Evening Standard, 8 October
Fay Maschler finds the seasonal and regional menu at Mark Hix's new eaterie, Hix at 66-70 Brewer Street, London W1, to be a hit and miss affair
A first course of Seashore Salad was a perfect evocation of a well-stocked rock pool, the sort you might remember from an idealised childhood. Cod's tongues, actually a gelatinous strip of flesh from the fish's throat, were crunchily crumbed and served with more girolles (aka golden chanterelles) than you could shake a stick at…In the main course, you can lash out on grilled Orkney lobster with garlic butter and chips at £39 and Aberdeenshire beef fillet on the bone at £34.75 for 300g or you can steer a middle to a relatively cheapish course as we did with Herdwick mutton, kidney and oyster pie at £15.50, hanger steak with baked bone marrow at £17.50 and grilled puffball served with good old Gladys May's duck egg and woodland mushrooms for £14.75.The pie, with its oyster served separately riding in its shell, was diminutive but praised for its flavour. The hanger steak, usually such a ribald cut, was a bit dull. The friend who ordered the puffball wasn't sure if it arrived oversalted or whether he had mindlessly oversalted it himself. We'll never know. (A meal for two with wine, about £110, including 12.5% service charge. Rating: 3/5)
Metro, 14 October
Marina O'Loughlin is disappointed that John Torode's latest venture, The Luxe at 109 Commercial Street, London, E1, lacks generosity, warmth and a damn good feed
The menu looks equally alluring, properly autumnal with nods towards current foodie trends (dishes for sharing, the aforementioned wood-fired oven); and some a bit last year - pillaging of everywhere from Germany (spÁ¤tzle) to Japan (tobiko) to Russia (pelmeni); that irritating tic of pricing things ‘pounds, 16.5'. Whatever. It's Torode, it's going to be brilliant, isn't it? Ermâ¦ I really want to love this place - it can come across as facile to knock someone in the public eye for criticising others - but I can't. With the exception of a fabulous blueberry cheesecake with sludge of glorious, tart lemon curd, it's all blah verging on inept. ‘Wood-roasted artichokes, honey, lemon thyme': bring it on. Of course, idiot that I am, it's not the season for globe artichokes, and these are farty Jerusalems, woody of nature and hard of heart. I adore the fragrant lemon thyme, though. My almost-boned roast quail has a core of raw, almost liquid foie gras. When I ask for a little more heat, the already-diminutive bird returns frazzled to a minuscule crisp. (A meal for two with wine, water and service, costs about £110).
The Luxe - review in full>>
Time Out, 14 September
Charmaine Mok savours the opportunity to dine at the hands of a master at the temporary Pierre Koffmann Restaurant on the Roof at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1
A blast from the past, foie gras with potato galette and sauternes jus, faltered slightly. The rich liver had lost most of its luscious silkiness by perhaps a few seconds too long in the pan, crowning the crisp, golden galette the star of the dish. A slick of tart green apple purée was the surprise element, but not at all unwelcome. Langoustines with a terrine of pressed leeks and a creamy truffle vinaigrette, another classic, was a highlight, the shellfish pert and juicy with the desired bounce against the teethâ¦The famous pig's trotter stuffed with sweetbreads and morels was competent rather than superlative, perhaps overwrought with expectation. The same malaise that had inflected the foie gras seemed to have reared its head with the sweetbreads - just slightly overcooked. There was no denying, however, that the unctuous softness of the slow-cooked trotter was impressive - bringing to mind the braised trotter dishes popular in Chinese cookery, with the rich, sticky jus an intense reduction of porcine flavours. A buttery mash with delightfully thin potato crisps looked an unsightly taramasalata-pink under the low lighting, but went down a treat. (Three course menu, £75).
Pierre Koffmann- review in full>>