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What's on the Menu? 05/01/09

05 January 2009 by
What's on the Menu? 05/01/09

The Guardian, 3 January
Matthew Norman visits The Modern Pantry, London EC1
Even in such a hyper-faddish industry in so neophiliac an age, nothing lately has gone from all the rage to dismally passé with the speed of fusion cooking. At the turn of the century, the mingling of cuisines and ingredients that really should have been offering each other outside had come to offer untold riches to the parodist of rampant pretension, and gloomy bemusement to everyone else.If the gold standard was Shumi, a central London shocker that coalesced the culinary traditions of Italy and Japan before surrendering to closure as its Axis powers predecessors did to the Allies (albeit without a shiitake mushroom cloud), it was hardly alone. During the millennium's earliest years, the nuclear family of fusion joints saw countless members vaporised before the penny finally dropped.
The Modern Pantry - review in full>>

The Independent on Sunday, 4 January
Terry Durack visits The Harwood Arms, London SW6

This is the only review column in the country to my knowledge that asks the restaurateur or chef, post-review, for a statement of intent. One of the interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking, things about doing this is how so many people struggle to actually explain what they are trying to do. At times, it's PR-speak, or worse, business-management lingo (who's to know that KPI are Key Performance Indicators and what do they have to do with restaurants anyway?). But every now and then, you get the whole package: people who know what they want to do, and who simply go and do it. This is why I like The Harwood Arms so much.

The Sunday Telegraph, 4 January
Zoe Williams visits Corrigan's Mayfair, London W1 There is a Mayfair dining rubric that I can't quite put my finger on: a nostalgic fancy that menus should look like giant telegraphs from the olden days, and that lunch should have been written by Evelyn Waugh. In Richard Corrigan's new place the 1930s atmosphere is pronounced, with lovely arts-and-crafts carvings, and gentle but glitzy lighting delivered by chandelier. I had read that it was looking very hushed and recession-blighted, but when J and I were in, on a Friday lunchtime, it was abuzz with diners and jollity. A combination of the interior, the stunningly luxurious menu and the jarring current affairs gave it an appealing, hedonistic, delusional pre-war mood. Or maybe I was reading too much into the fact that there was duck's tongue on the menu. J would not let me order it; he said it would make him feel sad.
Corrigan's Mayfair - review in full>>

The Sunday Times, 4 January
Tiffanie Drake visits Little Chef, Popham Services, Micheldever, Winchester, Hampshire

Of course, it's all about the brand these days. As long as you've got a brand, you've got a sell, and if you've got a sell, there's no end to your riches - homeware, fashion, food, hotels, booze, jewels, music, panto, books . . . the world, as they say, is your commercial oyster. Everyone from the Tate to Topshop, the Beckhams to Boujis, knows this, which is why Jamie Oliver has launched his own magazine, Peaches Geldof hers, Gwyneth Paltrow is giving away her style and chanting tips on a blog and why Coleen Rooney - professional Wag and handbag carrier - is, along with Wayne, in possession of a £35m fortune. (Her status as wife nets her more than £40,000 a month from OK! magazine alone. The mind boggles.)
Little Chef - review in full>>

Jan Moir revisits the six best dishes of 2008

Tracking back through the year, these are our favourite dishes of 2008 from home and abroad…
Mushrooms - and tremendous trofie @ Bocca Di Lupo, London The chef thickly slices a few fat porcini, and sizzles them until they are etched with gold. A chunk of sunshine yellow polenta is heated on the charcoal grill. When both are cooked through and piping hot, they are set on a plate. Gossamer sheets of lardo di Colonnata are laid on top, much in the manner of shrouding the family Chippendales in muslin. The lardo clings and melts to the round caps of mushrooms and the edge of the polenta, leaving a ghostly, salty richness in its wake. The result is whimperingly delicious.
2008 best dishes - review in full>>

By Janet Harmer

E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.

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