L'Anima Cafe
Marina O’Loughlin visits L’Anima offshoot, L’Anima Cafe, in London’s EC2 where huge flavours stomp over her tastebuds with “gnarly abandon”. Unfortunately though, soul is in short supply.
“We have hunter’s stew (alla cacciatora) of rabbit, vinous and super-salty and distinctly autumnal; and unpeeled, roasted red and yellow peppers sandwiching an overbearing dollop of cheese and tomatoes and salty croutons. When a pizza – airy, elastic base, blistered, smoky finish, tomato-free and topped with cheese, coarse-grained sausage and broccoli – is the subtlest dish ordered, there’s cause to marvel,” she writes in the Guardian. “At 2.15pm on the dot, the place empties – it’s the City, remember – and the restaurant’s innate canteen-ishness is thrust into stark relief. L’Anima Cafe comes across as something designed by a property developer rather than the committed, passionate chef we know Mazzei to be, more a case of “What can we bung in here?” than “What can we do that’s really good?” 

Gymkhana is a “magnificently perfect restaurant”, says the Telegraph’s Matthew Norman, where “not a single dish fails to entice”. 
Having tried four dishes, “he could dredge up barely a scintilla of reserve about any of them”. Salmon tikka “had been baked in the tandoor to the precisely correct nanosecond so that the skin was fantastically crisp while the fish retained an almost gooey texture within” and the Bhatti Ka grouse “was so tender that you could have cut it with a plastic knife”.
The Telegraph’s Zoe Williams finds a faultless green chicken curry at the Begging Bowl in London’s Peckham, where all the dishes are “hair-raisingly good”. 
She says the pomelo salad with cashew and chilli lime dressing “was the kind of dish you could eat for every meal, every day, for the rest of your life, and live to be 125″, while the aforementioned green curry “was wonderful – its chilli expertly marshalled, always there, never harsh”.
Think. Eat. Drink (TED) in London’s Caledonian Road has eclectic and tasty food, but the Observer’s Jay Rayner has his doubts over its sustainability claims.
“The food is eclectic: a little Italian, a touch of French, a pinch of Asian and a whole load of hefty British rustic. There are, as there have been a lot recently, pig head croquettes. A pile of carefully picked white Cornish crabmeat is laid on toast spread with the pungency of the brown meat, the whole mixed through with the citrus whack of grapefruit and the crunch of sliced radish. Another starter brings chargrilled squid, both ring and tentacle, and Asian spiced roasted cauliflower florets with a soft cauliflower purée underneath and a sprinkling of deep-fried curry leaves on top,” says Rayner. “It’s a clever idea, smartly executed. As much as it pains this committed carnivore to say it, a restaurant meal with a smaller carbon footprint means removing the meat.”
The ethical mission of Think. Eat. Drink on London’s Caledonian Road is merely “a distraction from a superb menu in a setting that doesn’t ram ethics down your throat at all,” claims the Independent’s Amol Rajan, who also pays a visit. 
Isle of Man scallops with saffron and preserved lemon butter “are fabulous: hot, small and served on their shells, with lashings of salty fat on top” and a main of  risotto with leeks and pancetta is “properly gloopy rather than greasy”.
According to the Independent’s Tracey Macleod, Raw Duck in London’s Hackney is “bigger, bolder and a lot more… raw” than its sister restaurant, Soho’s Duck Soup. The menu “starts all Nordic/Japanese, with various on-trend pickles and ferments, and swings by some interesting cheese and charcuterie ” and includes leg of lamb Leg of lamb “bashed about by the one-two punch of cumin and preserved lemon” and buttermilk fried chicken which “comes with a fermented soy and chilli sauce that inhabits a new taste category, somewhere between umami and ooh-pour-me-some-water”.
The Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler reviews Hawaiian restaurant Pond Dalston but feels its potential lies in the bar area with snacks and small plates. “As the dishes get more expensive — with a move from small to medium plates — they are less popular,” she warns.
What she does enjoy, though, is Pacific okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake of batter mixed with “what you like” but here featuring pre-ordained shrimp, cabbage, Spam, pineapple and bean sprouts. “Bonito flakes on top wave a fishy greeting, the Spam is chopped into the tiniest of cubes and a sweetly piquant sauce acts as a ribbon tying it all together. It goes down well with our table, as does fillet poke. Hawaiian poke is a raw salad often made with fish and comparable to ceviche, the dieters’ delight. Here a Korean invasion substitutes bulgogi, a tangle of slender strips of marinated briefly seared steak in a savoury sauce described as having lemongrass influences. With it comes a jammy reduction of red onion and pear.”
HOTELS
Pig on the Beach
Sue Quinn of the Guardian arrives at the Pig on the Beach in Studland, Dorset,overlooking “a gorgeous crescent of sand” to be greeted by smiling staff and the place thrumming with the sound of happy people enjoying themselves.
“A jumble of turrets and gabled windows – this was once the beach house of the aristocratic Bankes family – hints at the slightly batty but chi-chi interior: dim lights, wonky floorboards, perfectly placed curios and mismatched sofas around the fire. A chunky wooden staircase and labyrinth of corridors lead to 23 bedrooms, ranging from “cheap and cheerful” to “generous”. Guests can also stay in one of two thatched dovecotes and a shepherd’s hut on wheels in the garden.
“Our room, in the main house and at the lower end of the price range, was tucked into the eaves. It was certainly compact, the sloping ceilings more suitable for Hobbits than Gandalfs. But views across the fields to the white, chalk stacks of Old Harry Rocks rising from the sea, local goodies to binge on and a decent coffee machine, made up for a clonked head or two.”
Writing in the Times,Tom Chesshyre says the White Lion in Tenterden, Kent, is great value, down-to-earth and stylish.
“The White Lion dates from 1530 and its 14 rooms are spread over a warren of creaky corridors that lead up from the beamed, low-ceilinged bar. A refurbishment last November has transformed the inn without making it too fancy or design-conscious. 
“There are church candles casting shadows on beams and reupholstered chairs with striking patterns. The bedrooms are a bargain: comfortable, smart, and with decent-sized bathrooms, all from £110 B&B.”
Fiona Duncan of the 
Sunday Telegraph
 describes the one-time diary farm of Crug Glas, near St David’s , Pembrokeshire, as being fairly priced for the quality of the food and accommodation
“The Georgian farmhouse has a well proportioned, if rather stern aspect at first,” she says “The website of the guesthouse might give the impression of somewhere contemporary and stylish in the modern idiom, but in fact, the sitting room and dining room are very much family rooms, decorated with the owners’ own furniture, including a fine Welsh dresser handed down through the generations, and family photographs on the walls.”
“The AA gives five stars (their top rating) for the accommodation and the Evans’ have certainly gone the extra mile to produce top quality room. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the rooms in the house as they were fully booked, but our Coach House room was huge for the price (£170), with two bathrooms including a huge whirlpool bath.”