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Matthew Norman finds a superbly rich menu at St John Hotel

16 May 2011 by
Matthew Norman finds a superbly rich menu at St John Hotel

Matthew Norman finds brutally minimalist decor but a superbly rich menu at St John Hotel (pictured), the latest venture from Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson.

The Daily Telegraph‘s food critic praises head chef Tom Harris, who presents his menu with rustic simplicity and without a shred of fuss.

"Every dish was in perfect balance, every ingredient tasted purely and vibrantly of itself, only more so," Norman enthuses.

Meanwhile, writing in the Sunday Times, AA Gill says that although its heart is most certainly in the right place, the food at the St John Hotel does not offer precise flavours.

"It's well intentioned, its heart and all its other organs are in the right places, but its seasoning isn't. The flavours are smudged and imprecise. The dishes aren't clear, or doctrinal enough. And a lot of it is decent, but righteously boring," he says.

Writing for the Guardian, John Lanchester says Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social is fun, informal and customer-friendly. "It's the polar opposite of what we've come to expect of ‘fine dining'. And it's also properly brilliant," he says.

The Times‘ Giles Coren enjoys immaculate service and skilful cooking at Phil Howard's two-Michelin-starred Square but adds he finds it hard to get real joy from this sort of procession.

According to the Observer‘s Jay Rayner Spuntino, the third venture from the team behind Polpo and Polpetto, is the capital's best Brooklyn diner, while the Independent on Sunday‘s Lisa Markwell says if you're caught in the maelstrom of Oxford Street's shopping hell, the Riding House Café offers respite.

Finally, the Sunday Telegraph‘s Zoe Williams says Yotam Ottolenghi's new Soho restaurant, Nopi, does not live up to her expectations of the chef.

For these reviews in full and more, see What's on the menu? Visit Guide Girl for the latest gossip from the fine-dining world.

St John team release more details of new West End hotel >>

Food at Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social includes ‘vivid and extravagant flavours' >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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