Bloomberg, 10 November
Richard Vines says Philip Howard's new informal eaterie, Kitchen W8, 11-13 Abingdon Road, London W8, is a welcome addition to the capital's dining scene
Sometimes, a dish may stop you in your tracks for the right reasons: cutting through the small talk, pulling your wandering eye back to the plate and causing an involuntary movement that returns wine glass to table. Game consomme with bacon cream and a small game hot dog -a starter at Philip Howard's informal new west London venue, Kitchen W8 — take a bow. (The kitchen is headed by Mark Kempson of the Vineyard at Stockcross, so he should take one, too.) The consomme comes in a mug, and I confess I've asked the restaurant what's in it, rather than just identifying through taste the grouse, venison, pheasant and mallard that have gone into it. It's topped with thick and creamy bacon foam. The texture is like an old-fashioned Irish coffee. It's richly flavored and comforting on a cold day and the gourmet mini-hot dog served on the plate alongside the mug may raise a smile. It's venison, hare and pork and comes with a sweet-and- sour brown sauce with onions, spices, malt vinegar and beer. (Lunch and early dinner menu is £19.50. Rating: 3/4).
Evening Standard, 12 November
Fay Maschler enjoys careful cooking, gentle service and reasonable prices at Made in China, 351 Fulham Broadway, London SW10
My eyes sped to the section at the end of the list of predictable dishes, which is entitled Chef Recommendations. From here, roast black cod with Szechuan sauce delivered a fish so precisely timed that the flesh fanned out like a deck of opalescent cards, with a sauce predictably punchy but not so much so that the flavour was obliterated. Five-spiced chicken was not the sort of assembly that Gerrard Street waiters try to stop the round-eyes ordering but it did have intriguing Cantonese flavour beyond the salty/sweet/hot/sour quartet. On both visits I also tried to order another chef special, duck with crispy yams. On the second occasion, when the waitress said the dish was unavailable, I asked, "Do you think you will ever have it?" She sighed and replied, "Maybe not". We tried instead minced pork with aubergine and salty fish, which was cooked in enough oil to save the planet. (Average price for a meal for two, £75. Rating: 3/5).
Made in China - review in full >>
Time Out, 12 November
Guy Dimond recommends Barrica, 62 Goodge Street, London W1, for great Spanish wine and good food
Top billing (literally) goes to the cured meats, with a plate of jamÁ³n ibérico de bellota at £14. Cut to the thickness of pencil shavings, this cured pata negra ham had concentrated flavour, and was curiously gamy - ours tasted like South African biltong. In contrast, deep-fried sweetbreads and globe artichoke had mild farmyard flavours, but quite appealing textures. Cheeks of monkfish were poached and served in a 'salsa verde' sauce which was nothing of the sort, but was the slithery texture of a Chinese sweetcorn and chicken soup. Back on more familiar territory are dishes such as char-grilled baby leeks with romesco sauce, and PadrÁ³n peppers - deep-fried and salted they're delish, but be warned that one in ten retains a fierce spiciness that brings tears to the eyes. For pudding, we had tarta santiago, a dense almond cake. (Meal for two, with wine and service, around £65. Rating: 4/5).
Barrica - review in full >>
By Janet Harmer
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