine also reviewed Foley’s 3/5, where a number of dishes disappointed her, including a “super greens salad [that] wasn’t much more captivating than an M&S lunch pot.”  

“The grilled cauliflower is delicious, rich with cumin and littered with smoked peanuts, but a plate of lamb with hummus was oddly something or nothing.”

⦿ The Guardian’s Marina O’Laughlin wondered whether Chick’n’Sours 8/10 in Covent Garden was merely “poncified fast food“. Her answer was: Not at all — “It’s not just junk food wantonly gourmet-fied; it’s fine cooking in its own right.”

The most vanilla choice is the Colonel. It is remarkable, somehow managing to taste like the first time you had KFC, a weird, mesmerising return to the palate of childhood, only better. Much, much better.”

⦿ Tim Hayward of the Financial Times returned to Bentley’s, the oyster bar and restaurant just off Piccadilly that has served “a kind of British soul food” for 100 years and has been revived in recent years under Richard Corrigan.

“Bentley’s is the very antithesis of cutting edge. It’s a slice of old London, lovingly revived by people whore really care about such things.”

⦿ In the Telegraph, Michael Deacon reviewed Yosma 3/5, a Turkish restaurant in Baker Street, where he enjoyed the hot dishes despite finding them saturated in oil.

So much oil. The patates kizartmasi – fried potatoes – were bathed in it. The tepsi kebab – spiced lamb mince, onion, tomato – dripped with it. The börek – essentially a kind of spinach and feta sausage roll – was pretty slithery too.”

By the end of the meal, he wrote, “I was now so full of oil I was worried the Americans would invade me.

⦿ His colleague Keith Miller reviewed Bronte 3/5 in the Strand, where the menu was “a bit footballery: expensive steaks for the geezers; fussily “healthy” pan-Asian dishes for the laydeez.”

“There is plenty to like about Bronte. It’s stylish, not too formal, modern (in a retro-futuro-primitivist sort of way). It doesn’t bang on about provenance, but the ingredients seemed generally excellent. I’m just not sure the food has that much character.”

⦿ In The Evening Standard, Fay Maschler reviewed Margot 2/5 in Covent Garden, a new Italian restaurant where she was unimpressed by both the food and the prices.

“I choose a dish of the day of veal chop with black cabbage, described by the waiter as costing £32. A diminutive, rather flaccid chop is not the mighty plate-dominating beast it should be and on the bill I notice the charge is £34. Cavolo nero is sopping wet.”

⦿ Tom Parker Bowles of the Mail on Sunday reviewed the revamped Bluebird 4/5 in Chelsea, which he said “flies surprisingly high”.

“Boeuf en daube, on the other hand, is instantly loveable. Soft, silken and deeply spoonable, it’s blessed with the most shiny, resonant and serious of sauces.” 

⦿ AA Gill of the Sunday Times reviewed Elystan Street 4/5, the new Chelsea restaurant from Phil Howard, formerly of The Square, “not a television star or a magazine recipe-monger, just a consummate cook who is still working shifts in his own kitchen”.

“Ravioli of langoustine on a shellfish broth was immaculate, but the star of the staters was sweetbreads with the surprising combination of barbecue dressing, hispi cabbage and sweetcorn.” 

⦿ Giles Coren in the Times reviews the Hare 7/10 in Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, where “the cooking by a fellow called Matt Dare is exceptionally fine.”

“We had a quite stunningly good fillet of black bream, huge, crisped on the skin side, perfectly sweet and moist, on top of a big tangle of crab linguine, dense and gamey.” 

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