Drum roll, drum roll. All of the team at JancisRobinson.com agree that all of our shortlisted four restaurant submissions for our reader reviewers competition were excellent, of truly professional quality, but we also agree on the winner: Henry Jeffreys for his review of Giaconda in London (pictured), of particular interest to those seeking a rather quieter restaurant than most. Henry writes a blog with the (to me) rather unappetising name World of booze. Actually it is highly literate and has the more appealing subtitle 'For the impecunious amateur'. We hope his prize of a bottle of Ch Mouton-Rothschild 1996 will make a glamorous appearance in his world of booze (though there is no hurry to drink it, Henry – see this 2011 tasting note, the most recent of my four, on it).
But we were hugely impressed by the average standard of the reviews you so kindly sent us. So high was it that I'm afraid we were unable to publish everything we were sent (and had to disqualify some entries because they had already been published elsewhere), but we were very grateful for everything we were sent. Thank you, everyone who took the trouble to send us a review.
By a strange coincidence, Nick, who will return to his usual slot here and in the Financial Times tomorrow, has just been sent the following by Giaconda about exciting developments for chef-patron Paul Merrony (see Nick's 2008 review of Giaconda).
After nearly three years of negotiations, providence has intervened! The Giaconda Dining Room will shortly be growing up into a real restaurant. Whilst the chains breed exponentially; we take heart that there are still those of you that believe 'fine restaurants are made, not built' and choose to patronise family-run restaurants – an independent restaurant built on enthusiasm and tough grind.
We are very excited to announce that we intend to take over a space that has lain fallow to the rear of our restaurant. We intend to be able to build a bigger kitchen and accommodate another 40 chairs – that'll give us 70 seats in total. Our valued customers know that Paul works out of a tiny domestic-sized kitchen. Paul cooks everything served! We've always said 'Paul needs help'. Well, now he can get it! We are thrilled to the marrow about this. We'll be changing our name to The Giaconda Dining Rooms.
In enhancing our capacity, and making the seating less compact, we realise that 'the vibe' that we have created needs to be maintained. The aim is to keep doing what we've been doing over the last four years, but better.
In order to accommodate the works, we'll be pausing for a breather from 16 July. We anticipate hibernating for about two to three months while the renovations are undertaken.