The Independent, 24 January
Tracey MacLeod visits Boundary, 2-4 Boundary Street, London E2
Anyone looking for a neat illustration of the Two Britains would find the polarity starkly showcased in the Shoreditch area of east London. Just off Shoreditch High Street, where Brick Lane market peters out into a grungy warren of warehouses and strip pubs, are hidden some of the capital's most opulent palaces of entertainment. The opening of the eccentric, expensive Les Trois Garçons in this down-at-heel quarter, followed by Shoreditch House, the largest and most fabulous London offshoot of the private members' club Soho House, triggered a general dusting off of A to Zs by fashionable pleasure-seekers. And now, with a certain inevitability, these pioneers have been joined by Sir Terence Conran, who has known an up-and-coming area since he opened the Soup Kitchen on the King's Road in 1953. His latest offering, Boundary, comprising a restaurant, café, hotel and foodstore, is very much a labour of love for Sir T, who has largely financed it himself (presumably using some of the profits from the sale of the Conran Restaurant Group).
The Times, 24 January
Giles Coren visits The French Laundry, Yountville, California The first time I went to El Bulli, back in October 2002, I did a lot of preparatory reading to get myself in the zone for a meal at the Best Restaurant in the World. I wanted to know what to order and how to eat it, where it came from and what it meant. When you're eating at the Best Restaurant in the World, you don't just rock up around eight, order, gobble, sweat, fart, giggle and leave. And I remember reading a lot about how important the journey was, at least according to El Bulli's chef/prop, Ferran AdriÁ . There was the flight (for most people) to Barcelona, then the three-hour drive to Rosas on the French border, then the rocky, potholed, apparently interminable road up a mountain, through the duskscape of bent, black, sea-blasted trees, the dead man's curve in the road down to the restaurant, and eventually the warm glow of AdriÁ 's hobbit-hole mecca at the edge of the sea.
The French Laundry - review in full>>
The Observer, 25 January
Jay Rayner visits Bocca di Lupo, 12 Archer Street, London W1
The menu at Bocca di Lupo - literally "the mouth of the wolf" - reads like a wine list. Every dish comes with its own appellation. Looking for something from Umbria tonight? Why not try the shaved radish with celeriac and pecorino? Feeling a little Tuscan? There's the roast poussin with the panzanella salad. Or why not just go wild and delve into the less-explored cuisine of Piemonte with the bone marrow, Barolo and radicchio risotto? A lot of this is championship-level grandstanding. Unlike wines, which really do come from the places with which they are labelled, most of the ingredients won't have been anywhere near the regions that inspired their use. And some of the interpretations are pretty loose. I've eaten in Tuscany an awful lot over the years and never seen anything that looked like that poussin dish. It is, though, rather clever. It manages to make the menu look thoroughly regional when in truth it ranges far and wide across the country, just like any other modern Italian.
Bocca di Lupo - review in full>>
The Sunday Telegraph, 25 January
Zoe Williams visits Tsunami, 93 Charlotte Street, London W1 Tsunami had existed in Clapham for some years before it unleashed itself upon Fitzrovia, so I was no virgin in this place. There's always a danger of getting misty-eyed over local restaurants because they're just so deliciously close, but I have evidence of Tsunami's excellence above and beyond the demands of my own sloth. On two separate occasions I've been there, with two separate people, and a dish has been so delicious that we've gone ahead and ordered it all over again. I don't want to over-egg this. You're probably thinking, a person who over-eggs, no wonder she over-eats. Let's just say I greeted news of its empire-building with untrammelled goodwill.
Tsunami - review in full>>
By Janet Harmer