The Guardian‘s John Lanchester finds brilliant cooking at Purnell's in Birmingham but says he will remember the restaurant for all the wrong reasons.
After arriving slightly late for his 9pm booking and unsuccessfully trying to reach the restaurant, he was welcomed by a member of staff saying: "I'll just see if the kitchen is still serving." - much to his dismay.
"As a way of making your customers feel unwanted, this was hard to beat," he complains. "Was it Darfur? No. Did it seem officious and inhospitable? Yes. Was the rest of the service like that? No. Is it the first thing I remember when I think of Purnell's? Well, unfortunately, yes." However, Lanchester applauds chef-patron Glyn Purnell's cooking, which he describes as beautiful and inventive.
Meanwhile Matthew Norman, writing for The Daily Telegraph, is impressed with the relaunched Savoy Grill, the latest restaurant opening from Gordon Ramsay Holdings. Giving it nine out of 10, Norman says after a series of disappointing restaurant launches, Ramsay has returned on top form.
The Observer‘s Jay Rayner reviews North Road in his final review of the year, where Danish chef Christoffer Hruskova is serving a menu of Nordic cuisine based on British dishes. "Hruskova ‘s cooking is about as close as you'll get to Redzepi's without buying a plane ticket, though to be honest it's still some way off the precision and acute sense of balance. It's good without having Redzepi's brilliance," he says.
Sushi, sashimi and strange little fruits aside, The Sunday Telegraph‘s Zoe Williams isn't exactly overawed by the food at Sake No Hana, while The Independent‘s Lisa Markwell says that although on the site of a flower market, there's nothing fleeting about the beauty of the food at newcomer Brawn in east London.
<span class=""noindex"">By Kerstin Kühn
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