Bob Bob Ricard
The Independent's Lisa Markwell asks whether the good times are still rolling at tweaked Soho-hangout Bob Bob Richard, and the answer is a resounding yes.

"The prices are not for everyday, that's for sure, but neither is the food. The insanely flattering lighting, the cocktails that bring forth oohs and aahs, that champagne-summoning button - it's all a big old treat, well matched by dishes made with flair and generosity. If you're paying £22.50 for lobster mac and cheese, it wants plenty of the shellfish. Here you get more than enough."

AA Gill visits Hixter, the latest opening by Mark Hix and Ratnesh Bagdai, and finds a simplified version of their Shoreditch restaurant Tramshed. 

"This is a place with a cleverly designed menu to offer big taste and familiar sofa food made from expensive ingredients assembled by chefs who weren't necessarily cooks a month ago," he writes in the Sunday Times
Struie Road pop-up
Still haven't thought about where to go for the fast-approaching Easter bank holiday, or even better, your summer break? How about escaping it all with a meal inspired by one of the most remote places in Britain?

But if that sounds like a bit of a hassle, fear not: This new monthly pop-up event promises to offer a taste of the Scottish Highlands, without requiring you to scale a windswept mountain.    
Struie Road, named after a road in the Scottish town of Ardgay, north of Inverness, is a new dining concept from wild-game specialists The Wild Game Co, whose co-founder Andy Waugh hails from the town. 

Expected to be held monthly, the event will take place at Workshop Coffee, a "coffee bar" based in the decidedly non-mountainous Clerkenwell Road, central London.

An Audience with Jason Atherton - VIDEOS

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For a young chef, the opportunity to sit and listen to a top chef, with one hell of a track record, talk you through their incredible career and current business plans, is not one to be missed. 

That's exactly what we at Caterer and Hotelkeeper did last month, one sunny afternoon at Westminster Kingsway College. 

Chef restaurateur Jason Atherton spoke candidly to an assembled audience of aspiring young culinary talent, about the team behind his phenomenally successful restaurants, his experiences working in world-renowned establishments, and why he's a stickler for a system.
Cromlix House
Andy Murray's newly refurbished hotel, Cromlix House in Dunbalne, Perthshire, attracts a trio of positive reviews as this week we kick off with hotels. 

Writing in the Independent, Simon Calder says that it is "so it is cheering to report on an abandoned hotel being brought back to life by the UK's greatest sporting hero".

He describes service as "excellent to a fault" and praises both the interiors and grounds for the care with which they have been lavished.

In the Times, Tom Chesshyre says that Murray has served up another winner with a hotel that has giant rooms, peaceful setting and great food.

"Rooms are high-tech with gilded "mirrors" that double up as flat-screen TVs, speedy wi-fi, iPod docking stations and swish bathrooms," he writes. 

Fiona Duncan of the Sunday Telegraph is particularly enthusiastic about Cromlix House's 15 bedrooms which are " luxuriously kitted out with thick pile carpets, thickly lined curtains, top quality beds and large soft towels, as well as generous supplies of toiletries from Arran Aromatics".
 
However, she suggests there is room for improvement in the restaurant overseen by Albert Roux. "The chef is local and has an impressive track record, although on my visit the food (except breakfast) was somewhat underwhelming," she writes. "When they get it right, the menu will be good value."

Reviews: Mikael Jonsson's Antidote wows the critics

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Antidote
Mikael Jonsson's Antidote wows the critics in this week's round up of the latest restaurant and hotel reviews from around the UK. 

The Guardian's Marina O'Loughlin cannot find fault with Jonsson's cooking at Antidote, in London's W1, so she wonders where all the customers are.

"It's a Saturday evening and the lovely young staff have served three tables all night. Sure, it's still early days, but where are you all?

"Queuing for burgers? You're all mad. Get down to Antidote - Jonsson's not in the kitchen every day, but his verging-on-maniacal perfectionism has clearly rubbed off on Chris Johns, who is. This is how it should be done."

Meanwhile the Evening Standard's Fay Maschler says that it's early days for the restaurant, which will get better and better. Although she did say the bread is already the best in Britain.

"Our best decisions are duck rillettes with more of the stellar bread and sharing a dozen fresh, snow-white Scottish langoustines beautifully prepared, to the extent of each claw being meticulously cracked and unsheathed. 

"With glasses of Champagne Fleury and the ministrations of Florie from Cherbourg, whose style of service seems inspired by the merry owners, we are very happy."
Claude Bosi and Yannick Alleno
Claude Bosi, chef patron of the two Michelin-starred Hibiscus in London, is set to co-host two special dinners next month with acclaimed French chef Yannick Alleno.

The dinners will be held at Bosi's Mayfair restaurant on 25 and 26 April and aim to showcase the remarkable culinary talents of the two chefs.

Alleno was chef de cuisine for ten years at Le Meurice in Paris (where he held three Michelin stars) until a year ago, when he decided to pursue his Cuisine Moderne research into culinary excellence. He also launched the Restaurant 1947 in Courchevel, France, last autmn.

Each chef will prepare half the dishes of an eight-course tasting menu designed to show off their individual, signature styles of cooking.

Priced at £175 per person, there will be an option for select matching wines at an additional £75 a head. 

VIDEO - Claude Bosi demonstrates one of his favourite dishes for Caterer and Hotelkeeper


Barnyard by Ollie Dabbous
In Time Out, Guy Dimond visits Barnyard in London's Charlotte Street, and discovers that Ollie Dabbous doesn't just do hifalutin' cookin', he can also do casual, family-friendly,  and affordable. "Barnyard's menu at first glance can read like motorway service station caff - cauliflower cheese, sausage roll, chicken in a bun - until you delve a bit deeper. 

"'Lard on toast' and 'mince and dumpling' are just that, in small-plates portions - but both dishes were full-flavoured and beautiful in their simplicity. More complex was the crispy chicken wings, rubbed with smoked paprika, garlic and lemon, succulent and fragrant, the envy of many dedicated chicken-fryers."

The Independent's John Walsh works his way through "a whole aquarium of shellfish" at Wright Brothers Spitalfields. 

Ordering almost all of the shellfish available, he says the whelks were "like mini-conches, the slightly obscene fat bullets inside", while atlanic prawns were "so fresh you practically had to shake the ocean off their trembling orange bodies". 
Nuno Mendes Chiltern Firehouse
Now and then a restaurant comes along that appears to have the critics clamouring to offer up their opinions, and this week that restaurant is the Chiltern Firehouse, which picked up three glowing reviews.

Hosed down with hospitality at London's hottest new restaurant the Independent's Tracey Macleod experiences fashion-plate versions of intricately worked food. In the NYC style space, Nuno Mendes's stand out steak tartare is served "Japanese-style, the components prettily arranged like paints on an artist's palette for self-assembly, with chipotle sauce to add heat". 

Over in the London Evening Standard, Grace Dent goes one further and claims to bag the hottest *table* in town "at the back of the room, next to Guy Ritchie, adjacent to Heston Blumenthal and a few tables away from Stephen Fry... Chiltern Firehouse was always going to be the sort of place that tickles me behind the ear, tells me I'm pretty, loosens my bra and then takes £250 off my credit card on an ongoing basis that bewilders my accountant."

Meanwhile AA Gill's take on the Chiltern Firehouse, in the Sunday Times, is that it is a "very attractive, accomplished  restaurant". 

"The food is a bit all over the place but it's early days. The good stuff tastes really good, but it needs to relax, to be a bit more generous, to worry less about its plating and trust its ingredients and not try to compete with the vanity of its customers," he says. 
Masterchef Professionals Mystery
Michel Roux Jr announced yesterday that he will not work with the BBC for the "foreseeable future" and it was news that has seemingly sent Masterchef fans into a tailspin.

Reading through the comments that followed various versions of the story on different news sites led me to believe that your average cooking show fan has no idea that THERE ARE OTHER CHEFS.

Talented chefs. Inspirational chefs. Chefs with accolades and experience coming out of their ears. And some of those, shocking as this might sound to the woeful massive, might well make good successors to the talented Mr Roux Jr. 

Yes, Michel Roux Jr did a cracking job. He demonstrated that top British chefs don't need to be sweary and aggressive to be on television; he instilled a tricky combination of awe and confidence in the contestants who so clearly wanted to impress the culinary legend before them, offering both support and honest criticism as and when it was needed. He will be missed. 

But, as Yoda might say, there is another... the only question at this stage is who might it be? 

I've thrown a few completely random names together but feel free to offer your suggestions too.


Will Holland
Will Holland, previously head chef at La Bécasse in Ludlow Shropshire, was this week announced as the head chef of new Pembrokeshire restaurant Coast. He tells Janie Manzoori-Stamford about his plans for his new venture

How did you get involved with Coast?
It's owned by Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar, the owners of the Grove hotel in Narbeth. I was approached by them to head up their new venture, Coast. It's an incredible opportunity to work with them just because of what they've achieved at the Grove in such a short space of time. 

The thing that amazes me the most is the Grove was completely derelict when they bought it. This is their new project and they approached me about heading up the kitchen and making the restaurant my own, which is exactly what I was looking for. 

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