Evening Standard, 18 February
Fay Maschler visits Dockmaster's House, 1 Hertsmere Road, London E14
Metro, 17 February
Marina O'Loughlin visits A Taste of McClements, 8 Station Approach, Kew
There's a curious pattern of noise in this weeny, 20-seater restaurant. Early on, it's hushed and whispery as we all study our identical menus in semi-silence. Sixteen courses of elaborate, complex food are boggling our collective minds. Then, as the long, long evening draws on, a rumble of mild hilarity kicks in as diners drunkenly compare notes with their neighbours. (If you're having wine to match the umpteen dishes, this is pretty much inevitable.) Wasn't that foie gras ‘snow' just phenomenal? But the oyster in jelly? Bleaurgh. Finally, as 11 o'clock rolls round and you realise you have another two courses plus four puddings to go, stultified submission descends. Nobody's remotely hungry any more, while the smug marrieds have run out of things to say to each other and are starting to fret about babysitters. We're pondering whether we can cut and run before the chocolate praline Louis XV, Calvados soufflé, orange Muscat sorbet with jelly, and violet ice cream.
A Taste of McClements - review in full >>
Time Out, 19 February
Guy Dimond visits The Commander, 47 Hereford Road, Westbourne Grove, London W2
A now-defunct restaurant in Finchley, called Just Around the Corner, used an unusual gimmick: the menu had no prices, and customers were asked to pay what they thought the meal was worth. Clearly an effective crowd-puller, as the restaurant thrived for 15 years. And the same ruse has just been revived at the Clerkenwell branch of budget restaurant chain Little Bay. I wish more restaurants would adopt this approach, not least some of the arm-and-a-leg restaurants in Mayfair. But even in shabby-chic Notting Hill, a little pecuniary modesty wouldn't go amiss. At The Commander, I just paid £22 for a small (five-ounce/140g) fillet steak. Just compare this with the price of a large fillet and chips elsewhere.
The Commander - review in full >>
By Janet Harmer
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