From revamped East London boozers to boundary-pushing veggie cuisine in Manchester, it was a mixed bag for the nation’s food critics this week. Check out what they loved (red wine-braised squid), and loathed (prawns mixed with chocolate).
Awarded a whopper 4 stars by Fay Maschler, The Culpeper is an East London pub boasting a ‘magnificent’ redesign. Dover sole ‘[delivers] more than is expected of a fish’, red wine-braised squid is ‘dark, moody and humming’, and room saved for dessert ‘well rewarded’.
‘Pleasingly hectic’ Hood in Streatham hosts Grace Dent: an area of London that’s ‘clearly crying out’ for new openings. Though grilled mackerel ‘lacks clout’, pork belly with bubble & squeak was ‘delicious’.
Giles Coren doesn’t feel Bocconcino is a ‘bad’ restaurant, but he doesn’t feel it’s a ‘necessary’ one either.Deep-fried calamari was ‘on the chewy side’, while burrata arrived with ‘lovely braised aubergine and a neat little pesto’. Black tagliolini was ‘beautifully made’, and veal chop ‘delicious’, though ‘five quid a mouthful’.
It’s yet another Kitty Fisher’s venture, this week for Marina O’Loughlin of The Guardian. ‘Memorable’ duck is ‘blushing pink and oozing juice’, salt cod croquettes are ‘light, crisp and fluffy’, and beef ‘jolly fine’.
Jay Rayner heads to ‘excellent independent’ 1847 in Manchester, for a vegetarian lunch that at £25 for 3 courses is ‘good value’. ‘Compelling’ main courses include deep-fried halloumi, and rice with puy lentils and smoked tofu.
It’s a thumbs down for Zoe Williams at Wormwood, with combinations like ‘chocolate [and] prawn reduction’ not managing to pull it off. A few after-thought recommendations include ‘blooming marvellous’ Allium Brasserie.