2 DecemberJay Rayner says Stovell's, the first solo venture from husband and wife team Fernando and Kristy Stovell, in Chobham, Surrey is a jolly good place to go eat
Stovell's, which opened in its current incarnation in September, is not boring. It is run by Fernando and Kirsty Stovell, who met at Westminster Catering College in 1997 and have since worked their way around many of the London restaurant world's Stations of the Cross. They know what they're doing, and it shows. A shot glass of hot sweet borscht with a foaming horseradish sauce on top is earth and field and a little bit of fire. A starter of quail brings the legs half boned so you can strip them with your teeth, alongside the crown, the whole grilled over cherry wood so it still has the slight tang and sweat of bonfire. The filling in a single fat ravioli of crab and crayfish is a little soft. But the pasta is impressively thin and the bouillabaisse broth around it has the bravado and energy of a huge church bell, a flavour with a massive echo of long-roasted shellfish. A deconstructed beef wellington, the fillet rested atop a puff-pastry case full of sautéed mushrooms, with an oxtail jus and a tiny quenelle of liver pâté, was a smart idea.
Price: Meal for two, including wine and service: £120
John Walsh finds eating at Bodo's Schloss, London W8, a dispiriting experience
Score: Food 1/5; Ambience 2/5; Service 3/5
Price: Around £90 for two, with wine
The Daily Telegraph
Matthew Norman is wowed by all 17 courses at Simon Rogan's two-Michelin-starred L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria
Lack of space dictates that we concentrate on the highlights, and take on trust that even the lowlights were outstanding. Another amuse-bouche was announced, with mild understatement, as "a nod to technique", though how they transform a mousse of cod into a saffrony gel like an egg yolk we had no idea after the four-minute talk from a chap who might have been reading from A Brief History of Time. Suffice to record that the "yolk" worked sublimely with crispy, salt-and-vinegar-infused rice and a lavishly intense sage cream. Those dumplings cited above, made from Westcombe cheddar and served with candied beetroot, were comfortingly bland, and the change of pace made sense. The taste buds needed a rest before the assault continued with ruby-red local venison with baby fennel, crystallised fennel gin, mustard mayonnaise and an oil made from charcoal to lend a luscious smoky twang. This was a minor miracle of immaculately matched but distinct flavours that seemed to reveal themselves at carefully timed intervals.
Price: Tasting menu £89 plus wine
London Evening Standard
Although the restaurant is chilly and expensive, Fay Maschler enjoys the food at Coya, London W1, the latest venture from Arjun Waney
Ceviche of sea bream with Amarillo chilli, crispy corn and coriander and a punchy tiraditos of yellowtail with green chilli, coriander and lime were thoughtfully assembled and pretty as pictures. You are supposed to drink up the leche de tigre (tiger's milk) that is the remains of the ceviche marinade but we didn't. Salmon is now such a pervasive menu item that I suspect it's best left out, an intuition confirmed by a grey-edged salmon, celery juice, ginger, daikon and wasabi tobiko ceviche and a boring salmon anticucho. In items such as ox heart skewer and baby back ribs from the charcoal grill, the spices came across as insufficiently cooked out, lacking the aura of faded elegance and ennui that the surroundings - if it weren't so cold - might invoke. Much better were brisk burnished octopus tentacles with olives and potatoes, and the skewer of mackerel and patatas bravas licked with huancaina sauce, which were like the crunchiest nubbly bits from a pan of roast potatoes anointed with a layer of spicy creamy cheese. Quinoa with coriander, mint and pomegranate was a sparky manifestation of this blameless pseudocereal.
Price: A meal for two with wine, about £140
The brainchild of chefs Scott McKenzie and Levi Malcolm, Flavour By Scott Levi, London W1, has much to recommend it but with a reworked menu could be even better, says Andy Lynes
Melon and Parma ham, Dover sole, chicken breast and sirloin steak don't make for an exciting menu - I'm almost yearning for something Caribbean to liven things up - but we do find good things to eat. A ricotta and spinach raviolo is well-made, with a nicely seasoned filling, a buttery sage broth and crushed hazelnuts for crunch. Wild mushroom arancini (deep-fried risotto balls) are a little overcooked and more like a canapé than a starter but come with a good garlic mayonnaise. A decent chunk of monkfish is wrapped in Parma ham and served on grilled peppers, courgettes (described as ProvenÁ§al) and an aggressively seasoned tomato coulis. Two veal cutlets have been cut so thin there was never any chance of them being served medium as requested. However, my guest is satisfied with the generously filled wooden board that includes garlic mash and a melting disc of lemon and thyme butter. A sharing plate of desserts is definitely not a success. The curd of an Amalfi lemon tart is grainy and overcooked, a rum baba tastes flavourless and waterlogged, while a layered tricolore panna cotta looks pretty but lacks any personality.
Price: A meal for two, including wine, water and service costs, about £125.50
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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