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

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

Bloomberg, 16 MayRichard Vines recommends 10 non-touristy places to eat in Covent Garden, starting with Wahaca at 66 Chandos Place, London WC2

It's difficult to find good Mexican food in London. A British chef, Thomasina Miers, founded Wahaca two years ago, serving freshly made market food that's colorful and inexpensive. Throw in fast and friendly service and a lively (if noisy) basement dining room, and you'll know why there are lines of people waiting. No need to debate the authenticity of each dish. I'd line up for Pork Pibil (corn tortillas with slow-cooked pork in a Yucatecan marinade) at 3.75 pounds ($5.51), or crisp tortillas with smoked mackerel, smoky black beans, chipotle mayonnaise and a fresh tomato salsa.

Evening Standard, 20 MayHilary Armstrong seeks out the best pizzerias in town, kicking off with Franca Manca at 4 Market Row, Electric Lane, London SW9

This pizzeria has opening hours dictated by its Brixton Market location, so either go for lunch or miss out on London's most celebrated pizzas. No stone has gone unturned in creating the ultimate pizza. The dough is naturally leavened sourdough which is baked in a wood-burning brick oven. The resulting crusts are soft and moreish, with toppings of organic Ligurian tomatoes, cured meats and mozzarella. The biggest surprise? They're cheap - £4.80 for tomato, mozzarella and basil, topping out at £5.90 for the cured organic chorizo. Be prepared to queue.
Franca Manca and other pizzerias- review in full >>

Metro, 13 MayMarina O'Loughlin is bowled over by Nuno Mendes innovative 12-course menu at The Loft, 315 Kingsland Road, London E8

A blow-by-blow account would be overkill but if I say that the most conventional dish is called Thai Explosion With Chicken Skin, it might give you an inkling of what we're in for. How about this? Milk Yuba - milk skin harvested and rolled like Japanese soy-tofu skin - with slippery hearts of leek, a curl of perfectly smoky seared squid echoing the smokiness of mushroom consommé, dotted with delicate flavour bombs of garlic blossom. Or this doozy: Oysters And Onions, Old And New? An oyster glazed with cheese - the perfect encapsulation of ‘fifth taste' umami - with what looks like an egg yolk but is actually onion purée ‘spherified'; super-dried onion dust; and, poured over the top, dark brown, onion-flavoured tapioca pearls. If any of this sounds as though it's verging on the vile (and I'm aware it might), be assured that nothing could be further from the truth.
The Loft - review in full >>

Time Out, 21 MayCharmaine Mok says the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen in Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London W2, is about two-thirds towards reaching its potential

Our salmon fishcakes with herb salad and coleslaw were a treat - the golden-brown pucks loaded with plenty of fish, chunky potato and the welcome aroma of fresh dill. The coleslaw was pleasant, too, with additions of fennel and pomegranate to the usual mix. Potted brown shrimp and crayfish was a wonderfully presented dish, using extremely covetable floral-patterned Burleigh crockery that would not look out of place in Country Living. However, the seafood, served in a dainty teacup, resembled prawn cocktail in a mayonnaise-rich sauce, rather than properly potted shrimps with butter and mace. The accompanying radish and cucumber slices were just that - with no dressing to lift the veg - while the toast fingers were more like bread.
Serpentine Bar & Kitchen - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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