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Matthew Fort enjoys cheerful, contemporary dining at the Pump House

20 July 2010 by

Matthew Fort, writing in The Guardian, enjoys his visit to the Pump House in Bristol, where chef-proprietor Toby Gritten is producing some thoughtful, well-made dishes from carefully sourced ingredients. "The place has that open, cheerful ease that distinguishes contemporary eating places these days," he says. Among the interesting dishes that entice him are hot smoked Bath chap, summer truffle, pickled pullet egg, nasturtium salad; and salad of Creedy Carver duck, applewood-smoked breast, artichoke barigoule, foraged wild herbs and flowers.

Visiting Oxford, Giles Coren in The Times, says the Magdalen Arms is probably the city's best restaurant. Every dish - such as rabbit with mustard, cream and bacon - he and his three companions try is a triumph. "So iconoclastic, so urban, so irredeemably modern is the Magdalen Arms, it really is a wonder Oxford dared to let it in," he declares.

In The Observer, Allan Jenkins visits Gauthier Soho, recently opened by Alex Gauthier, who for 12 years made a name for himself at Roussillon in Pimlico. In Soho Jenkins is impressed by Gauthier's talent for doing "refined, lovely things with vegetables" but he finds portions are generally too small and that while some dishes are exemplary, others are disappointing.

Zoe Williams for the Sunday Telegraph has an enjoyable experience eating at theElephant in Torquay, where chef-proprietor Simon Hulstone offers diners the choice of an upstairs "posh" experience, as well as a less-intimidating room downstairs with a very similar menu. While she finds the set menu downstairs to be not the cheapest she has come across (£29.50 for three courses), she says it's not excessive, especially considering the expert handling of the beautiful produce from the surrounding area.

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.

Oxford gastropub the Magdalen Arms has critic in raptures >>

Review of the Reviews >>

By Janet Harmer

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