A new gastropub in Oxford had Matthew Norman of the Guardian in raptures in this weekend's restaurant reviews. He declared that the Magdalen Arms could be used as "a teaching module for wannabe gastropub owners who think it can be done with half the flair and individuality of an Ikea flat pack".
Florence Fowler, who runs the front of house, and chef Tony Abarno have created what is probably the best eating place in Oxford, believes Norman.
Lisa Markwell, writing in the Independent on Sunday, was also impressed by the food she was served at Bistrot Bruno Loubet, which has opened at the Zetter hotel, London EC1, where Loubet has made a welcome return from Australia to the capital's restaurant scene.
To quote another chef, Markwell said Loubet was a "rock god" because of his brilliance with flavours. Almost every aspect of her meal was faultless from her starter of skate to a chocolate dessert which she described as the best she'd eaten in recent memory.
A fish restaurant in Ramsgate, Kent - Eddie Gilbert's Observer food critic Jay Rayner of the . As well as serving simple dishes very well such as fish and chips, fish cakes and bowls of shell-on-prawns by the half pint, there are many more ambitious dishes which are also impressive.
The food enjoyed by Rayner included vodka and beetroot cured smoked salmon, monkfish with gem lettuce and parmesan and white chocolate fondant.
In Time Out, Guy Dimond reviewed Mark Hix's move into retail catering with Hix at Selfridges, London W1. In comparison to Hix in Soho, the flagship restaurant, Dimond declared the Selfridges eaterie to be the diffusion line "the T-shirt bearing the logo, rather than then tailor-made suit, and poor value when compared to the real couture".
However, he did find it to be a cool place to people watch, despite the steep prices and the indifferent service.
By Janet Harmer
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