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

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

The Guardian, 22 August
Matthew Fort says that with 21212 and The Kitchin in the city, eating in Edinburgh "is looking decidedly zippy"

(Kitching is) not a man to use one ingredient when 15 will do. So the soup course had a layer of pea purée beneath a layer of split pea foam, macadamia nuts, golden sultanas and a wafer of dried yogurt. The first course of summer vegetable ragout, bayonne ham and morels had white asparagus, tête de moine cheese, shallots, a wafer thin slice of dried Granny Smith apple and curls of explosively flavoured sage leaves. This may all seem like merry mayhem and might be were it not for Kitching's ability to balance flavours and textures. His dishes resemble exquisite mobiles, different aspects of which reveal themselves as you munch your way through. It will not be food for everyone, but for my money it is some of the most highly characterised, beautifully realised, best-value cooking in the UK. Tom Kitchin's cooking is no less accomplished but, I suspect, a touch more accessible, more in keeping with classic French haute cuisine. (21212: price per head with drinks and service, around £70. The Kitchin: price per head with drinks and service, around £45).

The Daily Telegraph, 22 August
Jasper Gerard is delighted to discover two Japanese restaurants in Ealing, West London, offering fish as fresh as Nobu's at a fraction of the price - Sushi Hiro and Kiraku

Kiraku ("relax and enjoy") was set up by twentysomething sisters, Ayumi and Erica Tago. Their only restaurant experience was frustration that nowhere in London could they find the authentic flavours of home…We devour kaki fry, deep fried and breaded oysters that are not merely plump but obese. We share sashimi carpaccio salad: salmon, sea bass and tuna slices enhanced by olive oil and lemon juice, with chopped fried garlic adding bitterness. Next we swoop on aubergine, vertically sliced, one half glazed in red, the other white miso, a bean paste from fermented soy beans. The salty red miso, akamiso, is balanced by slightly sweet white miso, shiromiso. We continue with a typical Japanese noodle hotpot, nabeyaki udon, chicken pieces, fishcake, bamboo shoots, wakame seaweed and poached egg, cooked in broth topped with king prawn tempura. It's wonderful and the scattered dried chilli provides an excuse for another cocktail. (Susi Hiro, lunch for two, £32. Rating: 3/5. Kiraku, lunch for two, £38. Rating: 3.5/5).).
Sushi Hiro & Kiraku - review in full >>
The Times, 22 AugustJoe Joseph welcomes Sir Terence Conran's creation of another classic French restaurant in the form of Lutyens Restaurant, Bar & Cellar Rooms, London EC4
The fish soup was pretty good, presumably benefiting from the contents of the crustacea bar on those days when not enough diners were tempted by the fresh fare on offer. A feuilleté of quail eggs was a credit-card size rectangle of puff pastry in which three warm quail eggs slept cosily under a blanket of hollandaise. Good, but not something to order if you like to linger over your first course. You could happily have chosen any of the starters: scallops, a simple artichoke vinaigrette, snails, foie gras, steak tartare, a plate of charcuterie. It's food you can order and enjoy while continuing a conversation, without a waiter feeling the need to explain how each dish was made and from which country the peppercorns were imported. If you skip the salads - and at £4.75 for a lettuce heart, you might feel tempted to - you can move on to buttered lobster, Dover sole, or haddock and chips. A rotisserie offers Landaise chicken and suckling pig. Veal cordon bleu is good, in the manner of posh school food. Roast rabbit was delicious. (Meal for two: £140).
Lutyens - review in full >>
The Observer, 23 August
Jay Rayner tucks into top notch fish and chips at the Magpie Café, Whitby, North Yorkshire

But what really mattered was that fish - haddock - and those chips. The small, priced at £8.95, comes with a reminder that: "This is Yorkshire - have this size and leave room for dessert." But I have never been a small man, in any sense of the word, and had to have the £10.95 regular. It arrived looking like a golden gondola, each end stretching off the plate and curling upwards. I didn't know whether to eat it or sail away in it. The point to deep frying like this is that the batter should provide a protective shield so that the fish inside may steam. That depends on the temperature of the fat, and here it was perfect: the outside crisp so that it shattered under the pressure of fork, the pearly fish inside falling away to flakes. The chips were as chips should be, save in quantity. I could not finish them, and felt ashamed. (Meal for two, including wine and service, £50).
Magpie Café - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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