Find and book great restaurantsFind a Restaurant
With a surge of summer openings and even more London restaurant launches in September, the capital’s critics have been run off their feet trying to keep pace with the red-hot dining scene. Recently, the London Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler fell head over heels for Smokehouse, The Observer’s Jay Rayner wasn’t wowed by Whyte & Brown, while Time Out couldn’t make up its mind about Pizza Pilgrims. Find out how their verdicts compared to Square Meal’s.
Summer has seen notable restaurants open not just in central London, but also in the capital’s neighbourhoods and further afield. From three very different offerings in the shape of Oblix (pictured), Shake Shack and Picture, through wine and nibbles in East Dulwich’s Toasted, to Manchester’s latest grand launch, The French – London’s critics chow down and deliver the verdict…
The past couple of months have proved that sometimes the nation's food critics reach a consensus about the capital's new restaurants. We've seen a lot of love for The Shed (pictured) and Gail's Kitchen, bafflement at Bodo's Schloss, and a collective shrug for Ten Room Lounge.
Autumn threw a fair few opinion-splitting restaurants diners’ way. In contrast to Square Meal’s experiences, The Observer’s Jay Rayner was utterly unimpressed with Beard to Tail’s menu and forced hipster attitude, and Time Out’s Tania Ballantine was left cold by the hot dogs at Bubbledogs. However, a critical consensus was reached about three other newcomers: Brasserie Zédel, Chicken Shop and Duck & Waffle.
Square Meal readers dish the dirt on the London dining scene. Find out which dining experiences have wowed London's foodies and which caused them to sharpen the knives...
Square Meal readers dish the dirt on the London dining scene. Find out which dining experiences wowed London's foodies in summer 2012 (such as Ceviche, pictured), and which caused them to sharpen the knives...
March proved an interesting month on the London dining scene. Although small plates continue their reign, with two worthy additions in the form of 10 Greek Street and Ceviche, it’s the restaurants doing something different that have caused a stir. First up, Dabbous' dishes (pictured) have been universally lauded by critics for their fresh flavours and simplicity. Elsewhere, Gregg Wallace’s cack-handed 1970s' nostalgia trip took a pasting from the capital’s critics.
More and more in the restaurant world, everyone who eats out is a critic – and an influential one at that. Readers have been leaving comments on squaremeal.co.uk for a number of years, not only to give others a solid base from which to make dining decisions, but also to tell us whether we've got it right or wrong. Find out which restaurants have wowed London's diners this quarter, and which have caused them to stick the knife in.
The New Year has seen London’s critics hit the capital’s restaurants with vigour, most of them opting for places offering simple concepts and no-nonsense food. High-end fast-food joint Burger & Lobster (pictured) gets the thumbs up from the Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler, The Daily Telegraph’s Zoe Williams bemoans the queues at trendy Meatliquor, while The Observer’s Jay Rayner forgives Pitt Cue Co’s no-reservations policy because the food is just so good.
Christmas is coming – but which restaurants were a gift to the UK’s reviewers and which deserve a lump of coal? The Observer’s Jay Rayner wasn’t impressed with the new-look Rib Room, while the Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler criticised Russell Norman for dropping the ball with the little details at Mishkin’s. The 10 Cases fared better during a visit from Metro’s Marina O’Loughlin, who didn’t want to leave.
Big-name chefs have been busy with major London launches over the past couple of months. Gordon Ramsay’s juggernaut Bread Street Kitchen (pictured) garnered praise from The Independent’s Tracey MacLeod for its groovy vibe, while Casa Batavia drew scorn from The Times’ Giles Coren – and Square Meal – for its budget choice of petits fours. Meanwhile, Fay Maschler’s experience at Cut was sizzling, even if her steak wasn’t.
July was a mainly positive month for London’s restaurant critics. Time Out’s Guy Dimond swooned over City slicker Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, the Evening Standard’s David Sexton found Pizza East’s second establishment worth the long trek down Portobello Road, and The Independent on Sunday’s Lisa Markwell enjoyed Roganic despite the hefty bill. Only Joe’s (pictured) and Rocksalt received ropier reports.
This month has been a stressful one for some of London’s critics: Time Out’s head honcho couldn’t relax at rammed tapas bar José (pictured), while The Sunday Times’ resident reviewer stressed over the sheer choice at Pollen Street Social. The Observer’s Jay Rayner fared better at St John Hotel with an erotic custard tart, while Spuntino proved delicious for Zoe Williams of The Sunday Telegraph.
The last couple of months have seen a couple of big-ticket openings as well as local launches. Metro’s Marina O’Loughlin reached nirvana by way of sherry bar Capote y Toros (pictured), while Nick Curtis from The Evening Standard considered sharing plates with a wry eye at Riding House Café. In other news, The Independent’s John Walsh was underwhelmed by Bennett Oyster Bar, and The Observer’s Jay Rayner expected more bang for his buck at The Savoy Grill.
More restaurant critics are beginning to break free of the confines of the M25, and generally, they like what they find. John Lanchester, writing in The Guardian, finds an ‘insanely great gastropub’ in The Sportsman, while the scallops at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn (pictured) get The Independent’s John Walsh all emotional. However, The Sunday Times' London-loving AA Gill leaves Norfolk’s Rose & Crown predictably underwhelmed.
London’s food critics have been chasing each other around the capital’s restaurants again. This month, Time Out’s Guy Dimond echoes our opinion on the Fox & Grapes’ dessert, while The Observer’s Jay Rayner ponders the flimsy puddings at Chabrot, after raving about the rest of the menu. Meanwhile, Tracey MacLeod, in The Independent on Sunday, reveals to Ottolenghi’s fans that Nopi (pictured) is no ‘second coming’.
Were other critics’ opinions on recent London restaurant openings in sync with the Square Meal taste barometer? This month, The Times’ Giles Coren finds one dessert at Dinner ‘soaked in angel's spit and spiked with the sugar of unicorn's horn’, Metro’s Marina O’Loughlin shrugs her shoulders at Brawn (pictured), Time Out rates Opera Tavern, AA Gill admonishes Les Deux Salons in The Sunday Times, and The Observer’s Jay Rayner decrees North Road as close as one can get to Noma in the UK.