Jay Rayner visits the new London opening of Aquavit, sister of the much-lauded New York site: it’s all ‘shiny and golden and glossy’, but ‘you’ll be paying’ for such things. It’s smorgasbord to start, where traditional gravadlax is ‘profoundly, indecently, lovely’, and ‘utterly engrossing’ mackerel tartare is the ‘best of these dishes’. Though things take a turn. Halibut is ‘slightly overcooked’, not OK given the ‘£28 price tag’, the beef main is ‘gussied-up farmhouse food’ and the intricate ‘Arctic Bird’s Nest’ ends up as ‘irritating debris’ once broken into.
The Times is another newspaper to wage war on the clean eating trend this week, here in the form of a review of El Pastór: a new taco joint near Borough Market. ‘As close as you’ll get to a Mexican cantina’, there is ‘wondrous flavour’ in the daily-made tortillas, and guacamole has a ‘nice zip’. Short rib of beef is ‘soft and kissable’ and after one signature al pastór taco, Tony Turnbull ‘[finds himself] calling for another’.
After the success of Michelin-starred sister restaurant The Clove Club, Marina O’Loughlin wondered whether it would be a case of ‘difficult second album’ for Isaac McHale’s Luca. ‘Britalian’ dishes include ‘giddy, bisquey, buttery’ Morecambe Bay shrimp spaghettini, ‘luxurious’ pear and frangipane tart, and parmesan fries she’d ‘like a family bucket’ of: there is ‘real technical skill’ here.
Things are ‘certainly seasonal’ for Damian Barr at The Parsons Table in Arundel. Pulled ham-hock croquettes ‘must never [be taken] off the menu’, ‘juicy’ Orchard Farm pork chop is ‘thick as an airport bestseller’ and the ice cream ‘soars’, ‘elevating otherwise unremarkable desserts’. Despite there being ‘nothing bold’ about the place, ‘it has promise’.
Where some of our favourite bloggers have been eating recently:
— Seetal Savla (@SavlaFaire) January 9, 2017
— Isabelle Gill (@IsabelleGill) January 4, 2017