Review of Reviews – what the critics say about Marcus Wareing's Pétrus and others

07 February 2007
Review of Reviews – what the critics say about Marcus Wareing's Pétrus and others" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">The Daily Telegraph](, 3 February
Mark Palmer and friends celebrate a birthday at Marcus Wareing's Pétrus in London - recently elevated to two Michelin stars

All our starters, with the exception of my ballottine of tuna are like Premiership footballers: far too rich for their own good. Frankly, Nichola's caramelised scallops in red wine and veal stock is bling on a plate. Joanna wisely pulls up short with her red mullet and langoustine bisque because she knows there's more sweetness to come. Certainly, the puds, preceded by a slice or two of cheese and a pre-dessert, are a triumph. We have ordered two of them: almond panna (vanilla poached pear and tonka bean ice-cream) and mousses (white chocolate, mango salad, passion fruit sorbet). Both look like a Philip Treacy creation to be worn on Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot. (Dinner for four, including wine and service, £527)

[The Guardian](, 3 February
Matthew Norman discovers there is great cooking in deepest Berkshire at the Pot Kiln in Yattenden

The minute we were sat down beside a wood-burning stove in a gently lit dining room, its walls a warm terracotta and dotted with hunting-scene prints, things took an upward lurch with the arrival first of impeccable bread and then of the sort of gutsy, unpretentious, locally sourced menu that makes you purr with anticipation. A warm salad of wood pigeon came with amazingly good crispy bacon and black puddng, but was trumped by my friend's starter - a langoustine bisque of such perfect texture and such deep and lustrous flavour that I had to ask my friend to desist from the Meg Ryan I'll-have-what-she's-having impersonation before he risked becoming Sloaney Berkshire's first recipient of an Asbo. (Rating: 9/10. Three-course dinner with wine, £40-£50)

[The Scotsman](, 3 February
Jim Dunn pays a return visit to the Seafood Restaurant in St Monan's and finds the food as good and sharply priced as ever

My wife volunteered for the three-course "cheapo" menu, which consisted of a starter of hot smoked salmon on a mushroom salad, a main of cod fillet on potato purée with ratatouille, and a home-made sponge with ice-cream and fruit compote to follow. All this for £12.95. The hot smoked salmon was generous in portion size and meltingly perfect in the mouth, with the mushrooms cleaning the palate after every mouthful. My starter was a sliver of smoked haddock tart served on a light green salad, which was so tasty I hunted down every last crumb. (Lunch for two, excluding drinks, £32.95)

The Independent on Sunday, 4 February
Terry Durack heads off to Banstead in Surrey to see if the fine-dining restaurant at Tony Tobin's Post gets his stamp of approval

Tobin has done away with à la carte and instituted three seven-course, set-priced menus entitled Temptation, Desire and Seduction. It sounds twee, but it succeeds in differentiating itself from the [brasserie] downstairs. From the Seduction menu, the highlights are a crisp-bottomed, oblong tart of confit tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, a clever surf'n'turf combination of sautéd halibut on shreddy oxtail, and the "cheese course", a slab of sensational, full-bodied triple cream cheese from Burgundy called Délice d'Argental, served with good damson purée and crisp oat biscuits. Lowlight is a bland, tightly cooked lobster ravioli in a creamy bisque sauce. Everybody is trying hard to make this quite complex menu idea work - perhaps a little too hard. (Rating: 14/20. Dinner for two, including wine, about £115)

[The Observer](, 4 February
Jay Rayner makes a claim for Hawksmoor in east London to be the capital's answer to New York's famous beef joints

The bone-in sirloin weighs north of a pound and costs £25.50, and if any of that appals you, you are hanging out with the wrong restaurant critic. It was, quite simply, the best steak I have ever eaten in this country. The meat had proper flavour, a serious char outside and pink to purple inside. To start, there are long ribs from big Tamworth pigs, dressed in a pungent peppery glaze, or sweet sheets of grilled squid with fennel and dill. They do Caesar salads, and cured salmon with beetroot, and for dysfunctional types who have come here not wanting a steak (why would you do that?) there is whole sea bass or poussin. Or even, if you are accompanying a vegetarian (presumably to taunt them), an aubergine parmigiana. (Meal for two, including wine, £80-£110)

[Metro](, 7 February
Marina O'Loughlin wanders what Knightsbridge eaterie Mocotó is all about

I am currently a bit over-involved in the early stages of American Idol

[, 2 February
Richard Vines waits an unappetisingly long time to get dine at London's Ivy

I called the Ivy on 28 July to book a table. "You're very lucky," the receptionist said. "We've just opened our latest six-month booking period." When was the earliest Saturday night I could get? "They're all booked out." Friday? Ditto. "We can do you Wednesday the 17th," she said. "That's January 17th," she explained. I took the table, gaining access to London's least accessible eatery. Showing up at the appointed time, I ran into a colleague who was also dining there that night. When had she booked? "About two hours ago," she said. She had a contact at the restaurant. The Ivy doesn't pretend to be about fairness. People go there precisely because of its reputation as a hot venue where celebrities dine and tables are at a premium for the rest of us. If we could all get in at two hours' notice, why bother? The food, while good, has a whiff of the gastropub about it. You're unlikely to come across any culinary surprises and the prices are reasonable for London. The dining room is one of my favourites in London. There are lovely stained-glass windows and beautiful artworks, including a Bridget Riley painting. The only problem with the Riley is that it's in a corner that appears to be the Ivy's answer to Siberia, a celebrity-free zone inhabited by diners from the suburbs. (cost £50 a head).

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