Everyone has the right to express their views, spoken or written, so was Marcus wrong to respond by way of a personal phone call? No one's heard this call and, considering the thread as a whole, members have taken it as face value. Personally I am left with further questions; for example (and I am sure the Critical Couple will be happy to clarify this), did Marcus actually raise his voice at any point, or was it just what was said that offended? Rant also suggests he spoke at them, or was a discussion actually had?
Turning to the review itself, I can understand Marcus' frustrations on certain points...
Menu changes: The CC have been 7 times in 11 months. Some dishes have changed during the interim, others haven't. The restaurant is striving for consistency, so obviously certain signature plates are going to remain. Although it is a separate debate as to the frequency a menu should turn, it should be pointed out there's a very famous 3 star restaurant outside of London where the menu hardly refreshes at all and, for a 2 or 3 year period, actually didn't. 2 & 3 stars are not neighbourhood venues with weekly specials, they're unique occasion destinations and this needs to be considered. At what point during the 7 visits in 11 months the CC decide they were bored with certain dishes? This was surely an inevitability given their attendance. Imagine the comments if they had visited The Fat Duck as many times instead?
Marcus in the kitchen: I know for a fact Marcus is in his kitchen more than most of his equivalent peers. In a recent article in the Mail he confirmed as much. There are very few chefs - if any - who work every service. Consequently, I'm sure it's massively frustrating for him to take a rare trip and, when he does, it's plastered all over the blogosphere - unfortunate timing in the extreme. This leads me to my next point...
Posting: As Harters mentions earlier, the review wasn't just listed here. I note the CC blog is relatively new. Whilst I appreciate all websites need 'feeding' and traffic needs to be driven, this net was cast far and wide at the restaurants expense. I'm not personally convinced the follow-up post about the call was ethical or fair either, whatever the nature of the conversation, a call is a personal gesture, did it really need or deserve putting into the public domain? But, what notoriety the CC have now ensured the blog and themselves!
Objectivity: Food at this level is subjective, I am sure that the lamb and beef the CC mention as being unremarkable has been (or is) - for others - highly enjoyable. It's the execution that ultimately defines a dish. This particular paragraph is where the CC also raise the issue of stars. As I say, everyone has the right to a review and an opinion, but does the report really need to turn into a form of open letter to Wareing telling them what they need to do to get the 3rd twinkler? It does come across as a tad patronising. If I were a chef of Marcus' calibre it would certainly have got my back up.
Edited by marcusjames, 31 October 2010 - 02:05 AM.