Black Axe Mangal, London

Black Axe Mangal restaurant
©Lewis Khan

‘The bread has been laid down, smeared with a bass of gutty earthiness and then topped with a screaming solo’

The restaurant’s interior
©Issy Croker

Lurra, London

‘The slow roasting retains every millilitre of juice. One mouthful of lamb had the texture of a poached oyster’

Blow to heart of the restaurant business

Chefs who drop à la carte rebrand themselves as artist-performers whose work we pay to experience

The Bellanger bar
©David Loftus

Bellanger, London

‘Alsace, Austria and Switzerland might once have been home to this kind of grand restaurant but they also had some bloody awful food’

The hard sell

‘We’re used to seeing chefs posing arrogantly, arms crossed, but they’re not really as tough as they look’

The Little Viet Kitchen’s cosy dining room

The Little Viet Kitchen, London

‘Lemongrass eight-hour braised oxtail is the kind of thing that jumps out of a specials board and grabs you by the throat’

Turkeys at Paul Kelly’s Springate Farm near Chelmsford, Essex
©Mark Mattock

A turkey’s tale

Our desire for a top-quality bird has spawned a unique industry: specialist farms that work flat out from April, slow rearing, hanging and dry plucking

Suvlaki’s postmodern concrete columns

Suvlaki, Soho

‘What happened to the kebab? Surely it must be time to reappropriate the healthy, grilled lamb flatbread’

The White Spoon dining room

The White Spoon, Cheltenham

‘While there is pride in ingredients, there is no feeling of robust joy in the food; there is innovation but little inspiration’

The services’ vaulted dining space
©Mark Lord

Gloucester Services, miracle off the M5

‘Where normal service stations offer irradiated pasties and low-grade pornography, Gloucester has hand-raised pies and a small bookshop’

Cry God for Tunworth

The breathtaking brilliance of British cheese has made us the nation we are

The Ivy, London

‘I have a longstanding grouse with the bookings arrangements of London’s über-brasseries’

The Marram Grass, Anglesey

‘The mussels were stupidly fresh and cooked just enough to set their plump cushions of fat’

Kul, Copenhagen

‘The bed on which the spare ribs teriyaki reclined, a jam-like reduction of tomato, was awe-inspiring’

The recommendation game

‘The cleverly hyped restaurant apps and sites are extracting their percentage from all of us’

Wallfish Bistro, Bristol

‘A whacking slab of turbot, along with the whole Portland crab, was proof of Curry’s pedigree’

The à la car menu

Research for his new book ‘The DIY Cook’ involved deconstructing all kinds of classic dishes

Amateur power

‘For whatever reason, Britain seems, uniquely in the world, to be a nation of unintentional chefs’

Market força in Barcelona

The Catalan city has spent hundreds of millions renovating its markets, making them the envy of the world

Culinary lives of the rich and irrelevant

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants now speaks only to a priest caste