Mark Bolland reviews
Monday, April 27, 2009 - We began with wasabi prawns, spicy crispy baby squid and seafood tempura. The prawns were huge, juicy beasts and the squid came in neat little circles, piquantly spiced. These were accompanied by doll's house-sized dishes of dark sauces for dipping - though I'm never quite sure which one is intended for which. The seafood tempura was delicious, but let's face it, this dish is basically just a posher and more manageable portion of battered fish and a guiltfree way of liberating your inner chip shop. Our main course of sushi was sublime. Just perfect.
Monday, March 23, 2009 - Inside, there's an abundance of stone: great slabs of granite lining the walls and pale marble underfoot. It is an austere room. Snowy white linen clothes the tables and on each sits a white glass vase crammed full with overblown scarlet roses. The look is medieval and rather beautiful…Guy began his meal with pasta, which he said was fine, if not the most exciting starter in the world. My own Angus beef carpaccio with homemade pickles was delicious, the rare meat sliced so thinly that it looked pinkly translucent on the plate.
Monday, February 16, 2009 - Run by two enterprising young women, the J & A Café is hidden at the back of one those timeless, labyrinthine East London yards. Simple and unpretentious, the room has an old-fashioned warm and rustic feel. Brick walls; cream slatted ceiling; lots of natural light. There's a central refectory table on which sits a giant bowl of apples and lemons; smaller tables are dotted about. Vegetables of the day are displayed decoratively (it's a bit like walking into a still-life class). A big blackboard announces the specials. It's perhaps more Cambridge than Clerkenwell.
Monday, December 08, 2008 - Gilmour's exterior is wide-windowed and inviting. Inside, it instantly makes you feel comfortable, although this has as much to do with the friendly staff as the room itself, which I loved. The walls are boldly coloured, the kitchen gleams silver and aquamarine and amethyst lamps hang overhead. It's like being in the centre of a jewel box… Mr Gilmour (junior) has come up with a real gem of a restaurant. Make a booking today... there's no time like the present.
Monday, December 01, 2008 - Last week I felt in need of a luxurious dinner following a memorial service for the inestimable David Chipp, former chief of the Press Association and a dear friend…Guy and I decided to try somewhere different. There's a new bistro at the refurbished Connaught hotel and we wanted to see if the five-star hotel was as sumptuous as ever. First impressions suggested it was. In the heart of Mayfair, The Connaught looms in the dark night like a brightly lit ship. From the outside, the goldenhued conservatory gleams like a yellow sapphire…You are greeted like an old friend and led to your table. That's luxury.
Cote (Soho) - 3.5/5
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - A call to the restaurant tells me that the name is pronounced ‘coat’, although, of course, if we’re talking authentic French, it should rhyme with ‘cot’. And why Côte at all? It means coast (which is a long way from Wimbledon, Richmond or Soho)? Apparently the directors ‘just liked the name’. Ah.
Monday, September 08, 2008 - Water House is the second such restaurant and brainchild of Arthur Potts Dawson, a Roux-trained chef with plenty of starry associates. Potts Dawson has a social conscience, he aims to provide good green eating with a minimal carbon footprint and to plough profits from his restaurant back into the local community.