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What's on the Menu? A round-up of the latest restaurant reviews

13 October 2008 by

The Daily Telegraph, 11 October
Jasper Gerard visits The River Café, London W6
Jamie Oliver has been in Rotherham teaching locals to cook, including one young lady who tucks into 23 packets of crisps a day. His pupils range from a miner who had never wielded a saucepan to a mother of a five-year-old who couldn't boil water. As part of his latest television programme, ‘Jamie's Ministry of Food', Oliver is showing them 10 basic recipes to teach friends. Until, presumably, all the good people of this Yorkshire town are enjoying parmesan chicken breasts wrapped in prosciutto with asparagus.

The Guardian, 11 October
Matthew Norman visits Andaman by Dieter Muller, St James's Hotel & Club, London SW1

At economic moments such as this, what we all need (second only to a few 24-carat gold bricks in a safety deposit box) is a good giggle. For those without access to liquid temazepam, laughter is the best medicine for terror and blind panic, and on this basis I must thank Andaman By Dieter MÁ¼ller for a hilarious lunch. As if history's most comically mistimed opening wasn't merriment enough, we were treated to the drollest volte-face the world has seen for a very long time.
Andaman - review in full>>

The Independent, 11 October
Tracey MacLeod visits Vatika, Wickham Vineyard, Shedfield, Southampton

A restaurant attached to an English vineyard is normally best approached with caution, rather like a bottle of English wine. Sure, you'd try it, just to be polite, but let's be honest, wouldn't something French or Italian just be so much better? But put aside those preconceptions, because here we are in Wickham Vineyard, near Southampton, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, and it's wonderful. Not only is the wine - a flinty, Germanic little number called Wickham Dry - going down a treat, but we're loving the room, a high-ceilinged, discreetly stylish affair somewhere between a chapel and the world's smartest barn conversion.
Vatika - review in full>>

The Observer, 12 October
Jay Rayner visits Jamie's Italian, Oxford

It was when I felt compelled to reach up into the window of Jamie's Italian in Oxford and touch one of the hams hanging there that I understood my nagging unease about the place. It made no difference whether the ham was real - it was, as it happens - rather than plastic; what mattered was that I seriously thought it might be plastic. Jamie's Italian just feels overconceptualised, overthought. Sitting at a communal table in the window, staring at the battered cans of Italian tomatoes that had been placed there, I could imagine what the pitch meetings with the wet-lipped designers had been like: the buzz words they had spat out to associate with brand Jamie, all that ‘authentic' ‘rustic' ‘pukka' ‘matey' bollocks you have to wade through before you get to the essence of what Jamie Oliver is about.
Jamie's Italian - review in full>>

areyoureadytoorder.com
Jan Moir visits Le Bouchon Breton, London E1

Le Bouchon Breton, claim the owners, is the restaurant that London has been waiting for. If they mean the city is desperate for a proper, bustling, giant, rollicking, open all day Parisian-style brasserie, dispensing everything from breakfast croissants to good steak frites, from silvery pyramids of fruits de mer at lunch to warming balloons of Armagnac at midnight, then they are damn well right. Patrolling the dawn-to-dusk axis on the capital beat, you will find nothing that even comes close.
Le Bouchon Breton - review in full>>

By Janet Harmer

E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.

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