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

01 June 2009 by

The Daily Telegraph, 30 May
Jasper Gerard finds the food at the newly opened Deeson's British Restaurant in Canterbury, Kent, to be a hit and miss affair

Deeson's British Restaurant - review in full >>

The Guardian, 30 May
Matthew Norman says that apart from the sweetness of a lone waiter, everything about Time & Space at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London W1, was a cataclysm

The best I can say for my monkfish is that the repulsive, overpowering black olive mush that covered it like a widow's shawl diverted attention from the fish's texture. It takes something special to overcook this meatiest of piscines until the favourite in a blind tasting is "essence of fish blancmange", while the spinach that came with it may have spent longer in steam than my friend and I have aggregated in a decade at our beloved Turkish baths. Broccoli had more salt than the crab, and lukewarm fat chips were better suited for planing wood. A trio of sorbets was so bewilderingly adequate that a memo should be on the way from head office in Paris demanding an explanation for the anomaly, but rhubarb crumble was squidgily insipid.
Time & Space - review in full >>

The Independent, 30 May
Tracey Macleod was hoping for excitement from No 20 at what is billed to be London's first rock'n'roll hotel, the Sanctum Soho Hotel, London W1

The Wagyu burger - made from the lead singer of the cattle world (fed on beer and massaged daily) - was definitely a cut above, with a moist, open texture and good char-grilled surface. But the accompanying skinny fries tasted frozen, even if they may not have been. Spit-roast Goosnargh chicken and Longhorn rib-eye steak were both decent bits of meat, properly prepared, and pan-fried sea bream on cauliflower cream with Dublin Bay prawns was a really well-executed dish, if pricey at £24.95. The food was better than we expected, but by the end of the evening, there was no escaping the fact that we were on our own in a near-empty hotel dining room. No rock stars, no magnums of Cristal being cracked open, and only the soundtrack of Nineties-style chill-out music to ease the come-down. In fact there is something about Sanctum, with its diamanté door handles and rooftop hot-tub, that feels like it has missed its time, in a way that the Soho House and its offshoots never do.
No 20 - review in full >>

The Sunday Times, 31 May
AA Gill totally resented paying for the food at Ba Shan in London W1, despite the friendly service

The seats were the first thing I noticed: they were, in fact, small occasional tables, designed for people without buttocks or perhaps a surplus of buttock. The decor is that particular Chinese school of gratuitous undesign, where a room is tortured until it reveals where it buried the feng shui. This one had been turned inside out so that its insides looked like an outside with fake eaves and tiles and stuff. The food was in keeping with the precipitous decline in the capital's oriental kitchens as Hong Kong immigrants find better-paying and more cerebral things to do than shovel chow mein down the throats of drunken Geordies. It was awful. Badly seasoned, viciously oversalted, with flavours that elided into a Pot Noodle brownness. Sad little polyps of dim sum were stuffed dough balls.
Ba Shan - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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