Monthly Round-up of National Critics’ Restaurant Reviews by Oliver Thring (January 2013)

Kitchen Table

Kitchen Table

‘The whole set up of Kitchen Table is exhilirating,’ says Zoe Williams, who thought her plaice ‘the finest, firmest I’ve ever had’. Lamb sweetbreads were ‘stunning’ with braised cabbage. ‘If there’s any part of you that gets excited about food, you will find this thrilling.’ [link]

‘Il Tempo’s aperitivo could make honorary Italians of us all,’ says Andy Lynes. He enjoyed some ‘seriously delicious salamis’ and ‘meltingly fresh’ mozzarella. [link]

Lynes also went to the very expensive Bo London, on Mill Street. ‘There’s no one I recognise and the atmosphere is curiously flat … Several dishes are underseasoned and desserts were disappointing.’ [link]

John Walsh visits the Royal Oak Inn in Chichester. ‘The pork was utterly delicious, cooked for ages in duck fat … I’d go again tomorrow for the warmth and the welcome.’ [link]

‘It feels like The Wolseley goes back to Bangkok,’ says Joe Warwick at Alan Yau’s new place, Naamyaa Café in Islington. Naamyaa gai (chicken and wild ginger) was a ‘hearty pleasure’, the drinks list a ‘joy’. [link]

He also enjoyed ‘generous’ chicken with imam bayaldi at Greenberry Café. ‘Primrose Hill’s pram-pushers no longer need to be left to eat cupcakes.’ [link]

Guy Dimond found Naamyaa Café ‘beautifully designed [and] well-priced’. (And also the blueprint for a new chain.) Som tam (green papaya salad) was ‘one of the best versions in London’, while jasmine smoked baby back pork ribs was a ‘highlight’. [link]

‘The food was really excellent,’ says Tracey Macleod at the re-revamped Quality Chop House. ‘Best suited for people who really care about what they eat and drink, and want to do it in the company of others who feel the same.’ [link]

Fay Maschler likes Nick Jones’s Electric Diner. She enjoyed the burger; the place is devoted to ‘richness, oiliness, fattiness’, in a fairly good way. [link]

Yet another burger bar, Patty & Bun, this time reviewed by Tania Ballantine. ‘It’s everything a cool burger bar should be’, and its burgers are ‘insanely delicious’, apparently. [link]

Ballantine also found time to visit Brgr.co, which runs ‘like a well-oiled machine’. [link]

‘The place has bakery in its DNA,’ says Jay Rayner of Gail’s Kitchen, so it’s natural that the ‘bread underscores the food.’ Braised oxtail was ‘deep and rich and sticky’. ‘It is food that actually stopped me eating for a moment.’[link]

The ‘bacon-heavy house burger … pleased us,’ says Richard Godwin at Disco Bistro on Carter Lane EC4. But candied pumpkin with clementine jelly and chocolate mousse ‘simply did not work’. [link]

Matthew Norman liked the ‘nostalgic fantasy’ of Mari Vanna. Pork and beef pelmeni were ‘light and perfectly cooked’ and honey cake was ‘gorgeously life-shortening’. ‘Not so much a restaurant as a dreamscape.’ [link]

Nick Lander visits The Pig’s Head: ‘swanky by Dublin standards’. Chicken, foie gras and ham terrine was ‘first class’, but ‘there was far too long before our next courses’. [link]

‘Excellent dishes, every single one,’ says Giles Coren at new Argentinian, Zoilo. Braised brawn was ‘stonking’. [link]

Marina O’Loughlin went there too. ‘It’s lovely: beautiful Marylebone townhouse, dramatic entrance’. The food is ‘excellent … particularly a crab and humita (corn cake) soup that thrills me to the marrow … I like Zoilo enormously.’ [link]

She also visited Shoryo Ramen and Bone Daddies. The former is ‘unmistakesably the real deal’, with good gyoza as well. BD is more ‘down and dirty … Imagine liquidising a roast pig and straining it into a bowl’. Nontheless, ‘ramen are here to stay’. [link]

AA Gill’s piece on eating in 2012 is a great read. ‘Burgers have become a real bore … There is only so much a hamburger can ever be. It was never meant to be more than a motorway sandwich.’ [link]

Also don’t miss Richard Vines’s 15 favourite restaurants of the last year. [link]

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