High profile London openings

Saturday, October 26th , 2013

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Boulestin was a famous restaurant in Covent Garden that closed many years ago after decades of popularity. The name at least has been restored in a new Boulestin in St James, by the former restaurant manager of Terence Conran. As you might expect from such heritage, the room design is elegant, the service spot on. The French food is good here, with a poussin dish I tried being very enjoyable. The menu is appealing and the overall formula seemed very successful based on the full house when we visited. However, the bill was very high given the level of cooking.

Fish and Chip Shop in Islington is the somewhat unlikely first solo restaurant venture of Des McDonald, previous the CEO of Caprice Holdings. Although the plaice place is crowded and noisy, the haddock and chips were a cut above most London attempts at this seemingly simple staple. It is hardly a destination restaurant, but you could do much worse if you want to have something fishy and deep-fried.

Gymkhana is the second venture from the owners of Trishna, the excellent Indian seafood restaurant in Marylebone. Here in Mayfair there has been a lot more investment in the décor, though the prices reflect that. The menu draws widely from across India, with some unusual dishes on offer that will appeal to those wanting something more adventurous than chicken tikka masala. A muntjac biryani I tried was excellent, for example, but at £25 well it might be. Our visit was rather spoiled by some pushy upselling, so we ended up with more food than we needed, the waiter even taking away an (unfinished) bottle of water and then inquiring as to whether we wanted another bottle. Service inconsistencies were confirmed in two later visits. This was a shame as the food is good and the attractive room and appealing menu will ensure it does very well. 

For some reason Wimbledon has always lacked much in the way of good restaurants, despite its many wealthy residents. Cannizaro House is one of those off-the-radar places that seem never to be talked about in the media, but we had a very enjoyable meal there. The room is spacious, the menu options attractive, the cooking very good, for example with a courgette flower stuffed with scallop and crab mousse. Even the wine list was surprisingly fairly priced. Well worth a try if you are in the area.

Union Street Café is at the opposite end of the hype spectrum from Cannizaro House, the latest Gordon Ramsay venture, accompanied by a whirlwind of publicity. The Italian food I ate there was actually pretty basic, and although the service was good I wonder how well it will do once all the media coverage recedes. 

The western Japan 2014 Michelin guide came out. Mizai was restored to its well-deserved 3 star status after dropping out last year due to moving premises. There was a promotion to three stars for kaiseki restaurant Kichisen. There were promotions in Kyoto to two stars for Akai, and in Osaka for Miyamoto and Point.

The San Francisco guide also came out. No change at the three star level, but a promotion for Quince to two stars. There were five demotions at the one star level, and a new one star for State Bird Provisions. 

The global three star picture, including history back to 2000, can be seen on this site here.