What the experts recommend
Le Cirque Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai (04-3722444)
In New York, Le Cirque is a “well-known circus-themed restaurant that has been a landmark in the city since 1974”, says What’s On. The menu “runs the gamut” of Italian and French dishes. The carpaccio de boeuf was a “good start”. However, the loup de mer cru ceviche dish was the “star starter”. Think raw sea bass “doused in a coriander, lime and coconut dressing”, sprinkled with sweet potato, and finished off with just a nudge of red pepper. The cappelletti au crabe was “another unexpected highlight” – a pert package of pasta filled with king crab and dressed in a bisque-like roasted apple purée. And while the mains were “fine but forgettable”, “redemption” came in the form of cake. The “frozen” cheesecake was “so light” we could have “eaten five” in one sitting. Dhs 250 to Dhs 749
Stark 1 Oscar Road, Broadstairs, Kent (01843-579786)
In ten years of living in the “bucket-and-spade Kentish seaside town” of Broadstairs, I’ve never reviewed a place on my own doorstep, says Marina O’Loughlin in The Guardian. Sure, I’ve written about places in nearby Margate, or “Dalston-sur-Mer”, as the local wags have it. But never in “preserved-in-aspic” Broadstairs. I’m not certain I should be making an exception for Stark: it’s a “ludicrously tiny” 12-seater that only opens Wednesday to Saturday evenings – arguably more a “labour of love” supper club than a restaurant. But chef Ben Crittenden is the “real deal” and his mighty talent deserves to be trumpeted. On the six-course no-choice menu, there’s usually chicken liver parfait of “preternatural silkiness and delicacy, and huge flavour; this time it comes with pickled Kent cherries” and a shingle of hazelnut granola. There’s cured trout, diced with blackcurrant, dill and fennel. And hake, liquorice-black with squid ink on the outside, is “startling and beautiful in its creamy white centre” and bathed in a sparklingly clear broth of tomato and dashi. Stark is a “lovely, unexpected little thing” and Broadstairs is lucky to have it. Six courses, £45, plus drinks and service.
Where to eat in Copenhagen:
When it comes to amazing food, the Danish capital is about far more than just Noma, says Brontë Aurell in the FT. No visitor should miss the great food market at Torvehallerne; I’d especially recommend the open sandwiches at Hallernes Smørrebrød (top choice: pickled herring) and the pastries at Lauras Bakery. If my children are with me, they will insist on a visit to Nørregade Bolcher nearby, for the fantastic handmade boiled sweets. For street food, Papirøen market, by the harbour, is the place to go. My favourites there are Handmade (open sandwiches) and Fish ’n’ Chips (“not your average fish and chips!”). For a fancy meal out, I love Höst: the “award-winning interior is both cosy and hyggelig” and the food is wonderful. I had the rosehip ice cream with green strawberries last time, and “I’m still dreaming of it”. Last, for a killer brunch, go to Mad & Kaffe: “give me their smoked salmon with smoked cheese mayo any Sunday and I’ll love you for ever”.
Le Cirque: some unexpected highlights