Critic & Blogger Review Roundup 20th January 2017

Jay Rayner

Jihwaja Vauxhall

Jihwaja
Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer

Jay Rayner brands ‘new Korean place’, Jihwaja, in London’s Vauxhall ‘hilariously brilliant’ on account of its ‘shameless’ fried chicken. It’s ‘salty and sweet and fiery’ and ‘crisp in a way that echoes through your jaw’. The ‘deep funk’ of kimichi salad is ‘bang on’, deep-fried seaweed spring rolls are ‘a pleasing mix of crunch and bite’, and chicken dumplings are ‘satisfying’, if ‘a little greasy’.

Fay Maschler

Jamavar

Jamavar
Image source: Evening Standard

Fay Maschler is ‘almost deliriously happy’ with the small plates she’s served at Jamavar in Mayfair. Chilli pepper squid is ‘ethereally light’, achari pork with spicy fried quail’s egg is a ‘fantasy Indian breakfast’, and stone bass with avocado chutney is ‘sternly seductive’. Despite a couple of ‘dishes that disappoint’ (lobster nerulli and pheasant with mango, which also happen to be the ‘more expensive’), Maschler awards an impressive 4 stars.

David Mills

Aquavit restaurant

Aquavit
Image source: Sunday Times

David Mills of The Sunday Times heads to the new London opening of Aquavit, where he rates the Brantevik herrings ‘for not being cheek-suckingly sharp’, and enjoys ‘wonderful’ beetroot, goat’s cheese sorbet & hazelnuts served with ‘perfect’ onion purée. After being ‘disappointed’ by hotly anticipated venison tartare comes ‘faultless’ turbot with brown butter, and ‘shreddingly tender’ veal. It ‘occasionally [rises] to spectacular’, but this also demands ‘spending £200 for 2’.

Grace Dent

Luca

Luca
Image source: Evening Standard

Despite it being January, the lure of Isaac McHale’s pasta is enough to draw Grace Dent to The Clove Club’s new sister restaurant, Luca. This ‘chic, modern Italian’ scores 4/5 on all fronts, serving up ‘decidedly magical’ parmesan fries, ‘apt for demolition’ ox cheek cannelloni, and a ‘highlight’ of ‘smoky, buttery’ antipasti.

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About Emma Starkie

Originally from Cumbria, Emma is always on the lookout for exciting new places to eat in London. Topping Emma's rankings at present are Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, Foxlow and Galvin La Chapelle. In her spare time, Emma enjoys trawling old bookshops, baking, and losing at pub quizzes.

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