The restaurant critics have been busy compiling their latest reviews, making sure that we all know where to and where not to feast, and I’ve been busy here at Spoon PR ciphering them down into a bite-size nutshell. Here’s what they had to say last week…
Evening Standard (Fay Maschler) – Wormwood 4 out of 5
“There is something affectingly classic and proper in the presentation — no microherb tumbleweed rolling through — exhibiting restraint and artistry…”
Taken from the Wormwood website
Forgiving the “slightly dire name”, Fay Maschler, writing for the Evening Standard, was pleased to discover the “unchartered territory” of this Notting Hill dining spot before it exploded on to Instagram and Twitter feeds. A fusion of French gastronomy and mezze-style cuisine, the menu certainly managed to impress: Maschler deems the deconstructed brandade “ethereal, extraordinary”, and the Mexican salsa pico de gallo is “a judicious amount of first-rate beef with which a mousse of smoked aubergine…ingratiates perfectly”. Left with the desire to explore the menu further, Maschler returned a few days later to try the set lunch menu, described as “simpler takes on similar ingredients”. Here she turns her attention to the wine list, commenting on the “high second bottle potential” of a “precise and taut” Gruner Veltliner Gmörk. Click here for the rest of Fay Maschler’s review.
Wormood: 16 All Saints Road, London W11 1HH
Telephone: 0207 854 18 08
ES Magazine (Grace Dent) – Fire and Feathers
“On a warm summer night one can order some chicken and a glass of red then observe the Chelsea youths in their natural mating environment…If you’re going to get lost in South West London, there are worse places to go off-track.”
Grace Dent for ES Magazine ventured southwest last week to try piri piri joint Fire and Feathers. Her evening began well with “glorious” cocktails, but the food that followed was mixed: the whole piri piri chicken was, disappointingly, “a tiny pipsqueak of a bird”, which was insufficient for two diners and required the laborious task of having “to pick through a lot of bones to get to the meat”. As for the sides, the fries were “OK” and neither the peas nor the salad overwhelmed. On a brighter note, her starter of garlic prawns were “large, meaty, spicy and caked in a secret-recipe crunchy, gobblesome marinade”, and she rates the piri piri marinade “the most excellent I have ever tasted”. To read the rest of the review, click here.
Fire and Feathers: 343 Fulham Road, London SW10 9TW
Telephone: 0203 0110 081
Time Out (Celia Plender) – Kurobuta 3 out of 5
“Like a boisterous teenager, this contemporary Japanese restaurant is loud, showy and just a little misguided on occasion. But it’s also likeable with a pleasant lack of airs and graces…”
With its “trendy interior” and “suitably playful dishes”, Celia Plender writing for Time Out deems this East-West fusion restaurant to be “perfect for getting back in touch with your inner teen”. Like The Independent’s John Walsh, who reviewed Kurobata last week, Plender is impressed by various selections from the menu: the quinoa, buckwheat and broccoli salad finished with a honey and soy dressing was “light and refreshing” and sweet snow crab nigiri, topped with fragrant yuzu citrus mayo and wasabi-flavoured flying fish roe was “eloquent”. Unfortunately, less successful were the tea-smoked lamb chops as a result of the spicy miso sauce “trampling across the perfectly cooked meat with the subtlety of a pair of scuffed Doc Martens”. For Celia Plender’s full review, click here.
Kurobuta: 17-20 Kendal Street, Marble Arch, London W2
Telephone: 020 3475 4158
The Sunday Times Magazine (AA Gill) – BarnYard
“BarnYard is a tin temple to hipster munchies”
Drawn to the “second dining room” of Ollie Dabbous (chef at nearby restaurant Dabbous) by the chef’s prestigious reputation, AA Gill for The Sunday Times Magazine arrived at BarnYard with high hopes. First impressions conjured an image that was “more Chicken Run that Seven Brides for Seven brothers”, and Gill’s response to the “sparse” menu was that it is “fine but doesn’t fill you with epicurean wonder”; a cooler reaction than Guy Diamond for Time Out and Tracey Macleod for The Independent, both of whom were extremely impressed by the restaurant’s cuisine. The experience was improved however by “utterly charming” staff. The review is available to Times subscription holders – click here.
Atmosphere: 2 out of 5
Food: 2 out of 5
BarnYard: 18 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2LZ
Telephone: 020 7580 3842
FT Weekend Magazine (Nicholas Lander) – Scott’s, Mayfair
“Londoners are fortunate that the Scott’s management is intent on preserving its landmark status…”
According to Nicholas Lander for the FT Weekend Magazine, the menu at Scott’s, one of London’s culinary landmarks, caters to the “cash rich but time poor” customer. First courses were “excellent”, consisting of six different varieties of oysters served with wild boar sausages and a ceviche of sea bass “laced with avocado and enlivened with jalapeño chilli”. Yet it was the grilled fish of the day (a skin salted whole turbot for two) that stole the show, meriting the description of being “stunningly good”.
Scott’s: 20 Mount Street, London W1K 2HE
The Saturday Telegraph (Zoe Williams) – Fischer’s 3.5 out of 5
“Is it too themey to be truly classy? Or too classy to be truly grubby and fun? A lot will depend on the punters, in whose number I feel sure I’ll find myself again.”
Zoe Williams for The Saturday Telegraph was extremely impressed by the first courses at Fischer’s restaurant: the “magnificent” chopped liver was “creamy and meaty with a strong, zingy note of dill”, and the herring was “extremely superior”. Williams is complimentary of the potatoes and the “authentic” sauerkraut, but the sausages, although “much more sophisticated than your average frankfurter”, in her opinion lacked variation and “were all fighting over the same central ground”. In spite of this, ultimately the sausages won her over: “I want to finish all that by saying I loved them”. To read the full review, click here.
Fischer’s: 50 Marylebone High Street, W1
Telephone: 020 7466 5501
The Telegraph (Matthew Norman) – Luke’s Dining Room 2.5 out of 5
“The fundamental problem at Luke’s Dining Room is not with the cooking, which was technically accurate and showed signs of flair and imagination, but with the ingredients.”
Taken from the Luke’s Dining Room website
Writing for The Telegraph, Matthew Norman visits Luke’s Dining Room, “attached to a boutique hotel in a picturesque Berkshire village”, to witness (or taste) the work of 20 year old Luke Thomas, who became Britain’s youngest head chef at 18. A starter of hummus with chargrilled bread was “smoky, delicate and superb” and whitebait “were bursting with salty freshness”. The main courses were less of a success, particularly a lemon sole which turned out to be “yesterday’s fish”: “one taste of this spongy, insipid fish suggested that it had left the sea a while ago”. However, although the food was disappointing, Norman remains impressed by the culinary skills of the young chef.
Luke’s Dining Room: Sanctum on the green, The Old Cricket Common, Cookham Dean, Berkshire SL6 9NZ
Telephone: 01628 482 638
The Observer (Jay Rayner) – Dalila
“What matters is the vivacity, the freshness, the sheer unbridled loveliness of what is actually made here. Do go.”
Jay Rayner’s review for The Observer comes as exciting news for us at Spoon PR, announcing the opening of Lebanese restaurant Dalila only a few steps away from us on Queenstown Road, Battersea. Our excitement doubles when we read his description of what we can (and inevitably, before long, will) find there: a “silky” hummus “whipped up with tahini”, a Lebanese moussaka “full of light acidic notes and sweet, caramelised sugars”, and the kibbeh (“tight, deep-fried, hollow lamb ovals”), which are “a heavenly rush of meaty oils and spice”. Rayner advises us to overlook the “not especially lovely” décor and instead turn our attention to the fact that the kitchen is overseen by a chef who used to work at Harrods, a store with a longstanding Arab clientele that, Rayner points out, “would only go for the good stuff”. To read the full review, click here.
Dalila: 123 Queenstown Road, Battersea, London SW8 3RH
Telephone: 0207 622 0555
The Independent on Saturday (Tracey Macleod) – Ham Yard Hotel
“After four years of development, the hoardings are down, and this scrappy, semi-derelict patch has emerged blinking into the daylight as an ‘urban experience’. ”
Taken from the Ham Yard Hotel website
Writing for The Independent on Saturday, Tracey Macleod reviews Ham Yard Hotel, the restaurant attached to the latest addition to the Firmdale group’s collection of boutique London hotels, which Macleod deems “fabber than all the rest”. The menu is “measured and discreet”, a relief from the heaviness of “dirty food action”, offering “distinctly clean food, short on carbs and long on salads, vegetables and seafood”, including the likes of burrata with heritage tomatoes and poached cod with parsley risotto. A main course of chicken breast was “elegantly draped with summer truffles and served with puréed sweetcorn”, and a “really good” cherry pie with clotted cream seems to have impressed. In summer months, diners can eat al fresco on the piazza: “an all-too-rare outdoor space in crowded Soho”. For Tracey Macleod’s full review, click here.
Food: 3 out of 5
Ambience: 3 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Ham Yard Hotel: 1 Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT
Telephone: 020 3642 2000
The Independent on Sunday (Lisa Markwell) – The Palomar 7.5 out of 10
“The Palomar has good food for greedy folks with a high tolerance for buzz.”
Taken from The Palomar’s website
The Independent on Sunday‘s Lisa Markwell has followed in the footsteps of Tracey Macleod from The Independent on Saturday and Guy Diamond for Time Out by joining the hordes rushing to the recently opened Middle-Eastern restaurant, The Palomar. Despite its “ramshackle appearance”, the “sensational” deconstructed kebab, with its “melting soft” beef, “makes one wish all local kebab shops could replicate it”, and Markwell also enjoys a “vibrant and accomplished” fattoush salad. Although the deliciousness of the food is not in question, Lisa Markwell comments on the occasional inelegance of the food’s presentation. To read the full review, click here.
The Palomar: 34 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DN
Telephone: 0207 439 8777
If you would like to take a look at earlier restaurant reviews, click here.