The Guardian's John Lanchester enjoys the food at The Mason's Arms in Knowstone, Devon, which was voted Michelin's pub of the year, but argues that this establishment is more of a restaurant than a gastropub.
Writing in The Independent on Sunday James Hanning is impressed with Tinello, a new Italian restaurant in London's Chelsea by brothers Frederico and Max Sali, who have been backed by former mentors Giorgio and Plaxy Locatelli. "Our starters are an announcement that not only does this guy know what he is doing, he knows he knows what he is doing," he says of Max's cooking.
Matthew Norman of The Daily Telegraph likes the food at London's only Michelin-starred Thai restaurant Nahm but does not want to eat it all at same time: "At £60 a pop, you expect something more elegant and theatrical than a glorified thali, and here was our poor little table squealing for clemency under the weight of soup, fish, meat, curry, salad and rice."
The Observer's Jay Rayner says Indian restaurant Jali at Blackpool's Carlton hotel is not just good for the seaside resort, it's good for anywhere, while Zoe Williams of The Sunday Telegraph enjoys her food at Redhook but says there's just too much of it.
The Independent's John Walsh reviews Polpetto, the new sister restaurant of the hugely popular Venetian bacaro Polpetto, in London's Soho.
The Guardian, 11 September
John Lanchester enjoys the food at The Mason's Arms, Knowstone, Devon, but argues that this gastropub is more of a restaurant than a pub
The chef-owner, Mark Dodson, has an impeccable pedigree - he was head chef at the Waterside Inn for 12 years. That implies a total command of the classical repertoire. He has that in spades, as shown in a starter of puff pastry, asparagus, mushroom duxelles and hollandaise sauce. This dish demands a lot of technique and it was lovely, light and rich at the same time, with a really satisfying juxtaposition of the delicate pastry and the earthy, hearty mushroom as a basis for the marriage of sauce and asparagus. The other starter was in a more modern idiom but was just as good: seared scallops with a Thai salad of julienned vegetables in a subtle, rice wine-based saucing which I couldn't decode - but anyway, it was very good to eat. Main courses were good, but a fraction more predictable, or perhaps it was that the two dishes we ordered were too similar. Halibut in a potato crust came with braised lettuce and a cider-spiked cream sauce; monkfish came wrapped in Parma ham with a lot of slightly gluey potato puree. It was noticeable how good the quality of the ingredients was - Devon is exceptionally blessed in that respect, and Dodson makes full use of the bounty. (Meal for two with drinks and service, £60 (lunch) to £100)
The Independent on Sunday, 12 September
James Hanning is impressed with Tinello, London SW1, a new Italian restaurant by Frederico and Max Sali backed by former mentors Giorgio and Plaxy Locatelli
Our starters are an announcement that not only does this guy know what he is doing, he knows he knows what he is doing. My friend has antipasti: finocchiona (fennel salami) with a bit of pecorino di Pienza cheese; figs (perfectly ripe) with Parma ham; the ubiquitous chicken-liver crostini; and onions pickled in balsamic vinegar. Each provokes gasps of "You must try this," and I duly gasp in agreement. I have three of what the menu calls "small eats", each for £2.50 or less and designed to share. The slender strands of zucchini fritti, which might sound like the gimmick of some up-himself pretender, are a marvel. The burrata (curd cheese), with soggy, tomatoey bread, leaves you guiltily wanting more and the panzanella bread salad, always a subjective matter, is perfect. Again, here is a confident chef wanting to please, and he does. (Rating: 8-10)
Daily Telegraph, 11 September
Matthew Norman likes the food at London's only Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, Nahm, London SW1, but does not want to eat it all at the same time
"Blimey, what's going on here?" spluttered my friend once a French waiter had deposited the whole bleeding lot in one go. At £60 a pop, you expect something more elegant and theatrical than a glorified thali, and here was our poor little table squealing for clemency under the weight of soup, fish, meat, curry, salad and rice. Individually, most of it was great. The soup, velvety double-steamed oxtail with mooli (white radish) and Asian celery, was a rarefied beef tea of such regal delicacy that it should have been served to Yul Brynner's King of Siam when he took to his bed. Grilled beef salad was a mingling of succulent meat with chilli, mint, coriander and other herbs and spices that detonated on the tongue at intervals of the sort also suited, the management might note, to the serving of courses. A quail red curry with ginger, peanuts and "holy basil" somehow allowed the sweet and subtle tang of that weeny bird to glide intact through the potent spicing. (Meal with wine: £80-£100 per head. Rating: 7/10)
The Observer, 12 September
Jay Rayner says Indian restaurant Jali at Blackpool's Carlton hotel is not just good for the seaside resort, it's good for anywhere
The menu is long, but the food is marked by an uncommon freshness and vivacity. Our party was divided over the robustness of achari fish tikka - hunks of cod marinated in a pickle-flavoured yogurt masala, then roasted in the tandoor, though with care so the flakes still fell away from each other. Yes, there was a punch of heat, but not so that you couldn't taste anything else. Tandoori roasted prawns, although that slightly worrying shade of red that speaks of the colouring cabinet, were equally assertive.Of the mains the best was a lamb keema boti masala, the minced lamb cooked to a point where it had become just a part of the sauce, in which long-braised bits of meat bobbed and settled. What could be better for a man who likes his dinner to once have had a pulse? Funnily enough, the dark, buttery dal makhani, a hymn in praise of the lentil, which had such a powerful aroma I didn't know whether to eat it or dab it behind my ears. The lamb bhuna and the chicken lababdar had pronounced but not unwelcome sweet notes. (Meal for two, including drinks and service: £60).
The Sunday Telegraph, 12 September
Zoe Williams enjoys her meal at Redhook, London EC1, the latest venture from from Jonathan Downey, who also owns Milk & Honey, Giant Robot and Match Bar
The prawns were good, the razor clams were delicious, the oysters were great - there was just so much of it. M and I managed only half, and then she engaged in some affable warfare with the waiter, because she wanted to take it home in a doggy bag, and he was afraid she'd leave it in her fridge and try to eat it, still raw, in about 10 days' time. I really couldn't help, because she probably would have done that. She won, of course. The platter was a bit flashy - it was the sort of thing someone might order on a date, to show he didn't care what you had. ‘Go for it, love. My treat!' I had the pan-fried pollack fillet (£14), with chilli butter and samphire. This was a treat, actually. It was perfect - crisp skin, the flesh cooked just past the point of translucence. The samphire was tasty. I was just about to say airily that it always is, but I went somewhere the other day where they'd salted it and that was like a chemical attack. I finished with the knickerbocker glory (£5). It was the kind of thing you'd see on telly when you were little, and wish you lived in America. (Three courses: £43. Rating: 8/10).
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/7980439/London-Restaurant-Review-Redhook.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Redhook - review in full >>
The Independent, 11 September
John Walsh reviews Polpetto, the new sister restaurant of the hugely popular Venetian bacaro Polpo, in London's Soho
Timings at Polpetto are a little brutal, as they are at Polpo. If you've ordered a dish, it'll arrive when it's ready. So the main courses came before we finished the starters - and we looked with dismay at their size. Madeleine's Sarde in Soar, or pickled sardines in onions, pine nuts and sultanas, were fine in their agrodolce, bitter-sweet way - but were a meal in themselves. My crispy soft-shell crab, in its Parmesan batter, was the size of a policeman; it lay across the plate with both its boots and its helmet (so to speak) sticking off the edge. A wonderful complex of tastes, from the crispy, cheesy batter to the sliced-fennel coleslaw, it was a fulsome tribute to the crab genus. But as I raved about its excellence, I watched the other main courses arriving, Madeleine declared herself full up and I knew I was sunk. The pigeon saltimbocca was a lovely variant on the classic veal dish (literally "jump into the mouth"), the flavour of game far from overwhelmed by the Parma ham wrap. But I couldn't do justice to the osso buco. Tender, unctuous and melting, it was served on a lovely saffron risotto which would have satisfied a platoon of trenchermen. (Food 3/5; Ambience 3/5; Service 3/5)