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Reviews

Last of the big spenders: Apsleys at The Lanesborough

The rustic but pricey Italian food of Apsleys inspires our reviewer to make a credit-crunching pledge...

Inside Reviews

A top French restaurant in Croydon? My dear, how priceless

Saturday, 3 May 2008

A top French restaurant in Croydon? My dear, how priceless. The suburban C-word has picked up a lousy reputation over the years, for urban sprawl, urban grot, listless violence, rubber-band "facelifts", chavs, feral dogs and the unlovely atmosphere of the Fairfield Hall. So much so that the buzz about Le Cassoulet has almost been drowned by snobbish guffaws: surely, they say, Croydon's idea of haute cuisine is a meat balti.

Paris isn't sure of H�lène Darroze and her two Michelin stars. What will London make of the foie-gras queen?

Sunday, 27 April 2008

They say that Hélène Darroze and her two-Michelin-starred Left Bank restaurant will never be accepted by Paris. She is, after all, an outsider, from France's south-west, where both her father and grand-father were chefs. Le Figaro's restaurant critic even suggested she only gained her second star in 2003 because the Guide felt it should promote a female chef.

Food Of The Week: If your bodyclock's in a spin, it must be time for brunch

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Got up too late for breakfast but can't wait till lunchtime to eat? There are plenty of brunch options available around the globe for the hungry traveller.

Raising the steaks

Saturday, 26 April 2008

It's one of life's enduring mysteries; how is it that, on the fringes of Soho, there are thriving branches of the (let's call it) Generic Scottish Steak House? How can all those punters have walked past dim sum restaurants, tapas bars, noodle houses, Italian trattorias, and decided that what they really, really fancied was a bog-standard steak and frozen chips?

D.Sum², 14 Paternoster Row, London

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Has the steam gone out of dim sum as we know it? When the high street hijacks your favourite way of eating – be it pizza, burger, sandwiches or sushi – and turns it into a chain, you know it's all over. On the up side, you get uniformity, consistency and rigorous hygiene. On the downside, you get uniformity, consistency and rigorous hygiene.

The Mercer, Threadneedle Street, London

Saturday, 19 April 2008

If ever a restaurant suited its surroundings, The Mercer suits the City of London. For one thing, it's located in the financial district's most famous street, only a broker's lurch from the Old Lady herself. For another, the building used to be a bank, and its noble pillars and high ceilings carry a vestigial whiff of a Temple of Mammon. For a third, the décor is, basically, a business suit. The starkly handsome bar is black, the pillars are black, the leather banquettes are black, the napery is dazzling white. The clientele are all in the City uniform of dark grey or plain black undertaker suits and, when they remove their jackets, dazzling white shirts. Their mothers would be so proud.

Daylesford Organic, 44B Pimlico Road, London

Sunday, 13 April 2008

I have left Earth as we know it, and entered the three-storey Daylesford Organic shop and café in Pimlico. The people on this planet are different – richer, certainly, and somehow softer, cushioned in cashmere and linen. The food is different, too. While the mother ship may be the organic farm shop at Daylesford near Kingham in Gloucestershire, Pimlico is fast being colonised, the shop being joined recently by a village butcher, garden nursery, and fashion/lifestyle store and café in Sloane Square.

Food Of The Week: Springtime means a larder full of delicious baby asparagus, morels and lamb

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Spring has sprung and with it a whole new larder of fresh ingredients. Chef Christopher Wicks gives spring lamb an intriguing accompaniment of onion soubise, hotpot lamb offal, oyster and lavender jus at Bell's Diner, 1-3 York Road, Bristol (0117-924 0357; bellsdiner.com).

The Greenhouse, Hay’s Mews, London

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The frenetic round of openings on the London restaurant scene can make eating out feel a bit like speed-dating; all those sexy new arrivals tend to distract from the charms of the tried and trusted candidate who's been waiting in the wings. Then no sooner have you started to get acquainted when the flashy newcomer lets you down, or disappears off the scene altogether.

Launceston Place, 1a Launceston Place, London

Sunday, 6 April 2008

May I offer you a small pre-review before I serve the main review? What with the current trend for pre-desserts and post-appetisers, it seems appropriate, and will cost you no extra. So your pre-review today is Kensington Place, closely followed by the main review of Launceston Place. Both iconic 1980s Places have recently been taken over and revamped by D&D; London, and both have installed young chefs who are barely older than the restaurants themselves.

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