Richard Stokes, who runs The Three Horseshoes in the village of Madingley near Cambridge, would be hailed as a culinary superstar if his restaurant was miraculously airlifted into central London, says Matthew Norman, of The Guardian. He describes the food as beautiful, imaginative, authentic rustic Italian cooking, served in huge quantities at fair prices. From the gorgeous focaccia at the start of the meal to the delectable puddings, everything sang melodically of an owner-chef who palpably cooks for the sheer love of it. The Independent’s Tracy McLeod, billed as Restaurant Critic of the Year, says she will definitely be going back to The Modern Pantry in St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1. Set up by Anna Hansen, formerly of the The Sugar Club, the food stops the conversation. It is, says McLeod, a reminder that in skilled hands this kind of fusion food can transcend passing fashion to be a design classic. Giles Coren devotes much of his restaurant review in The Times to talking about his “random flopsy” and denying he is gay before finally getting round to writing about Number Twelve in Upper Woburn Place, London WC1. Eventually he sums up the food by saying “great ingredients juggle with a sure hand in the modern Anglo-Italian tradition”. The service was charming, although the environment was a “bit bland”. However the wine list was good, even if the restaurant was in a “funny location”. The Daily Telegraph’s Belinda Richardson enjoyed her dextrously-cooked pan-fried fillet of sea bass at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The Canteen at River Cottage in Axminster, Devon. But she didn’t bother with the puddings because they looked largely uninviting – something that also be said about the overall atmosphere of the place. Although, Richardson admits, Fearnley-Whittingstall has done great things for the nation’s eating habits, she believes a bit of old-fashioned Tom-and-Barbara warmth would go a long way towards making customers feel a genuine part of the good life. The Guardian 13/09/08 (Weekend) pages 72 & 73 The Independent 13/09/08 (Magazine) page 49 The Times 13/09/08 (Magazine) pages 63 & 64 The Daily Telegraph 13/09/08 (Weekend) page 20