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Wabi in Horsham confuses critic Simon Hattenstone

14 July 2010 by
Wabi in Horsham confuses critic Simon Hattenstone

A newly opened Japanese-inspired restaurant from Andre Cachia and Scott Hallworth, former head chef of Nobu London, leaves Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian feeling confused. The food is not the kind of light and elegant Japanese cuisine that he loves and the atmosphere lacks warmth, generosity and care. "Whereas most Japanese restaurants hum with quiet industry, here the (largely British) waiters hang around in a half-arsed manner, and the much feted Australian chef is invisible, despite it being Wabi's first week," he bemoans.

In The Independent, Tracey MacLeod writes about the Company of Cooks-operated Table in Brighton, which she describes as looking like "the perfect modern restaurant". The food, too, is good, with well-sourced local ingredients, dealt with simply and surround with big, punchy flavours. Why then, she asks, is it nearly empty when the nearby chain restaurants are full?

Matthew Norman, meanwhile, cannot understand why anyone would want to go to the Olde Bell Inn in Hurley, Berkshire. In his review in The Daily Telegraph, he says that everything about the place is glacial, including the draughty room, the icy staff and sterility of the grey walls. While the food is passable, it fails to warm Norman's heart.

Joël Atunès's food at Brasserie Joël, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London SE1, is praised by Jay Rayner in The Observer for its French preciseness, but he cannot understand how the chef, who in the 1990s made people swoon at Les Saveurs, can have ended up in a hotel that looks like it has been put together by designers who had watched too much Hotel Babylon. "Is a hotel on a traffic island at the wrong end of Westminster Bridge really the right place for a chef of this calibre?" he asks. "I'll answer the question myself. No. It isn't."

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.

Ex-Nobu head chef to head up new Japanese restaurant >>

Brasserie Joël, London >>

Review of the reviews >>

By Janet Harmer

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