British

Holborn Dining Room: Formula for success

Holborn Dining Room: Formula for success

The owners of the Rosewood Hotel seem – after several iterations – to have hit upon a winning formula for their restaurant. They have created an all-day brasserie of modern British classics with a few twists. It’s worked for years at the likes of the Wolseley or the more recently renovated the Ned. Similar to the latter, the Rosewood benefits from a glorious history and diners get to enjoy the spacious marble-pillared room which used to house Pearl Assurance…

Honest Burgers: An ode to the plant-based burger

Honest Burgers: An ode to the plant-based burger

Credit to the founders of Honest Burgers – a now 20+ outlet mini-chain in London and beyond – for being ahead of its time. Your reviewer may not be the biggest fan of burger and chips but in the interests of research, I visited the Marylebone branch of Honest with a willing colleague last week and a very specific purpose in mind – to sample the vegan burger they have recently launched. The burger was damn good and would convince many a sceptic

The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall: Make the trip

The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall: Make the trip

Luxury breaks in fine English country hotels don’t come much better than the experience provided by Rockliffe Hall. While the original buildings date from the 18th Century, the offering throughout is distinctly modern including three different and all very good restaurants in which to eat. The high point, where my comrade and I enjoyed full tasting menus that would easily rival Michelin-starred venues throughout the UK, was the Orangery. ..

The Kitchin: From nature to plate

The Kitchin: From nature to plate

Many restaurants may claim that they operate a nature to plate philosophy, but few do it with as much passion and commitment as the Kitchin. Based on a recent visit, the Kitchin fully deserves its Michelin star, which it has held since 2007. Located in the redeveloped Leith waterfront area, just on the edge of Edinburgh, the venue both looks and feels distinctly modern but still manages successfully to show reverence for the past.

The Clove Club: Brilliant, but not the best

The Clove Club: Brilliant, but not the best

It is hard not to pre-judge the Clove Club. The venue is the highest ranked British restaurant in the annual San Pelligrino top-50 list. Maybe as a result of its fame, it is necessary to reserve a table for a weekend evening three months in advance and – in a first for this country – pay for it all upfront. Against this background, I seriously expect to be wowed. What my comrade and I learned, however…

Foxlow: On a high

Foxlow: On a high

A neighbourhood restaurant in Soho? Lovely idea, but surely not workable? Maybe not, but this is the angle that Foxlow has gone for. The venue – the fourth in this mini chain operated by the same team behind the successful Hawksmoor venture – was full of good vibes and food and all very much on-trend. In summary, highly comforting (just like your neighbourhood local) and competent if neither revolutionary or ground-breaking.

Hawksmoor Air Street: Winning formula, every time

Hawksmoor Air Street: Winning formula, every time

Being a regular reviewer of restaurants has many privileges, but a combination of coincidence and premeditation has seen me visit three different Hawksmoor locations across London in the last two months. Regardless of venue (Air Street, Seven Dials and Spitalfields, in reverse chronological order), the formula has been not only remarkably consistent but also hugely successful. Put simply, this is about good meat in a highly convivial atmosphere.

Wild Honey: Sweet remains the honey

Wild Honey: Sweet remains the honey

The doors of Wild Honey have been open for 11 years during which time I have been a regular visitor. A recent lunchtime return visit to the venue reminded me just how good this place is and why it continues to pull in the crowds. Put simply, what Wild Honey does is offer impressively good comfort food in a lovely venue, albeit at Mayfair prices.

Mr White’s English Chophouse: Disappointing

Do people ever get bored with the concept of nostalgia? Did some marketer looking for the next new thing need to reinvent the chophouse for the 21st Century? You can probably guess where this review is going. Mr White’s is depressingly predictable, an unwelcome throwback to the past in so many ways. ..

108 Garage: Destination, not pit-stop

108 Garage: Destination, not pit-stop

No guesses either for the street number or for what formerly occupied this site. Yet its reinvention as a restaurant is undoubtedly a good thing. The legacy is all there – one only needs to look at the exposed brickwork and concrete floor – but the main reason for coming is, undoubtedly, the cooking.

Sea Containers: Smoother sailing

My initial visit to this venue in February was characterised by a mix of positive and negatives: design, views and cocktails in the former camp, but a poor menu concept and disappointing service distinctly in the latter. However, full plaudits to Sea Containers for mostly delivering on this occasion…

Bluebird Café White City: Mixed signals

Long-established as a fixture on the King’s Road in Chelsea, the Bluebird has now spread its wings. A second venture bearing the same logo and concept has just opened in White City. More are apparently planned too. However, the Bluebird is not the Ivy: there is nowhere near as much general affection for the former as the latter. Whereas the Ivy has flourished in its multiple locations, showing that traditional British values (and cooking) can travel/endure, the Bluebird evokes Chelsea decadence, and found its apogee over a decade ago …

Hām: Coming hām

Hām: Coming hām

Let’s first get one thing clear: the accent on the ‘a’ of the restaurant’s name is deliberate and renders pronunciation of the word ‘hame.’ For the unaware, it is old English, for home and a very appropriate choice for this restaurant. Coming here is like coming home/hām, a friendly and welcoming local venue, which cooks a small number of dishes playing strongly to England’s heritage – and does them very well.

Brown’s at the Quay: Pigs and lipstick (October 2017)

Worcester, although picturesque with its cathedral and the majestic River Severn, does not offer a lot of fine dining options. To describe Brown’s (no relation to the chain, despite some disarming similarities) as such is perhaps over-generous. It certainly punches above its weight, and represents generally poor value for money.

Hawksmoor Borough: High standards maintained (July 2017)

The wonderful thing about Hawksmoor is its consistency – you know you are going to get a damned fine piece of steak. Borough is the fourth of the eight-branch chain I have visited (after Air Street, Gulidhall and Seven Dials) and the standards set on previous visits were more than adequately maintained here.