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

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

The Independent, 18 July
John Walsh stumbles upon a chef of prodigious talent at Anise despite the environs of the uninspiring Felbridge Hotel in West Sussex

The menu… was a brilliant read. Can I interest you in a starter of "goat's curd pannacotta with white and green asparagus with broad bean and lavender honey"? Would you love to find out whether the "roast corn-fed chicken, glazed drumstick, roast peach and rosemary, spiced gingerbread" was a riot of fruit-herby flavours or a children's dish with delusions of grandeur? And those were just among the starters. The whole menu glowed and sang with ambition. Body-swerving the pannacotta (I abhor goat's cheese), I ordered the confit of sea trout with brown shrimp ravioli, crispy pea shoots and pea velouté. The trout was perfectly cooked and supple, a delicate orange island in a lake of green pea soup. The dish was, in fact, more pea soup with trout than vice versa, but it worked fine. (About £80 for two with wine. Rating: food 4/5, ambience 2/5, service 3/5)

The Times, 18 July
Giles Coren enjoys his best meal in yonks at The Walnut Tree, Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

Cracking menu. Local producers cited (have become irritation in London, but not here, where the drive through sheepland is an appetiser in itself). Esther, full from breakfast, orders salad. Finds it boring. Duh! I have excellent calf's head boudin with warm mustard and caper dressing. Warm lush flesh, pale, sweet, chickenny mildness. Love look of "new season Wye valley asparagus, peas & morels in butter sauce". Anticipate way butter nuzzles into morel chambers like honey in honeycomb, the crunch of a fresh pea and floral twang newly snouted asparagus. So have it as a third main alongside a cassoulet of sweet plump beans - not the weeny awful haricot but proper fat coco beans. With Welsh lamb - v witty. Tasting very Welsh very lamby, a new light summery cassoulet. impressive. (Rating: meat/fish 8/10, cooking 9/10, Welsh beauty 10/10, overall score 9/10)
The Walnut Tree - review in full >>

The Independent on Sunday, 19 July
New reviewer, Toby Young, finds Café Ginkgo, London W6, perfectly captures the spirit of the moment, serving unpretentious and reasonably priced food in a cool space

The food is presented behind a glass counter and the most mouthwatering things on view are the salads. I opt for a slice of ham, spinach, mushroom and cheddar quiche accompanied by a salad of golden beetroot, plum tomato and onion and another of broad beans and radish (a snip at £6.50), while my wife, who is a vegetarian, goes for the three-salad option, adding a third salad of runner beans, sun-blushed tomatoes and artichoke for a total of £5.95…All three salads are good, combining a riot of vibrant colours with wonderfully fresh, summer flavours, and my quiche, which the manager pops into the microwave, is moist and light. Even better are the puddings and pastries that follow. (Around £20 for two. Rating: 15/20)
Café Ginkgo - review in full >>

The Observer, 19 July
Jay Rayner is impressed by the latest offering from Sir Terence Conran - Lutyens, London EC4
You want to know what French classical cooking looks like? Well, here it is, correct in all its parts. Equally so are half-a-dozen snails served on a dimpled piece of Staub ironware that is so hot the butter fizzes and spits the moment it is poured out of the shells. We eat boned rabbit, roasted in an overcoat of crisp bacon, skate wing with tiny brown shrimps and brown butter, and a side dish of carrots that does honour to their kind. At the end we have peach Melba and Eton mess (the latter from that bit of the classic French repertoire which mourns the fact that Calais is no longer British), and both prove why they are such loved dishes. The peach Melba, being absolutely dependent on the quality of the ingredients, sums up the place: raspberries, whose vivacity explains what the British summer is for; a glorious white peach; ice cream served at just the right temperature. (Meal for two, including drinks and service: £110)
Lutyens - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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