Mark Sargeant's first solo venture, Rocksalt in the Kentish seaside town of Folkestone, offers excellent food but the service is disappointing, says Lisa Markwell.
Writing in the Independent on Sunday, Markwell praises the kitchen at Rocksalt but laments the front-of-house team, who after each course forget to clear her table.
"The food at Rocksalt scores a straight eight. It's excellent: fresh, imaginative and very, very well cooked. But the service is woeful: I mean properly bad," she says.
Meanwhile, AA Gill finds steak with the texture of "fat-slag thigh" at Hawksmoor Seven Dials. "The mechanics of eating felt like something you should do in a gym," the Sunday Times critic complains. "Eating it was to stuff hunger, not tickle pleasure."
Zoe Williams of the Sunday Telegraph says that despite its good pedigree, the Magdalen Arms in Oxford is dark, dreary and a complete disappointment, while the Observer‘s Jay Rayner argues that the food at Circus - where dinner is accompanied by a show - deserves a chorus of boos and jeers.
On a more positive note, the Guardian‘s John Lanchester discovers authentic tapas and an impressive list of sherry at José, the first of two new solo venture by Spanish chef José Pizarro.
In London, the Metro‘s Marina O'Loughlin finds Dinner by Heston Blumenthal a bit too slick and polished - a typical hotel restaurant; while David Sexton of the Evening Standard says Silvena Rowe's first solo venture, Quince, has some way to go.
By Kerstin Kühn
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