Cantor’s Food Store, Manchester Jay Rayner for The Observer found “Ottolenghi with a Manc accent” (and a pizza oven) in Manchester, at Cantor’s Food Store. It’s run by Eddy Cantor: the food “draws loosely on his Jewish roots”, and is “a happy place, where you could mislay an afternoon or a morning”. Although apparently it’s […]

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


Marina O’Loughlin delivers her final review for The Guardian before moving onto her new role at the Sunday Times. She heads to an old favourite, Clerkenwell’s Quality Chop House, where the chicken liver parfait is as rich and luxurious as an expensive pot of night cream from Selfridges… “Shaun Searley: that rarest of creatures, a supremely talented chef […]

Continue reading


Marina O’Loughlin in The Guardian is the latest critic to give Soho’s new Flavour Bastard a good bashing. “Not so much flavour bastards as thoroughgoing, unremitting, absolute taste tossers.” “Staff appear to be less amused and more terminally embarrassed… when they’re not explaining the concept to us at ludicrous length. The dishes are, apparently, bastardised in a tedious, […]

Continue reading


Jay Rayner in The Observer doesn’t so much review Marylebone newcomer Fancy Crab as eviscerate it… “Fancy Crab isn’t good. It’s a terrible waste of their money and our money and everybody’s time. “The restaurant’s shtick is the enormous red king crabs, fished from the cold waters of the North Pacific around Alaska, which can […]

Continue reading


Marina O’Loughlin in The Guardian reviews Pascere, a new Lanes restaurant from the food and drink editor of Platinum Business magazine, Amanda Menahem. “Brighton is having a bit of a moment restaurant-wise; like Bristol, another beneficiary of the financial pain of attempting to launch any kind of indie in the capital. “The most exquisite thing that […]

Continue reading


We must apologise. Last week when we stated that surely everyone has now reviewed Chinatown newcomer Xu, we had forgotten that Marina O’Loughlin was yet to deliver her verdict in The Guardian. From the founders of the brilliant Bao, this more upmarket Taiwanese excited Tom Parker Bowles but disappointed Grace Dent and both Matthew Bayley at The Telegraph and Fay Maschler thought more bedding […]

Continue reading


This week the Observer’s Jay Rayner waxes lyrical about The Garden Museum’s new Garden Cafe in Lambeth, a lovely new space with food to match thanks to the quality in the kitchen. Harry Kaufman and George Ryle have an impressive list of credits between them, including St Johns Bread & Wine, Padella and Primeur… “The Garden Café occupies a sparkling new […]

Continue reading


The Observer’s critic-in-chief Jay Rayner asks himself the all-important question at Cliveden House’s new casual operation, The Astor Grill – would he return here and spend his own money? At £196 for two, the short answer to that question is a resounding ‘no’. “The wine list is short and more shameless than a 1960s pool […]

Continue reading


This week the Times’s Giles Coren reviews a relatively new Italian in the Dickensian maze of streets just south of Spitalfields Market in the City. But more interesting than his opinions on their pasta (sorry Giles) is the critic’s prediction that 2016 will be the year restaurant reservations become fashionable again. In fact here is […]

Continue reading