Evening Standard, 3 SeptemberDavid Sexton is under whelmed by Lower East Liquor Bar & Bistro, 26 Westferry Circus, London E14, supposedly inspired by the neighbourhood restaurants of Manhatten
Right from the off, you get painfully false hospitality, being introduced to your hostess, asked if you've had a good day and urged "Enjoy!"… A crab cake starter (£7) was two smallish patties of claw meat, quite moist although not very crab-flavoured, served with some mayonnaise, or very bland aioli, and a little salad of dill-dressed cucumber in a sweetened dressing. Shrimp salad (£7) came in a sundae glass, with three prawns hanging over the edge. Inside there was some avocado and softened pepper but not much detectable salad: essentially, it was a prawn and mayo calorie grenade. I was advised to try the monkfish piccante (£15). A generous serving, cooked with caper berries and a lemony butter sauce, it came piled up on some decent spinach, perked up with pine nuts. But the fish itself tasted a lot less fresh than some plastic-packed fillets from M&S I'd cooked earlier in the week, never mind the quality you can buy from Steve Hatt. Not inedible, just a touch fatigued, as we were too by now.
Metro, 2 September
Andy Lynes suggests that eating at Sir Terence Conran's Lutyens, 85 Fleet Street, London EC4 - with its fine food and exemplary service - will make your day
Desserts were nothing short of historic. If there's a better tarte fine I'd like to know about it; the large puff pastry disc topped with thin, overlapping slices of apple looked spectacular and tasted so light and delicate that you could kid yourself you'd picked the diet option. No such luck with a wedge of Saint Emilion au chocolat, which offered a refined and exquisite demise by cacao. But the real triumph here is the polished and friendly service. From our waitress, who happily fielded our numerous questions and let slip that table number two is Sir Tel's favourite, to the approachable sommelier who enthusiastically hunted out bottles under £30 from the extensive wine list (a £25 Pinot Blanc from Alsace was a cracker), we couldn't have been made to feel more welcome or valued. And when the maÁ®tre d' thanked us for coming, we believed he really meant it. A meal for two, with wine, water and service, costs about £115. Rating: 4/5).
Lutyens - review in full >>
Time Out, 2 September
Charmaine Mok enjoys cheap, delicious and fast food at Yalla Yalla, 1 Green's Court, London W1
Seating less than two dozen people, it's a sweet little place that's perfect for either collecting some on-the-hoof tucker or for a sit-down meal. It's no hole-in-the-wall joint though- the facade is a striking combination of black and yellow, while the interior mixes moody black and white photographs with bright paintings and white walls that reflect the lightâ¦Our baba ghannouj (or moutabel) with pomegranate seeds, the juicy tang of lemon and a little pool of nutty (and almost mustardy) olive oil came together perfectly. The aubergine had been chargrilled before, imbuing a deep, smokey depth. Fattoush, a salad of chopped ripe tomatoes, crisp pieces of pitta bread, parsley, mint and the crunch of radish and cucumber was a triumph - intensely flavoured and balanced in its piquancy (which came from sour sumac). Most curiously, the savoury flavours faded away between each mouthful, leaving us wanting more with each bite. (Meal for two with wine and service, around £40. Rating: 4/5).
Yalla Yalla - review in full >>
By Janet Harmer