Welcome to Oliver Thring’s weekly round-up of national critics’ restaurant reviews.
‘There’s a whiff of the burger joint in Pulp Fiction’ to Bunga Bunga, says Keith Miller; ‘the food is pretty good’. ‘Our pizzas seemed well balanced and generously topped … and then we were off, well fed, driven neither deaf nor insane.’
‘The point of Cut is to eat Wolfgang’s steak and pay a fortune,’ says John Walsh. ‘Scallop carpaccio was the most fabulous scallop dish I’d ever had’ and steak was ‘melting’. ‘My most memorable eating experience this year.’
John Lanchester encounters ‘a nice urban mix’ of customers at the Mark Addy in Salford. It’s an ‘ordinary, pub-like pub with dead serious cooking’. Devilled kidneys were ‘too chewy and too bloody’, though hogget had ‘immense impact’. Treacle tart was ‘a fine ending to a good pub meal’.
Massimo’s design is ‘David Collins’s finest hour,’ says Andy Lynes, but its dishes are ‘stripped back until they tip over into arid banality’. Red mullet was ‘criminally overcooked’, chard ‘bland, watery’ and polenta taragna resembled ‘a tasteless disc of Hovis soaked in water’. ‘Seriously over-inflated bill,’ too.
Giles Coren is at the Horse Guards Inn in West Sussex. ‘It was a great menu’: fish pie, cassoulet soup, beetroot and goat’s cheese, and ‘quite wonderful roasted roe deer’. ‘The eating is fantastic.’
‘Homecooking, then, likeable enough, not much more than that’ is David Sexton’s verdict on the 10 Cases in WC2. Cold roast beef and horseradish was ‘nicely rare but a bit woolly and flavourless’, although poussin was ‘judiciously roasted’. ‘It’s affordable, too, as things go.’
And Chris Pople visited Chipotle Mexican Grill, a smallish burrito chain. ‘I really liked the food’: hot salsa is ‘powerfully flavoured’ with ‘just the right amount of burn’, and barbacoa is ‘shockingly good’. ‘It isn’t cheap [but] feels like great value.’