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

16 November 2009
What's on the Menu? – A round-up of the latest restaurant reviews

The Daily Telegraph, 14 NovemberJasper Gerard finds intelligent, exacting cooking at Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond, near Glasgow, but wonders why the chef fails to make the most of Scottish produce

Diana's starter of organic smoked salmon with ceviche of razor clams and scallops again infuses the Scottish with the Oriental, now with slightly pickled cucumber. The fatty, smoky salmon is unified with acidic tomatoes and tangy cucumber by a lovely dressing. The salmon is caught in Shetland and smoked in England with, we are told, "secret ingredients". Strange in the age of localism to put so many miles on a piece of fish, but Wishart is unimpressed by the salmon nearby. He does, however, promise Loch Lomond pike. Wishart's presentation is Ramsay-esque pretty, and my beautiful langoustine cannelloni is accomplished, with the endive complementing the orange, though this eclipses the poor crustacean a smidgen. I follow with a veritable NCP multi-storey, stacked with roast fillet of Buccleuch beef topped with caramelised onion and crunchy herb crust. The powerful, 28-day hung meat rests on a floor of potato rosti, surrounded by sautéed wild mushrooms and, unusually, a peppery, slightly spicy Szechuan sauce. (Dinner for two, excluding wine and service, £100. Rating: 3.5/5).

The Guardian, 14 November Matthew Norman says Sir Terence Conran's latest foodie offering, Lutyens in London EC4, is superb

The open-plan kitchen beside an ornately tiled shellfish bar lends lustre to this large space. There's a sharp, appetite-stimulating pleasure in watching people sweat like Phil "The Power" Taylor while you're sat happily sipping a delectable house aperitif, and something deeply alluring about the faint glow from row upon row of copper saucepans. If the main course that emerged from one of those pots was a winner, by then I'd already had a lobster mousse of such fluffy lightness and intense yet delicate flavour that it qualified immediately as a Desert Island Dish… My coq au vin wasn't perfect, the chicken being marginally dry, but it was authentic and rescued by a rich gravy (extra quickly arrived, on request, in a dainty silver jug), chunks of bacon and mushrooms, semi-caramelised shallots and fried bread worth the sacrifice of several years of human existence. Stuffed by now, and purely for research, we shared a tarte fine with a scoop of caramel ice-cream, which proved the pastry chef to be a star even in such stellar company. (Price per head, with wine, water, coffee and service, around £45-55 a head).
Lutyens - review in full >>

The Times, 14 November
Giles Coren is bowled over by a meal dominated by vegetables at The Field Kitchen, Riverford Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon

We were brought, I think, five dishes of vegetables to share. There was spinach mixed with the aforementioned corn: serious green fibre and antioxidants with sweet golden nuggets. There was a very robust, creamy celeriac mash, which must have had a lot of potato in it to have that sort of fluffiness, but it didn't say so, so maybe not. Grilled leeks and unfeasibly tasty cauliflower (one could almost forget, shopping in town, that cauliflower is supposed to have a taste) with a mustard sauce. There was beetroot and carrots roasted with cumin, which affected each vegetable in a slightly different way, and nicely facilitated their contrast, and then also some pistachio nuts for crunch and protein. And red cabbage, braised down to a soft pink roil, but its will not totally broken, with flecks of blue cheese and walnuts. By the time I had piled these lush, minerally, vitaminic, earth-mothering and brilliantly colourful morsels on to my plate, there was barely room for the veal cooked in milk that was the meat part of the meal. (Two course lunch menu, £15.95 a head. Rating: cooking 7/10, vegetables 10/10, sustainability 10/10, overall score 9/10).
The Field Kitchen, Riverford Farm - review in full >>

The Independent on Sunday, 15 November Lisa Markwell enjoys spectacular tasting, beautiful looking and reasonably healthy cuisine prepared by Chris Horridge at Waldo's at Cliveden, Taplow, Berkshire

I'm intrigued by Horridge's "With" and "Without" tasting menus - seven courses that encompass the greatest hits of fine dining - foie gras, sweetbreads, scallops and so on. What's clever is that the "Without" menu aims to offer rich, luxurious dishes without the cream, gluten or sugar…Highlights include veal sweetbreads with parsley-root purée and cocoa nibs with a balm glaze, which is sensational. I've always shied away from sweetbreads but I feel safe in Horridge's hands - and am not disappointed. I don't think I'll ever eat it again as it can't ever be as tender and deftly flavoured. Pan-fried and sesame torchon with quince compote is similarly deliciously unctuous, and - OK I realise this is a meat-oriented list - warm oxtail terrine with crackling and a pickled red-cabbage sorbet is a perfectly judged mix of hot, cold, soft and sharp. Meanwhile, on the "Without" menu, seared turbot with globe artichokes, citrus-zest purée and chorizo foam is dazzling. If nutritionally balanced food can be this good, who needs cream, sugar and wheat? (Around £220 for two, including wine. Rating: 17/20).
Waldo's - review in full >>

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