News

Restaurant review: ‘It’s been a year of highs – and high prices’ | Jay Rayner

From an XL golden cheese toastie to a gold-leaf steak: Jay Rayner on 2021’s eating out highlightsIt was the year we craved the normality of a meal out, regardless of how abnormal an experience it might have to be for that to happen. No matter that the waiters might be masked up or the tables dotted across the room as if set for an interrogation, or that there could be screens between those tables. If the essentials were present – a list of dishes that you hadn’t cooked yourself, someone to fetch them, a pass on the washing up – many of us were there for it. At times it felt as if all of us customers and staff alike, were working very hard to share that delusion of normality.But 2021 was not normal. I began mine by combing my bookshelves for satisfying cookbooks with which to fill a restaurant column when all the restaurants were closed. I reacquainted myself with the brilliance of great recipe writers and cooks such as Claudia Roden, Simon Hopkinson and the late Gary Rhodes. The latter finally taught me to swallow my shame and learn how to make custard from scratch. Custard vanquished; life skill achieved. Thank you, Gary. You may no longer be here, but you held my hand from beyond the grave. Continue reading…