Weekly Round-up of National Critics’ Restaurant Reviews by Oliver Thring, 19/12

Welcome to Oliver Thring’s weekly round-up of national critics’ restaurant reviews.

The Rib Room, Knightsbridge

Like most critics, Zoe Williams was unimpressed by the Rib Room. Foie gras was ‘delicious … Hollywood food’ but steak was ‘a touch bland’. ‘You could get just as much quality and far more excitement from an enthusiastic gastropub.’

Aurelia is a good place to eat,’ says Jay Rayner, ‘but only in spite of itself.’ The food is ‘good value, if less than cheap’; salt marsh lamb with confit garlic and salmoriglio was ‘one of the most satisfying lamb dishes I have eaten in a long while’.

‘The full Aussie breakfast is spectacular,’ says Lisa Markwell at Granger & Co in Westbourne Grove. (Bill Granger is the Independent’s cookery writer.) Semolina-crusted calamari aioli and spatchcock with grapefruit and pistachio salad were both ‘succulent and delicious’.

John Lanchester went to Roti Chai: ‘The street food was brilliant, the curries average.’ Kandahari quail was ‘sticky and satisfying’ but seafood kari was ‘overwhelmed by clumsy, drenching sauce’.

‘[Adrian] Mowl is doing an amazing job,’ says Marina O’Loughlin of the Café at Turner Contemporary‘s chef in Margate. He’s cooking ‘splendidly autumnal soup’ with jerusalem artichokes and chanterelles, and a ‘luxurious’ game terrine.

Mishkin’s matzo ball soup is ‘first-rate’ according to Tracey Macleod, though the salt beef sandwich was ‘less successful’ and ‘portions are generally small’. Nonetheless, it ‘turns out that this Jewish deli-meets-rackety bar is just the place London has been crying out for’.

Giles Coren agrees. ‘It is great fun, very modern and youthful and a brilliant place to spend a couple of hours.’ The meatloaf is ‘standout fantastic’.

Only Fay Maschler is underwhelmed by Mishkin’s: ‘None of what we ate was unusually good.’ The chopped liver was ‘murky’, the salt beef sandwich ‘uncoordinated and lacking in mustardy bite’.

AA Gill visits a homeless shelter, and writes about it movingly.

And don’t miss Bruce Palling’s ‘culinary reflections’ of 2011.

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