August 2010 Archives

London restaurant Papillon on the market?

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PapillonPapillon, the French restaurant in London's Chelsea has closed, with owner Soren Jessen exploring the possibility of selling the restaurant.

The move comes after Jessen, who also owns One Lombard Street in the City, was refused planning permission to extend the restaurant. 

"We have had a number of tremendously good years at Papillon, and I wanted to develop the site for an exciting new and more casual concept," Jessen said.

"Once we realised it wasn't going to be possible at the Papillon building, we regretfully took the decision to look elsewhere for the perfect site. We may still come up with a new concept for this site, or we may sell outright."

Papillon first opened in 2006 on the site of a former Thai restaurant. It last year appointed a new head chef, Tom Hempstead, to lead a change of direction for the restaurant.

Jessen has appointed restaurant specialist property agent Davis Coffer Lyons to advise on options for the restaurant.

Thumbnail image for What the Critics SayIconic chef Pierre Koffmann receives another rave review in this weekend's restaurant reviews, with Matthew Fort singing his praises.

The Guardian's food editor loves Koffmann's classic French food, which is classically cooked, full of flavour and worth every penny. "Whether cooking the elaborate structures of haute cuisine, or the rougher-hewn beauties of brasserie tradition, Koffmann is a cook to his fingertips. There aren't short cuts in his kitchen," Fort enthuses.

The Sunday Telegraph's Zoe Williams finds Roux at Parliament Square a bit too perfectionist and hushed for comfort, adding it lacks the love from chef patron Michel Roux Junior. "The formality is unbreachable," she says. "I thought the whole point of business dinners, which these must surely have been, was that they were a great knees-up away from ordinary life; this looked more like a lesson in how to eat in front of Prince Philip."

Writing in The Times, Giles Coren reviews two restaurants before heading off to France for the rest of the summer: Redhook and Café Luc neither of which disappoints but doesn't blow him away either.

In The Observer Alex Jenkins says if you're a fan of Sichuan-style "nose-to-tail" eating, Chilli Cool may just set your tastebuds on fire.

Thumbnail image for What the Critics SayIndian restaurants are the focus of this weekend's restaurant reviews but sadly the critics fail to be impressed by what they are served.

Writing in The Times Giles Coren is horrified at the changed menu at curry chain Bombay Bicycle Club after it was taken over by Bollywood celebrity Shilpa Shetty.

"We ordered. It came. It was terrible. Don't want to talk about it," he moans. "Six or seven bowls of brown cloacal waste, containing amorphous protein chunks. The sick of an infant who lives on Dairylea Lunchables."

Zoe Williams of The Sunday Telegraph is underwhelmed by Gordon Ramsay's F Word winner Lasan in Birmingham, where despite lovely service the food is like an "elaborate punishment for an unknown crime".

The Observer's Jay Rayner says that if you want a slice of old Bombay you won't find it at new Indian café Dishoom in London's Covent Garden. However, that doesn't stop it pulling in the crowds forcing him to queue outside.

Meanwhile Richard Johnson, writing in The Independent on Sunday, finds a modern Italian menu with a twist at Tempo in London's Mayfair where former St Alban chef Yoshi Yamada is in charge of the kitchen.

Matthew Norman of The Daily Telegraph describes a studiedly unmemorable lunch in an instantly forgettable restaurant at Koffmann's, while John Walsh of The Independent loves the food but not the prices at Michel and Alain Roux's Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire.

Silvena Rowe restaurant to be called Quince

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Silvena Rowe.jpgSilvena Rowe's forthcoming restaurant at London's five-star Mayfair Hotel is to be called Quince.

The Bulgaria-born chef and food writer will launch the restaurant later this year, serving a menu of seasonal UK produce with Eastern Mediterranean influences.
 
Interiors at the new restaurant will be designed by Martin Brudnizki, whose other London projects have included Dean Street Townhouse, the Club at the Ivy and St Pancras Grand.

Some of the recipes at the Rowe's new restaurant will come from her latest cookery book, Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume, with dishes influenced by the flavours of the "Oriental Mediterranean" region.

Rowe was born and raised in Bulgaria to a Bulgarian mother and Turkish father, but has lived in London for more than 25 years.

She was the executive chef for the Baltic Restaurant Group, which includes London restaurants Baltic, Wodka and Chez Kristoff. She has previously worked as a cookery teacher at Mosimann's Academy of Culinary Excellence, Baker and Spice, and Books for Cooks, all in London.

Heston Blumenthal and Gordon RamsayCelebrity chefs continue to dominate the UK's dining scene, according to the latest edition of The Good Food Guide, which lists Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc's restaurants as the top three in the country.

The Good Food Guide, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, has named Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, the top UK restaurant for the third year running awarding it the top score of 10/10.

Ramsay's three-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant in London came in second place scoring 9/10, with Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxfordshire in third place with a score of 8/10.

The remainder of the Top 10 UK restaurants is dominated by establishments outside of the capital including Simon Rogan's L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria; Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Rock, Cornwall; and Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham.

"Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay continue to delight us with their stuff of genius, world class style and truly memorable dining experiences," comments Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor at The Good Food Guide.

"But we've seen significant changes in the UK restaurant scene over the last year.  A crop of talent has sprung up all over the country, pushing London restaurants out of the top spots with their culinary delights."

The Good Food Guide 2011 will be published on 8 September priced £16.99.

UPDATE: The Good Food Guide today released its Top 10 restaurants but industry blogger Chef Hermes got his hands on the list of all 60 restaurants. See list below.

The Good Food Guide 2011 Top 60 restaurants (thanks to Chef Hermes):
1. The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire (10)
2. Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road, London (9)
3. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons,Great Milton, Oxfordshire (8)
4. L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria (8)
5. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw,Rock, Cornwall (8)
6. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (8)
7. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, London (8)
8. Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (8)
9. Pied-à-Terre, London (8)
10. The Square, London (8)
11. Hibiscus, London (8)
12. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (8)
13. Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, Marlow, Buckinghamshire (8)
14. Whatley Manor, Easton Grey, Wiltshire (8)
15. Le Gavroche, London (8)
16. Tom Aikens, London (8)
17. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh, Scotland (8)
18. The Waterside Inn, Bray,Berkshire (7)
19. Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey (7)
20. Fraiche, Oxton, Merseyside (7)
21. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London (7)
22. Murano, London (7)
23. Anthony's Restaurant, Leeds, Yorkshire (7)
24. Fischer's Baslow Hall, Baslow, Derbyshire (7)
25. Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon (7)
26. Robert Thompson at the Hambrough, Ventnor, Isle of Wight (7)
27. Midsummer House, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (7)
28. Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo, Wales (7)
29. The Ledbury, London (7)
30. The Crown at Whitebrook, Whitebrook, Wales (7)
31. The Pass, Lower Beeding, West Sussex (7)
32. Mr Underhill's, Ludlow, Shropshire (7)
33. Michael Wignall at the Latymer, Bagshot, Surrey (7)
34. Hambleton Hall, Hambleton, Leicestershire & Rutland (7)
35. Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland (7)
36. Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor, Chester, Cheshire (7)
37. The Creel, St Margaret's Hope, Scotland (7)
38. Harry's Place, Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire (7)
39. The Old Vicarage, Ridgeway, Derbyshire (7)
40. The Greenhouse, London (6)
41. The Kitchin, Edinburgh, Scotland (6)
42. Purnell's, Birmingham, West Midlands (6)
43. Artichoke, Amersham, Buckinghamshire (6)
44. The Sportsman, Whitstable, Kent (6)
45. Club Gascon, London (6)
46. Ramsons, Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester (6)
47. The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill, Yorkshire (6)
48. La Bécasse, Ludlow, Shropshire (6)
49. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire (6)
50. Galvin at Windows, London (6)
51. Chez Bruce, London (6)
52. Northcote, Langho, Lancashire (6)
53. Read's, Faversham, Kent (6)
54. The Cellar, Anstruther, Scotland (6)
55. Arbutus, London (6)
56. Zafferano, London (6)
57. The Peat Inn, Peat Inn, Scotland (6)
58. The Capital, London (6)
59. Seven Park Place, London (6)
60. Alimentum, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (6)

Thumbnail image for What the Critics SayIconic French chef Pierre Koffmann's return to the London restaurant scene was the focus of this weekend's restaurant reviews and his cooking did not disappoint the critics.

The former three-Michelin-starred chef launched his new eponymous restaurant at London's Berkeley hotel last month, where he serves a menu of traditional French fare full of gutsy flavours.

Writing in The Times, Giles Coren comments that the restaurant marks the return of a much missed old master, while The Independent's Tracey MacLeod says "like a legendary rock star going back on the road for one last triumphant tour, Koffmann has returned to his roots".  Meanwhile in The Independent on Sunday Lisa Markwell is enthused by the charming service at Koffmann's as much as the food.

Elsewhere, The Observer's Jay Rayner discovers a truly authentic Japanese restaurant in Sushi of Shiori, which serves a menu showing exquisite attention to detail but which is sadly let down by the ever important rice. "Unfortunately the rice at Shiori just ain't all that: cold, claggy, under-flavoured, underwhelming. It is such a shame, because everything else is so good," he says.

The Sunday Telegraph's food critic Zoe Williams wants to love vegetarian Italian restaurant Amico Bio but just can't because despite the charming ambience and service the food is just awful. "It's enough to give vegetarianism a bad name, but anything's enough for that. This is enough to put you off all vegetables," she complains.

Oliver Rowe shuts Konstam at The Prince Albert

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Oliver RoweCelebrity chef Oliver Rowe has closed his London restaurant Konstam at The Prince Albert blaming its challenging location and the economic climate.

The Konstam, located near Kings Cross, first opened in 2006 offering a menu focused on seasonal, local produce, with 80% of the ingredients sourced from within and around Greater London. 

Rowe shut the restaurant yesterday (2 August) citing a combination of the recession and a challenging location as the reason for the closure.

"It is extremely sad to be closing the doors of Konstam. I have always embraced the challenges that running a restaurant bring, however, in this unsettled economic climate it was beyond me to keep up with those challenges," Rowe said.

"I am very proud of what we achieved at the restaurant and owe a huge debt of thanks to everyone who worked there with me and helped to make it such a special place. What set Konstam apart was the suppliers - the farmers and growers who provided the restaurant with so much amazing local produce were always the real stars of the show."

Rowe added that he would continue to promote sustainability and local sourcing and will now concentrate on writing a book and developing new projects.

"Despite the closure, I remain extremely positive about the future and look forward to fresh challenges and fresh ideas," he said.

Thumbnail image for What the Critics SayFrench chef Alexis Gauthier's cooking at his new restaurant Gauthier Soho is nigh on flawless, according to the Sunday Telegraph's critic Zoe Williams.

The former Roussillon chef patron, who has taken over the former site of Richard Corrigan at Lindsay House, serves a fine menu that offers something for everyone. "Chalking up the pea royale to some devilish mismatch of vegetable, form and palate, I would say you cannot go wrong on this menu," Williams says. "It is not enormously surprising, but then a lot of surprises aren't good ones."

Meanwhile, The Sunday Times misspells iconic French chef Pierre Koffmann's name in AA Gill's review of Koffmann's at London's Berkeley hotel, which serves "accomplished" food "full of technique and precision". "The kitchen is grander than this room implies; Koffman [sic] can't reduce his natural affinity with ingredients and method. This is Messiaen playing Johnny Hallyday hits."

The Observer's Jay Rayner enjoys his meal at Zucca, which he describes as a reasonably priced Italian restaurant serving a menu worth crossing the river for. "The most indecently indulgent of the lot, however, was a plate of the vegetable from which the restaurant takes its name - zucca is the Italian for pumpkin - soft cooked, chipped and lightly battered. For £3. Oh my. If I lived nearby I would sneak in for a plateful every day, until I was the size of an apartment block rather than a mere house," he enthuses.

Writing in The Independent John Walsh is disappointed by the Belvedere Restaurant in Holland Park, which has one of the most beautiful restaurant interiors in London, but doesn't feel friendly or romantic. "There's something both disappointing and disappointed about the Belvedere at present," he says.

Meanwhile, Amol Rajan, of the Independent on Sunday, says Heston Blumenthal's Hind's Head in Bray, Berkshire, is a gorgeous English pub, which is much more appealing than the restaurant upstairs: "Downstairs is a glorious English pub; upstairs, the restaurant feels like a reunion for the East Devon Conservative Association."

Giles Coren, writing in The Times, heads back to the country and is impressed with Agaric in Ashburton, Devon, which he says is a "perfect example" of a sustainable, seasonal, small-scale business.

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