Weekly roundup of national restaurant critics by @OliverThring, 14/02

Brawn. Charles Campion is its newest fan

Welcome to the weekly roundup

Brawn is still pulling in the critics: this time it’s Charles Campion. ‘The food is hearty and full-flavoured’, ‘the Mongetes is wonderful’ and ‘the black pudding and oxtail Parmentier vies for the crown in the “best ever frying pan hash” category’. ‘Brawn is very good indeed.’

Zoe Williams says Hakkasan is ‘date central’. Soft shell crab ‘tasted a bit like posh Pringles’ (in a good way) and black truffle roast duck was ‘truly unusual and memorably good’.

Fay Maschler welcomes another French bistro/bistrot to London, in the shape of Chabrot. The menu sounds lovely: baby squid with espelette pepper, roast bone marrow, snails, charcuterie and roast chicken.

Right then, on to Dinner. Heston’s newbie is a ‘theatrical tour de force’ according to Matthew Norman. Meat fruit was ‘unbelievable’, beef royal ‘miraculous’. ‘Blumenthal’s Dinner will be the hottest ticket in town for a very long time to come.’

For Tracey MacLeod, ‘[Dinner] offers the perfect big-occasion option for people who want to enjoy dazzling food and wine without all the five-star fuss.’

For Guy Dimond, ‘some dishes exceed expectations, others can raise false hopes.’ The place is ‘oversubscribed’ and ‘expensive’.

And for AA Gill, ‘the smartness and the obsession never get in the way of the sheer edible enjoyment of the plate in front of you.’

Jay Rayner visits both The Dragon Bar in Hastings and The George in Rye. The former ‘deserves support’ although its cassoulet is ‘a crime against French peasants,’ while the ‘venerable’ George serves ‘smart and thoughtful’ food such as halibut with puy lentils and salsa verde.

Non Solo Vino in Chesterfield is ‘a really good Italian restaurant’ according to John Lanchester. A seafood fritto misto was ‘ethereally light’ and grilled lamb rump ‘very good meat’. The Enomatic makes this a good place for wine buffs/bores.

Giles Coren is at the new Hawksmoor. ‘The food was terrific. Flawless of its kind.’ Of a porterhouse, ‘the fillet was uncommonly flavourful, the sirloin unusually tender’.

And a nice wee post from The Skinny Bib on the roast ducks of Bayswater. Gold Mine, it is said, is a ‘worthy rival’ to the more famous poultry at the Four Seasons.

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