Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, Barry

The Pitt Boss Plate at Hang Fire Southern Kitchen
©Huw John

‘The barbecue food they’re turning out in Wales is some of the best I’ve encountered outside the Deep South’

Pidgin’s exterior
©Vivi Pham

Review: Pidgin, London

‘The brown butter cream shouldn’t be on the same plate as celeriac in any sane frame of reference. But it is, and it’s perfect’

Ognosko dining room

Ognisko, London

‘I get through a great deal of meat and this piece, pig-redolent, grill-marked and juicy as all hell, was definitely the best of the year’

The steak-and-chips straitjacket

‘Chefs are tired of explaining the pork and periwinkle foam to customers who listen politely and then order the grilled meat’

Hopper pancake, with array of chutneys
©David Loftus

Hoppers, London

‘Chicken-heart chukka presents the adorable little organs grilled and bathed in sauce: a tour de force in red-hot offal’

Oklava, London
©Manuel Vazquez

Oklava, London

‘Medjool date butter is not one of the aphrodisiac ointments mentioned in myth but it should have been’

The rooftops of Castello di Potentino at Seggiano
©Federica di Giovanni

‘Pasta carries stories’

A cooks’ tour of Tuscany uncovers some of the secrets of making ‘proper’ pici, orecchiette, tortelli and capelli d’angelo

Black Axe Mangal restaurant
©Lewis Khan

Black Axe Mangal, London

‘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

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, London

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

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, Soho

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

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’

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’