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Weekly Round-up of National Critics’ Restaurant Reviews by Oliver Thring, 19/12

19 December 2011 by Oliver Thring

Welcome to Oliver Thring's weekly round-up of national critics’ restaurant reviews.

The Rib Room, Knightsbridge

Like most critics, Zoe Williams was unimpressed by the Rib Room. Foie gras was ‘delicious ... Hollywood food’ but steak was ‘a touch bland’. ‘You could get just as much quality and far more excitement from an enthusiastic gastropub.’

Aurelia is a good place to eat,’ says Jay Rayner, ‘but only in spite of itself.’ The food is ‘good value, if less than cheap’; salt marsh lamb with confit garlic and salmoriglio was ‘one of the most satisfying lamb dishes I have eaten in a long while'.

‘The full Aussie breakfast is spectacular,’ says Lisa Markwell at Granger & Co in Westbourne Grove. (Bill Granger is the Independent’s cookery writer.) Semolina-crusted calamari aioli and spatchcock with grapefruit and pistachio salad were both ‘succulent and delicious’.

John Lanchester went to Roti Chai: ‘The street food was brilliant, the curries average.’ Kandahari quail was ‘sticky and satisfying’ but seafood kari was ‘overwhelmed by clumsy, drenching sauce’.

‘[Adrian] Mowl is doing an amazing job,’ says Marina O’Loughlin of the Café at Turner Contemporary's chef in Margate. He's cooking ‘splendidly autumnal soup’ with jerusalem artichokes and chanterelles, and a ‘luxurious’ game terrine.

Mishkin’s matzo ball soup is ‘first-rate’ according to Tracey Macleod, though the salt beef sandwich was ‘less successful’ and ‘portions are generally small’. Nonetheless, it ‘turns out that this Jewish deli-meets-rackety bar is just the place London has been crying out for'.

Giles Coren agrees. ‘It is great fun, very modern and youthful and a brilliant place to spend a couple of hours.’ The meatloaf is ‘standout fantastic’.

Only Fay Maschler is underwhelmed by Mishkin's: ‘None of what we ate was unusually good.’ The chopped liver was ‘murky’, the salt beef sandwich ‘uncoordinated and lacking in mustardy bite’.

AA Gill visits a homeless shelter, and writes about it movingly.

And don’t miss Bruce Palling’s ‘culinary reflections’ of 2011.

About The Author Oliver Thring

Oliver Thring writes about food and other subjects for a range of national titles, particularly the Guardian. He lives in London.

You can follow him on Twitter @oliverthring.

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