The Daily Telegraph, 27 March
Jasper Gerard has high expectations of the recently reopened Paris House in Woburn, Bedfordshire, and apart from some minor faults is not disappointed
The food's English flavour continues with kedgeree and another sophisticated reinvention. Large chunks of haddock rather than the customary flakes are so fresh and flavoursome they must resent sharing the bill with creamy risotto and light, bubbly curry foam. Almost as tasty is a humorous take on that pub staple ham and pineapple, complete with egg (quail's again) and chips, but the ham is actually a fantastic smoked hock terrine. I'm less sure about the gravlax, another period starter reminding us (not entirely happily) of an Eighties Battersea dinner party. It looks beautiful: strips of beetroot fashioned in the shape of rosebuds, in which the nectar is a sweet dill sauce. This rests on cured salmon marinated in vodka, but excites less on the palate than the plate. Not a charge levelled at the sublime venison, a main course on the à la carte menu. This is a classic dish, executed perfectly. (Dinner for two, (£181.45, including service).
The Guardian, 27 March
Matthew Norman describes Bibis Italianlissimo in Leeds as a "cheap and cheerless temple to crazed vulgarity"
My spaghetti with spicy meatballs, served within two minutes of being ordered, was a Room 101 dish in which sub-Buitoni pasta, limp as if it had been hanging around waiting for a kettle to revive it, bore the weight of nasty, overcooked spheres of unidentifiable meat. If this was justa lika mamma useda make, you'd be better off with Medea as a mamma. As for my father, only his exquisite good manners when dining out (apologies to advocates of nurture over nature for that blow) can explain his "not bad, not bad. Not good, no, butâ¦" about his involtini - two duck-filled rolls with a spicy orange sauce presumably based on an old Aldo Zilli recipe for industrial solvent. A familiar twang combined with the speed of their arrival to beg a question. "Microwaved?" I asked our waiter. "Mmm," he reluctantly confirmed. Revoltini. (Three courses, with wine and coffee, £30-40 a head. Rating: 1/10).
Bibis Italianissimo - review in full >>
The Independent, 27 March
John Walsh enjoys the setting and service at 36 on the Quay, Emsworth, Hampshire, but urges chef-proprietor Ramon Farthing to take on board a less-is-more approach with the food
The mains showed the same tendency towards random excess. My loin of venison with (deep breath) a timbale of braised red cabbage, glazed fondant potato, fricassee of caramelised swede and baby onions, noisettes of apples and a cassis game sauce was a huge plateful of 20-odd items, similar in size and colour. It was like inspecting a box of chocolates without the explanatory lid. The venison medallions were juicy and beautifully cooked, but the red cabbage had been ill-advisedly braised in honey and the "noisettes" of apple resembled three sorbets added as an afterthought. Would it have been too boring to braise the cabbage with apples? Angie's seabass was accessorised with crisp lime potato slices, a light tomato mousse, courgette ribbons and tender spinach leaves on a roasted shallot cream. It wasn't a wild success. The tomato mousse was a tasteless gloop. The seabass has a slithery, oily quality that suggested a dubious kinship with mackerel. "And the whole thing's too complicated," said Angie. (About £130 for two, with wine. Rating: food 2/5, ambience 4/5, service 4/5)
36 on the Quay - review in full >>
The Times, 27 March
Giles Coren loves the comfort and grandeur of Apsleys - a Heinz Beck Restaurant, London SW1, but is appalled by the prices and the food
My guess is that nobody can cook here for miles and miles around. There was a pointless pre-starter involving dull arancini and then my mother had a lobster and avocado starter that was nothing but a £24 teaspoonful of filling from a posh club sandwich. Esther had a veal and artichoke and truffle thing which the waiter insisted was a terrine but wasn't (it was delicious but too tiny to count as food) and I had a small artichoke soup with a pale sliver of tasteless lobster and a liquorice element to it that was so bitter and rank I started to think Beck must be a great chef after all, because you would need a serious mastery of the elements of cooking to create something this nasty. My "Roasted pigeon royal, pearl onions and mustard seed sauce", a Beck signature dish, was a chewy pigeon lazily hacked into four and catastrophically blackened like a bad mistake at some stoned Rasta's roadside Jamaican jerk shack. (£325.35 for three. Rating: comfort 10/10, cooking 3/10, value 2/10)
Apsleys - review in full >> By Janet Harmer
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