The Guardian, 8 May
Matthew Norman describes the re-opening of Petrus as a lazy reinvention which places Gordon Ramsay firmly in Marcus Waring’s shadow
The real problem is that the food is as bland as the room. Although our lunch ended in a joyous climax all the more juddering for its unexpectedness, with one exception every pre-pudding dish lacked definition and character. Marina, the missus and I had the set lunch at £25 for three courses, which is undeniably decent value. What hinted strongly at a clip joint (apart from the wine mark-ups) is that the pun-fixated friend known to us as the Idiot went for the £55 à la carte menu, and his main course was as wretched as the others. A delectably intense onion velouté amuse-bouche gave way to one winning starter out of four. The Idiot’s pan-fried scallops with cauliflower, anchovy and beurre noisette were the sweetest, juiciest, nuttiest oceanic little orbs you could imagine. But my wife’s roast curried pollack fillet “tastes of nothing… well, maybe fishy Horlicks”, while my crab and salmon cannelloni welded the studied inoffensiveness of an M&S pasta dish to an odious gem lettuce sauce that left an acrid aftertaste. Marina’s rabbit and foie gras mosaic was pretty, colourful and “nice enough, but hardly memorable”.
Petrus – review in full >>
The Daily Telegraph, 8 May
Jasper Gerard declares The Vanilla Pod in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, to be a quality local restaurant
With my new policy of ordering only set lunches I’m heartened by a three course affair at a reasonable sounding £19.50. I start with butternut squash risotto, Diana with onion and vanilla velouté. These arrive with suspicious speed. The risotto is nicely creamy but could do with another flavour to complement the sweet squash. The velouté is utterly excruciating. The vanilla is simply too strong. After a few mouthfuls we give up. My rump of lamb with white beans and port sauce is a beautifully presented dish of complex construction that would grace the set lunch menu of all but the finest restaurant. The tender, thinly carved lamb is perfectly pink with several different vegetables to truffle out. The only downer is a surprisingly bland aubergine purée. Diana’s pan-fried gilt head sea bream with écrasé (lightly crushed) potatoes and Madeira jus is a classic that’s perfectly executed. Puddings are better still, particularly bitter chocolate mousse and pistachio frangipane, transformed by a mint oil which injects delicious freshness to the rich, marbled chocolate. Blueberry and vanilla sponge with mixed berries delights and is served with a faultless panna cotta. (Lunch for two, £80.50 including wine and service. Rating: 7/10)
The Vanilla Pod – review in full >>
The Independent, 8 May
John Walsh is charmed by the setting and food served at the Tangerine Dream Café, Chelsea Physic Garden, London SW3
We ordered a mixed salad to play with, and were rewarded with a cornucopia of tastes: endive with blue cheese, edamame beans with prosciutto, Beluga lentils, golden and red beetroot, feta cheese, new-potato salad with wilted garlic leaves and salsify. Even a salad-dodger like me could tell this was a bit special. The combination of pulses, greenery and pungent cheese was fabulous. (I may have to look into this salad thingy. I’ll soon be bringing you news about a sensational radicchio I’ve discovered in Kent.) The five main courses were slightly predictable but welcome none the less: confit of duck with celeriac mash; salmon en croute with stem ginger; seabass; steak; and goat’s cheese tart. My steak was served in the Tuscan tagliata fashion, lightly charred and sliced sideways, with a Portobello mushroom and a touch of oil. It was delicious. Even its tepidness seemed right for an al fresco lunch. The horseradish was cut too liberally with cream, in my view – I like having my throat scorched – but the tiny new potatoes were wondrous. (About £50 for two, with wine. Rating: food 3/5, ambience 5/5, service 5/5).
Tangerine Dream Café – review in full >>
The Sunday Times, 9 May
AA Gill says Terre à Terre, Brighton, is probably the best vegetarian restaurant in Britain
Nothing on the menu is anything you’ve eaten elsewhere. Even if its basics are familiar, it arrives as an original deconstruction with decorative features. We began with corn cakes and mashed avocado and a chilli jelly, a brilliant combination of competing flavours. Then wild mushroom arancini with a shiitake brew, which was an Italian fried funghi rice ball and an unbelievably, almost unbearably intense mushroom tea, along with rocket and bean salad. Idli are south Indian yellow dumpling things that came with chilli, tamarind and tomatoes, with curry leaves and coconut chutney. The flavours of all this were bright and loud. Then chilled soba noodles with vegetable spaghetti, which was a bit like coleslaw with pretensions. For the main course, I went for smokey soul in a bowl, Jamaican maize cake with at least 10 other featured ingredients. And then a south Indian onion and chilli crumpet with edible gourds, stuffed with mangosteen dal and mango salad, with other stuff. (Rating: food 5/5, atmosphere 3/5)
Terre à Terre – review in full >>