Anyone who tells you they don’t like reading scathing restaurant reviews is a goody-two-shoes or a liar, and let’s be honest, no one likes either. I, along with most of the review-reading population, love a nasty write-up though I’d rather not delve into what this says about me or society in general. There are a handful of food writers I read regularly; they’ve been around the block and back again so I’m going to throw a limb out and say they know their stuff and they’re usually full of witty one-liners and cheeky quips. I almost always enjoy their pieces, regardless of whether they’re nasty or not but the difference is that while the positive ones are useful to know, the negative ones are quite simply, gripping.
Negative reviews are like reports on a disaster, you really shouldn’t want to know about the gory end but the build up has sucked you in and you simply cannot drag yourself away. I know it, you know it and Jay Rayner knows it. His column undoubtedly gets an impressive hit rate on any given Sunday but when he pulls his own knives out and slices a place to shreds, the stats must really soar. With this notion in mind, it would have been devilishly good to turn the tables on Jay and tell you about the train wreck that was ‘A Night of Food and Agony with Jay Rayner’, but sorry folks, don’t bother with that call to emergency services because it was good. Very good, in fact.