Kurobuta has consecutively charmed its way onto this week’s list once again, as has Toto’s, which appeared twice last month. Meanwhile, first timers on the Spoon blog include Primeur, channeling indomitable Frenchness in north London, and Artusi, putting a modern spin on Italian culinary form in Peckham. Rounding up with Ham Holy Burger in John Lewis on Oxford Street, here are some of last week’s restaurant reviews.
By I Yune Hoe
The Saturday Telegraph (Matthew Norman) – Kurobuta 5 out of 5
“By a country mile this was the best meal I’ve eaten this year”
“This cooking radiates accuracy, inventiveness, vibrancy and pure fun to such an extent that the temptation to follow the ancient Roman vomitorium policy by evacuating the space required to start again was intense.” It was not hard to detect Matthew Norman‘s enthusiasm for Kurobuta. “Best of all in what would be a ferociously competitive field for anyone, but especially for those whose taste is for “umami”, were sweet and savoury barbecue pork ribs glazed with honey, soy and ginger; and – a combination of genius, this – miso-infused aubergine grilled to a lusciously gooey, caramelised finish and paired with candied walnuts.” Needless to say, Matthew was very much impressed by Scott Hallswell’s restaurant. So much so that he expects this second branch of Kurobuta to be “joined by many others before the decade is out”, claiming that, “it is, if I might plagiarise the delightful young Aussies who served us, ay-MAY-zing.” For the full review, click here.
Kurobuta: 17-20 Kendal Street, London W2
Telephone: 020 3475 4158
The Financial Times (Tim Hayward) – Toto’s and Artusi, London
“It’s facile to say that Italians “do” restaurants better than any other nation but Toto’s can make you believe it.”
“(About Artusi) …we may have to rewrite our working definition of “joy” to include the presence of Beer’s panna cotta with plums and nectarines”
A double Italian review by Tim Hayward last week who dined at the traditional Toto’s and “London Contemporary” Artusi.
Traditional Italian hidden in a mews off Walton Street, the vitello tonnato at Toto’s had Tim Hayward wanting more but perhaps making up for it was the “Beef carpaccio with black truffle”, “a gorgeously showy confection. Showered with a thick layer of fresh shavings and honking like a jogger’s sock it bespoke luxury in a way that enabled you to forgive the bill.”
On the opposite end of the Italian food spectrum was Artusi, which takes the “ingredient-led approach” instilled in “new-wave kitchens”. Comparing it to Toto’s, Tim wrote that “the menu structure is similar, but everything else about the place quietly insists London Contemporary” and “this is no bad thing”. Perhaps indeed it is not! For the full review of both restaurants, click here.
Toto’s: Walton House, Lennox Garden Mews, Off Walton Street, SW3 2JH
Telephone: 020 7589 2062
Artusi: 161 Bellenden Road, Peckham, SE15 4DH
Telephone: 020 3302 8200
The Independent on Sunday (Amol Rajan) – Primeur (8.5 out of 10)
“Primeur boasts an open-plan space, a navigable menu, and excellent affordable wines.”
One potentially for “gourmands to unwind”, “indomitable Frenchness is the motivation behind Primeur in Stoke Newington, north London” wrote Amol Rajan, who also described the “former garage” as a comforting setting. Praising the “quality of the grab”, Amol reported that “the best dishes are a juicy pork belly with crisp kale and salsa verde, and a chunk of mackerel with beetroot and hazelnuts”. Note however that “they have no reservation line and accept only face-to-face bookings”. For the full review on this north London venture, click here.
Primeur: Primeur, Barnes Motors, 116 Petherton Road, London N5 2RT
Cheese & Biscuits (Chris Pople) – Ham Holy Burger, John Lewis Oxford Street (4 out of 10)
“I protested in the most obvious way I could think of. I took a photo of myself, set it as the background wallpaper, and then password protected the iPad so they couldn’t change it. ”
Ham Holy Burger: Third Floor, 300 Oxford St, London W1A 1EX
Telephone: 020 7499 4538
Unimpressed by the less than effective waiter-substituting iPads, Chris Pople felt that “having a room full of iPads with the stated intention of making Ham Holy Burger as impersonal and depressing as possible says very worrying things about your attitude to hospitality”. It would appear as though the burgers and crisps struggled to make up for it, as Chris wrote that “simply emptying the contents of an Italian deli into a brioche bun is somehow simultaneously an insult to Italian and American food cultures.” For the full review, click here.
For more of last week’s reviews, click here to check out the fab Guide Girl who has rounded up reviews from The Observer, The Independent on Saturday, Evening Standard, Time Out, The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
If you would like to take a look at earlier restaurant reviews, click here.