The Daily Telegraph, 5 September
Jasper Gerard feels totally satisfied after eating at Tyddyn Llan in Llandrillo
My main course is a beautifully presented duck, drunk on port, with pancake potatoes. Rather than orange which can rather bully a duck, (Bryan) Webb uses seasonal whimberries from the garden. The berries are as fleeting as summer in this lush vale and the plundering of local, seasonal ingredients should be the basis of any rural menu. Rather than deciding to cook duck and fly in oranges from Seville, Webb cooks according to the produce available locally. Diana…enjoys her monkfish, happily paired with salsa verde and spinach as well as thyme-infused tiny Puy lentils. But the show stealer is a shared pudding: prune and almond tart with rum and raisin ice cream. The pastry is crispy but wonderfully buttery while the finest Marcona almonds, ground on site, pollinate my taste buds and still blossom weeks later. (Dinner for two, £106. Rating: 4/5)
The Guardian, 5 September
Matthew Fort describes The Bull at Broughton, North Yorkshire, as decent, cheerful, fun and good value, with terrific grub
I started off with wild rabbit faggots, roast courgette purée and tomato juices - eight two-bite balls of improbably intense rabbit mince, a soothing, rough purée of courgettes and a chirpily fresh tomato sauce with a nip of chilli - a Yorkshire portion, too, and for only £5.50. The quantity alone made the price daft, but the quality showed up the pedestrian nature of much of what passes for gastropub food these days. Even such a hoary favourite as scampi and chips has had a discrete polish. The scampi are proper, sweet-tailed things inside a light, crisp, utterly British beer batter, and they come in a smart wooden bowl rather than a basket. There's a lemon and black pepper mayo to dip them into and a pile of chips. I don't know what makes beef dripping the ideal medium for chips, but it is. (Price per head, with beer and service, around £35)
The Bull - review in full >>
The Independent, 5 September
John Walsh puts Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, straight to the top of his list of "unmissable restaurants" after enjoying his finest meal in a year there
My starter of roasted quail breasts (boned, rolled and glazed in sticky sweet wine) offered a cornucopia of delights: the breasts sang along with a pea purée that was like ice-cream. Ballotines of quail legs rolled in gelatine were served on sticks like ice-lollies, alongside quail eggs deep-fried but with the yolks still runny. It was like an exhibition of the concept of Quail-ness at Tate Modern. My date's pan-fried scallops were gigantic. A light jus of beef and truffle was poured over just before serving (scallops and beef?) and got on brilliantly. The mushroom purée, served with a fairground loop-the-loop of potato, was a knockoutâ¦The main-course corn-fed poussin ("its juices liaised with Madeira" - I loved the executive-speak of "liaised" until I realised it should have been "laced") was crispy outside, tender and sweet inside, the sauce caramelly (that was the Madeira), the accompanying parmesan bonbons crunchy and creamy. (About £190 for two, with wine. Rating: food 5/5, ambience 4/5, service 5/5).
Whatley Manor - review in full >>
The Sunday Times, 6 September
AA Gill says Paul Kitching at 21212 in Edinburgh needs to "untangle his desire to impress from his talent to cook"
The room, which is in a bijou hotel on one of Edinburgh's peerless Georgian crescents, is swag-stuffed and overdecorated to within an inch of its face-lift, which the natives will like. They do like to see where all the money's gone, so they can suck their teeth at where all the money's gone. The menu is five courses. The first choice was smoked salmon nugget, parsnip confit, assiette of apples, goat's cheese and creamy shellfish, or white asparagus, bayonne ham, chicken, white pudding, peas, barley, sweet potato and yoghurt sauce. Now, I defy any of you to make an informed choice. Close your eyes and try to make up that taste. It's like a Glyndebourne-picnic car crash. When it came, the ham and asparagus combo was really very good. (£60 for five course menu. Rating: 3/5)
21212 - review in full >> By Janet Harmer