The Daily Telegraph
Matthew Norman is disappointed that having previously enjoyed many outstanding meals at Yang Sing in Manchester, that it has now become "a paradigm of self-regarding complacency" Crispy duck was fine, as were the pancakes, but shredded spring onion and cucumber looked almost as tired as the waiter, and the hoi sin (plum) sauce was lacklustre. During a long hiatus while the remnants went uncleared a cross-looking waitress bearing something off-putting on a plate approached, barking: "You wanna order pudding for later?" We did not, what with the main dishes to come, and these proved as inconsistent as they were overpriced. Sweet and sour king prawns were firm and fleshy, and the sauce adequate if claggy, but charging £14 for six of them is dead cheeky. Chicken in a lemon-and-honey sauce was dry and lifeless; aubergine with minced pork in a yellow-bean sauce laden with flavour but too squishy; and Singapore noodles, although nice and eggy, stone cold.
Yang Sing - review in full >>
John Lanchester suggests that The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, offers a benchmark for good , and how British, a British restaurant can be So this is what was on the tasting menu: homemade pork scratchings; home-cured herring; three types of homemade bread, with the pub's own butter; two oyster amuse-bouches, one with apple foam and one with a granita of sea buckthorn, a startling jolt of citrus and a lovely surprise in midwinter. Mussel and bacon chowder with a garnish of ground bacon and chives, which was outstanding. Pintail duck, something I'd never eaten, was superb meat, beautifully cooked and rested, and came with the best bread sauce I've ever had. Home-cured ham: fantastic. Braised turbot with crab: running out of superlatives. Lamb breast poached, then breadcrumbed and fried (a French dish called Ste Menehould), served with mint sauce: genius idea. The rack and shoulder of the same lamb with cabbage and a fabulously deep, resonant, unsticky meat sauce. Apple sorbet with popping candy. Iced cream cheese with breadcrumbs and pear: a sort of deconstructed-but-improved crumble. Delightful petits fours, including a tiny Gypsy tart - a Kentish speciality made with condensed milk. Tasting menu: £55 per head.
The Sportsman - review in full >>
Tracey MacLeod enjoyed most of the food, but ultimately hated Amaranto at the Four Seasons London at Park Lane The menu is strong on pasta dishes, and both we tried were good: paccheri (fat, slippery tubes) with scorpion fish and purple sprouting broccoli in a fresh, chilli-spiked tomato sauce, and a lamb ragout folded through chestnut pappardelle with Testun cheeseBoth mains showed an openness to non-canonical ingredients: slow-cooked leg of rabbit cacciatora came in the traditional mushroom sauce, but was deboned, and stuffed with spinach, feta and black olive, while ashed monkfish, pan-roasted in Lardo di Colonnato, came with a Jerusalem artichoke and anchovy purée and a salad of roasted and raw Jerusalem artichokesMaybe we would have enjoyed it more if we'd been in a cosier part of the room. As it was, with bankers and blondes around us and a view of the fortifications separating the hotel terrace from Park Lane, the effect was of eating in a gated community.
Amaranto - review in full >>
Jay Rayner loves the exemplary cooking at Heston Blumenthal's Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, London, and advises you save up before going Oh, but the cooking! There is the meat fruit, apparently a play on an old English habit of making one food look like another. So here comes a glossy bright-orange mandarin on a wooden board, complete with dimpled skin. But it turns out to be a ball of the softest chicken liver parfait you have ever eaten, with a subtle zing of citrus to its gel peel. This one item - it is barely a dish - is destined to become a culinary icon. Others will copy it - they shouldn't. Another starter brings scallops, seared only on one side with cucumber ketchup, tasting of an English summer tea party on a mown lawn. What makes the dish sing is a pitch-perfect acidity, a mark of almost all the saucing here. It is there in a salamagundi - which doesn't mean much more than a whole bunch of things on a plate - containing smoked chicken, nuggets of slippery bone marrow and an acidulated horseradish cream, and in a stand-out dish of roast turbot with cockles that shows off these glorious native molluscs to their best advantage. Meal for two, including wine and service: £190.
Dinner - review in full >>
The Sunday Times
AA Gill slated the county of Norfolk before hitting out at The Rose and Crown in Sneittsham for being "an awkward confection of Travelodge and community centre" The staff were charming and friendly. The menu is, they say, "a mixture of the traditional with a contemporary twist". I suspect the twist is the timer on the microwave. We began with broccoli and Binham blue soup. There must be some secret brewers' edict, some beery curse, that all pub menus have to have boiled broccoli and green cheese broth on the menu. It is invariably repellent, a vile confection of boarding-school tissues and Shrek fart. Happily, the severe winter has all but eradicated the Lincolnshire broccoli harvest. The local pheasant and streaky bacon sausage had the makings of a good idea. Sadly, when made, it wasn't. Chipolatas of dry, minced bird, salted to the taste and texture of cattle lick. Brancaster mussels marinière were good; nice, chubby bivalves with a watery soup that at least made an effort. Rating: 2/5. Price: £45 for two plus drinks.
The Rose and Crown - review in full >>