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

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

The Daily Telegraph, 4 July
Jasper Gerard is charmed by the food at Age & Sons in Ramsgate, Kent, despite the erratic and slow service

Two main courses weren't available and it took 15 minutes to tell us each time… For pudding, the eggs had run out so they had to buy some. Lunch that should have taken an hour and a half took three. It was a fiasco. And you know what? I loved it. Age & Sons offered a blueprint for keeping Johnny Food Critic sweet (and they didn't know who I was). A main course and bottle of wine were put on the house. The chef emerged, sweating and apologising; we were charmed. The pig's face was meltingly soft and the artichoke was wonderfully sweet and buttery. My fowl was the opposite of foul, the sweet acidity of cherry lifting the gamey bird. So often guinea fowl can be drier than a WI convention but this oven-roasted then pan-fried squawker was wickedly moist. Sensational. Dover Sole was also excellent, with salty samphire complementing this melting, kingly fish.
Age & Sons - review in full >>

The Guardian, 4 July
Matthew Norman finds the food at A Taste of McClements in Kew, South West London, is memorable for all the wrong reasons

The best to be said for lunch is thank God it wasn't dinner, when the tasting menu (there is, as the name of the place so wittily implies, no other) runs to 16 dishes rather than just the six. Seared scallops were overcooked and desperately salty, and for some reason a Surreality Champ thought it a wizard wheeze to pair them with deep-fried pear tatin. Quail breast stuffed with foie gras - I genuinely commend the all-in price of £18 with such quality ingredients, not to mention lavish truffles and chocolates - tasted of nothing but salt. Next up came what the menu calls "Gazpachio", which deserved not only a sic but a sick: the combination of desperate oversalting (anyone sense a culinary theme developing?) and a curious, vinegary flavour, vaguely suggestive of one of those labradors in the terminal stage of renal disease, was best suited for use as a makeshift emetic.

The Independent on Sunday, 5 July
Terry Durack signs off as the Independent on Sunday's food critic with a review of a restaurant that has quietly offered top quality and real value for the past ten years, The Glasshouse in Kew, South West London

A main course of lamb rump with spiced couscous and hummus is a departure from convention, the lamb arranged as a raft on a sea of moist couscous, with life buoys of well-made falafel to each side. Flavours are bold and punchy, but it is the cooking and resting of the lamb that brings the dish greatness. No such surprises in a girly, springtime dish of grilled/roast chicken with jambon de Bayonne on a pool of baby vegetables bathed in buttery, chickeny juices. Again, well-picked produce, generosity and precise cooking times turn the safe into the satisfying. The simplest of desserts - just strawberry sorbet with strawberries and crushed meringue - is an Eton mess without the mess.
The Glasshouse - review in full >>

The Observer, 5 July
Jay Rayner enjoys the food and service, but takes issue with everything else, at Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle

The puffed pastry, pear and goat's cheese tartlet was simple and well executed, as was my disk of long-braised pig's cheek with apple purée… The chicken with butter-braised peas and lettuces was perhaps 30 seconds past perfect, but we liked the potato and crabcake with seared bream… No complaints either about the custard tart with the - nice touch - home-made Garibaldi biscuit; I love being reintroduced to childhood pleasures… Still, I quibble…Blackfriars proclaims itself the oldest dining room in Britain, and well it may be, for monks started eating here back in 1239. The walls still stand, but everything else has been fannied about with by someone who doubtless then went on to remodel a bed and breakfast in Torquay some time in 1973.
Blackfriars Restaurant - reviews in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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