7 January Tom Chesshyre likes the refined environment of the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, the first UK pub to hold two Michelin stars There was a low ceiling with wooden beams, exposed brick walls and a jovial, but slightly hushed, atmosphere. I placed my order and was soon presented with a pre-starter of fried whitebait in a little newspaper cone, accompanied by Marie Rose sauce. It was the perfect appetiser - like a posh mini fish ‘n' chips. Next came a starter of salmon tartare with poppy-seed crackers, elegantly presented, and fresh, with a pleasing crunch from the crackers. My main course of roast Chateaubriand of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and red wine sauce, plus spiky horseradish, was cooked just right, piping hot and tender. My pudding of vanilla crème brûlée had a crispy top with delicate vanilla flavours below. Then I went to my room. There are four stylish rooms - two with outdoor hot tubs - with large beds, leather sofas and very nice bathrooms - comfortable and chic, too.
Price: Bed and breakfast doubles from £140; three courses, about £38. Rating: 8.5/10
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/travel/wheretostay/southwest/article3272390.ece" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Hand & Flowers review in full
8 January Amol Rajan enjoys the efforts Hereford Road in London W2 has made in paying homage to the food of Fergus Henderson, but suggests it doesn't quite measure up to the original. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this place is nothing if not a compliment to Fergus Henderson's influence. It was set up four years ago by Tom Pemberton, who had been head chef at Henderson's St John Bread and Wine, and still boasts a menu that carries the stamp of Hendersonism. The mains range from £10 for spinach with mushrooms and chestnuts to £34 for a roast guinea fowl that can be shared between two or three. The calf's liver with mash, sage and onion (£14) has no surprises and is competently done. The pot-roast duck leg comes with a brilliant combination of carrots and a pickled walnut in red wine (£13.80), but the Hampshire pork belly with swede and red cabbage (£14) is too dry. The sides - greens (£3.50), Pink Fir Apple potatoes (£3.50), and green salad (£4) - are all rather routine. The desserts are all rich and flavourful and cost £5.50 each - whether a chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream, a sticky date pudding, apple crumble with custard, or honeycomb and walnut ice-cream.
Price: £90 for two. Rating: 7/10
Hereford Road review in full
The Sunday Telegraph
Fiona Duncan says the family-owned and friendly Langar Hall, near Nottingham, is her favourite hotel in England
The gracious, charmingly decorated house still feels like a home, not least because of the number of guests who leap up in the dining room and greet their hostess - Imogen, who has a natural gift for conversation and putting people at their ease. Trotting round the pillared room, she has a word for everyone, and her key staff echo her warmth. The heart of the hotel is the restaurant, literally in the middle of the house, set back from the flagstone hall. Its reputation for unpretentious good food ("classic English with a twist") holds up. On a Monday night we devoured assiette of Langar lamb, pheasant from the Belvoir estate, steak and ale pie and Stilton from the surrounding villages - all very sound. An interesting wine list accompanies.
Price: dinner, bed and breakfast, £145 on Monday and Tuesday nights, busines rates from £85. Rating: 4.8/5
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/hotels/ukhotels/9002613/Langar-Hall-Nottinghamshire-hotel-review.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Langar Hall review in full The Observer
8 January Jay Rayner applauds the philosophy behind Create, the social-enterprise restaurant in Leeds, which aims to get the long-term unemployed and the disadvantaged into work. Create is a good place to eat. The huge airy space with its big splashes of
colour has a relaxed feel (though they could do with turning down or losing the music). The menu is fluent in modern British, which is to say: food from all over the shop put together in sensible combinations. A plate of thinly sliced smoked venison, for example, with fresh figs and properly dressed rocket leaves is a thoroughly pretty plateful; crisp-shelled fritters of salt cod are a little dense but only because they haven't been bulked up with potato. No matter: the tarragon mayonnaise helps them on their way. Prices are noticeably ungrasping: £14 isn't much money for a complex dish of partridge breast with confited leg, creamed Brussels sprouts, chestnuts and a generous handful of sautéed girolles.
Price: Meal for two, including drinks and service, £75.
Create review in full