‘They begged me to keep it secret’ – Grace Dent’s favourite restaurants of 2022

In a year of hugely hyped, slapdash nonsense, I was thankful for the many gems

If we’re doing 2022’s highs and lows, let’s begin by staring bravely at the negative. “Terrible food, and such small portions” is the bane of the current restaurant scene. Never has so little been arranged so flamboyantly to fool the eye. Once upon a time, the word “anchovy”, “crumpet” or “prawn” on a menu meant that said ingredient was served in the plural. Now, however, you can expect a solitary anchovy draped across a slice of bread for £9, or a single prawn cut into three. See also pasta in 100g portions and “skewers”, which these days translates as a small piece of protein on a stick for £11. I smiled empathetically throughout 2022’s price hikes and portion shrinkages, until the other week at a gastropub in Lakeland, when my chicken parfait turned up with one Lilliputian crumpet not much wider than a £2 coin, for which they charged me nearly £15. At this point, I began to give off sparks.

But who wants to focus on the bad news? Here, instead, are some of the year’s experiences that I treasure, the places where I’d be delighted if someone wangled me a table. For example, The Plimsoll in Finsbury Park, which is the slightly chaotic yet priceless uncut gem of the London pub food scene, serving a gloriously sloppy burger, ricotta cheesecake and pints of Guinness. It is far from posh, though, so for high-class let’s take a goûter, or tasting menu, at Cédric Grolet at The Berkeley, where for a mere £120 a succession of handsome French staff deliver Grolet’s hallmark sugary trompe-l’œil to your lips: the vanilla flower, the hazelnut, the lemon and his take on a scone with jam.

Continue reading...

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published