The Daily Telegraph, 12 July
Jasper Gerard visits Dans le Noir, London EC1 He was a dear friend and I hadn't clapped eyes on him in years. He was over from Los Angeles and wanted dinner that night. I had to eat at Dans le Noir? for the purpose of this review, so Diana and I asked him along. And there I sat chomping away with a mucker I'd been longing to see - in the dark. The restaurant, based on one in Paris, is not seductively gloomy: it is darker than a Durham colliery. Perfect for a blind date, literally. Just imagine: you smugly coo sweet somethings at a woman who might be Ana Ivanovic and let yourself get carried away, knowing that nothing can be seen. Well, not unless you count the infra-red cameras.
The Independent, 12 July
John Walsh visits L'Anima, London EC2
L'Anima is the Italian word for "the soul" or "the spirit", and it's unusual to find ethereal connotations attached to modern Italian cuisine. Restaurateurs like to emphasise the earthiness, the spicy peasantness, the down-home, hairy-armpitted, beans-and-pasta-soup-iness of vero Italian cooking. You may think it laughable that the River Café calls its fabulous dishes cucina rustica, when no actual rustic Italian could afford a tenth of their Hammersmith prices - but the image was seriously meant.
L'Anima - The Independent review in full >>
The Observer, 13 July
Jay Rayner visits L'Anima, London EC2
I know property prices are on the slide, but even so: I'm thinking of selling my house and moving to L'Anima. After my near-perfect lunch, I am certain nothing bad could ever happen there. It is light and clean and bright and soothing. There are cliff faces of glass on to the street and cliff faces of rough-hewn rock to the sides. There are snowfields of linen and cheery waiters and Jo Malone products in the loos. Here even the conker-sized olives have a certain brilliance and sheen to them, as if the kitchen boasts not just a chef but also a food stylist packing colour charts, who has made sure the olives are exactly the right shade of deep seawater green to set off the grey of the floors and the walls.
L'Anima - Observer review in full >>
The Sunday Times, 13 July
AA Gill visits The Pantechnicon Rooms, London SW1
The Pantechnicon on Motcomb Street has been reinvented as the Pantechnicon Rooms, a bar and restaurant by the team who started the Thomas Cubitt on Elizabeth Street - named after the Regency architect and town planner who built Belgravia. The first thing we can surmise about these restaurateurs is that they're too clever by half and probably like to play Trivial Pursuit after sex. The Pantechnicon Rooms looks beautiful. It's a smartly conceived and coolly grown-up upstairs-downstairs, exactly right for this mimsy corner of London envy, where the shopping bags are large and sturdy enough to count as single men's shanties in India.
The Pantechnicon Rooms - Sunday Times review in full >>
Jan Moir visits Ambassade de L'ile, London SW7
When we rang to reserve a table (for one) at Ambassade de L'ile, the receptionist would only take the booking if a credit card number was supplied. What a cheek. The place had barely opened its doors. It reminded us of the early days of Sketch, when would-be diners were asked what they did for a living before being considered worthy, or otherwise, of a table. The Ambassade were equally firm. 'If you don't turn up, £80 will be deducted from your card,' we were told, which seems harsh, not to mention inhospitable.
Ambassade de L'Ile - Are you ready to order? review in full >>
By Janet Harmer