Metro, 9 December
Marina O’Loughlin is wowed by the jaw-dropping interior and the magnificence of the food at Galvin La Chapelle, London E1
This handsome, butch building lends itself perfectly well to handsome, butch food. Even salads – wood-fired autumn vegetables, walnut and goat’s cheese, for instance – have a touch of testosterone. And that’s the way we like it. Girlier dishes – a trademark soufflé-style crab lasagne with shellfish-rich sauce, chervil and chanterelles, or pearly pavé of halibut with (unbilled!) earthy, nutty little Bonnotte potatoes from Noirmoutier (the world’s most expensive spuds), artichokes and caramelised chicory – are good. But they pale into insignificance beside the magnificence of a Bunter-ish slab of scarlet beef for two, deeply flavoured, charred of crust and just chewy enough to remind us why we have teeth, served with a bowl of sticky, cheesy macaroni splodged with the murky sexiness of black truffle. It’s fleshy and decadent, perfect for its surroundings. (Dinner for two with wine, water and service, about £160; set three course lunch, £24.50. Rating: 4/5)
Galvin La Chapelle– review in full >>
Evening Standard, 10 December
Fay Maschler enjoys sound cooking from Jerome Ponchelle at the Capital Hotel, London SW3, but is unimpressed by snooty service and lapse service
One of my meals was lunch with two ladies. Caroline arrived early, took her seat and then decided to use the time waiting by going to the loo for a ladylike pee. When she returned to the table, a waitress asked: “Where have you come from?” Apparently owner David Levin thinks the moment for formal service has passed,but the young staff, undirected, bewildered and some French, manage to come across as rather snooty anyway. Lunch is served in dainty portions, which is fine. Seared scallop, just the one but a fat one, served with a froufrou of leaves and sauce vierge, had that sweet edge that burnishing brings and the sauce, championed by Michel Guérard in his Cuisine Minceur, added the allure of raw sprightliness. Tiger prawns with tarbais beans and confit pork was also much appreciated. A special of the day was steak served with small cèpes and a swoop of spinach for which you might want to substitute the roasted rump of Finnebrogue venison, which appears on the newly launched lunch menu. Grilled halibut with Puy lentils and parsnip crisps has lived on from one menu to the next and so it should. (Rating: 3/5).
Capital Hotel – review in full >>
Time Out, 10 December
Guy Dimond tucks into the deeply retro menu with gusto at the Dean Street Townhouse & Dining Room, London W1
Soho House Group, now owned by Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings yet still one of the coolest hospitality outfits in our scintillating city, have decided that the future is sherry trifle (‘to share’), and treacle sponge with custard. To be fair, I don’t recall seeing dishes such as grilled squid with spiced chickpeas or Cornish brill with ceps on menus as a child, but much of the menu is deeply retro. It’s also unusually well done, with such precision in the cooking and wonderful flavours it would make any 1970s dinner party host proud. Salt beef was near-gelatinous in texture, yet an explosion of flavour; even the brussels sprouts were a pleasure, being young and tender, lightly cooked, and tasting nutty. Rhubarb fool was fresh and fruity, served with wafer-thin shortbread. It’s the 1970s all right, just not as I remember it. (Meal for two, with wine and service, around £100. Rating: 4/5).
Dean Street Townhouse & Dining Room – review in full >>
By Janet Harmer
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