Review: Casa Negra, 54-56 Great, Eastern Street, London

'It has a jolly, Mexican-seaside vibe, not something you often find in Shoreditch'

Otto's, 182 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1

Good things come to he who waits. He, in this case, being the most singular waiter one could hope to meet, says Amol Rajan.

Shake Shack, 24 Market Building, Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2
Five Guys, 1-3 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2

People think this job is easy, but it's hard, I tell you, damned hard. My mission this week: to spend an entire day queuing for, and then eating, burgers. Like Morgan Spurlock in a hurry, I will be attempting my own Vine-length version of Super Size Me.

High steaks: writer Matthew Bell with Gaucho Grill’s head of grills, Fernando Larroude

Gaucho grill: How to cook the Argentinian way

Smitten by the mouthwatering meats and delicious empanadas he'd tasted in Buenos Aires, Matthew Bell signs up for a Gaucho cookery masterclass.

Acciuga, 343 Kensington High Street, London W8

The food is as authentic as it is comforting at old-school Italian Acciuga, says Lisa Markwel.

Brasserie Chavot, 41 Conduit Street, London W1

Amol Rajan finds bad upholstery undermines good food at Eric Chavot's newest spot

Turl Street Kitchen, 16-17 Turl Street Oxford

At a scrubbed wooden table, a dapper, Rumpole-ish gentleman is taking lunch, in immaculate suit and wide red braces. Behind him, also eating alone, is a troll in human form – a small, wild-haired oldster wearing a plunging singlet and very short shorts, his abundantly furry chest and shoulders on proud display. Both of these unlikely fellow diners look perfectly at home.

Grain Store, Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, London

Lisa Markwell finds a new vegetable nirvana behind an old transport hub.

The Talbot Hotel, Yorkersgate, Malton, North Yorkshire

Following a deafening dinner at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen a few years ago, when twenty-somethings maintained a roundelay of "Happy Birthday" for much of the evening, I've steered clear of restaurants run by TV chefs. So it was with trepidation that I entered the refurbished mansion (Pevsner: "probably c.1840") that houses the Talbot Hotel in Malton, North Yorkshire, since the owners Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland and his son Tom have installed local boy James Martin, an ornament of Saturday Kitchen and other televisual bonbons, as executive chef.

The Shed, 122 Palace Gardens Terrace, London

Amol Rajan finds brotherly love at a new family-run restaurant in west London

Restaurant 1701, Bevis Marks Synagogue, London

Well, this is awkward. I've arranged to meet David Baddiel at Restaurant 1701, a smart new kosher restaurant in the grounds of Britain's oldest synagogue, but I'm having trouble finding it. David has phoned me to say he has arrived, and "it's much more Jewish than I was expecting".

The Fish & Chip Shop, 189 Upper Street, Islington, London

Des McDonald's name is legendary in the food business – the legends in question being Midas and Croesus. When Nick Lander published The Art of the Restaurateur last year, McDonald was one of its stars. An Irish baker's son, he opened two restaurants in the City of London by the age of 22 and become executive chef of Caprice Holdings, founded by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the chaps who triumphantly revamped The Ivy, Scotts of Mayfair, Le Caprice and J Sheekey.

Christopher's, 18 Wellington Street London WC2

How many restaurants which survive for more than 10 years are actually any good? In the restless churn of the London food scene, the answer is arguably: not very many. Chefs move on, managers are poached, the owner loses interest and that exciting new concept grows as stale as last week's leftovers. Inevitably, the sizzle subsides and the quality drops. At which point, it's only a matter of time before the nice chap from Cote, or Jamie's Italian, or Bill's comes knocking to ask about the lease.

Master & Servant, 8-9 Hoxton Square, London

Amol Rajan goes nose-to-tail in the heart of Hoxton

Oblix, Level 32, The Shard, London

"So, I go to London Bridge Station," I said to the Oblix phone lady. "Then what?"

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