Review of the reviews

03 June 2004
Review of the reviews

The Sunday Telegraph

30 May
Matthew Norman celebrates Arrigo Cipriani's new London restaurant, Cipriani
Exactly how many people were waiting on the tables at any one time was hard to calculate since these occupants of gleaming white dinner jackets seemed to be multiplying like aphids. But there can't have been fewer than 15, with another half a dozen managerial types directing them. So lavish is the attention that to sneeze heavily here wouldn't merely summon two people bearing tissues on a silver tray, you suspect, but a third with a list of Harley Street's leading ENT specialists and a fourth with a phone to make an appointment. (Score 9/10. Dinner for one with coffee and half a bottle of house wine, £55)

The Times

29 May
Giles Coren prefers the new hotel/restaurant on Clerkenwell Road, the Zetter
The food is not as polished or resonant as at Cipriani, nor would I want it to be. But I've had spanking sweetbreads roasted with baby artichokes, a huge veal chop wrapped in pancetta, a weird but lovely nettle frittata with goat's curd and a nest of peppery leaves, and nice light tagliatelle with duck and peas. It's all sexily seasonal and also cool, if I didn't say that already - a bit like the universally beloved Moro in Exmouth Market with whom it shares ownership and philosophical outlook. The delicious "chocolate and valpolicella pot" I had for pudding was so cool, I almost mistook it for the Fonz. (Score: 7/10)

The Observer

30 May
Jay Rayner on his 90-minute dinner slot at Yauatcha, London W1
I don't care how good the dim sum are. I don't care that each of the steamed dumplings is a minor miracle; that the venison puffs are so buttery they all but evaporate on the tongue; that the salt and pepper quails have a crisp skin of unbearable moreishness. I don't care about any of it. I never want to fight this hard for my dinner again… Getting fed at Yauatcha is a total hassle and that is exactly what dim sum isn't meant to be. Dim sum is casual food. It's street food at the table, not performance art. (Meal for two, including wine and service, £80)

The Guardian

29 May
Matthew Fort in Brighton at Due South, King's Road Arches
Midhurst asparagus, Dexter beef, Norbury blue cheese, local fish - obviously Due South makes a point of ensuring that its raw materials are seasonal, local and organic. However, it is one thing to take care of the produce, quite another to treat it with the care and respect that it deserves. Luckily, the team at Due South keep their wits about them when it comes to the cooking. There are few things better in world food than very fresh new season's asparagus, precisely cooked and served with a classically made hollandaise sauce. (Score: 15/20)

The Daily Telegraph

29 May
Jan Moir on executive chef Bjorn van der Horst's menu at the newly refurbished Greenhouse restaurant, London W1
The food itself. Ahem. I've been simply bursting to tell you. It is completely fabulous. It is divine. It's irresistible. It has, as the chef's impressive apprenticeship might suggest, classic French foundations welded to enormously skilled execution, but with a sparkling Euro-Asian sensibility dancing through some of the dishes. For example, a starter dish of diver scallops are steamed with green tea and served with a scatter of samphire and one perfect dim sum dumpling; the edges primped with a master's hand, the stuffing of leek and truffle a perfect complement for the white cliff of shellfish. (Meal for two, excluding drinks and service, £110)

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