Restaurant digest

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Though "former chef" might have been more elegant, the legend at the bottom of Mark Prescott's business card for the White Hart at Nayland reads "ex-Chef of the Roux Brothers". Here are some other restaurants with Roux-trained chefs in the kitchens.

BELFAST

The piped jazz, modern furniture and smiling Canadian manager might seem a bit slick, a bit international, yet The Roscoff, 7 Lesley House, Shaftesbury Square (01232-331532), has soul. Its opening by Paul and Jeanne Rankin in the late Eighties was a big thing, not least because of the Rankins' Roux pedigree. They met when working together at Le Gavroche, and the classical skills they acquired there show, yet it was a tour cooking across Canada and California that taught them to lighten their food for greater digestibility. She is a great baker and pastry cook, he the chef. Their food has a local flavour, so one might find a perfect beetroot and smoked fish salad with horseradish dressing, or a delicious variety of local venison. Open lunch Mon-Fri, 12.15-2.15pm, dinner Mon-Sat, 6.30-10.15pm. Three-course set lunch, pounds 14.50, dinner pounds 24.95. About pounds 25-pounds 35

LONDON

The daubes of beef and perfect lemon tarts served in Marco Pierre White's ever-growing stable of restaurants are so Roux as to be more Roux than Roux food itself. A less obvious graduate of the same school is Rowley Leigh, chef of Kensington Place, 201 Kensington Church Street, W8 (0171- 727 3184). The place is Buck Rogers-issue modern, very glamorous. Service exemplary, it has dash and flair. Food is modern with classical underpinnings, so while you find trendy bruschettas topped with unlikely luxury items (truffle paste and pigeon and so on), there are also perfect omelettes and salads. Fish is particularly good here. Open lunch daily, 12noon-3pm (3.30, Sat and Sun) and dinner, 6.30-11.45pm (10.15 Sun). Three-course set lunch pounds 14.50. About pounds 20-pounds 35. Vegetarian meals

NORTH YORKSHIRE

Opinion is divided in the catering world about the wisdom of naming a restaurant after oneself. Certainly, it is tricky to sell Chez Nico if Nico does not come with the fixtures and fittings. Perhaps this is why the restaurant of the Roux-trained chef, Michael Hjort, is called Melton's, 7 Scarcroft Road, York (01904-634341). At any rate, it might just as profitably be called A Very Nice Place. Set in what was once a cornershop or a private home in a Victorian terrace, it is dinky, to be sure. Yet the running of the place is couth and confident: Michael Hjort can cook, be it venison with Cumberland sauce or conservative runs on flavours of the day, such as fillet of beef with polenta. While food is served with northern generosity, pricing reflects northern reserve: set-price lunch pounds 14.50 (also available at dinner for those willing to leave by 7.45pm), dinner pounds 19.50, total about pounds 20-pounds 30. Open lunch Tues- Sun, 12noon-2pm, dinner Mon-Sat, 5.30-10pm

NORWICH

Its homey-look is like something out of Twin Peaks, but St Benedict's Grill, 9 Benedict's Street (01603-765377), is for real. And the food, be it kitchen-made bangers and mash, or green salads spiked with tarragon, is good. Only when one eats, does it become evident the chef-proprietor, Nigel Raffles, was Roux-trained. Open Tues-Sat, lunch 12noon-2pm, dinner 7-10.30pm. About pounds 15-pounds 20

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