The Daily Telegraph, 21 June
Jasper Gerard visits Elvey Farm, Pluckley, Kent
Many villages are a little arthritic, but few can boast residents who are dead. Pluckley can. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is Britain's most haunted village. Yet its poor ghosts are in grave need of a new haunt. For while elderly folk might cheerfully stay in for the evening, ghosts like to get out and about. There is always the pub option, but some nights the graveyard, haunted by Red Lady Dering, is probably livelier. Until Elvey Farm opened its restaurant full-time in March, weary travellers were scarcely better served with happening night spots than the resident ghosts.
The Guardian, 21 June
Matthew Norman visits Morston Hall, Morston, Norfolk
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, here we go again with one of those reviews that gushes and gushes like a massive oil strike in a JR Ewing wet dream; one of those pieces that flails around for the tiniest of flaws to play the role of floating log in this turbulent swell of wide-eyed besottedness. So, appreciating how difficult such uncritical critiques are to read (you should try writing them), permission is hereby granted for the tut, snort and tedium-inspired raising of brows that prefaces the brusque turning of a page. For anyone who is still here, the bottom line about Morston Hall is that it's as close to an earthly paradise as a British hotel-restaurant will transport you.
Morston Hall - Guardian review in full >>
The Independent, 21 June
Tracey MacLeod visits Jamie's Italian, Oxford
This is spooky. Jamie Oliver launches the first in a planned nationwide group of high street restaurants, and there's hardly any publicity about it. No TV series following the ups and downs of the recruitment process. No press release, no tie-in range at Sainsbury's, no poster campaign featuring a thumbs-aloft Jamie grinning, "I'm absolutely doolally about neighbourhood restaurants …" He's just quietly got on with it. Jamie's Italian, financed entirely by Oliver and his business partner, opened at the beginning of the month in Oxford, the first of a planned 20-strong group that will soon include branches in Bath, Kingston and Cambridge. It's the first restaurant Oliver can call his own; Fifteen and its offshoots are owned by a charitable foundation.
Jamie's Italian - Independent review in full >>
The Independent on Sunday, 22 June
Terry Durack visits Jamie's Italian, Oxford
The waiter plonks down two tins of Italian San Marzano tomatoes on my table. I was expecting a certain rustic quality to the first of Jamie Oliver's casual Italian high-street restaurants, but I didn't anticipate having to open my own tomatoes. In fact, they are there to support a recycled wooden plank of antipasto (£6.50) that includes mortadella, air-dried bresaola and fragrant San Daniele prosciutto from the family-owned Levoni company of northern Italy. And there you have all you need to know about Jamie's Italian - cheeky, practical, good-natured, unpretentious and quality-driven.
Jamie's Italian - Independent on Sunday review in full >>
The Sunday Times, 22 June
AA Gill visits Chicago Rib Shack, London SW1
I knew a woman who lived in a discreet mansion block in Maida Vale, north London, one of those red-brick variegated-laurel affairs that give you the impression the planners were unsure whether they needed a crematorium, an umbrella factory or serviced flats for middle-European Jews. Next door was an opera singer, a famous baritone. Don't you mind living next to a man who can make a noise as loud as a jumbo jet with a stubbed toe? No, no, she said. It wasn't the singing, the scales, the repeated phrases, even the lieder that bothered her. It was the sex. Oh, yes, I see.
Chicago Rib Shack- The Sunday Times review in full >>
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