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Posts posted by RDB

  1. I think it is a shame that this has happened to Anthony, his family and the staff. Whether I liked the flagship restaurant is irrelevant, at the end of the day this is a lot of peoples livelihood and hard work ruined.

    Sometimes this gets forgotten.

    I suppose

    Calm down dear!

    I just said that in the bigger picture, that in my fairly well informed view, but obviously not as well informed as you, Anthony's simply wasn't good enough to survive. I did start to write something about the Corn Exchange, expanding too quickly etc etc, but I'm a diner, not a restauranteur.

  2. I know this may be late news but I just found out that Magnus, one of Heston's top chef's, died recently in a tragic accident. Magnus used to post on here quite a bit in days gone by and always provided us with a great FD "insider" perspective. What a sad loss.

  3. I am astounded. What a concept hot dogs and champagne, who would have thought. What about Dandelion and Burdock and Quiche Lorraine as concept?

    WHo is this Sandia that all these bloggers are drooling over anyway?

    Anyway the only thing more ridiculous and funny are the attempts of the bloggers to try and write about something that can be explained in one sentence, "It sells hot dogs and champagne". The use of language is astounding and often so sychophantic it is somewhat surreal (see The Critical Couple link above).

    Or I give you this section from another blog, honestly please look away if you are easily offended

    "I settled for a few. Breakkie (£7.5), featuring a bacon-wrapped sausage (pork, for me), black pudding crumble, tomato relish and a sunny-side-up fried egg, captured the sensual comfort of a traditional English breakfast. The gooey protein-rich yolk burst juice and fused nicely with the sweet relish. Together it enhanced the moreish-ness of the gently spiced black pudding bits. The pork sausage snapped wonderfully and claimed quite an intensity for a not-so-large sausage. The care was observed in the lightly toasted bun – just like when I have a toastie with my breakfast. Highly recommended. Buffalo (£7.5) was a deconstruction of deep fried buffalo wings with a typical American cheesy dip. Here my sausage (pork, again) was deep fried, lubricated with spicy buffalo sauce and slipped into a toasted bun. The topping was a melange of finely sliced, pickled celery stalks, celery leaves and blue cheese flakes. The taste of stinky, salty refreshment hit first, which was complimented well by the texture contrast of silky cheese and crunchy celery. The sausage was again well cooked and was not lost among the strongly-flavoured construction. There was a feisty aftertaste of permeating vinegary heat. I wonder if the sauce would have tasted more powerful if smeared closer to the topping".

    Rayner you can rest easy your job is safe!!

  4. I imagine once you receive a series of freebies then after this point any attempt at being impartial is null and void? You often hear professional critics speak about restaurants sending out "freebies" etc etc as a means to curry favour, however this often has the opposite effect. With bloggers it works a treat, much like Pavlov's dogs, that is why it is very hard to take any of these reviews seriously.

  5. RDB, is that a spoof?

    You would think so :unsure:

    However, as Harters says alas not. Maybe this restaurant believes that the opinions of an over zealous primrary school teacher will be a valuable source of business generation or a provide some expert culinary knowledge , however such sychophancy may actually have the paradoxical effect of dissuading anyone from wanting to go near the place.

  6. I like Jay, I know what he likes, and thus can judge a review as to whether I'll like it or not.

    I think bloggers have done the biggest disservice to food writing imaginable, people consumed by ego and the ability to pay for food writing about it, rather than people with a talent for writing, writing about food, it can't work.

    I rarely read food blogs and when I do it's mainly to convince myself that I'm right to think they're written by fools with more money than sense.

    Excellent POV Soundman. I also think that food bloggers do food writing no service at all. Most rely on taking photos as their writing skills are lacking. I would much rather read a review and the writer convey to me the atmosphere and the experience - which at the end of the day are as much part of the package as what is on my plate.

    Again I think it is the lack of impartiality and an inability to distance oneself from either flattery or freebies, this is a perfect example


  7. Now that is perseverance, albeit, eating that many times at the Ledbury I am sure was more pleasure than pain.

    Ah that is the same "Italian Waiter" we had spoke to and told us about Massimo Bottura being in the previous week. He also reccomended we visit Martín Berasategui when we hit San Sebastian.

    The "Brown Sugar Tart" is exquisite, again they offered it on to me, as I lost interest in desserts years ago ( a bad experience due to over indulgence in Espai Sucre) however this gave me hope and aided in habituation.

  8. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't The Cube some kind of attempt at creating a viral buzz around Electrolux by comping bloggers?

    You are not wrong. However, the attempt's success only depends on the integrity of bloggers. I've heard some of them flatly refuse to become pawns in any type of commercial campaign :laugh:

    If that is the case Man I have the utmost respect for you and your reviews, as the ability to remain impartial seems to be very very difficult to the majority of bloggers.

  9. Gawd knows what they might charge if they served Ferran Adria's lager.

    That is the interesting point. One of the Byrnes at D Byrne in Clitheroe told me of a champagne style beer that was produced at Bowland brewery, however he could not get his hands on it as it was a one off that was goind straight to Northcote. Now in this instance you would like to pay a bit more for A) Something rare B) Something Indiviudally produced. C) Something unique in taste. However charging that for Black Sheep or TT landlord is bizarre.

    Interestingly Black sheep is dearer on the menu than Duvel, however retails cheaper? Not sure in the logic?

  10. For me personally, the law of diminishing returns applies to eating out. I cannot justify eating out at very expensive restaurants on a regular basis, even though I could afford it - it just feels like I am being ripped off. It is the same with wine. I am not sure that a £200 bottle of wine taste £170 better than the £30.

    That's pretty much how I feel, too.

    I also have problems paying $45 for a wine I can buy at retail for $15-- I'd be better off spending my $45 at a wine shop, where I'd likely get a much better wine for the money. Wine prices (plus the issue of driving) have gradually reduced my inclination to go out to eat, to the point where my wife and I now rarely do so except when traveling.

    It has crept into beers and ales as well, I have seen some beers retail £1.85 being sold in restaurants for £8.50.

  11. they are completely voluntary and independent, resulting in genuine reports.

    I'm not quite sure this works as an argument, but I suppose it depends on what you mean by 'genuine'. The problem, as I see it, is that there are too many sacred cows, special friendships and vendettas to make the London based newspaper critics trustworthy.

    If Gordon Ramsay opened a new place in the UK, it would be generally ill received regardless of the quality of the dining. Nowadays, the critics' relationship with restaurateurs is more about power and personalities than eating. However, the amateurs are even more starstruck and suck up to chefs like pre-adolescent girls with Justin Bieber. In order to be a good critic, you need to have some integrity and be a good writer. Having a blog or exchanging tweets with chefs is not enough.

    This is why I liked Meades, he liked eating, but he also has other fish to fry. This is why I don't like Rayner, he has far too much invested in being a food critic to be a good critic. This is why I trust O'Loughlin, since she doesn't appear to be exploiting the restaurant world for her own media self-aggrandizement.

    Think you make some very good points. Some critics and chefs are much closer now due to the circles they rotate which is often mediated by media of some sort, so it will naturally create a bias. I agree about MOL and respect her for that, I also like AA Gill as he does not associate or show any sycophancy, he can also write better than any of the critics hands down. I agree with you regarding how bloggers act in that starstruck way, which will always influence how and what they write, i.e. I guarantee if a chef pays attention to a blogger the review will be positive, if they do not get this treatment then the review will be negative and at times histrionic. Then again Chef,s play the game to and court the adulation, and fame, why not it is good advertising etc etc.

    I think Rayner writes descriptively and succinctly about the food, which is good, however when he moves beyond that it rarely works, and is not enertaining as a read. Saying that he is suited more to print, and radio, rather than Television.

    Michael Winner is my guilty pleasure :-)

  12. I am obviously biased but if you look at the restaurant reviews in our Food & Wine publication at


    You will find all the reviews are completely independent. The reviewers’ names are withheld so they do not get known to the restaurateurs and they all pay for their meals in full. My instructions to them are ‘tell it as it is’. They receive no payment either from the restaurants or the Society, they are completely voluntary and independent, resulting in genuine reports.

    What like erm Egullet? Shameless plug!

  13. Seems to have done better than the Swan Inn in Aughton Lancs, which I believe has folded, along with MPW's name. It was ok, nothing special, do not think I would venture to a MPW establishment unless he reopened Harvey's, re recruited his old brigade, was cooking each night and was aiming to reclaim his three stars. I did spend a good 20 mins chatting to him in the Swan Inn ( he does visit these estbalishments)although his input was having an ale and chatting, food was secondary to him and me that night.

  14. Yes Ledbury of course.

    I have been to Sketch a few times lately for lunch and really think it is pretty special and excellent value for what you get.

    Not sure if you have been to St John, if not think you would like it.

    Alternatively you could enjoy some real fish and chips at the Golden Hind (yes really) !! :biggrin:

  15. David, (if you are still there) when you came to Red Chilli in Manchester did you complain to management about the servers being hard to understand? Do you think like you stated about LCS that the staff should have been "English"? Or is it because Red Chilli is not a Michelin Star restaurant then communication faux pas's are acceptable?

    Think your views would help develop the debate?

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