The Guardian, 11 April
Matthew Norman visits The Crown, Amersham, Buckinghamshire As everyone's favourite posthumous sage, Brian Clough, observed, the gulf between logical expectation and ensuing reality can tend towards the immense. He put it less pompously, of course, when on the eve of the 1973 FA Cup final he dismissed with typical pith the consensus view that Don Revie's mighty Leeds would gobble up the minnows of Sunderland. On paper, it looked no contest, agreed Cloughie - "But you don't play football on paper, yooong man." There was no arguing with that (imagine the paper burns to the knees), and the following day Sunderland confirmed his prescience by producing the most joyous upset in Cup history on grass. What brings this memory to mind is the website of the Crown Inn in Amersham, that pretty market town at the farthest end of Betjeman's Metroland. Could there be a phonier and more irksome concept than a "modern day coaching inn… a place of rest and sustenance… a necessary stop for travellers from the rigours of the road"?
The Crown - review in full >>
The Independent, 11 April
John Walsh visits JSW, Petersfield, Hampshire
Sunday Telegraph, 12 April
Zoe Williams visits Trishna, London W1
Trishna, a new Indian restaurant, is a strange space: nicely put together and bacheloresque in sensibility, but the first room feels a bit like a corridor, and the second room feels like the back room. You would struggle to decide which the main bit was. But it has the advantage over other restaurants, not necessarily an unfair one, of appearing to have thought long and hard about what diners would actually like. Imagine for a crazy second that you're just two or maybe four friends meeting up (the crowd did, incidentally, seem very leisure rather than business). If you wanted mediocre or boring food, you'd be at one of your houses. But you don't want to spend a lot of time fussing, and you definitely don't want waiters hovering over you saying, ‘And this is a piece of something with a something-else foam.' Admit it, even the ordering is boring. You don't want an insane tasting menu for a million pounds. You just want a varied, preordained selection of deliciousness, for £34.50. And that's exactly what we got with the Koliwada menu (you can also eat Á la carte).
Trishna - review in full >>
The Sunday Times, 12 April
Rod Liddle visits The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire
The Vineyard is the sort of place I usually go out of my way to avoid; it looks, from the outside, like the apogee of modern, corporate pomposity. You look at it and think: I'm going to be overcharged and I'm going to want to punch the sommelier. It's going to put me in a bad mood and I'm going to end up disliking Berkshire even more than I do already. (I've always had an irrational fear of the county. Berkshirephobia. I don't mean just Reading, either. I mean its green horsy hills and Edwardian Thameside villas, too. And that baleful stretch along the M4 towards Slough, and especially Maidenhead: "It's not their fault they do not know/The birdsong from the radio/It's not their fault they often go/To Maidenhead." Betjeman had the measure of the place.)
The Vineyard - review in full >>
By Janet Harmer
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