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Ducasse one of the last bastions of ‘haute cuisine', says critic

Ducasse one of the last bastions of ‘haute cuisine', says critic

The Sunday Times' AA Gill visits three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester - "possibly, probably, London's most expensive restaurant" - and finds one of the last bastions of haute cuisine in the capital.

"I had a lobster with chicken quenelles and pasta. This is a Ducasse speciality. Quenelles are minced chicken mixed with a paste of milk-infused breadcrumbs bound with egg, rolled up like sausages, poached and cut. They're delicious. The dish was a triumph. A crab Anglais was less successful: effortfully technical but tasting fugitively of fridge." Read more

A ravenous Grace Dent pigs out at Newcomer Catey Award winner Ollie Dabbous' Barnyard on Charlotte Street.

Writing in the Evening Standard, she said: "I adored the thick, herby sausage roll so much I would likely have married it. I noticed a man in Utah campaigning to marry his MacBook lately, and I await this court ruling avidly. The cornbread was sweet, fragrant, vivid yellow and arrived in a brown paper bag. (I was removing crumbs of it from my hair as I walked to Tottenham Court Road Tube.)" Read more

Meanwhile the Times' Giles Coren wonders whether Barnyard is the first restaurant where checked shirts and beards are handed out by HR when you start.

"The cooking is fine. I ate almost everything on the menu, which usually means, in a good new restaurant, that you can afterwards lay out all the dishes you ate and construct one excellent meal, one okay one and one poor one. And so it proved here." Read more

Simon Rogan has confided that he is aiming for three Michelin stars at Claridge's, but the Evening Standard's Fay Maschler wouldn't pay her own money for this food.

"In the next trio of courses Scottish Gairloch prawns draped with lardo with a boutonnière of borage flowers and brill cooked in whey flavoured with hogweed served with blewit mushrooms and scraps of Jersey potatoes are so good that you want more; toughly undercooked pork with undercooked broad beans and a bitter scorched leek pulled untimely from the ground can be happily skipped." Read more

Marina O'Loughlin returns to Glasgow's Ubiquitous Chip for the first time since she was sacked as a waitress for drinking tequila with customers. But any thoughts of revenge she has are dashed when she finds the restaurant has aged well.

Read more

The Hole in the Wall in Cambridgeshire run by Masterchef 2010 finalist Alex Rushmer and business partner Ben Maude must be one of the best country pubs in England, claims Amol Rajan in the Independent.

He says its £45 seven course tasting menu is "technically exceptional, deserving of a Michelin star, unusually affordable, and served with panache in a setting that oozes charm". The stand out dish is duck, pickled cucumber and spiced caramel, which is described as "very hard to fault, and very easy to eat". Read more

Siblings Matthew and Michele Barker and an accomplished back and front of house combination at the Westwood restaurant in Beverley, writes Christopher Hurst in the Independent.

The large portions are served with "attentive efficiency and relaxed charm" by Michele, while Hurst is impressed by Matthew's four hour cooked porchetta, a combination of "pork meat heaftily spiked with fennel seeds and melting nuggets of fat" with a "knock down richness of flavour". Read more
The Observer's Jay Rayner visits Camp and Furnace in Liverpool - which does meet the definition of a restaurant but is also a cultural space, hosting club nights and food festivals. That means that judging it purely by the sometimes uneven food misses the point, says Rayner.

"So yes, an uneven lunch. But clearly this is a kitchen which can get it right when it's on home ground. Much more important is the premise: a public cultural space that weds the life of its city to eating well, and which knows exactly what it wants to be." Read more

Writing in the Telegraph Zoe Williams describes Wright Brothers Spitalfields as a temple of fish, which is cooked to perfection.

Her sea bass baked in a salt crust was "exquisite - salty, of course, but that only underlined the clarity of its flavour", while the delicately prepared gurnard came with "a paprika mayonnaise that I could have drunk like a milkshake". Read more

HOTELS

Tony Naylor, writing in the Guardian, finds that every bit of furniture at 2 Blackburne Terrace, a B&B in Liverpool, makes a statement, from the "shattered" entrance-hall mirror to the enormous purple-lacquered dining table in the breakfast room.

"Deliberately, nothing matches. The effect is as striking and painstakingly styled as the huge coffee table art books in the lounge." Read more

The Old Rectory in the Exmoor National Park, Devon, is run with a laid-back, personal touch, according to Tom Chesshyre of the Times.

"The style is a mix of the traditional (antiques and old pictures), the modern (striking patterned wallpaper and slick bathrooms) and the homely: a chilled out conservatory with squashy sofas, pink armchairs and glossy magazines," he says. Read more

There can be no greater spectacle in town that the view from Shangri-La at the Shard hotel in London, suggests Fiona Duncan of the Sunday Telegraph, but she is less than impressed by the interiors.

"I fervently wish these extraordinary spaces had been in more creative hands," she ponders. "Only think what André Balazs or Ian Schrager might have done with them, producing a natural hub instead of this sterile virtual world." Read more

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