Restaurant Reviews - January 2014Featured January 14 Words by Vicky Lane, Anya Pope, Rachael Pilkington
El Rincón de Juan Carlos
Tenerife | Modern Spanish | €40
When you've been dubbed Tenerife's answer to the Roca brothers - the trio who pushed Noma off its perch to win the World's Best Restaurant title last year - you must be doing something right. Especially when you're a brother down and working in a space about a quarter of the size of that belonging to the famed Catalan siblings. On a quiet back road, Juan Carlos and Jonathan Padrón's restaurant may look unassuming - particularly in winter, when the pretty terrace has been packed away - but in their tiny kitchen, the talented pair are leading a gastronomic revolution.
Appetisers skilfully pair unusual combinations: creamy foie gras sandwiched by crunchy, sweet pineapple meringue; a plump, briny oyster in tart lychee sauce; smoked eel with a light teriyaki and raspberry mayonnaise. Larger dishes, such as succulent black pork and buttery black cod served with two types of apple, confirm that these tinerfeño brothers aren't just doing something right - they're smashing most other competition clean off the island.
2 Pasaje de Jacaranda, Los Gigantes 38683, +34 922 868 040, elrincondejuancarlos.es
Le Fantin Latour
Grenoble | Modern creative | €68
You could say that nature has taken over in this cosy former museum. The décor includes twinkling lights over an arrangement of silver birch trees, while garnishes of wild lavender, mushrooms and herbs bring the outside world in.
Each of chef Stéphane Froidevaux's courses is a miniature landscape in itself. Swordfish steak topped with absinthe arrives still cooking on a steaming slate; a shot glass of quince, carrot and mint is like a sunset. Those who go for the eight-course menu can expect unusual flavours - passion-fruit coulis and tonka beans take the gamey edge off a wild grouse pie, while pumpkin and shiitake mushroom soup with hazelnuts, apricot and smoky black tea is a winter evening in a bowl. Rich, creamy, chocolate ganache seals the deal.
By the time the waiter brings coffee, balanced on a piece of mossy tree bark, it seems almost normal to root through wild grasses for the sugar.
1 Rue du Général de Beylié, 38000, +33 (0)4 7601 0097, fantin-latour.fr
London | BBQ
Last year, Des McDonald - former head chef of celeb haunt The Ivy - showed how to batter fish and chips into something worthier than yesterday's news pages, with Islington's The Fish and Chip Shop. Now he's looking to transform BBQ in a similar way. Plates of St Louis cut ribs and moonshine-battered shrimp at this new Camden restaurant aim to show diners there's more to a good BBQ than a bit of grilling.
Edinburgh | French
Award-winning chef Mark Greenaway may humbly claim his second Edinburgh restaurant offers simpler versions of the dishes served at his eponymous first, but they're still far from basic. Each of the classic French bistro recipes are made with local ingredients and given an imaginative makeover, then matched with Scottish whiskies and beers.
Zürich | Swiss
Named after the 26 cantons that make up the Republic of Switzerland, this hotel restaurant - attached to Zürich West's new Sheraton - is set to specialise in the classics. From the national dish rösti (fried, grated potato) to saucisse au chou (sausage with cabbage), the plates may not provide too many surprises, but you can be sure there'll be plenty of flavour.