Be The Critic: February 2018

Be The Critic: February 2018

Posted on 21 February 2018 • Written By Eamonn Crowe

Be The Critic: February 2018

The days are slowly but surely getting longer, which means there are even more excuses to spend your evening dining out. SquareMeal readers continue to try out London’s latest openings and aren’t afraid to give their honest, insightful opinions. Diner reviews, which can be left on our site by anyone, secure SquareMeal’s status as a one-stop shop for keen eaters. This is our chance to highlight your views, as well as a way for you to collate and compare the experiences of other diners.

Canto Corvino Food June 2016 3

We all know that our first meal of the day is the most important, so it’s no surprise that Londoners love to indulge in a spot of brunch on the weekend. Emma O headed to Marylebone for her brunch fix, trying out Pachamama. She loved the “wonderful Peruvian flavours”, but was less than impressed by the high prices for cocktails – “on a par with the Shard, and the restaurant doesn’t quite have the view to justify that.” Conversely, Lloyd S couldn’t find any fault with his brunch at Canto Corvino (above) in the City, where he made the most of “fantastic” flatbread, “amazing”  lamb ribs with aubergine and rosemary, and a “delightful” Amalfi lemon posset. Is brunch still brunch when it’s a three-course meal? Perhaps not, but that certainly won’t stop us from enjoying it.

View of the terrace at Fiume

Word of mouth is crucial to a restaurant’s success, but sometimes diners find that much talked about venues don’t live up to their expectations. In Battersea, Leeann T wanted to love Francesco Mazzei’s Fiume (above), as she is a big fan of his much-lauded Savile Row restaurant Sartoria. However, she was left disappointed by “slow service” and a “frankly inedible” dessert. Another acclaimed restaurant that fell short this month was Notting Hill’s Marianne, which Paul A found didn’t live up to his expectations. He was surprised by the “lack of buzz in such an intimate space”, and felt that the wine list “did not represent good value”. We awarded Marianne three SquareMeal stars on our visit, but it’s going to need to win over doubters like Paul to maintain them.    

Nuala restaurant small plates tartar chicken drinks

There were still plenty of meals worth raving about this month though, with some recent openings getting full marks from our readers. Mike S enjoyed the craic at new Irish bar and restaurant Nuala (above), declaring it “a new favourite” thanks to its “friendly atmosphere” and some “excellent” veal sweetbreads. Across town, Gourmand Gunno pushed aside Gaelic cuisine for some Indian fare at Mayfair joint Bombay Bustle, and wasn’t disappointed. A “beautifully-designed” dining room and top dishes including a “deeply satisfying goat curry” helped Bombay Bustle to achieve full marks, despite its “somewhat ridiculous” name. Finally, Tonique C made her way to Regent Street to test out The Wigmore at The Langham, where her favourite dish was the masala-spiced Scotch egg, which boasts a “soft and dewy” centre, with a “slightly spicy” kick. Overall, she was impressed by the Wigmore, praising its “British-inspired dishes” which are “rich in flavour”. We’d recommend not skipping the cocktails here either, as they’re overseen by the team from the Langham’s award-winning Artesian bar.

Register with us here to join in, search for a restaurant and then leave your comments. We’re constantly rewarding our diner reviewers with prizes, search #SMDinerReview on Twitter to see how you can win cookbooks and bottles of Champagne. Regular reviews will also make you a contender for our Critic of the Quarter prize, where you could win a £200 meal in a select range of top London restaurants.