Bookatable’s Critics’ Review Round-Up: Fay Maschler, Jay Rayner & More!

The nation’s restaurant critics dished up some A+ reports this week, along with a few ‘could try harders’… Check out what they loved and loathed below.

Zoe Williams

The Manor Image source: The Telegraph

The Manor
Image source: The Telegraph

The Manor (sister of The Dairy) woos yet another critic: this time Zoe Williams of The Telegraph. This ‘New York, buzzy’ hideaway served up barbecued crispy chicken skins (‘like falling in love with Mr Darcy, except much tastier’), their ‘fabled’ chicken butter and ‘perfect, distinctive and uninterruptible’ mackerel.


Fay Maschler

Chai Wu Image source: The Standard

Chai Wu
Image source: The Standard

It’s a trip to the 5th floor of Harrods for Fay Maschler, where she visits ‘Chinese(ish)’ restaurant Chai Wu. ‘Almost best of all the dishes’ is egg-fried rice, while snow crab and avocado roll is ‘skilfully made and daintily presented’. Though be warned: deep pockets are required here.


Marina O’Loughlin

Birch Image source: The Guardian

Image source: The Guardian

Marina O’Loughlin sends her apologies for yet another glowing review: a trend for her restaurant visits of late. She’d give ‘her eye teeth to have [Birch in Bristol] as her local’, and there ‘isn’t a single hiccup’ through a journey of ‘[pale green chiffon leeks] draped over wild sea bass’, ‘silky, salted pollock’, and ‘fat, rosy, dark, sticky [venison]’.


Jay Rayner

Rex and Mariano Image source: The Guardian

Rex and Mariano
Image source: The Guardian

Jay Rayner headed to new fish joint Rex and Mariano (brought to us from the same chaps behind steak Mecca, Beast, and the frenzy-inducing Burger & Lobster). The ‘clean and uncluttered’ food ‘hits its mark’, and Rayner questions how they keep prices so low, with £1.50 oysters ‘[not] much over retail price’.


Rachael Pells

The Balcon

The Balcon

Detoxing was the order of the day for Rachael Pells, who sampled the 500-calorie ‘De-light’ set menu at The Balcon. Promises of ‘low in fat yet full in flavour’ are delivered on, with a ‘generously portioned’ salmon fillet and ‘perfectly soft’ quail egg with beetroot.

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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