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What's on the Menu? – A round-up of the latest restaurant reviews

20 March 2009 by
What's on the Menu? – A round-up of the latest restaurant reviews

Bloomberg, 14 March
Richard Vines visits Dockmaster's House, London E14, & Bombay Brasserie, London SW7

Dockmaster's House must have looked like a good idea on paper, like a collateralized debt obligation or a 16 million-pound ($22 million) pension pot. Good food? Check. Popular cuisine? Check. Beautiful rooms? Check. Comfortable bars? Check. Corporate customers? Whoops. This posh Indian eatery in London's Docklands, conceived in a time of plenty, opened in a post-Lehman world where a business lunch is a cheap sandwich and keeping your job is a bonus. I sat alone nursing a beer in the venue's 100-capacity cellar bar and pondered how cruel the restaurant industry can be, even without Gordon Ramsay shouting or mystery illnesses prompting complaints from about 400 diners a la Fat Duck.
Dockmaster's House & Bombay Brasserie - review in full >>

Evening Standard, 18 March
Fay Maschler visits Scalini, London SW3

On 1 April 1957 BBC TV's Panorama broadcast a programme about the unusually bountiful spaghetti harvest in the Po Valley. Viewers were shown pickers gathering strands of spaghetti from tall bushes and later celebrating the successful vendange with a meal of spaghetti in tomato sauce. Letters of explanation sent to those who wrote in wanting to start their own pasta plantation included the information that "spaghetti is not a widely eaten food in the UK and is considered by many as an exotic delicacy". And maybe also the hint that the programme was broadcast on April Fools' Day. The story has given Alasdair Scott Sutherland the title for his book, published on 1 April this year. The Spaghetti Tree (Primavera Books, £14.99) tells in awe-inspiring detail the history of Italian restaurants in London, taking as the starting point the opening of La Trattoria Terrazza in Romilly Street.
Scalini - review in full >>

Metro, 17 March
Marina O'Loughlin visits Bombay Brasserie, London SW7

Bombay Brasserie - review in full >>

Time Out, 19 March
Guy Dimond visits Royal Wok, London E2

Dongbei - literally, 'East-North', in Chinese - is what we used to call Manchuria. This cold region, between Russia and North Korea and comprising several provinces, isn't a renowned culinary area in the way that, say, Sichuan, Guangdong (Canton), or even Hangzhou, Fujian, or Chiuchow are. Dongbei food's filling and hearty, with generous portions of potatoes, stewed noodles, dumplings and salty sauces commonplace. In Beijing, Dongbei places are popular theme restaurants; the waitresses wear brightly coloured Manchurian peasant costumes, the furniture's rustic, and the dining rooms reek of cigarette smoke and cheap booze. Royal Wok's not a theme restaurant, but it is one of a small number of eateries serving Dongbei dishes outside China. It even has a proper Dongbei chef, from Shenyang in Liaoning province
Royal Wok- review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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