Bloomberg, 30 October
Richard Vines says the main letdown at the newly opened Pizza East in London E1is, bizarrely, the pizza
The Pizza East tomato sauce is sweet and lacks depth. Some of the toppings, though, offer surprisingly successful flavor combinations. I can't say veal meatballs, prosciutto, sage, lemon, parsley and cream (13 pounds/$21.25) would have been high on my list. It is now. Portobello mushrooms, tomato, shallot, parsley, egg (10 pounds) is also an unusual combo that works. But strip away the razzle-dazzle pizzas and focus on the basic margherita, for example, and the assertive base dominates. Knives won't even cut through it without a lot of sawing. The starters are inventive, and the wood-roasted mussels with garlic and fennel aioli are particularly flavorful. These are creamy and soft. There's also a decent salad of wild rocket, shaved fennel, almonds, parmesan, lemon, extra virgin olive oil. (Pizzas start at £6. Rating: 3/4).
Metro, 4 November
Marina O'Loughlin is unimpressed by the overblown décor and the misconceived dishes at Apsleys - A Heinz Beck Restaurant at The Lanesborough, London SW1
The amuse is a dense, creamy Parmesan fondue that's stone cold with a weeny veal terrine. ‘Is it supposed to be like this?' It is. Duck leg and breast, slow-cooked on a puck of red cabbage is basically a good dish, though sweatily over-vinegared. There is one spectacular duffer: ‘"cod nero" with chickpeas'. Somewhat slimy fish - sous vide-d? - on a bed of chickpea mousse that's like hot hummus, bizarrely adorned with what appear to be Rice Krispies (a theme that recurs throughout our meal) and stains of thin, shocking pink pepper juice. All for the cost of £30. My guest, a gal who runs London's pioneering underground restaurant where three courses plus booze cost less than this, is boggling. Unlike queen of passive aggression moi, she complains. Staff remove the offending dish and scuttle off to ‘talk to chef'. I am agog to see if this has any impact on the bill. It does not. The lunch is not an enjoyable experience. (A meal for two with wine, water and service, costs about £150. Rating: 2/5).
Apsleys - review in full >>
Guy Dimond is delighted there is little he would change about the latest reincarnation of the Princess of Shoreditch in London EC2
The starter of caramelised salsify with scallops and wild mushrooms was cooked Á point, and the presentation exquisite; the concentrated flavour of the salsify contrasting with the subtlety of the scallops. The catch is, it's a starter dish that costs £9.50. Abandon hope of a cheap pub meal, all ye who enter this dining room. Main courses show equal finesse, such as cider-braised pork belly, cooked to moist tenderness but with strips of crackling which were crisp and pleasingly chewy; the plate was colourfully decorated with a purée of this, a splash of that, in the southern French way. Pub lamb is too often flaccid and overcooked. Not here, where it was medium-rare, and served with flageolet beans and a thyme-infused jus that was evocative of French country cooking. (Meal for two, with wine and service, £50 on the ground floor, £90 on the first floor. Rating: 5/5).
Princess of Shoreditch - review in full >>
By Janet Harmer
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