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Reviews: The Yan is a hidden gem; while Roti King is offering big flavours at small prices

27 August 2019 by
Reviews: The Yan is a hidden gem; while Roti King is offering big flavours at small prices

The Guardian’s Grace Dent regretfully reveals that the Yan at Broadrayne in Grasmere, Cumbria is a hidden gem

We ordered “hummus of the day” (yes, it is ever-changing), which was a well seasoned pea-and-mint affair that came with warm flatbreads. A very good black-pudding scotch egg with a runny yolk appeared on a pickled carrot salad. The Cumberland sausage sharing platter came with excellent creamy mash, braised cabbage and green beans.

There was an excellent veggie option of sweet potato with goat’s cheese and pearl barley wrapped in shortcrust, served on garlic green beans. This is thoughtful veggie cooking despite being centre stage on a living farm. We ordered a cookie stack for pudding, which came with a little jug of fresh chocolate milkshake. My mother was delighted to find an old-school summer pudding on the menu, a crimson riot of berries and soaked bread.

After many misses and few hits, the thing I love most about taking my family out is the moment when everyone is eating heartily and shuts up. Dinner at Broadrayne was like that.

Price: about £25 a head plus drinks and service. Score: food: 8/10; atmosphere: 8/10; service: 8/10

Roti King in London’s Euston is offering big flavours at small prices and some of the best roti in town, writes Tom Parker Bowles in The Mail on Sunday

At the front, behind a glass window, the roti master pounds, flattens and spins oily dough into flaky sheets, before griddling them and sending them out to the adoring masses.

Damn they’re good. Rich, finger-singeing hot and blissfully buttery, dunked into a metal bowl of runny dhal, deftly spiced. Better still is the fish curry, murky as a backwoods pond, with a sharp, tamarind-based kick. Not shy with the chilli either. I guzzle it by the spoonful. Nasi lemak melds coconut-scented rice with the brittle, intensely fishy snap of deep-fried anchovies. More piscine pong from a splodge of throaty, chilli-spiked sambal. A few slices of cucumber add their welcome cool. And a rare flash of verdancy. This food is, on the whole, pretty beige. Nothing wrong with beige. Half a boiled egg loiters with intent while peanuts add yet more crunch. A few pieces of fried chicken are a touch dry, but otherwise it’s as classic a rendition of this classic Malay/Indonesian dish as you’ll find anywhere. Although no two versions are ever quite the same anyway.

Price: £14 a head. Score: 4/5

Nutshell 1
Nutshell 1
Fay Maschler reviews Nutshell in London’s Covent Garden in the Evening Standard Joosh pareh, oxtail-filled dumplings, neatly pleated like dim sum in a stew of chickpeas and sour cherries looks delightful but is far too sweet to like. Octopus tentacle softened up sous-vide then burnished on a plancha has lost in the process some of its wily personality, but the accompanying stewed butterbeans are diverting, albeit in need of added flavour beyond orange. A large plate of this on its own, says my companion, now mildly interested in the future of his imaginary football team, would be a more satisfying way of enjoying the Nutshell experience.

Best from the grill is jojeh, aka joojeh, poussin kebab where the bird is marinated in yoghurt piqued with lemon juice and saffron. It is presented pretty as a picture with half a grilled lime and a swoop of yoghurt sprinkled with petals, herbs and sumac. It reminds me that poussin was for me the standout grill at nearby Iranian Berenjak in Romilly Street.

Score: 3/5

Kathryn Flett of the Telegraph finds great cooking and fine ingredients at Nathan Outlaw’s Siren at the Goring hotel in London’s Belgravia The high-low juxtaposition of my lobster and pea tart was revelatory: I’d expected mostly essence of lobster, receiving instead big firm chunks nestled in a whorl of puréed peas on a skinny pastry tart; basically, Brad Pitt in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, perched topless on a rock, beckoning and winking. Kudos, too, to the bread and seaweed butter.

My main was the catch-of-the-day red mullet, the colour of a midsummer Land’s End sunset (replete with head and tail), fleshy and firm, falling off its bone and accompanied by a punchy seaweed hollandaise; altogether as good as it could be. And 35 quid. Opposite me, à la carte baked-on-the-bone turbot with fennel and seaweed hollandaise was “pleasingly both firm and ­gelatinous. Excellent.”

Price: £200 for Lunch for two. Score: 4/5

The Hog
The Hog
Lauren Cope from the Eastern Daily Press leaves the Hog hotel’s restaurant in Lowestoft, Suffolk “full, content and keen to book a Greek island-hopping holiday”

The Hog hotel has a unique concept – its taste menus change monthly and focus on a different part of the world, inspired by its owners’ love of travel.

July’s destination was Venice, August’s is Greece and future culinary tours include Goa, Argentina and Mexico City.

Our mains were an easy choice – while I was tempted by the fried red mullet (the vegetarian option is tomatakla gemista – baked and stuffed tomatoes), it’s hard to resist the promise of lamb kleftiko.

The lamb was fall apart tender, crisp on the outside and the sauce it sat in was sweet, rich and well-portioned – any more and it would have become sickly.

Grilled aubergine, courgette and squash arrived in the middle and it was served with two roasted potatoes (I’d have liked a little more crisp).

The fixed menu meant we ploughed on, ordering the portokalopita – a Greek yogurt cake with orange syrup.

It’s a juicy, dense sponge, with sweet orange syrup and served with a yogurt ice-cream, my favourite part.

Price: £39.50 for four courses

“Civilised, well-executed food and service,” Les Platanes in London’s Mayfair deserves your custom, writes William Sitwell in The Telegraph

I went for the soup and veal. This meant a sublime bowl of fresh pea and mint. I always think if you can make a good soup you’re a pretty useful human. You can stay in the balloon, or camp. You have the talent to mosey around the garden, take a peek in the fridge and larder and rustle up a bowl of life-enhancing goodness.

This was such a great example of soup. When I was growing up, soups and peas were a sort of misery food, more Dickens than Escoffier. If only aged about 10 I could have tasted such a thing as this: a green-eggs-and-ham moment for my tormented soul. Pea soup? I would not eat it in a house, I would not eat it with a mouse. But then this bowl of spring-green beauty – almost achingly fresh – arrives; the pea flavour delicate, not obliterated by the mint but caressed into perfection.

Next up was the grilled veal. It came simply with a green salad, not even potatoes. And how rightly measured this proved to be.

The veal, presumably hammered flat before being grilled, was perfectly tender, very tasty and set off nicely by the leaves, their sweet dressing and the tart juice of an ingenious lemon.

Price: £50 for a set lunch for two, excluding drinks and service. Score: 4/5

The Times’ Marina O’Loughlin discovers “nothing less than an adventure of delicious creativity” at Kebab Queen in London’s Covent Garden

A disc of Hispi cabbage, the dark-green, veined outer leaves as perfect as a majolica plate. A smoking-hot cast iron weight is pressed on top, so it’s smoky and just-crisped. Onto this goes “shish” of monkfish tail, grilled in chicken skin so it almost steams while picking up a frisson of smoke from the grill and meatiness from the bird; cauliflower purée; a sticky almost-caramel of chicken and monkfish bones. Monkfish liver. Green chilli – like zhoug. Tendrils of pickled red chilli. The crunch of crisped chicken skin as a last flourish. The whole thing is little short of mind-blowing.

There’s only one “cutlery optional” dish – “kebab risotto” of vialone nano rice cooked with a lip-gumming lamb stock and accessorised like the ultimate drink-sponge doner with squirts of garlic and chilli sauces, tiny balls of pickled cucumber. Then fresh snipped herbs and shavings of cured lamb’s tongue, a salty, chewy jerky as seasoning.

Price: £247.50 for two, including 12.5% service charge

The Evening Standard’s Jimi Famurewa is spellbound by Pophams Bakery in London’s Hackney First from the vast open kitchen was pickled vegetable salad with bagna càuda: a neat, technicolored stack of brined carrot, courgette, fennel and romanesco, still possessing a snap of freshness, and flanked by the lingering twang of that (cooled) Italian anchovy dip.

Eight homburg hat-shaped pasta parcels, plump with a ripe blast of cheese, were dotted with macerated grapes and hazelnuts, and doused in a gleaming, thyme-flecked cheese sauce. It was nuanced contrasts of sweetness and salt, crunch and chew, all high-fiving in immensely pleasing ways.

After that, ‘ham and pea soup’ pig cheek tortellini – not especially porky, filled rings of pasta, bobbing in a deep, rich broth with peas that tended towards raw graininess – underwhelmed a little. But then came nduja scarpinocc; sunshine-yellow, perfectly al dente, wrapped sweets of pasta, packing a feisty paprika heat, with a scattering of blanched broad beans. And, of course, tossed in another shimmering cream emulsion that had me practically scraping a hole in the speckled artisanal earthenware.

Price: £47. Score: ambience: 4/5; food: 4/5

HOTELS

One Aldwych Lobby BarPH006 ONEALDWYCH 017 B
One Aldwych Lobby BarPH006 ONEALDWYCH 017 B
Jane Knight of The Times describes the recently relaunched One Aldwych in London as “a stylish haven” with “good food and fantastic service” The elegant bedrooms feel more like you’re in a house than a hotel, and the double-height bar area, with its black and white marble floor, inviting orange sofas and wood panelling, has a buzzy atmosphere. The hotel, which set the standard for contemporary luxury when it was opened 21 years ago by Gordon Campbell Gray, has been brought bang up to date. It still features about 400 pieces of art (check out the new papier-mâché puppy covered in £1 notes, which is next to the original papier-mâché dog) and has a sleek basement pool.

[The food is] unexpectedly good, especially considering the Indigo restaurant is dairy and gluten-free (I wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t been told). It’s good value too. We loved the braised lamb belly starter with crackling (£11) followed by a tasty duck breast (£21) and chocolate mousse. There’s also the uber-cool Basque restaurant Eneko under the three-Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa.

Price: rooms from £385 a night, without breakfast. Score: 8.5/10

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