Review of the reviews… what the critics say about Hat and Feathers and others

07 March 2007
Review of the reviews… what the critics say about Hat and Feathers and others" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">The Independent](, 3 March
Tracey MacLeod thinks the food at converted boozer the Hat and Feathers is a cut above its pubby name and front-of-house service in Clerkenwell, London

The experience gap between front of house and kitchen [became] increasingly obvious as the evening wore on. Fresh-baked rolls were tremulously proffered, clasped silver-service style between a wobbly spoon and fork. Menu substitutions were apologetically announced just after the non-available dish was ordered. Meanwhile, the kitchen turned out a series of fine and refined dishes. Pan-fried scallops were perfectly cooked and partnered with tiny beignets of tempura frog legs, while a salad of shredded confit duck and orange zest rose triumphantly above an attempted mugging by the truffle oil used to dress the salad leaves. (Rating: four stars out of five. About £40 a head)

[The Scotsman](, 3 MarchGeorge Kerevan finds the food at Leith's Plumed Horse a bit rich and clever for his taste

Our fish soup starter (£14) was more fish than soup, which took everyone by surprise. There was a colossal skyscraper of white fish and oysters but only a soupçon of liquid. The impression quickly formed that the kitchen was more interested in complicated artifice designed to impress, rather than making the food appetising. When you feed people rich main courses, the desserts have to offer some relief. The mascarpone rice pudding with poached apricots and an apricot sorbet was the least complicated [dessert] but we were too far gone to appreciate it. (Dinner for three £140 excluding drinks)

[The Guardian](, 3 March
Despite being shunted out of the main dining room to a conservatory by a function, Matthew Norman is won over by country house hotel Goldstone Hall in Market Drayton, Shropshire

"I like it here," said my wife. "It means no one can hear you bellowing, so I needn't worry about the embarrassment." The bellowing yielded to mellowing, however, at the presence on the table of a jug of iced water - an astounding sight in a country house hotel. We began with a tian of crayfish and crab, both impeccably fresh, with sharp pickled celery to balance the seafood's sweetness a slab of chicken liver parfait, served with Melba toast and Cumberland sauce, which was fine and best of all, a terrine of ham hock and apricot that looked sumptuous and tasted "wonderfully smoky and robust, as if it was made in a farmhouse kitchen". (Rating: 7.5/10. Set-price lunch £22.50 for three courses. Dinner £32 for three courses)

[The Daily Telegraph](, 3 March
Mark Palmer checks out 2006 Nottingham Restaurant of the Year award-winning spot, Hart's

My pork belly arrives and it's a terrible let-down. The pork has been cut into bacon-sized strips and plonked on top of a heap of mashed potato. It's so heavy going that I pull up long before the finish line. His venison is an altogether different matter, comprising two succulent pieces of meat sitting on cabbage beside a square of pressed potato wrapped in onion. "I think this could be the best meat I've ever had," he says. Which is high praise from a boy as likely to turn vegetarian as Jade Goody is to become the next United Nations goodwill ambassador. (Dinner for two, including wine and service, £88)

[The Independent on Sunday](, 4 March
Terry Durack falls in love with Liverpool again at newcomer Spire in the Wavertree suburb of the city

The atmosphere at Spire is casual, the mood friendly, the attitude flexible. There is even a two-course brasserie lunch for £9.95, for heaven's sake. At lunch, the menu is full of comfort dishes, but the à la carte jumps a little higher. First up is a complimentary appetiser of carrot and cumin soup, served in a generously sized cup rather than your mean little demitasse. And it's gorgeous - lightly creamy, frothy and fragrant with cumin. A chunky wedge of nicely crusty pan-fried calf's liver topped with braised onions and a quenelle of mashed swede sits on a fat mattress of potato in mustardy juices. It's a Friday night supper sort of dish - unfussy, honest and filling. Front-of-house Adam Locke loves his wines and passes on the bargains, including a wonderful Killara Park Pinot Noir from Australia's Yarra Valley, full of berries and ripe plums (£18.50 a bottle, £3.25 a glass). (Rating 14/20. About £75 for two including wine and service)

[Metro, 7 March
Marina O'Loughlin visits Japanese eaterie Shimo in London

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking