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

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

Bloomberg, 18 July

The haddock in the fish and chips (12.50 pounds) was everything you might want: soft and flakey, with light, crisp batter. The chips, by contrast and not the contrast you would want, were limp. If you picked one up to eat it, you'd need to hold it at nose level to make mouth contact, by which time the ketchup will have slid its way down and onto your shirt. While the fish soup was under-seasoned and the pastry in the beautiful feuillete of quail eggs was well done, the Lobster Mousse was a rich, luxurious treat…The desserts — there are about a dozen of them — are among the best-executed items on the menu. They run with the retro theme and include peach melba, blackcurrant jelly with madeleines and creme Chantilly as well as creme brulee. So what if not everything's great in these early days? The dining room — with an open kitchen — is light and elegant; the menu is full of classics that people want to eat; the prices aren't greedy. House Champagne is 9.75 pounds, the plat du jour is 14.50 pounds. Ice cream is five pounds. (Starters £5-8, mains £13-18. Rating: 3/4)
Lutyens - review in full >>

Evening Standard, 23 July
David Sexton says eating at the newly-opened Planet Hollywood, London W1, is equivalent to a TV dinner from hell

The whole place is dominated by giant plasma screens, all showing the same thing: clips from movies and music videos, masterminded by a DJ in a little mezzanine cage. This week there was lots of Michael Jackson, interspersed with car-chases, shoot-outs and a bit of Night at the Museum. And all the diners here, whether in couples or family groups, gaze up at the screens, all the time. They don't look at each other and they don't talk, which is effectively prevented by the mighty sound-system in the roof anyway. Heads tilted back, they put food in their mouths, they chew, they stare upwards, smiling, giggling, vacant…The cooking itself has nothing to be said for it. It is, inevitably on this scale, semi-industrial. Sugar has been put into places where you don't want to find it. "Our World Famous Chicken Crunch" (£7.95) is a starter composed of strips of breast cooked in, dreadfully, "a crunchy, sweet coating". Even a serving of deep-fried crispy calamari (£8.95) in breadcrumbs came with a sickeningly sweet sauce of "thousand island dressing" - and only a useless, thin half slice of lemon as an alternative. (£70-80 for two. Rating 0/5)
Planet Hollywood - review in full >>

Metro, 23 July
Marina O'Loughlin finds bad taste décor and food that is a catalogue of hideousness at Twotwentytwo at the Landmark hotel, London NW1

Prawn cocktail: spermy little frozen prawns awash with astringent, Pepto Bismol-coloured Marie Rose. But it comes in a groovy glass cone set into a groovy scarlet glass cube, so that's OK! Seafood risotto (‘the squid's like chewing a foreskin,' says pal; no, I don't ask) is sickly with cheese, that Italian seafood solecism, and too much tarragon. There are tomato skins swimming in its depths. Our sharing trio - complete with wacky, wavy rectangular plate - features wildly over-salted calamari; dense, tough little lentil samosas; serviceable gravadlax. The inevitable tin bucket of anaemic chips comes with fish (‘What kind of fish is it?' ‘White fish') in a batter so sweet it's like eating fishy cupcakes. The burger, too, is weirdly sugary; I have to scrape off its jammy relish before attempting a bite. Puddings? Er, no thanks. With its ‘special dinning offers', even the twitterfeed can't spell. (A meal for two with wine, water and service costs about £100. Rating: 1/5).
Twotwentytwo - review in full >>

Time Out, 23 July
Guy Dimond enjoys the delights of an impressive new gastropub at the Cadogan Arms, London SW3

The Cadogan Arms is a spacious boozer dating from 1869, now rebuilt and beautifully decorated. Not really restored - some artistic licence has been used with the huge stock brick fireplace and the ceramic tiling - but with its dark wood panelling, antlers on the walls and candelabras on the dining tables, it's a looker, even if having a stuffed rabbit head watching over you is a little disconcerting. Simple dishes done well currently include a fillet of pan-fried trout, balanced on a firm risotto studded with broad beans and coloured with garden peas; and the roast vine tomato soup (pictured above), a bit sweet, but with good intensity of flavour. Some of the desserts read like school favourites, such as the gooseberry and apple crumble, but a shallow dish of crème brÁ»lée would make any French pastry chef proud; a just-set warm custard, delicately flavoured with lavender, with a crisp, wafer-thin sugar lid. (Meal for two, with wine and service, around £70. Rating: 5/5).
Cadogan Arms - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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