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

26 July 2010

London Evening Standard, 22 July

Fay Maschler expects Koffmann's at the Berkeley in Wilton Place, London to be a hit, despite a visit that didn't quite live up to high expectations

A crouton of boudin noir on celeriac remoulade sets a slightly plodding tone for a meal where some of our choices seem like work in progress. Koffmann is dealing with a new brigade and the fact that head chef Clive Dixon from Heston Blumenthal's Hind's Head in Bray isn't due to arrive until 9 August may also be relevant. The dishes read flirtatiously. Crabe et sa salade de celeri-rave et pommes arrives covered by the oiled shell of a spider crab. Under that lid is a compact disc of crab meat, shredded celeriac and apple which, when roughed up with a fork, immediately looks more engaging. Confit de saumon sauvage piperade is actively disagreeable partly because it bears no resemblance to what was anticipated. A slice of livid near-raw salmon, with no discernible flavour despite its £28 cost, is surrounded by a lake of thin purée seemingly based on potato and coloured with carrot. (Meal for two, £140 including wine and service. Rating 3/5)

Koffmann's - review in full >>

The Times, 24 July

Giles Coren overcomes his hatred of restaurants in art galleries to visit Field & Fork in Chichester, where he finds a much more sophisticated dining experience than he expected

There were six starters - three veggie, one fish, two meat - and six mains (three fish, one veggie, two meat), which showed an admirably up-to-date lightness of touch and independence from red flesh. Esther's beef cheek with summer vegetables seemed to me classic Roux: the meat beautifully slow-cooked, dark and chocolaty with a good shine, but the jus on the plate very pale and light. But the "horseradish creamed potato" was, I thought, unexciting. There's a Roux protégé at Roux at Parliament Square making mash I'd sell my car for - they could do with some of that. That said, the raspberry, chocolate chip and pistachio soufflé with vanilla sauce was the most exciting thing I've had in years: bang on season, with glorious Englishness in the berries, high-street appeal in the choc-nut-vanilla ensemble and brilliant French technique in the effortless soufflé. I adored it, and I don't generally care for puddings. (Three courses £25.95; £38.95 with wine)

Field & Fork - review in full >>

The Guardian, 24 July

Lanterna in Scarborough transports Pascal Wyse directly from North Yorkshire to Piedmont with its traditional Italian cuisine

Although a band of locals are clearly devoted to Lanterna (I asked a couple if they had eaten well, and they looked at me as if I'd wondered whether the sea behind us was wet), chef/patron Giorgio Alessio is still getting in folk who have lived in the area for decades and only just discovered the restaurant. "These are to die for," said Mum from behind a battered langoustine - the first of many deaths she was to have during the course of our meal. The oozing sweet flesh was testament to Giorgio's claim that if you have freshness, half the battle is won. Four velvet crabs - an undervalued local catch that often gets dismissed to France, much to Giorgio's bemusement - go into that spaghetti sauce, which builds on chopped celery, shallots and carrot with cream and wine: rich but zesty. Lanterna has that touch of alchemy that stands between an OK bowl of pasta and a dish that shoots you down a wormhole all the way to Italy. (Three courses, with drinks and service, around £40 a head. Rating: 8.5/10)

Lanterna - review in full >>

The Observer, 25 July

Jay Rayner hopes that Trullo in St Paul's Road, London, survives its own honest pricing, after an enjoyable dinner

In the kitchen is Tim Siadatan, one of the original recruits to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen project, who has graduated from there to both St John and Moro. The influence of all three places is felt in plates of simple, ingredient-led food, with a generally Italian bent. The menu is short, self-confident and ever-changing. The success of a cannellini bean bruschetta had less to do with the beans themselves, good though they were, than the wonderful olive oil, the crunch of salt and the aromatic green herbs. The true stars of the piece, though, are the pasta dishes. Wide, butter-yellow ribbons of pappardelle came with an earthy stew of wood pigeon, in a ripe gravy that insinuated itself into every corner of the dish. Wine list pricing is, like everything else here, eminently reasonable. Making just a tenner on each bottle is very touching, but will it keep the books balanced? I do hope so, because this is one restaurant I want to see succeed. (Meal for two, including wine and service, £75)

Trullo - review in full >>

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