This is our round-up of recent restaurant reviews, bringing together what the critics and Square Meal had to say about the latest and hottest openings. Let us know your own thoughts by leaving comments on our reviews, or tweeting us @SquareMeal.
Fay Maschler enjoyed South Kensington’s Brasserie Gustave, writing in the Standard that it offers ‘the sort of satisfactory assembly we imagine that any brasserie in Paris will provide, but mostly they don’t any more’. In Time Out, Guy Dimond suggests that it is ‘so studiedly French that it can come over cheesier than a cheeseboard’, but also praises ‘merveilleux’ dishes. In his online restaurant guide, Andy Hayler is measured in his praise: ‘Brasserie Gustave was perfectly pleasant, though with little to really distinguish it from other restaurants of its kind.’
We say: ‘Brasserie Gustave recalls the time when French chefs and their luxurious cooking ruled the world… A menu guaranteed to warm the heart of any Francophile.’
The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont
The Independent's Tracey MacLeod describes the latest opening from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King as ‘the dining equivalent of being driven, very sedately, in a vintage Bentley’. She continues: ‘Good though the food is, it's the overall experience of the place that will be the draw. Corbin and King are past masters in creating a special-occasion atmosphere without a lot of fuss and faff.’ Time Out’s Guy Dimond recognises the Mayfair hotel restaurant’s old-school charm, but worries it ‘may prove too dated and too expensive for a younger, more price-conscious generation’.
We say: ‘Some will say there’s nothing exciting about The Colony, but like Jeremy King’s Bristol parked outside, it’s an effortlessly confident, elegant classic that will last.’
Sea Containers at Mondrian London
The newly launched restaurant in the South Bank’s Mondrian London hotel has received mixed reviews. The Standard’s Fay Maschler didn’t like the lack of bread (‘for me, bread spells out hospitality’), ‘over-salted’ dishes or a wine list which ‘gives you reason to weep over both price and content’. Time Out’s Guy Dimond reckons it ‘should become an excellent place for dining on the South Bank’ and praises the ‘fine’ views of St Paul’s Cathedral.
We say: ‘There are duds (tuna crudo tasted of nothing), but overall the menu is prepared with assurance, presented with verve – and delivered by attractive staff offering a warm welcome.’
The food at supposedly-eco King’s Cross restaurant TED (which stands for Think, Eat, Drink) has received praise, but its ethics less so. The Observer’s Jay Rayner isn’t really sure what is so special about the restaurant’s approach, saying: ‘Indeed the best I could find was a reference to the TED events company which said: “We help you go greener by championing the best local suppliers, growers and small organic producers without compromising on quality.” Really? Is that it?’. Similarly, The Independent’s Amol Rajan says: ‘It is a ludicrous name for a restaurant, of course, not least because it is a distraction from a superb menu in a setting that doesn't ram ethics down your throat at all.’ Time Out’s Guy Dimond joined in with a little light investigating: ‘When I checked with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to obtain an independent audit of the restaurant, none had yet been requested by T.E.D., though around a thousand restaurants in London have been audited. So we’re unable to comment on just how sustainable it actually is.’
We say: ‘Main courses show decent technique and sound combos ...the waiters, copious in number and smiley of face, crack on with varying degrees of confidence.'
The Standard’s David Sexton seriously disliked Marcus Wareing’s new restaurant Tredwell’s. He described his experience as ‘a meal to regret having eaten’ and declared that it ‘isn’t incompetent, it’s cynical’. Hot Dinners doesn’t agree, describing Wareing’s right-hand people, behind it, as a ‘dream team that have taken the time to get their casual dining restaurant just right’.
We say: ‘The choice is confusing and the combinations of (albeit well-sourced) ingredients don’t always work. Witness the lamb belly with clumsily spiced tomato and aubergine curry. Our advice? Stick to simpler dishes.’