The Daily Telegraph, 19 July
Jasper Gerard visits Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, London W1
Just as the sun never set on the British Empire, now it always shines on an outlet of Gordon Ramsay, the East India Company of today. Diplomats call this soft power, and Britain is mighty strong in a soft sort of way; Britannia rules the (air)waves. Others have bought our culture just as they bought our coal. Ramsay has even done the coals to Newcastle thing by sending foie gras to Paris, where he has opened a restaurant in Versailles.But these are edge-of-a-cliff times. British coolness, which underpins so much of what we sell, makes for a nebulous product.
The Independent, 19 July
Tracey Macleod visits Magdalen, London SE12
It's just as well the by-line photos accompanying restaurant reviews aren't legally obliged to reflect the actual size of the writer. There has been such a waxing and waning of waistlines in reviewing circles recently that picture editors would be struggling to keep pace. As some of my big-boy peers melt into slender ephebes thanks to no-carb diets, I'm heading in the opposite direction, having adopted a punishing regime of round-the-clock eating in preparation for the judging of the London Restaurant Awards. The enthusiasm of my vary-sized fellow judges for Magdalen, nominated in the Best British category, was the spur I needed to make an overdue visit to this not-particularly-new, but apparently very good, restaurant in Bermondsey.
Magdalen - review in full >>
The Independent on Sunday, 20 July
Terry Durack visits Princess Victoria, London W12
Princess Victoria hasn't looked this good for a long time. Honestly, she doesn't look a day over 150, and I know she's been around since 1828, when she was a "dram shop", before graduating into a gin palace in 1829, and a proper pub in 1872. I like her immediately, but then, I am a right and proper Victorian gentleman, born and bred in Victoria, that lovely Australian garden state named after the good Queen in 1850. That must be why I feel so at home here. Or maybe it's just because it's a pub.
Princess Victoria - Independent review in full >>
The Sunday Times, 20 July
India Knight visits The New Inn, Pembridge, Herefordshire
My local newspaper recently carried an article headlined "Are gastropubs killing off traditional bars?", the supposition being that the former are too sterile and chichi, the latter all authentically stinky and muscular and special. It is a class argument: gastros for the bourgeoisie, normals for the proles. (Actually, in London, there is a third category: gastros for the bourgeois people who want to be proles and read their Guardians while eating something authentically working-class, like chanterelles.) Personally, I have no problem with gastros. I prefer a clean lav, food I might conceivably want to eat, decent wine, and no "amusing" local characters yakking within my earshot
The New Inn - Sunday Times review in full >>
Jan Moir visits Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, London W1
The sommelier at the Connaught glides to our table. Under his arm he carries the hotel's leather-bound wine list. It is the size of a tombstone at Dead Diner's Gulch, and is equally forbidding. ‘I think it would be nice,' he says, ‘to start the meal with a half bottle of Chassagne Montrachet.' We are sure it would! But the church mice at Are You Ready To Order? are rarely, if ever, in the habit of ordering half bottles of wine for £65 apiece. Who is these days? Who ever was? What we would like is a modest but good half bottle of white wine for about £20. Would the sommelier choose for us, please? He knows what we have ordered to eat.
Hélène Darroze - The Connaught review in full >>
Caterer Eats Out
Check out the latest dining deals or book a table at 100's of restaurants at Caterer Eats Out here