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

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

Bloomberg, 25 April
Richard Vines enjoys the food and low prices at Sedap, 102 Old Street, London EC1

The set lunch is £5.65, a lot less than people used to pay for a glass of Champagne while studying the menu at fancy establishments like Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. At Sedap, that buys you soup, salad or spring rolls, then a meat dish with boiled rice, egg-fried rice or noodles…. The tables are bare, the walls decorated with a few pictures and knick-knacks. You hardly need fancy surroundings for street food. But you can taste the fresh herbs and spices and that Curry Tumis dish is particularly good, enlivened by tamarind, galangal, lemongrass and praew leaf. While I'd normally place the pleasures of "cheap eats" at around the level of decaffeinated coffee, alcohol-free lager and soy burgers, I liked the food so much, I asked for recommendations. That brought a polite beef rendang. The meat was good — far less fatty and stringy than you often get — but another time I'd invite them to pump up the volume heatwise.

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Evening Standard, 29 April
Fay Maschler is unsure about the name and the décor at the newly opened pub, the Swan & Edgar, 43 Linhope Street, London NW1, where she tuck into some homely dishes

Ceasar (sic) salad featured those ¬silvery-white anchovies, which are not an improvement on the salted, tinned variety in this dish. The promised soft-boiled egg was indeed soft-boiled but a classic Caesar would have used runny yolk to dress and caress the leaves. Home-made sheppards (sic) pie served in a big soup plate did look and also taste home-made and arrived accompanied by green beans, carrots and cauliflower, almost enough veg - taking into account the pieces in the pie - to constitute that five a day. Hand-made chicken and asparagus pie served with mash and honey and cardamom-glazed carrots introduced the game of hunt-the-asparagus. The texture of the chicken was so woolly as to make the generosity of the serving slightly punitive. The Chantenay carrots were good.
Swan & Edgar - review in full >>Metro, 28 April
Marina O'Loughlin finds the latest offering from the Hell's Kitchen chef, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill at 109-117 Middlesex Street, London E1, resembles "a lazy franchise"

Kipper pÁ¢té (do you see the level of ambition here?) isn't bad but it's vast, fridge cold and served not with Melba toast as promised but just, well, toast. Gravadlax - it is! It's 1978! - is slippery and bland, lacking the punch this hoary old warhorse can deliver when well done. My halibut - accommodatingly pan-fried as opposed to steamed - is a decent bit of fish but overcooked into leatheriness. And the steak, a ribeye, crusted with black pepper and crowned with booze-soaked ‘raisin secs', is a miserable wee thing, thin and tasting fried rather than grilled. From mail-order mavens Donald Russell, the quality is fine but the lack of value for money makes us gasp. And chips (£3.75) may well have been triple cooked but the uniformity of shape and familiar dimensions didn't entirely smack of the artisan.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill - review in full >>

Time Out, 30 April
Charmaine Mok says for a gallery eaterie, the Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room at 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1, is a decent place to dine, despite the frugal servings and enthusiastic pricing


Mains are priced rather high, with the cheapest of four options being the single vegetarian option ('textures' of heritage carrots, with pancake, baklava, soup and houmous) at £13.50; our dish of chargrilled lamb with a braised lamb shoulder parcel cost a staggering £17.75. Lest you expect some veg on your plate for that price, you won't get it - sides, such as 'smashed' spuds with crème fraÁ®che, or steamed greens with lemon oil and toasted almonds, will set you back an additional £4.50…. The highlight of the lamb dish was the braised lamb shoulder meat encased in filo pastry, studded with preserved lemons and dates - a taste of Meditteranean (sic) sun. Less successful were the accompanying chickpea chips, which resembled dry Jenga blocks rather than than golden, crisp chips. A dish of roasted rabbit with a caper, rosemary and sage stuffing served with a white bean purée, roasted fennel and gravy was not much of a looker, being various shades of brown and beige. But it was far from bland; the rosemary and sage overpowered (in both flavour and quantity) the tender rabbit.
Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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