The Evening Standard, 4 February 2010
Fay Maschler says Shay Cooper’s cooking at the Bingham, Richmond, Surrey - a recent recipient of a Michelin star – is making a positive impression, despite a tendency to over-complicate dishes
My guest, the renowned cricket photographer Patrick Eagar, announced that his way into a choice of main course was always via potatoes. This obliged him to select glazed veal cheek with truffle mash, crisp veal tongue, red wine-glazed salsify and sauce gribiche. Other assemblies sported polenta, gnocchi, lentils and parsnips as starch. Reg ordered salt marsh lamb that came with sweetbreads, baked aubergine, fried lentil purée, braised lamb shoulder and capers. Both dishes suffered from Patrick’s observation that the different parts competed for attention rather than complementing each other — never advisable in a relationship. Also all the necessary positioning, primping, pushing and plating was arguably more entertaining for the chefs than the recipients, especially since heat was lost in the process. Desserts maintain the effortful approach. Passion fruit curd and one of its many accompaniments, blood orange sorbet, was notable and the petits fours featured a pâtés de fruits of blood orange and ginger that made me want to marry the pastry chef. (Average price for a meal for two: £100. Rating: 3/5).
The Bingham – review in full >>
Metro, 3 February
Marina O’Loughlin is surprised to find top notch cooking at Marco Pierre White’s latest restaurant, Wheeler’s of St James, London SW1
It’s no secret that White hasn’t cooked professionally for more than ten years; at Wheeler’s he has installed Garry Hollihead, a chef not afraid to do simple things beautifully. I’ve had variable experiences of Hollihead’s food in the past but when he’s good, he’s good. Look at this ‘bisque de crabe Newburg’: not floury or overly creamy, just purest essence of crab bolstered by some delicate spicing and perhaps a slug of sherry. The menu is as clever as a master forgery: hors d’oeuvres à la Café Anglais; layout from the Ivy Group; dishes that could have come from Langan’s (old school) or Dean Street Townhouse (so now, sweetie).There are MPW greatest hits too: ‘Potage of mussels Billy By’, and gentlemen’s club classics of grilled fish, pies and nursery puddings. Turn a blind eye to the plagiarism, er, ‘hommages’, and it’s genius. (A meal for two with wine, water and service, costs about £140. Rating: 3/5).
Wheeler’s of St James – review in full >>
Time Out, 2 February
Guy Dimond warns that there are no Masterchef touches on the menu of Greg Wallace’s new venture, Wallace & Co, London SW15, just good, simple caff food
The salads are among the more interesting options, and include a lip-smacking mackerel escabeche, a well-made celeriac remoulade served on a sliver of bresaola, and a less impressive vegetable mulch that was described on the menu as saffron cauliflower. Ribollita is a Tuscan soup of ‘leftover’ veg and stale bread, typical of the hearty peasant flavours of central Italy. It can be quite vibrantly coloured or the colour of lentil soup, but I’d not seen one as dark or viscous as Wallace & Co’s version before – it looked like Chinese hot and sour soup. Yet the essential constituents were there – beans, minestrone-like veg – and it tasted Italian. A slice of jerusalem artichoke frittata was less successful, as this slab was served unappetisingly cold, when ideally it should be served just-cooked. The Mediterranean slant to the menu is balanced by British classics. The scotch egg revival has become an epidemic across London, and includes venison versions with runny egg yolk (at the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms). The quartered scotch egg served here might not be star material, but it’s a decent one, with good quality pork encasing the egg. (Meal for two, with wine and service, around £50. Rating: 3/5).
Wallace & Co – review in full >>
By Janet Harmer
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