Independent on Sunday
Tracey MacLeod says the room and ambience doesn't quite match the vibrancy of the food at Pompadour by Galvin in Edinburgh
After a selection of pastry-based morsels, a pre-starter arrived in the form of the Galvins' fabled crab and scallop lasagne. The silky pliability of the pasta was miraculous; even more so in a starter proper of rabbit ravioli, filled with meat as melting as oxtail, partnered with the citric snap of artichokes barigoule. Marinated scallops were served sashimi-style, sliced into a corona with Charlotte potatoes and Jerusalem artichoke under a pointillist dusting of chives; a pretty plateful which felt fancier than the Galvins' normal style. My guest, Jenny, is a non meat-eater, so we didn't sample the signature dish: a whole poulet de Bresse, rubbed with foie gras butter and truffles, and poached in Armagnac inside a pig's bladder, then carved table-side for two to share. But the mains were both wonderful, the kind of satisfying, sophisticated dishes the Galvins do so well. Veal sweetbreads, crisp to the bite but foamily light inside, came with a bacon cassoulet, with Coco de Paimpol beans to lend texture. Roast monkfish with celeriac purée was galvanised by a bourguignon garnish so dense and sticky it may well have violated Jenny's piscatarian principles.
Score: Food 4/5;
Ambiance 3/5; Service 3/5
Price: A la carte dinner £58 for three courses before wine and service
Andy Lynes says Chris Corbin and Jeremy King's latest restaurant Colbert on Sloane Square, London SW3, is great news for the capital's restaurant scene
Within months of launching Brasserie Zédel, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King have opened yet another blinding restaurant, this time inspired by a Paris café. It's already heaving at 5pm on a weekday and I'm shown to the only available table in the bar. 'It's the same food and the same service as the restaurant,' coos the receptionist, reassuringly. The menu features one plate, all-day dining options, including sandwiches, cakes and breakfast items. Eggs Benedict and salade NiÁ§oise being served to another table look generous and appetising but I'm after something more substantial. The beautifully seasoned, expertly charred crust of a hulking roast veal chop from the list of ten 'plats' (main courses) gives way to tender, juicy flesh and comes with a limpid caramelised lemon sauce that's so glossy I can almost see my greedy face in it. Service from immaculately turned-out staff is impressively friendly and on the ball. Each time the waitress refills my wine glass, she flashes me a great big grin and a waiter notices I'm running out of brioche to eat with a huge slab of chicken liver parfait and sauternes jelly, and offers me more.
Price: A meal for two with wine, water and service costs about £120.
The Rose Garden in West Didsbury , Manchester, is a lovely neighbourhood restaurant that has become a shade too pleased with itself, according to Marina O'Loughlin
There's some fine, burgundy-fleshed pigeon, gamey and ripe with a gin-perfumed note of juniper. It comes on top of another fried cake, this time a heavy dod of mulchy black pudding. Food is piled into towers, things teetering on top of things, frequently fried things.
Monkfish in a sticky, honeyed glaze reclines on a vast wodge of crumbed potato and salmon. Or, rather, thanks to the fish's overcooked rigidity, planks on it. Its fried "crispy" calamari rings are anything but. Good, fibrous and butch hanger steak is upstaged by overbearing "bon bons" of stewy shin and heel, yet again deep-fried. I worry that we've ordered badly until I realise that out of 16 savoury dishes, 11 feature a fried element. Puddings are things of gorgeousness, though:
the stickiest, gooiest date and Guinness pudding and a subtle, luxurious Earl Grey crème brÁ»lée with a homemade Garibaldi biscuit ("Tea and biscuits", obviously). They're witty takes on classics, flawlessly realised.
Score: Food 6/10; Atmosphere 7/10; Value for money 7/10
Price: Three-course meal, £30-35 a head, plus drinks and service.
Giles Coren says Colbert, London SW3, is a beautiful restaurant that serves the best food at any of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King's restaurants
It is a beautiful restaurant: ersatz Paris and prettier than most of what the original has to offer. The colours, the lighting, the pictures, the fittings, it's all immaculate, though it reminds me less of the places I ate in when I lived in Paris many years ago than of the Dôme café bar in Hampstead (now a Café Rouge) where I worked to earn the money to go there. Which is not a bad thing. France has long been a place where things look wonderful but are rotten to the core - so a place that looks French but is actually British is the most you can ask for in this world. And the cooking is better, I think, than in any of Corbin and King's other restaurants. The gatefold all-day menu is familiar in its scope and generosity, though the style is avowedly "café - almost, in fact, "tabac". From it, Immy randomly liberated a terrific prawn cocktail ("Always the test of a good restaurant," she said, as girls who are trying to pretend they are not on the Dukan diet always do), followed by a salade NiÁ§oise which she was disappointed to find contained tinned rather than fresh seared tuna.
Price It's quite expensive. But doable for under £50/head if you order carefully.
The Sunday Times
AA Gill is underwhelmed with Honest Burgers, London W1, which is about as minimal and parsimoniously blunt as a place can be and still call itself a restaurant
In the kitchen, immigrants who not so long ago might have expected to come here to slave in hot dangerous kitchens were happily putting the honesty to the fire. The room was half-full, mostly with men in need of meat. The rest of Soho was hotching and flodging its Âvanity, licentiousÂness and selfishness, but here the minicab drivers and the late-night editors could Âreflect over the Âsandwich of veracity. Finally, they came, although I must say I felt a twinge of disappointment. I'd heard so much about Honest Burgers - people (that's you) have extolled them as a great leap forward in the dining of the plebs - I'd imagined something more impressive. I thought honesty might look bigger on a plate, but that was silly, bourgeois, old thinking. Of course this is what honesty would look like: small, brown, lumpy and honest. So I picked it up and took a bite. I've never eaten such a big word off such a small plate, and I looked at the Blonde Âexpectantly, and she looked back at me duplicitously, and said: "What do you think?" "Honestly? Well, it tastes like a burger to me: bit of cheese, soft bun, very fatty, salty, bit skinny; you know, a burger."
Score: Food: 2/5; Ambience: 2/5