Gilpin Spice, Windermere Jay Rayner for The Observer was in Windermere, visiting Gilpin Spice at Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District, described as “an act of bravery, fashioned from raw wood, vibrant dangling lampshades, tamarind, garlic, ginger, noodles and open guttering flames”. The food is best described as “Desi-Chinese food, a venerable amalgam of Chinese […]

Continue reading


Monsieur Le Duck, London E1 Jay Rayner for The Observer visited the nostalgic new pop-up from City worker-turned-restaurateur Richard Humphreys, who dreamed of Gascony, with its restaurants serving duck confit and red wine, and decided to bring his dreams to Liverpool Street. The result is “delightful in a low-key, sweetly romantic way”; the “narrow frame […]

Continue reading


Pucci, London W1 Jay Rayner for The Observer reviewed Mayfair newcomer Pucci, revived from its bygone King’s Road days by the founder’s son (the original closed in 2010). Decorated like “a wealthy person’s version of a humble farmhouse”, it’s the sort of room “in which you can have a very good time, though ideally with […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


1251, London N1 Jimi Fanuwera for The Evening Standard ventured to Islington and James Cochran’s new restaurant, who has “once again plundered his Scottish and Saint Vincent heritage (plus the influence of a childhood in Whitstable)”. A “Kentish-Scots-Caribbean” blend may sound like “the stuff of a disastrous ‘fusion cuisine’”, but in Cochran’s hand ” it […]

Continue reading


Roots, York Grace Dent paid a visit to York for The Guardian, and the new restaurant from Tommy Banks, “posterboy for British hospitality”, winner of The Great British Menu and chef-patron at the much-loved Black Swan at Oldstead. She declares Roots, in a vast converted Victorian pub York’s “new star attraction” – better even than […]

Continue reading


Rita’s, London W6 Jimi Fanuwera in ES investigated the “impressively long culinary shadow” of Rita’s at their new home in Bethnal Green’s Redchurch Brewery – the original Rita’s “refined deep-cuts from American diner menus” and “a ‘why not?’ embrace of knuckleduster Asian flavours” are now “part of the general lexicon of eating out in London”. The new […]

Continue reading


A happy week for the majority of the critics, with pork pies, new experiences and old friends. Only Marina O’Loughlin’s trip to West Sussex (“England by Disney”)  and Ed Smith’s visit to Bagatelle (“nothing to swerve for”) were disappointments. Continuing from last week’s homage to the dumpling and pastry-encased leftovers, Jay Rayner in The Observer […]

Continue reading


A week full of hits – Jay Rayner is predicting The Next Big Thing, Grace Dent awards her highest mark yet, Kathryn Flett has a 5-star time in Margate and the Evenings Standard’s week of reviews are all raves. Only TPB hits a slighty low note with Core, which gets 4 stars but no real […]

Continue reading


Both Grace Dent and the Standard’s guest reviewer Labour MP Jess Phillips ate at Bryn Williams – both mention the appalling signage: GD “there are no signs for Bryn Williams during the half-mile walk from The Strand to your dinner table in the south wing”. JP “Somerset House is massive, has four or five eateries and […]

Continue reading