Harden’s review of the reviews

 

Photoshoot with Chef Alex Aitken at his new restaurant, The Jetty (Mudeford/Christchurch, UK)

⦿ Jay Rayner of The Observer reviewed The Jetty at the Harbour Hotel in Christchurch, Dorset, a “place where land meets sea”.
“A starter of octopus three ways is a master class in how to take a blunt object and bend it to your will.”
“The Jetty mix fish grill…. is one of the prettiest platefuls I have seen in a long time.”

 

⦿ In the Guardian, Marina O’Loughlin reviewed Snackistan 8/10, the in-house veggie cafe at Persepolis, the cult Peckham Persian deli.
“Snackistan is the living definition of sui generis: it’s a genuine, delicious one-off.”
“Everything is colourful, fresh and vibrant, made to order by owner Sally Butcher in her makeshift kitchen. She seems to be able to turn the humblest ingredient into something sparky and vivacious.”

⦿ The Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler gave a mixed review to Perilla 3/5, in Stoke Newington, the first restaurant from 24-year-old chef Ben Marks.
“Red mullet stuffed with raw radicchio and basil leaves makes a better photograph than a dinner dish, especially since the fish is slightly overcooked.”
“This is virtue-signalling food, heavily into brassicas, cautious with protein, joyous around fermentation.”

⦿ Her Standard colleague Ben Norum reviewed Temple & Sons, Jason Atherton’s new grill venue in the City, which he declared “a lot more fun” than Atherton’s City Social next door.
“The highlight of the starters … is a two-tiered dish called Sea and Earth. On the top are two pieces of marrow bone, a Dorset snail bourguignon mingling with the gooey marrow centre. Below are richly salty clams, baked in their shells with a parsley and garlic crust. A clever and creative dish which could become a classic.”

⦿ Kathryn Flett of the Daily Telegraph reviewed Anzu 3/5, a “Japanese brasserie” in the new St James’s Market development behind Piccadilly Circus.
“There are some really good moments here, slap-bang up against the kind of averageness that is an affront when spending the best part of 100 quid on lunch.”

⦿ In the Financial Times, Tim Hayward gave a glowing review to Little Smoke, the new Barbican venue from Neil Rankin’s growing Smokehouse group.
“I ordered a T-bone that will rank as one of the better pieces of meat I’ve spent time with this year…  I never use the word ‘perfect’ where food is concerned — it’s a philosophical impossibility — but this steak came so close I’m tempted to break my rule.”
“I cannot explain aged beef mayo; I’m too scared to know what’s in it. Perhaps we can just agree on ‘peerless’.”

⦿ Tom Parker Bowles of the Mail on Sunday reviewed This & That 4/5, the curry house that is a Manchester institution.
“No menus or waiters, no wine lists or reservations, rather an array of rice and curries served canteen-style from institutional metal containers.”
“Here’s the greatest thing of all. My lunch, a great steaming plate of hearty, no-nonsense, lovingly made Northern Indian grub came to a grand total of £5.50. Five bloody fifty! This is without a shadow of doubt the best-value lunch I’ve had in years.
“No wait, probably the greatest lunch deal you’ll find in this country. It’s about the same price as a large Big Mac Meal or some dreary processed sandwich.”

⦿ Giles Coren of The Times visited Russell’s Fish & Chips in Broadway, Worcestershire, which – despite its distance from the coast – he found to be “the ideal spot to consume what I know without question to be the best possible way to eat cod that there is in the world.”
“This was absolutely top-quality fish and chips, with haddock also offered as well as plaice either breaded or grilled.”

⦿ In The Sunday Times, Lisa Markwell reviewed Bulrush 4/5 in Bristol, where she was “enormously cheered by the vim and vigour” of chef George Livesey and his partner, sommellier Katherine Craughwell
“Hare, served with gravy made of its offal and a hare mousse, sounds like a joke but tastes like a poem, at once earthy and silky.”

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