Lisa Markwell finds Russell Norman has pushed aside little plates for more substantial dishes at his first pub, the Ape & Bird on London's Shaftesbury Avenue.
Writing in the http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/article1356082.ece" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Independent](http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/reviews/the-ape--bird-restaurant-review--polpos-russell-norman-has-pushed-his-little-plates-aside-for-his-first-pub-9016740.html), she describes it as "a "pie and a pint" and "bloody Mary and a burger" place for people who don't want to stand up, get jostled or have the Premiership blaring at them".
Hawksmoor founders Huw Gott and Will Beckett's new London opening Foxlow, EC1, gets the double this week, with two critic reviews.
[Time Out's](http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/foxlow) Tania Ballantine discovers "terrific cooking" and says the pair have reversed the hex hanging over the St John Street site.
Meanwhile Jay Rayner pays a visit for the [Observer](http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/dec/29/foxlow-restaurant-review-jay-rayner-hawksmoor) and finds that though he's a self-described "big fan of fat, salt and sugar", even he has a limit.
The spirit of the authentic, yet cheesily charming Italian lives on at La Porchetta Pollo Bar in London W1D says Matthew Norman in the [Telegraph](http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/10527883/Union-Street-Cafe-London-restaurant-review.html).
The [Guardian's](http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/dec/28/merchants-tavern-london-restaurant-review) Marina O'Loughlin finds the cooking at Merchants Tavern in London's Shoreditch - a partnership between Angela Hartnett, Neil Borthwick, and the backers of Canteen - is full of confidence.
And finally, The [Sunday Times' AA Gill loves the Polish food on offer at Ognisko in London SW7, because it comes with "tears and hardship and romance".