What’s on the Menu? - A round-up of the latest restaurant reviews

by Janet Harmer , Thursday 9th April 2009 14:31

Bloomberg, 4 April
Richard Vines visits 10 London restaurants which offer style and value for money

London streets are filled with so many bad eateries aimed at tourists, you begin to think the UK’s gastronomic revolution is more froth than substance. Here is a Top 10 list of fashionable venues that combine quality and creativity with generally affordable prices. Barrafina: Visiting a tapas bar may not be high on your to- do list in London, and it’s fair enough if you skip Barrafina. Still, if you see the crowds here, you may be tempted to get in line and try the fine Spanish produce and expertly prepared dishes. You’re likely to face a long wait, unless (like me) you are happy to eat at 5 p.m. Call it a late lunch or an early dinner, it’s the one time when most of the 23 seats at the counter are free. No reservations.
10 top London restaurants - reviews in full >>

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Evening Standard, 8 April
Fay Maschler visits Chelsea Bar, 459 King’s Road, London SW10

In the High and Far-Off Times O Best Beloved, there were restaurants like Parkes in Beauchamp Place. There, in the 1960s, Ray Parkes attracted the slebs and royals of the day with dishes on a five-course fixed-price menu with names like Utter Bliss, Ugly Ugly Duckling, Sweet Sweet Mystery and Chocolate Sludge. The food was plated in the kitchen — a practice cleverly pre-empting nouvelle cuisine — and assemblies arrived gaily decorated with flowers, some of them, towards the end of the evening, becoming a bit limp and gravy-stained. The storeroom at Parkes was filled with hundreds of cans of soup. Cream of chicken with the bits strained out contributed to a sauce vichyssoise, which, when sufficiently chilled and garnished, could damp down its origins, and beef consommé bolstered a meat glaze. However, the main ingredients were carefully, if expensively, bought. Nearby Harrods proved a godsend.
Chelsea Bar - review in full >>

 


Metro, 7 April
Marina O’Loughlin visits Bocca di Lupo, 12 Archer Street,  London W1

Since it opened, I've been to Bocca di Lupo four times. In like Flynn the moment it launched, me, the bloggers and the foodie spods, all properly delighted by the chic space and intriguing menu. And then back simply because I like it so much. Between then and now, it has become a critical rave. A table is currently about as easy to find as a non-delusional Apprentice contender. And like the equally acclaimed Terroirs, it has suffered as a consequence. Prices have crept up, service is strained, some dishes seem a little slapdash. So I've had time to cut a swathe through the regularly changing menu. And while I've had some terrific dishes, I've had some duffers, too. For every gorgeous, fat, shiny sausage, straining at the seams from its filling of rough-ground pork and foie gras, served on earthy, nutty farro and porcini, there are blowsy malfatti ('badly formed' ricotta dumplings), lacking any flavour other than the overwhelming clout of spinach.
Bocca di Lupo – review in full >>

 


Time Out, 9 April
Charmaine Mok visits Ba Shan, 24 Romilly Street, London W1

It arrived by stealth, but created a tempest of interest. Ba Shan is the third opening by the same team who launched Sichuanese and northern Chinese cuisine into the spotlight, first via Bar Shu (currently closed for a refurb), then Baozi Inn – already two of the top spots for Chinese food in London. The black-painted frontage offers no insight into the exquisite food and impossibly cheery service. Our waitresses explained each dish beautifully, with an excitement that can only come from having full confidence in the kitchen’s abilities. The several rooms of this multi-floored restaurant are small and tightly spaced, and the wooden screens and exposed grey bricks evoke the feel of an old-style tea house. There’s a sense of familiarity about the folksy interior, but apart from the design, Ba Shan is not a mere carbon copy of its predecessors.
Ba Shan – review in full >>


By Janet Harmer


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