Richard Vines reviews
Monday, July 18, 2011 - While the menu might be described as nostalgic, it's more than that: I never remember British food being this good. Wareing's head chef Oliver Wilson is talented and there's real flavor in starters such as the Mulligatawny with quail, onion rings, curry spice; and mains such as Soles in Coffins: lemon sole, vermouth cream, Morecambe Bay shrimps and crispy potato...With such a good menu, why the complaints? Some tables are so close together you don't have to ask: 'Does my bum look big in this?' You just gauge it by how much havoc you wreak on your neighbor's table as you squeeze out. The service can be inattentive.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - The menu starts with snacks such as crispy Iberico pig ears and Venetian-style sardines before moving on to wonderful skewers of meat: Moorish Iberico pork; Gressingham duck with figs; and salt-marsh lamb and kidney with smoked paprika. They and are so moist and rich you may care to order several. I'd happily take two of each, but then I also would want a minimum of two mini-Iberico pork and foie gras burgers. These are of such magnificence, sharing is almost impossible. One guest I took along said she'd try a bite of mine. Friendships have foundered on less. I bought her one and she understood.
Monday, March 28, 2011 - Truffled egg toast is one of the most popular choices: a thick slice of bread from Flour Power City hollowed out and filled with two yolks, surrounded by fontina cheese and cooked in an oven with eight drops of truffle oil. It's gooey and also rich...Spuntino isn't for everyone. It's crowded and noisy. It's also dark and the menu is hard to read. You're squashed in even before people start forming a line immediately behind you. I'd say it's a young person's place if I didn't like it so much myself.
Friday, July 30, 2010 - After three visits to Dishoom, my recommendation would be to go for a variety of small plates and a couple of grills. There are unusual options for London, such as Chili Cheese Toast; Bombay Sausages (spicy chipolatas in a tangy sauce); and above all Pau Bhaji: mashed vegetables on hot buttered bread...Some of the grills, such as chicken tikka, are familiar but none the worse for that, and there are spicy lamb chops or dill salmon tikka if you feel like a change. There are also biryanis and two daily curries, but they are less distinctive and Dishoom is better for snacks than full meals.
Friday, July 16, 2010 - The chef, New Zealander Miles Kirby, formerly headed the kitchen at the Providores and Tapa and knows his fusion fare. If there's a cheerful irreverence about mixing and matching cuisines, there's seriousness about flavor. When I visited, there was a good butternut squash, ginger and coconut soup, balancing sweetness with a hint of spice. The goat's curd, tomato, lentils and a sumac cracker is light and fresh enough for summer, without being bland. If you're going for bigger flavors, there's salt-and-Sichuan squid with chili mayonnaise...The weekend brunch is particularly popular.
Monday, January 25, 2010 - The menu is refreshingly unchallenging if you are familiar with British food, and the prices are as friendly as most of the staff. The service is oddly uneven, but first let's talk about the food. There are luxury delicacies such as oysters and Dover sole, yet most of the dishes are as comforting as a warm bed...Twice-baked smoked haddock souffle is light as fresh snow. Fish soup is dark and deep. The signature main of a bowl of mince with a side of boiled potatoes is a million miles from school dinners, the sauce rich with a peppery back note, the potatoes al dente with a dusting of parsley.
Monday, October 05, 2009 - The menu at Polpo is made up of about 40 dishes, which start at 1.20 pounds for potato and Parmesan croquette and rise to 6.90 pounds for grilled sliced flank steak and flat mushrooms. Chuck in a wine list with about 25 options available by the quarter or half liter, a cool-looking room and service that's friendly and you have a winner...The chef is Tom Oldroyd, formerly at Bocca di Lupo. Polpo joins that Italian eatery in offering a winning mix of interesting and modestly priced wines with food that's delicious.
Saturday, July 18, 2009 - While the fish soup was under-seasoned and the pastry in the beautiful feuillete of quail eggs was well done, the Lobster Mousse was a rich, luxurious treat...The chicken (16 pounds for a half) was a useful reminder of how that particular bird should taste, the veal cordon bleu is a great retro dish and if you're feeling more adventurous, there's roast rabbit, wrapped in bacon, with mustard. I'd like to try these dishes again once the kitchen settles in. The desserts are among the best-executed items on the menu.
The Palm London - 3/5
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - The food, when it comes, is generally good. The crab cake, with a mango salsa, contains large chunks of crabmeat and is strong on flavor. The calamari fritti starter (9.50 pounds) is piled high on the plate. It’s tossed with lemon and cherry peppers and is surprisingly light. We’re just not used to such big portions in London, and I happily made my way through these. The steaks - aged USDA prime - are juicy and tender and not short on flavor but fail to deliver the knockout blow you might expect at these prices… I’d go to Palm for a slice of authentic Americana. In gastronomic terms, it’s a steak-house chain.
Friday, April 24, 2009 - This new East London eatery, near the City financial district and the Barbican, is simple and basic. It’s as much a takeaway eatery as a sit-down restaurant. The tables are bare, the walls decorated with a few pictures and knick-knacks. You hardly need fancy surroundings for street food. But you can taste the fresh herbs and spices and that Curry Tumis dish is particularly good, enlivened by tamarind, galangal, lemongrass and praew leaf.
Friday, April 17, 2009 - The design is understated and enchanting, with Chinese artworks, screens and even birdcages, like a teahouse. The tables are bare, you sit on stools and the distant sound of an erhu (a two- stringed musical instrument) may help transport you east… The dishes listed as dumplings are “jaozi,” boiled parcels typically filled with pork and Chinese chives or water chestnuts. I first tasted these when I went to live in Beijing in 1982 and the memory is as sharp as the accompanying vinegar. (I liked them so much that I married the woman who showed me how to make them.)
Goodman Mayfair - 4/4
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 - I invited Atherton along to try Goodman for the first time and see what he made of the opposition…I waited for him to criticize Goodman. And waited. Finally, I asked him what he made of it. “It’s good that more steak restaurants are coming to London, and they’ve got the real steak- house look right here,” he said, gazing around the room with its plain wooden tables and wooden floor. It’s fantastic, and I really like that a lot of the meat is served on the bone,” he said. “I like it. It’s very good.”
Arch One Bar & Grill - 3/4
Friday, October 17, 2008 - Gemma Tuley, 25, is a young chef with the kind of resume most rivals never build up in a lifetime…Ramsay identified her potential and packed her off to the three-star Guy Savoy in Paris, where she faced the twin hurdles of being the only woman and not speaking French…So much for her history. The present is more exciting for diners: She's got her own restaurant - Arch One Bar & Grill, at Waterloo Station -- where the prices are as low as you'll find in London for such quality cooking. The two-course set lunch is 8.90 pounds ($15.61). It's 12.90 pounds for three courses, with wine.
Thursday, September 18, 2008 - While Wareing is cooking up a storm in pursuit of his third Michelin star, he hasn't lost sight of the importance of service. His wife, Jane, heads the reservations service, while the front of house combines professionalism with a friendly, conversational style that's pleasantly relaxing. This approach is exemplified by the young sommelier, James Lloyd, who manages to appear more interested in your enjoyment than in selling you expensive wines.
Friday, November 02, 2007 - The service is friendly and efficient, not slick or formal, and this is the first time I've ever been served in London by a waitress with a Lancashire accent. Latvian is closer to the norm. The sommelier, Simon Freeman, knows his onions (and grapes) and the wine list has plenty of bargains -- including versatile Austrian whites -- as well as the usual hedge-fund options.