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

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

Daily Telegraph, 4 June
Jasper Gerard says the food feeds the atmosphere at Bistro Bruno Loubet, Clerkenwell, EC1 where the minimalist space is matched by the pared back food.

Bistro Bruno Loubet - full review >>
The Independent, 5 June
Despite the feeling of "stepping into the past" about stepping into Chapter One in Locksbottom, Kent, John Walsh say it's his top gastronomic find of the year so far

Head chef Andrew McLeish's cooking combines vertiginous sophistication with fabulous flavours; the beauty of his creations doesn't mean that he skimps on taste. My smoked eel with beetroots and celeriac featured quite the prettiest frilly rasher of bacon (sorry, chargrilled pancetta) I've ever seen, with a beetroot jus like an elongated lollipop. It was delicious. The mains maintained the high standard. Pan-fried wild halibut was sweet and moist, and the accompanying shredded celeriac danced along with tiny St George mushrooms; the only bum note was a superfluity of lobster foam. (Hasn't foam had its day now? Can we please go back to sauce?) A word about vegetables. We treated them as an afterthought and tried them when our main courses were finished. They were astounding. When were carrots ever so tasty? How do you mash potatoes to the unearthly consistency of Chapter One mash, so delicious you feel you'd eat it in bed for breakfast? (About £120 for two with wine. Rating: Food: 5/5, Ambience: 3/5, Service: 4/5)
Chapter One - full review >>

Guardian, 5 June
Matthew Norman finds the menu at Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, London SW1, unmemorable and mediocre, giving Heston Blumenthal's forthcoming restaurant upstairs "not much to beat"

The rosette de Lyon, ham, pork pÁ¢té with foie gras, another with chicken liver and a rabbit terrine all proved nice enough, if unmemorable. The portions were on the Hubble-telescope-to-table-nine side of measly, however, and the austerity years rationing of one small piece of toast each had me fantasising about a powdered egg omelette and spam rillette. My friend went for a hamburger winsomely known as a DBGB piggie burger due to the addition of pulled pork, along with green chilli mayonnaise, red cabbage slaw and decent frites. "All a bit nothing," was the verdict as he turned disconsolately to the photo behind him. "Wish I was in Lyon, eating proper food." My weeny merguez, resting flaccidly on couscous, franked the inoffensiveness form, while another, fatter nine quid banger, "the Beaujolaise" - an amalgam of pork, mushroom, onion and bacon - seemed less a sausage than a loose coalition struggling to coexist amicably under the one skin. On this form, Heston will kick Boulud's arse so hard that this mediocrity will take its rightful place as an overflow pen for those who can't get in upstairs.
Bar Boulud - full review >>

Observer, 6 June
Jay Rayner finds that although the menu at The Curlew in East Sussex is simple and unpretentious, it soars when it comes to taste

And then my chops and chips, a slab of what the Americans call short rib and we call Jacob's ladder, slow-cooked for two days (yes, really) then darkly glazed and served with dripping-fried chips. I want a picture of it on my bedside table. The duck in another main, with rhubarb and fennel, was a little overdone - where was the blood? - but it still tasted properly of animal. Happily, desserts are up to the standard of the rest: a superb orange-flavoured burnt cream; a light, crisp-shelled almond cake in a puddle of syrup, and a riff on Waldorf salad - Stilton ice cream, walnuts, apple jelly, celery, a dash of sherbet - which shouldn't have worked but did. Please go. Sure, your mouth will water, but only because mouths always do. Much more important is this: the food is great.
The Curlew - full review >>

The Times, 6 June
Giles Coren is unimpressed by the dreariness of the décor at Michel Roux Junior's co-venture with Compass' Restaurant Associates, Roux at Parliament Square, London SW1, but cannot praise the precise, effortless cooking enough.

Sweet langoustine torsos all pink and curled like embryos, poached in butter and wearing a nappy of Jabugo ham, prostrate around a green pea mousse of wonderful luminescence and freshness. Two joints of roasted quail, dark brown and sticky, pepped with pickled radish and then made woody and light with hazelnuts. And most marvellous of all, Landes foie gras, sautéed and dressed with a pistachio crumble and rhubarb: a classic English autumn pudding made into a perfect French springtime starter. Little grace notes come back to me occasionally even as I reflect on the grandstand dishes: a wild garlic flower lounging in the handle of a casserole, tiny studs of sticky salsify somewhere, the skin-graft thinness of a meringue on a panna cotta pre-dessert… (Rating: 9/10)
Roux at Parliament Square - full review >>

The Telegraph, 7 June
Zoe Williams says Time & Space in the Royal Institute of Great Britain, London, W1, feels like a restaurant designed by a committee with lots of innovation but no accompanying personality

The menu looks cheap: scrappy paper and design-student font, with unnatural prominence given to the burger, so that you wonder for a second whether they even know how to cook sea bass. (No, is the answer. A great big no.) The asparagus panna cotta with asparagus tips and a crispy-bacon dressing (£7.50) worked beautifully. It was a stylish and tasty notion, though not one that would make you leap from your seat and halloo the chef. I carried on with the sea bass (£15.95). Basically, the fish had been partially - some might say incompetently - boned, but sliced laterally in four (too large) trunks, each of which was stuffed with crab and chervil. Without being skinned, they'd been wrapped in a (rather tough) leek, so that you had to peel off this vegetable layer, then denude the flesh, then eat it (avoiding the bones), then pick your way into the crab, then wonder why the devil they'd done something so complicated to ingredients that probably would have tasted better chucked for five minutes on to an open flame, by a caveman. (Three courses: £27.50 Rating 5/10)
Time & Space - full review >>

By Janie Stamford

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