Review of the reviews… what the critics say about Royal Hospital Road and others

18 October 2006
Review of the reviews… what the critics say about Royal Hospital Road and others

Metro, 18 October
Marina O'Loughlin finds frills without thrills at refurbished Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

The Independent on Sunday, 15 October
Down in the West Country, Terry Durack visits Blackstones and luxuriates in a warm Bath restaurant

Local shopkeepers and office workers come and go, lunching on onion tarts and fish cakes, while silver-haired day trippers gossip over pots of tea and muffins. Only restaurant critics trying to stay out of the rain do the full three-course thing with wine and stay for hours. Blackstones is fresh, modern and good value, with easy-to-love staff, easy-to-take prices, and easy-to-eat food. It is not sophisticated, or overly professional - heaven forbid - but a few more places like this in town and we'll soon be going to Bath for more than just water. (Rating: 13 out of 20. Meal for two, £65 including two drinks)

The Observer, 15 OctoberJay Rayner likes the eco credentials but is disappointed in the cooking at Bordeaux Quay brasserie in Bristol

Too much of the cooking missed the mark. The chicken-liver parfait was bland. The lamb "tagine" was a sprightly stew, but it was completely one note and lacked the play of sweet and salt which makes a real tagine what it is. Worst of all was the fish stew, which, while generous - a trio of clams, a couple of mussels, a prawn and various cuts of fish - had a broth with no depth of flavour. It didn't help that the small tranche of monkfish was undercooked - read raw - or that we heard nothing by way of apology when we pointed this out, via the waitress, to the kitchen. (Meal for two, £70)

Time Out, 17 OctoberGuy Dimond is "invited" to check out the Rochelle Canteen, in Bethnal Green, east London

Margot Henderson, co-proprietor with Melanie Arnold, told me on the phone a few months ago: "It's a private canteen for the new arts studios. However, outside people can visit, as long as they're invited." When I visited this summer, being "invited" merely involved pressing the doorbell. Rochelle Canteen's dishes range from chorizo and potato soup through quail Caesar salad to strawberry ice-cream. Portions were good, prices low. That was back in June. On my return visit it felt like a different chef was working there. Welsh rarebit was slightly grey-looking, a result of Guinness used in the mixture; but both texture and flavour were unappetising. The meal was saved by two savoury dishes: linguine with bottarga and parsley, plus a stew of lamb's heart. (Lunch for two with coffee and service, about £35)

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