The Independent’s Terry Durack is unimpressed with Vapiano in Great Portland Street, London, W1. Despite the sleek urban space, he says it feels like an Italian self-service cafeteria and adds: “Probably because it is.” The British franchisees hope to grow the concept – Vapiano means “go slowly” in Italian – to 25 sites in Britain. There are already 21 branches in Germany and 13 across the rest of Europe and the US. But none, notes Durack, in Italy. In theory, he adds, it is fun, fast and cheap fodder for the office crowd. But in reality, nothing tastes of very much. Vapiano, he concludes awarding it 11 marks out of 20, is more about the concept than the dining. Michael Winner, writing in The Sunday Times, tells how he was refused entry on his first visit to Sharrow Bay on Lake Ullswater in Cumbria because the two gay owners were terrified of him. But he recently returned and describes the food as “historic”, with delightful staff and breathtaking views over the lake. Its Michelin star is well deserved, serving simple, tasty and memorable dishes. Winner advises readers to go there by private jet as he did. Zoe Williams, of The Sunday Telegraph, complains she was left fuming and waiting on the street for half an hour after her booking at the Hix Oyster and Chop House, in Cowcross Street, London, EC1, while people known to the maitre d’ “glided on to a table”. But by the end of her meal the staff were being “crazily sweet”, pouring desert wine and recommending puddings with dewy enthusiasm. But some of the delicious food was let down by being cooked in haste and without enough thought. However, Williams concludes by saying it is a lovely place in a choice area, and it feels exciting to be there. The Mojitos served up to Jay Rayner of The Observer at the Chicago Rib Shack in London's Knightsbridge were good - properly crushed and beaten and muddled. And, he says, if he had just stayed to drink them, he might even have liked the restaurant. But after staying for dinner, he hated the place. He hated the clumsiness, the lack of quality control and the "sheer bloody mediocrity of the whole operation". By comparison with Bodean's, where Durack says he can get serious barbecue action, the place "stinks in the way old fish that's been left on the parcel shelf of a locked car for three weeks through an Arizona August stinks". It's a waste of ribs, wails Durack; an insult to pigs and cattle, and a sauce crime. Even worse, it isn't cheap. There was one other thing that Durack liked about the Chicago Rib Shack: leaving. He comments: "I liked doing that very much." The Independent on Sunday 27/07/08 (The New Review) page 51 The Sunday Times 27/07/08 (News Review) page 5.16 The Sunday Telegraph 27/07/08 (stella) pages 46 & 47 The Observer 27/07/08 (Magazine) page 65