Review of the reviews… what the critics say about the Ship in Distress at Mudeford, Dorset, and others

04 October 2006
Review of the reviews… what the critics say about the Ship in Distress at Mudeford, Dorset, and others

The Guardian, 30 SeptemberMatthew Norman finds a safe food harbour at the Ship in Distress at Mudeford in Dorset.

The main menu is almost exclusively piscine and we ordered from this. Fish soup with all the trimmings was pretty good, if "a little on the zesty side" but my risotto of crab and lobster was magnificent, the rice cooked perfectly in a strong, gutsy stock gently infused with white wine and laden with big, juicy chunks of white meat. I backed the winner in the main course as well. It is a grave insult to lemon sole to mess around with it in any way, and this large specimen came as it should… unfilleted, unfussed and grilled quickly at a high flame so the skin was brown. The flesh was so incredibly fresh, it might have been caught five minutes before. (Rating: eight out of 10. Three courses with wine, about £35 a head).

The Independent, 30 SeptemberTracey MacLeod revisits London legend Le Caprice on its 25th birthday.

We found that it has aged well. Suave nowadays, rather than fashionable, like an ageing roué still trying his luck, it retains a certain swagger, though the charm has worn thin in places. Some of the food we tried was great, but a couple of dishes were dull. Of the perennials, the winner was the crispy duck and watercress salad, a zingy Chinese-inspired exercise in contrasts that should come with its own splatter screen. The famous Caesar salad was felt to lack edge. (Food and ambience rating: both four stars out of five. About £60 per head, including wine).

The Sunday Telegraph, 1 OctoberZoe Williams eschews meat at Brighton's vegetarian haven, Terre à Terre.

The Times, 30 SeptemberGiles Coren gets an attack of gastropub-itis and heads off to check out London's Pig's Ear in Chelsea.

I liked the menu: potted shrimps, grilled sardines, steak tartare and all that sort of cosy thing to start, and then just steak, sea bass, monkfish or risotto. I had a second starter for my main, but, boy, what a starter. Jerusalem artichokes were cut into robust octagonal cylinder and roasted (or perhaps sautéed) to a deep, rich, golden nuttiness, then stacked to provide a frame for slivers of braised ox tongue and dressed with a nice, sticky reduction and lifted with scattered nuggets of dense, fatty but unfishy smoked eel.

The Independent on Sunday, 1 OctoberTerry Durack checks out the much-talked-about L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in London.

The menu divides into small, medium and large servings, with a separate £55 tasting menu. The pricing structure is a nightmare, because you never quite know what you are going to get. A single, breathlessly delicious ravioli of langoustine in Savoy cabbage costs £15, the same as a man-sized steak tartare main course. Richly seasoned and hand-chopped to order from the French chef's favourite cut of meat, onglet, it arrives with a pile of extremely crinkle-cut, almost corkscrew fries miraculously cut with a specially designed ripple-bladed chopper. (Rating: 16 out of 20. Meal for two, about £150 including wine).

Time Out, 4 OctoberIn London, Guy Dimond goes west to get a taste of the east - to the suburb of New Malden, and the Korean restaurant Su La.

The menu's a bit of a puzzle, even if you know Korean food, because dish names are written in Hangul (Korean script), then loosely translated into English. So far, so suburban. But when the "seasoned crab" dish (real name: yang num kejang) arrives, you know you're not in Guildford. The huge dish of blue-grey crustacea limbs, with spines covered in blood-red chilli sauce, arrives looking like an alien space landing gone wrong. The shell's cracked before serving, so you suck the tender flesh out with your mouth; it's not cooked, so retains a texture like raw fish. Soon-dae is another Korean speciality, a blood sausage made with rice vermicelli. It can be served in various ways, but we tried it chopped up in a highly-spiced stir-fry that was another tangled red mess of vegetables; unusual, and very delicious, with an addictive chilli rush. (Rating: four stars out of six. Meal for two with drinks and service, around £45).

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