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

16 January 2012
What's on the Menu? – A round-up of the latest restaurant reviews

The Guardian14 JanuaryJohn Lanchester says the Delaunay, London WC2, the latest restaurant from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, is not yet the massive hit it will clearly become
If you pass by the wieners, daily specials are tempting - Bath chaps, Ligurian fish stew - but I went on a Monday and it was a less alluring chicken curry. Probably thanks to a Derren Brown-style process of unconscious association, I went for the wiener schnitzel. This is a simple but unforgiving dish, because it can be a perfect balance of buttery, crisp, light and meaty, but it can also be pure stodge, with the breadcrumb coating both weighing it down and weakening the flavour of the veal to total blandness. The best I've ever had was in the Berlin brasserie Borchardt (a favourite of Chancellors Schröder and Merkel both), and the worst was one I cooked myself (raw, scorched, heavy). The Delaunay version is at the higher end of the scale, but not the very top, since the application of the crumbs was slightly irregular and the cutlet a fraction short of that perfect meaty crunch. Chips on the side were good, but not the perfect, delicate frites they serve at the Wolseley. Our crab cocktail starter was a fraction underseasoned and my friend's portion had a piece of shell still present. "Michel Roux Jr would go off on one," he said.
Price: Meal for two with three courses, wine and service, from £80.The Delaunay review in full >>

The Independent14 JanuaryJohn Walsh says the Delaunay, London WC2, the latest restaurant from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, is a restaurant he looks forward to visiting again and again
We ordered three starters, which was a mistake. I thought my smoked bacon and shallots tarte flambée would be a ramekin-size taster; it was a cartwheel-sized pizza, amazingly thin, crisp and delicious. Angie's baked Romano pepper disgorged spiced aubergine from its secret interior, the sweet pepper and spicy vegetable making a very Middle-Eastern marriage. I insisted we try a house wiener, assuming it would be a small frankfurter. It wasn't. It was a brace of steamed franks, each the size of a baby's arm, on a plate of sauerkraut, caramelised onions and potato salad. A smokily yummy treat - but we'd now eaten one pizza, two hot dogs and a stuffed pepper, and were dangerously sated. Angie's main-course spatchcock poussin with salsa verde was a fine example of Delaunay cuisine: simple, unfussy, perfectly cooked - chargrilled and crispy outside, juicy inside, "sweet and tender and lovely to eat with your fingers". Accompanying wilted spinach (overpriced at £4.75) was unmushy and uncreamy, and you could taste the spinach leaves.
Rating: Food ; Ambience *; Service Price: About £140 for two, with wineThe Delaunay review in full >>

The Independent on Sunday15 JanuaryAlthough Anna Hansen is a real talent, Lisa Markwell's recent visit to the Modern Pantry, London EC1, seems ill-fated
His main course of roast cod with amchur-fried cauliflower, braised macadamia nuts and XO sauce is, again, a triumph. Piquant flavours, beautifully pearly, fresh fish and a mouth-puckering, heavenly sauce. I, on the other hand, have my back to a plate-glass wall and am feeling chilly and cranky… It's probably my own fault, for dressing wrong, sitting wrong and - then - ordering wrong. My main course is disappointingly mis-sold, I think. Beef featherblade, miso and Chantenay carrot stew, winter greens, toasted poppyseed and buttermilk dressing sounds soft, unctuous and hearty, but what arrives is a ginormous chunk of beef in a little dab of sauce, with separately cooked carrots on the side, and a drizzle of dressing. The beef is top-quality, but needs hewing apart with a knife, as it's dry. I need more gravy and less meat, which isn't often a complaint with a stew. If it hadn't been billed as such I might have been a bit less grouchy (though still miffed at the black blotches in my pink-fir potato side dish).
Rating: 7/10Price: About £100 for two, including wineThe Modern Pantry review in full >>

The Times14 JanuaryGiles Coren says that while the food at Meat Liquor, London W1, is great the queue outside prevents it from ever being a real restaurant
The burgers were fantastic. As good as a decent American drive-thru. Soft, sweet, rich and modestly sized, serving to remind me how badly they are generally done here. Most interestingly, they came properly rare. That's judging from the mouthfeel alone, because you couldn't see their colour in the darkness of the place. Hell, in the darkness of the place you had to be careful not to eat your hand… But you can't be friends with Meat Liquor. You can live upstairs, you can go every night, you can tip big, kiss everybody, recommend it to your friends and have five children with the front of house, but show up at teatime on a wet Thursday in the mood for a burger and you can get to the back of the queue, son, like everybody else. It's a funny way to treat people. To treat life. And it means that nobody in there knows anybody. It's an itinerant, faceless population whose friends, life, tastes and habits are all virtual, electronic, nebulous. It's the very opposite of what fashionable restaurants have striven to do in the past, which is to make it feel from the outset like everyone who is anyone is there. Meat Liquor, rammed though it is, feels like there's nobody there at all.
Rating: 6
Price: not much. Don't know. Max paid. Cheap though.
Meat Liquor review in full, available only to Times Online subscribers >>

The Sunday Times
15 January
AA Gill enjoys the food at Novikov, London W1, the giant Mayfair venture from Russian restaurateur Arkady Novikov
The menu is set out in sections: snacks and soups; dim sum; salads; maki; sushi; sashimi; charcoal grilled, roast and teppan-yaki; wok dishes, vegetables; rice and noodles. Together, it's a clever plundering, not of the kitchens of the exotic east, but the favourite menus of the West End: Roka, Nobu, China Tang and Zuma. The staff are efficient, pretty and all spicily, disarmingly flirtatious. Our waitress suggested lots of things, some of them food. My experience of this room's previous existence had left me with low expectations. We began with dim sum, steamed and fried: coriander and shrimp, pork with truffle, prawn tempura, black cod with mango sauce. All were good, particularly the black cod, which came in its own Weetabix cocoon. A duck salad with green apple dressing was disappointing, tasting strangely of neither apple nor duck, but small Kinder Egg toys. The maki of soft-shell crab was back on track. Yellowtail with coriander and a spot of chilli was better than the original across the road in Nobu.
Rating: 4/5Novikov review in full, available only to Times Online subscribers >>

Metro11 JanuaryMarina O'Loughlin says that Stravaigin shows how far dining out in Glasgow has come and continues to lead the way among restaurants in the city
Sourcing is admirably Scottish, even if many of the dishes aren't. Their own-make haggis is wonderful: earthy and satisfying with a little nip of spice. I like my sticky Vietnamese pork salad: wiry, al dente noodles and chunks of caramelised meat with a sparky, citrussy dressing. There's pork belly from Ramsay of Carluke, a terrific marriage of slow-cooked squidge and crackling crunch, served with sprout and potato dauphinoise (yes: far nicer than it sounds) and the clean fruitiness of apple compote and cider. I can never resist pearl barley, and here it does a blazing supporting act to strips of marginally overcooked pigeon breast, the grains judiciously licked with truffle oil for a touch of wintry richness. Steak and chips? Well, it's steak and chips but the meat is Black Gold rump properly seared and it comes with a first-class, tarragon-y Béarnaise. The staff don't bat an eyelid when we order tequila with cheese (a pairing suggested by the sommelier at nearby The Finnieston in a piece of surreal inspiration).
Rating: 4/5Price: A meal for two with wine, water and service costs about £80http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/restaurants/886980-stravaigin-no-need-to-wander-in-search-of-fine-food-in-glasgow" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Stravaigin review in full >>

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