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

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

The Daily Telegraph, 28 March
Jasper Gerard visits The Granary Restaurant, Sissinghurst, Kent
Remember those school essay questions that started with a seemingly outlandish proposition followed by the most open-ended word in the language: "Discuss". Well I've one for you: The National Trust now does more harm than good. Discuss. In evidence, I refer you to the recent BBC documentary Sissinghurst. Vita Sackville-West's Kentish garden is a shrine for the green-fingered, but under the Trust's dead hand has been cast adrift from the estate that supported it. No wonder Sissinghurst's beauty seems rather lifeless, like a cut flower's. The series showed Vita's grandson Adam Nicolson trying to persuade the Trust to be more holistic. It didn't seem too outlandish a request, but the Trust could scarcely have looked more gobsmacked if Nicolson had suggested turning Sissinghurst into a knocking shop.

The Guardian, 28 March
Matthew Norman visits Equilibrium at Fawsley Hall, Fawsley, near Daventry, Northamptonshire

Equilibrium at Fawsley Hall is a rare and precious thing. It belongs to that minuscule industry subspecies known as Jonathan Routh Restaurants because it doesn't take long before your eyes head towards the entrance in search of Candid Camera's creator because, despite the apparent limitations of his death, only a prankster of such genius could be responsible. I barely know where to begin with this one, so let's follow Julie Andrews and start at the very beginning, with the oppressive baronial hall in which we sat over drinks staring at copies of famous portraits of monarchs seemingly bought from the Rolf Harris Memorial Car Boot. From there we were led to a wildly portentous, stone-walled dining room in which the royal coat of arms sits above a huge, candle-filled fireplace.
Equilibrium at Fawsley Hall - review in full >>

The Independent, 28 March
John Walsh visits Trishna, London W1
Trishna is a clever name for an Anglo-Indian restaurant, since it skilfully conflates Krishna, the Hindu deity, and Trisha, the state-of-England, daytime-TV, chavs-in-a-pickle show. But when you first clap eyes on its graceful double-frontage, it's so far from the Indian stereotype, you wonder if you've come to the right place. The décor is minimal, like a chic Chelsea schoolroom: whitewashed walls, pale grey-green wooden slats like the backdrop of a Hammershoi painting, wood and marble flooring, chrome lamps, gleaming glassware. It's marvellously fresh and clean looking. Of flock wallpaper, pictures of Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai and the whiff of fenugreek, there was no sight (or trace) at all.
Trishna - review in full >>

The Observer, 29 March
Jay Rayner visits Michael Caines at the Abode Hotel, Manchester

The last time I ate at a Michael Caines restaurant, at the Abode Hotel in Canterbury, the only thing I really didn't hate was my companion. Stephen was great. Everything else was that killer mix of slapdash - sauce stains on the menu, stale bread - and food that had been painted on to the plate in pretty patterns but which gave mediocre a bad name. Eating there left a nasty taste in the mouth and you can't say worse of a restaurant. At the time I ventured in, it was the nadir of the big-name-chef roll-out; so Caines, who holds two stars at Gidleigh Park in Devon, had apparently concluded his name and reputation would do for his business plan what the rabble of lousy staff he had employed could not. Enough with the bum notes. There is another way - as I have just had proved to me by another Michael Caines restaurant, this time at the Abode Hotel in Manchester. Right now, at lunchtime, it is offering what must be one of the best bargains in the world of serious cooking available in Britain today.
Michael Caines at the Abode Hotel - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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