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Review of Reviews: 3 August

03 August 2006
Review of Reviews: 3 August

The Independent, 29 July
John Walsh ignores the pink umbrellas and upside-down boat and finds a gem of a fish restaurant on the south coast - the Crab House Café at Weymouth

It's all fantastically twee. But, even as you try to sneer at the fixtures and fittings, you're aware of a curious jolliness about the place, a buzz of contentment. My companion's Thai fish cakes were home-made, swooningly multi-flavoured, spicy and sweet with chilli jam. My sand soles with lemon butter, caraway seeds and guacamole were two big creamy soles, their about-to-melt flesh post-orgasmically draped over lumps of perfectly cooked courgette and baby new potatoes. The skate with chorizo and spring onions was a visual explosion. It was spicy, moist, steeped in sinful flavours. (Rating, five stars out of five; meal for two, including wine, £70)

The Times, 29 JulyGiles Coren meets up with some old schoolfriends over a meal at Hampstead's Horseshoe gastropub in north London

At the top of the menu is a bull, a horseshoe and the words "quality produce from farm to fork" - and it is. Harding and Fox (we used surnames back then and so I use them now) laid in rock oysters and a half-pint of prawns, and they were excellent. I ordered three more starters. The result was beautiful Cornish scallops with a big slab of light, spicy black pudding and pea purée; elegant, dense, woody, smoked eel, with crispy bacon and a top-notch horseradish relish; and a plate of lamb sweetbread and Jersey Royal fritters, which was not a combination but three soft, gentle, lamby beignets and three firm, nutty potatoes trussed up and deep-fried in the same way, with a ravigote sauce. (Rating, overall score of 8.67 out of 10)

The Guardian, 29 JulyMatthew Norman unearths a great Chinese restaurant in Manchester's Red Chilli

Beijing dumplings - eight large, plump, juicy, steamed buns filled with delicious pork and served with a good vinegar/soy sauce - were superb, as was a huge helping of fleshy salt-and-pepper spare ribs fried to a perfect crisp finish. We ordered a large bowl of hot-and-sour soup and were brought two: the Sichuan form, which was red, addictively vinegary and laced with strands of egg and bean curd; and the Beijing version, which was deep grey, suffused with seafood and flavoured with sesame oil and rice wine. Both were immaculate. (Rating, 8.5 out of 10; about £25 per head for a large meal with drinks)

The Daily Telegraph, 29 JulyJan Moir is dissatisfied with the uneven quality of Battersea's new butcher's-cum-restaurant, the Butcher & Grill

To begin with, we have some delicious and very well-made duck rillettes, served with a punchy shallot and citrus marmalade and some toasted sourdough bread - a rather marvellous starter for £4.90. The rib of beef for two is of very good quality, with the long and deep taste of meat that has been hung correctly, but the mean portion left a bad taste in my mouth. For £45, I expect more than a rib that has been butchered in a concave fashion to provide only a couple of slices per person. Still, you will save lots of money on the wine here - not because there are any bargains but because the wine service is so utterly hopeless. Butcher & Grill has been open for a couple of weeks, but it still hasn't mastered basics such as chilling bottles of white wine or keeping red wines cool, or getting the wine to your table before you are halfway through your meal. (Dinner for two, excluding drinks and service, £60)

The Observer, 30 JulyJay Rayner is disappointed with the breakfast at Galvin at Windows, Hyde Park, London

I can only assume the Galvin boys are so knackered by the effort of running two restaurants at once that they don't have the wherewithal to get breakfast right. Which, at £23 for the continental and £26 for the full English, they really should. The sloppiness of the enterprise is summed up by the strand of cellophane that still clung to the slice of herb butter with my grilled kipper. Before I got to the kipper, there was the viennoiserie. The croissant, pain au chocolat and small muffins and tarts were dry and crumbly, as if they had been made many hours ago. The biggest disappointment was the full English. This was ho-hum. Not bad, exactly, just a masterclass in mediocre. (Breakfast for two, £45)

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