Harden’s review of the reviews

welsh-flag⦿ Jay Rayner reviewed The Classroom, Cardiff – the 5th floor restaurant for catering students of Cardiff and Vale College – and unleashed a twitter storm from defensive Welsh folk. Doubt he’ll be going to Cardiff again any time soon…

“I could claim it’s a useful addition to Cardiff’s burgeoning culinary scene but this would be a lie because, while the city has many good things to recommend it, the eating opportunities are not among them. So no, it’s not just a useful addition. It’s more than that… It’s not trying to innovate. It’s not pushing any boundaries. It’s just trying to teach the fundamentals. And it’s the diner who benefits.”


⦿ Marina O’Loughlin in The Guardian may not have lifed The Palomar when she first went, but the Barbary is “thrillingly alien” 8/10

“Sure, it’s plagued with all the contemporary tropes: yawn, bare brick; yawn, neon; yawn, reclaimed floor tiles and raw plaster walls. And we’re sitting on backless stools around an open “kitchen bar”. But the chefs are behaving like chefs and the food they’re cranking out is utterly glorious…. I love a menu where you’ve only the shakiest idea of what’s on offer. We’re told The Barbary’s menu reflects the former Barbary Coast (Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia), which translates into a series of lyrical culinary arcana: mashawsha, sharabik, tcheba, zuzu and the magnificent nishnushim.”


⦿ Outside London again, Michael Deacon in the Telegraph provides a rather lukewarm piece about Oshibi, a Korean restaurant in York.

“A Korean grill like this, though, is best enjoyed as a party, with everyone at the table cooking together…The staff are nice and friendly, and after a few bottles of Hite (a refreshing Korean lager) you’ll probably forget that the restaurant itself is somewhat functional and drab-looking…On the whole, then, Oshibi’s a pretty nice place, even if you are, in part, paying for the privilege of cooking your own meal.”


⦿ Emma Henderson at The Independent is off to the second branch of Picture in Marylebone, about which she is unfailingly upbeat in a low-key kind of way.

“The whole picture is a well-executed and unfussy formula resulting in a place to visit again and again, especially considering two tasting menus, a half bottle of wine and non-alcoholic drink came to about £110.”


⦿ Also in town, La Maschler travels out east to Bombetta 3/5, and dishes up a review which mixes some praise, with faint praise and out-and-out criticism. It sounds like she finds quite a lot not to like, yet talks about the venue’s “understandable… immediate popularity”

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