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PLACES PEOPLE TALK ABOUT FOOD & COOKING ARTICLE

We have been given permission by Harden's Restaurant Guides to reproduce the following example of what you will find in the pages of UK Restaurants 2002, published in October.

UK Restaurants 2002 is edited by Richard and Peter Harden

Restaurants outside London mentioned most frequently in the survey (last year's position shown in brackets):

1
Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
(2)
Great Milton, Oxon
2
Yang Sing
(1)
Manchester
3
Le Petit Blanc
(3)
Oxford
4
Seafood Restaurant
(9)
Padstow, Cornwall
5
Waterside Inn
(8)
Bray, Berks
6
Terre à Terre
(7)
Brighton
7
Le Petit Blanc
(16)
Birmingham
8
Simply Heathcotes
(11)
Manchester
9
The Angel
(10)
Hetton, N Yorks
10
Walnut Tree
(17)
Llandewi Skirrid, Mon'shire
11
=
The Lime Tree
(19)
Manchester
11
=
Fat Duck
( - )
Bray
11
=
Sharrow Bay
( - )
Ullswater
14
Chaing Mai
(5)
Oxford
15
The Crown
(18)
Southwold, Suffolk
16
Harts
( - )
Nottingham
17
Merchant House
( - )
Ludlow
18
Magpie
( - )
Whitby
19
Browns
(6)
Oxford
20
=
Mumtaz Paan House
(3)
Bradford
20
=
Le Petit Blanc
( - )
Manchester

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Ratings and Prices

We see little point in traditional rating systems, which generally tell you nothing more than that expensive restaurants are 'better' than cheap ones because they use costlier ingredients and attempt more ambitious dishes.

You probably knew that already. Our system assumes that, as prices rise, so do diners' expectations.

Prices and ratings are shown as follows:

  • £ Price

The cost of a three-course dinner for one person. We include half a bottle of house wine, coffee and service (or a 10% tip if there is no service charge).

  • Food

The following symbols indicate that, in comparison with other restaurants in the same price-bracket, the cooking at the establishment is:

**
Exceptional
*
Very good

This year we have also introduced a new category for places which attract a notably high proportion of adverse comment:

  • x Disappointing

  • Ambience

Restaurants which provide a setting which is very charming, stylish or 'buzzy' are indicated as follows:

  • A Particularly atmospheric

Small print

Telephone number - All numbers in the London section are (020) numbers. Dublin numbers are shown for dialling within the Republic (the international code for which is + 353).
Sample dishes - these dishes exemplify the style of cooking at a particular establishment. They are merely samples - it is unlikely that these specific dishes will be available at the time of your visit.
Value tip - if we know of a particularly good-value set menu or some similar handy tip, we note this. Set lunch deals are for weekdays, unless stated. Details change, so always check ahead.

 

Details

 

-

 

the following information is given where relevant:

Directions - to help you find the establishment.
Website - if applicable.
Last orders time - at dinner (Sun may be up to 90 mins earlier).
Opening hours - unless otherwise stated, restaurants are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Credit and debit cards - unless otherwise stated, Mastercard, Visa, Amex and Switch are accepted.
Dress - where appropriate, the management's preferences concerning patrons' dress are given.
Smoking - cigarette smoking restrictions are noted. Pipe or cigar smokers should always check ahead.
Children - if we know of a specified minimum age for children, we note this.
Accommodation - if an establishment has rooms, we list how many and the minimum price for a double.

Great Milton, Oxfordshire
Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons £106 *
Church Road OX44 7PD (01844) 278881

It is "an artistic as well as a gastronomic experience" to eat at this "truly remarkable" manor house near Oxford, whose "exquisite" modern French cuisine is as much a flagship for cooking in England as it is for Raymond Blanc personally; it's "a pity about the prices", of course, and a few complain of an atmosphere verging on "Disneyesque".

Sample dishes:

Pigeon and Veal Kromesky with Foie Gras
Spit-roast Suckling Pig with Marjoram Jus
Strawberry Jelly with Rhubarb Soup

Value tip:

set 3 course Lunch £45.

Details:

from M40, Junction 7 take A329
9.30 pm
no smoking

Accommodation:

32 rooms, from £245.

Manchester
Yang Sing £28 **
34 Princess Street M1 4JY (0161) 236 2200

"Simply the best Chinese restaurant in the UK!" - this "flash" institution in Chinatown has a lot to live up to, and the chorus of praise for Harry Yeung's "wonderful" cooking (including "incredible" dim sum) remains almost as great as ever; for a slightly greater minority this year, however, results were good rather than great.

Sample dishes:

Crispy Spring Rolls
Pan-fried Squid with Vegetables
Sweet Dim Sum

Details:

    www.yang-sing.com
    11.45 pm, Friday and Saturday 12.15 am.

Oxford
Le Petit Blanc £30 x
71 - 72 Walton Street OX2 6AG (01865) 510999

"A pity Monsieur Blanc doesn't seem to care any more" - for a (diminishing) number of fans this star chef's Jericho brasserie remains a "relaxed but stylish" venture with a "bustling" if "noisy" ambience, but the volume of reports of "boring" food and "careless" service lead many to conclude that the place is "very overrated and disappointing".

Sample dishes:

    Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Pâté
    Confit of Guinea Fowl with Wild Mushrooms
    'Floating Island' Dessert

Value tip:

    set 2 course Lunch and pre-Thursday £12.50.

Details:

    www.petitblanc.co.uk
    11 pm
    no smoking except Dinner Friday and Saturday.

Padstow, Cornwall
Seafood Restaurant £51
Riverside PL28 8BY (01841) 532700

TV-chef Rick Stein's "passion" for "glorious seafood, simply cooked" has made this Cornish town a place of culinary pilgrimage, and for many devotees a visit to his large, harbourside HQ is a "fishtastic", "feel good" experience; there remain many heretics, however, for whom the place is "overpriced" and "resting on its laurels", with particular flak reserved for the "unwelcoming", "blunt", and "slow" service.

Sample dishes:

Cuttlefish Salad
Shark and Dover Sole Vindaloo
Pannacotta and Stewed Rhubarb

Details:

www.rickstein.com
10 pm
no Amex
no smoking in dining room

Children:

Three and upwards

Accommodation:

19 rooms, from £95.

Bray, Berkshire
Waterside Inn £100 *
Ferry Road SL6 2AT (01628) 620691

"Impeccable" cuisine, "cosseting" service (considerably improved since last year) and a "beautiful", "restful" riverside setting help make Michel Roux's long-established Thames Valley fixture "just the most perfect eating experience" in many people's books; "you pay heavily", however, and if there's a failing, it's an atmosphere some find rather "snooty" or "corporate".

Sample dishes:

Pappardelle with Quail and Watercress
Sweetbreads and Veal Ravioli with Fondant Potatoes
Raspberry Soufflé

Value tip:

set 3 course Lunch £33.50 (Sunday Lunch £49).

Details:

www.waterside-inn.co.uk
off A308 between Windsor and Maidenhead
10 pm
closed Monday and Tuesday (open Tuesday Dinner June - August)

Children:

Twelve and upwards

Accommodation:

9 rooms, from £150.

 

Harden's London Restaurants 2002 and Harden's Top UK Restaurants 2002 are published by Harden's Limited and are available from all good bookshops, or directly

 

This article was supplied by www.hardens.com

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