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

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

The Guardian, 3 October
Matthew Norman enjoys one of the most pleasing meals he has eaten in years at The Wild Garlic in Beaminster, Dorset, opened by this year's MasterChef winner Mat Follas

The Wild Garlic - review in full >>

The Times, 3 October
Giles Coren is delighted to find terrific service and good, simple, modern home cooking at The King John Inn in Tollard Royal, Wiltshire
Portland crab on toast had not come far, and was all just yummy white meat for a change. There was a good, firm, rugged partridge and wild mushroom terrine; excellent salmon rillettes with pickled cucumber, sour cream and chives; and a cute little goat's cheese mousse with tapenade…We had a top-class saddle of venison (redcurrant jus a bit sharp if anything) and half a guinea fowl, which came with a faultless celeriac and goat's cheese dauphinoise - cunningly eschewing lactose and potato starch, sworn enemies of supermodels and fat critics. The puddings (apple and fig crumble, banana and chocolate bread and butter pudding…) looked stonking, but we just couldn't. Not with more boules planned for the next morning. Only one thing disappointed me: that it was only half-full on a Friday night. It should have been rammed. (£100 for four, not counting booze. Rating: meat/fish 9/10, cooking 7/10, service 8/10)
The King John Inn - review in full >>

The Observer, 4 October
Jay Rayner says the chefs at World Service in Nottingham are competent cooks, but are trying too hard to produce highly, evolved ultra-modern food that is exhausting for the customer

A single scallop comes with cauliflower prepared so many ways I drifted off while the waiter was explaining them: it had been dried and made into a kind of couscous, and maybe a purée. There was a fluid gel of apple and firm cubes of a slightly grainy apple jelly and a slice of Bresola lurking there as if it had wandered in from another dish and been too embarrassed to leave. A starter of mackerel came with strawberries and compressed watermelon, various purées, a wasabi foam, a bicycle pump, a speculum and a Sinclair ZX80. OK, I made up the last three, but you get the point. These plates hadn't been dressed - they had been invaded by marauding gangs of ingredients…The effect was to completely overwhelm and hide the main event. The scallop was accurately cooked. The mackerel was cleverly prepared, too. That's not what I was left thinking about. I was left wondering who thought watermelon and mackerel needed introducing. …The dish that worked the best was the most simply presented: a tranche of cod on a mirepoix studded with brown shrimps, the whole surrounded by what was described as a tartare velouté - a light, bright, acidic sauce studded with tiny capers.
World Service - review in full >>
The Sunday Telegraph, 4 October
Zoe Williams finds Avista in the Millennium Hotel, London W1, is either very special and amazing or inexplicable

A had the melon and parma ham (£11), which was perfect: the melon was ripe and tasted of melon, the ham was extremely refined. It didn't take much skill, but then some things don't. It augured well for the meal ahead; there are probably schools of gastronomy that say that's the entire point of a starter. I, meanwhile, had deep-fried mozzarella with anchovies and Pachino tomatoes (£9.50). This was totally delicious, but I think would have gone down better, as a high-class experience, if it didn't so incredibly strongly resemble a toasted cheese sandwich. Seriously, it was even cut in triangular quarters and deep-fried. It looked like something your auntie might give you when you'd just had bad news…Puds, in fact, were somewhat idiosyncratic, by virtue of being enormous. A had the hot chocolate foam from the Caribbean with raspberries and ginger (£8.50).Honestly, it was the size, consistency and, now I think about it, colour of a hearty stew. Much too daunting for a dessert and not so special that the sin of hugeness was instantly forgiven. I had the marinated melon and peach (£7), with almond ice cream and tea gelatine - very virtuous and subtle. (Three courses: £35.25. Rating: 7.5/10).
Avista - review in full >>

By Janet Harmer

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