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aa gill on the Waterhouse


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Absolutely brilliant. Why can't the other papers employ someone as good? They must be out there, all they have to do is look beyond the tired dinosaurs they've been employing since Delia was a girl.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_...penComment=true

I read all the reviewers - at the office we get all the Sundays on a Monday morning - and Gill consistently shines out. Mind you he is good at whatever he writes about, maybe that's the secret, he's a writer first and a food critic second.

S

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He is very good, slightly annoyingly, probably because he knows how to cook. Also spot-on about risotto, possibly the most abused and misunderstood culinary concept of our day. There's even a 'Risotto Bar' now, for god's sake!

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He is very good, slightly annoyingly, probably because he knows how to cook. Also spot-on about risotto, possibly the most abused and misunderstood culinary concept of our day. There's even a 'Risotto Bar' now, for god's sake!

I've eaten at Ooze in London, a sort of risotto bar, it was quite satisfying as a simple lunch fix,

But risotto- fast food? Its an oxymoron

S

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Gill writes well, but is, to my sense, somewhat excruciatingly caustic. Doesn't drink wine - a former alcoholic, apparently - so never reports on that aspect, which is frustrating and gives a strange angle on a restaurant meal.

I prefer the Times's Giles Coren. More slobbish, yet with a great offhand knowledge; more truly funny (and self-mocking) than Gill, though not as cutting.

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Gill writes well, but is, to my sense, somewhat excruciatingly caustic. Doesn't drink wine - a former alcoholic, apparently - so never reports on that aspect, which is frustrating and gives a strange angle on a restaurant meal.

I prefer the Times's Giles Coren. More slobbish, yet with a great offhand knowledge; more truly funny (and self-mocking) than Gill, though not as cutting.

I'm not sure it's fair to expect a restaurant critic to be a wine expert. That is a qualification which takes years to achieve. Restaurant critics have not had the training. I expect the critic to report on the sommelier's choices and whether he/she enjoyed them or not. Anyway I am more interested in their report on the food, the wine list I can always look up in reference books.

Ah well each to his own, I've never found any of the Corens funny, although Alan had his occasional moments back in the 70s. Gill has better command of the language to deliver his barbs and is, to my mind, actually less solipsistic. He also writes well on other subjects and doesn't have a 'sex offender' beard. The latter may not actually be relevant.

S

S

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I love AA Gill’s writing. It’s got a wonderful flow and is particularly good read aloud, probably because he dictates it (it’s my bedtime story on a Sunday night!). I’ve no problem with the no wine aspect. In fact, if anything, it probably gives a better read on the food (although details aren’t always forthcoming!). Ferran Adria usually drinks water (not sure if it’s tap or Fiji) when he’s trying other chef’s food for this reason. An unsullied palate and all that.

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Unsullied palate? That's a little too puritanical for my blood... Food and wine together create new and fascinating reverberations; also gives a contrapuntal approach, etc. Not to mention the sheer hedonistic angle.

More concretely, it *is* important to me to know what a restaurant's wine list is like.

As for Giles Coren, he comes across as a buffoon, but then he gets all Deleuze and Foucault and you know he's laughing up his sleeve. Beard or no.

He's Rabelais where Gill is Pascal...

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Giles Coren is a pillock and I have held this belief ever since 'I read a restaurant review of his a couple of years ago in which he declared he was never going to review the food anymore, just the ethical and environmental standards of the restaurant. Which doesn’t make you much use as a restaurant reviewer???

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Have just seen the chef from the Waterhouse cooking on TV. He said he was using a Fairftrade Chicken? Didn't know these existed, can anyone fill me in?. He cooked it under a London brick BTW!

Edited to add this bit of the review had us rolling on the floor

"As we finished, a large and confident sloaney-looking lad sauntered up to the table. I immediately knew two things: he was about to show me his concept, and it was about to be the biggest mistake he’d ever made. I caught his eye and tried to form a Vulcan mind meld. Stop right there, son of Adam. Keep your hands where I can see them, and step away from the food critic. Whatever you do, don’t engage the reviewer in knowing, just-between-you-and-me, off-the-record banter. Really, if the first rule is don’t poison the customers, the second rule is don’t approach the critic. "

Edited by erica graham (log)

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I do find Gill very funny, the problem is that neither he nor Coren are any longer any use as reviewers. Not a comment on their palates, but their profiles are just too high.

You know, I suppose that if they go and get bad food or service then it must be truly bad. But if they go and get a good experience, all you know is that the restaurant can deliver when it knows it has a major critic in the dining room. I don't know what the solution is, wouldn't want stupid NY style disguises, but do think critics should keep a lower profile than those two do.

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Unsullied palate? That's a little too puritanical for my blood... Food and wine together create new and fascinating reverberations; also gives a contrapuntal approach, etc. Not to mention the sheer hedonistic angle.

i couldn't agree more. i'd even add that when trying a new wine sometimes it inspires me to create a dish that would go with it. combinations of flavours should not be limited by food, but rather include wine in some occasions.

from a cultural and as sharonb says - hedonistic - angle i wouldn't dream of eating good food while denying myself the pleasure of good wine.

-che

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I do find Gill very funny, the problem is that neither he nor Coren are any longer any use as reviewers. Not a comment on their palates, but their profiles are just too high.

You know, I suppose that if they go and get bad food or service then it must be truly bad. But if they go and get a good experience, all you know is that the restaurant can deliver when it knows it has a major critic in the dining room. I don't know what the solution is, wouldn't want stupid NY style disguises, but do think critics should keep a lower profile than those two do.

Of course if the critics didn't put their portraits next to their reviews there would be slightly less chance of them being recognised!

The bird from metro remains anonymous visually but beams such radioactively unpleasant attitude from the moment she comes in the door, you'd be a fool not to spot her.

S

Edited by sunbeam (log)
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There is a quote by Hugh Johnson that I'm fond of, to the effect that you should find a critic whose palate is largely consistent with your own and stick with them. I don't think my palate is consistent with Ms O'Loughlin but assume some people's are. Of course, I think the idea holds true in reverse and a critic could be useful if you disagree with them consistently...

NB Agree about the byeline photographs, but with Gill in particular his celebrity goes beyond that and effectively disqualifies him from being an informative critic. Always good fun though!

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That bird writes on here you know! I'm sure she'll be happy to hear how much you like her!

I just dislike the way she seems to go into every restaurant with her hackles so high she has to duck to get through the door. If I was a waiter I'd park her next to the toilet for sure.

I'm sure she appreciates my honest feedback! Anyway she's not writing here under her real name, so it's all a bit irrelevant what she thinks innit?

S

Edited by sunbeam (log)
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I just dislike the way she seems to go into every restaurant with her hackles so high she has to duck to get through the door. If I was a waiter I'd park her next to the toilet for sure.

I'm sure she appreciates my honest feedback! Anyway she's not writing here under her real name, so it's all a bit irrelevant what she thinks innit?

S

I quite like Marina's stuff though I don't get to read it every week.

Interestingly the Metro seem to have a commitment to high quality (and harsh but fair) restaurant reviewers right across the country. Emma Jean Sturgess (Manchester and Liverpool editions) is excellent and indeed chefs part time and did a sabbatical at the Ballymaloe (sp?) cookery school to sharpen her judgement. Also, I was with the Ops Director of Terry Laybourne's business last week and he said the Metro reviewer in the North East was the only one worth reading.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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I have to say, I personally do like Marina's writing - I find her witty and informative and often find her review in-line with my experiences of whichever restaurant she is writing about. I can't say I find her reviews give the impression that she has her hackles up before she even gets their either. Personally I find her to be pretty fair and she is certainly rated by most of the restauranteurs that I know as one of the best critics. Writing for the Metro also makes her reviews rather powerful as her distribution in London is massive.

Whilst I find AA Gill's reviews can be amusing, I would always prefer to read Marina's or Jay's or someone like Giles Coren as there tends to be much more useful content about the restaurants and food and less witty banter about themselves and their current state of mind.

IMHO only of course!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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I know there's another thread going about critics but in terms of aa gill, it's not that I read his reviews thinking that I'd disagree with his judgement in terms of quality of execution, ingredients etc. I just don't trust that I will get the same experience.

In fact the more I think about it the more I see it has a negative effect in terms of my behaviour ie if he really slams it then I probably wouldn't go (unless I had been before and had a good experience). If he gives it a huge thumbs up then I wouldn't necessarily go because I don't trust that I will get the same treatment

mm what a loser I am :sad:

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I know there's another thread going about critics but in terms of aa gill, it's not that I read his reviews thinking that I'd disagree with his judgement in terms of quality of execution, ingredients etc.  I just don't trust that I will get the same experience. 

In fact the more I think about it the more I see it has a negative effect in terms of my behaviour ie if he really slams it then I probably wouldn't go (unless I had been before and had a good experience).  If he gives it a huge thumbs up then I wouldn't necessarily go because I don't trust that I will get the same treatment

mm what a loser I am :sad:

Thats exactly how I feel.

Re Ms O'Loughlin, came across this ancient link completely by random, it seems on point though Guardian

Re the quality of Metro reviewers in general, I am very rarely in Cardiff, but have been distinctly unimpressed with the quality of writing of the Metro reviewer. But again, am sure if you get to know likes and dislikes of the reviewer it becomes useful. [Example- I am not at all in tune with Malcolm Gluck's palate, but think I know his likes and dislikes sufficiently well to make his writing useful to me] This only works if a reviewer/critic is consistent of course, but we need to remember its a subjective field.

Edited by Iestyn (log)
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The bird from metro remains anonymous visually but beams such radioactively unpleasant attitude from the moment she comes in the door, you'd be a fool not to spot her.

Oh, stop it! I suspect you are in league with her, helping to conceal her true identity.

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The bird from metro remains anonymous visually but beams such radioactively unpleasant attitude from the moment she comes in the door, you'd be a fool not to spot her.

Oh, stop it! I suspect you are in league with her, helping to conceal her true identity.

I don't use names so that when they are googling themselves each morning, they don't get alerted and come thundering over here as a certain Observer restaurant critic always seems to do.

Talking of that, have you see how that particular critic has put a craftily misleading byline picture on his blog? It seems to be a crude photo-composite of Marco Pierre White and the infamous shoe bomber. Quite scary actually.

And also humorously on Monday the Independent had a large piece by their critic in which he mentioned the importance of being anonymous. This was written under a picture of said critic so large it went across the gutter! I don't suppose he asked for it, but it was rather funny.

S

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I don't use names so that when they are googling themselves each morning, they don't get alerted and come thundering over here as a certain Observer restaurant critic always seems to do.

I wasn't referring to "bird from Metro", it was the "radioactively unpleasant attitude" comment that caught my eye - utter bollocks as far as I'm aware.

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