Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Food Spy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Food Spy

Article excerpt

Byline: WILLIAM SITWELL

Restaurant bites

When Umu, a Kyoto restaurant on Bruton Place in Mayfair, opens in early September, it's not just the fish and vegetables that will come from Japan.

For the chef, Ichiro Kubota, has spurned the idea of cooking anything in Thames Water. 'He's importing softer Japanese water in 13-litre barrels from the southern Kyushu region,' says a spokeswoman, 'as London water is simply too hard for his Zen Buddhist style of cooking.' It's not much better for brushing Food Spy's teeth either.

Food critics are looking forward to the imminent launch of Marco Pierre White's Italian restaurant venture with jockey Frankie Dettori. It will be on the site of what was once Chez Max on Yeoman's Row. Named Frankie Dettori's Italian Bar and Grill, one of Food Spy's moles had a sneaky peek around last week. 'It looks amazing,' he said. 'It's a vast room, lined with mirrors and filled with huge disco balls. The funniest thing is on the back of the menu where it says: A Frankie Dettori/ Marco Pierre White restaurant. Like they've got millions of them!'

Having been in business for 150 years, Scott's in Mayfair is sadly closing this month. 'It's awful news,' moans a regular. 'But times are hard and I think most of us customers were nearly as old as the restaurant.'

Be afraid. Sid Shaw wants to open a global chain of Elvis-themed restaurants starting in London. 'You enter through the legs of a 25ft animatronic Elvis, who says, "Thank you very much,"' says Sid. Viva Las London.

The next big thing...

Scott Webster, head chef and co-owner of Osia restaurant and bar, Haymarket, predicts...

'Screw caps on wine bottles are the inevitable future for reducing the incidence of "corked" wines, and Australian wine producers are leading the way. At my restaurant, our wine list is predominantly composed of New World wines and increasingly shows wines with screw tops. Customers are occasionally surprised and suspicious, but when we explain it to them the reaction is very positive. …

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