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A. Wong – the power of the restaurant review

Posted on: April 27, 2013

A Wong reviews

Since A. Wong opened in an unpromising location in Victoria, it has hardly flown under the radar. The FoodVerdicts database lists 11 expert reviews, of which 8 YAYs, which mostly praise the creative Chinese dishes served up in the 8 course ‘Taste of China’ menu as well as on the dim sum menu (available to order as single pieces – a relief if you were always too polite to snatch that last xiao long bao).

But this weekend, A. Wong won the jackpot of restaurant reviews – praise from two of the most influential critics in the business – Marina O’Loughlin (Guardian)

The lure of gourmet food outside of London?

Posted on: April 9, 2013

Gourmet Food outside of London

There is a question mark in the title because we simply don’t believe that anyone in search of gourmet food would need to leave London. But maybe it’s time to reconsider.

Giles Coren went to The French in Manchester and said, “I’d walk to Manchester barefoot in the rain for one more mouthful of the chopped raw ribeye of ox in coal oil” in his review  this weekend. The French at Midland Hotel has just been taken over by Simon Rogan of L’Enclume in the Lake District and Roganic in London and it sounds like he’s cooking up a storm. The FT’s Natalie Whittle writes

Hedone profile – "From amateur to professional"

Posted on: March 12, 2013


On his blog ‘Gastroville’, Hedone chef patron Mikael Jonsson gives a fascinating glimpse into how he experienced the first 18 months of his Chiswick restaurant, Hedone. He writes refreshingly frank and insightful about his experiences of restaurant critics, most of which he didn’t recognise when they visited his restaurant.

Hedone enjoyed a stunning reception, as Jonsson recalls: “After only a couple of weeks we got 4 stars from Fay Maschler and 5 stars from Time Out. Then great reviews in FT, Guardian, Metro and later in New York Times. I was stunned by the influence

Austerity? Critics review crisps, fish & chips

Posted on: March 2, 2013

Crisps reviewed

In these tough times, food reviews don’t always have to be about fine dining.

For the FT, Oliver Thring selects five of the best London chippies – and critics’ favourite Kerbisher & Malt makes the list.

Meanwhile at The Independent, Amol Rajan tries the new Walkers’ “real food flavours” crisps (which Walkers’ made using real meat). Alas, the flavours he describes have little to do with real food.

[Financial Times / The Independent]

Nicholas Lander on London, culinary capital

Posted on: February 22, 2013

London culinary capital

After a recent talk to visiting New Yorkers, Nicholas Lander’s published this ode to London’s restaurant scene (behind the FT paywall unfortunately). He praises the diversity of culinary London (and East London in particular) and highlights Ottolenghi, Coya, Rasoi and others as examples.

[Financial Times]

Who wants to be a restaurant critic?

Posted on: February 13, 2013

Restaurant critics

For the Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog, Jennifer Ah-Kin lets us take a peek into the life of a restaurant critic.

It’s certainly not an easy job to come by – according to The Observer’s food critic Jay Rayner, being a dedicated foodie is not enough: “My job is to write, not to know stuff about food (though, being a greedy man, I do know a lot).”

Even though newspaper budgets are under increasing pressure, Guardian food critic Marina O’Loughlin is upbeat about the outlook for expert reviewers: ”I’d say it has a lifespan beyond the much-touted

Tributes to Michael Winner

Posted on: January 23, 2013

Michael Winner

Film director and outspoken restaurant critic Michael Winner died on 21 January 2013, aged 77. He certainly left his mark and publications from Guardian to Telegraph honoured him with obituaries.

But maybe the Times captures Michael Winner’s inimitable spirit best with the publication of his last column and a few quotes from Winner’s Dinners past, including this gem from a review of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester:

“The waiter, referring to the first course, asked, “How was it?”

“You’ll have to read about it,” I replied. “We’re sworn by professional etiquette

The allure of old-time dining – Marina O'Loughlin

Posted on: January 21, 2013

Mon Plaisir

The Guardian restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin professes her love for the ‘Golden Oldies’ in an article for the Civilian. Instead of frantic chasing of the new, she cherishes the old-fashioned:

“There’s nothing worse than, say, a restaurant in a small South Tyrolean town that’s desperate to be seen as one of the cool kids: it’s like the rich tourist who hits London and tricks herself up in head-to-toe Burberry check. Combine this with a desire for Michelin recognition, and the whole shebang becomes about as much fun as a night out with Piers Morgan”

In praise of the brasserie

Posted on: January 18, 2013


Ahead of the much-anticipated opening of New York import Balthazar, the Observer’s restaurant critic Jay Rayner looks at what defines a true brasserie. He consults with Daniel Young, former critic and food event impresario (‘s BurgerMondays and more), who has written a book on the topic.

Young has devised a 20-point checklist, and describes that if “there is a continuous food offering throughout the day, fast service, tablecloths, uniformed waiters carrying trays, draft beers – a marker of their origins as 19th-century microbreweries

Tags Bistro |  Critics |  Trends |  We're reading 

Critics and bloggers look back at 2012

Posted on: January 10, 2013


While food blogger and FoodVerdicts favourite Hugh Wright has predicted his 2013 trends in our exclusive feature, we summarise in this article last year’s good (and not so great) restaurant experiences of critics and bloggers.


To crown the hottest restaurants of 2012, food blogger Picky Glutton measures which of her reviews have received most clicks. The top spots are taken by lobster rolls battles (Hawksmoor vs Burger & Lobster) and indie burgers (high ratings for: Burger & Lobster and Honest Burgers) – burgers in fact feature twice in her top 10 most-read posts.

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