Thursday, September 07, 2006

View Giles' reviews!

If you haven't read Giles Coren's restaurant reviews in the Times, I urge you to seek him out. The best thing about his review apart from his excellent prose is the random scores he awards his selected restaurants. He gives points for not just food but notably for: Welcomeness in these parts, Cuteness (it wasn't very clear whether he was referring to the food portions or the attractiveness of the staff), Attitude, Bum comfort (this refers to a restaurant with fine throne like seats) , Buzz, Concept, Oomph and Wit and in his most recent missive points are awarded for the number of children the chef has! I do like his style; other reviewers are just interested in food, service and ambience whereas we really need to know points for ‘oomph’ and ‘cuteness’! And when commenting on the price of his meal for one dismal restaurant he remarks, “Your stomach, your afternoon, your will to live.” Just excellent! Clearly I need to beef up my fork rewards. I already give points for mash but next time I’ll have to think about ‘attitude’. Or I could award or deduct points for 'ease of catching waiter's eye', 'willingness of chef with regards to removing offending item from dish', 'how forceful is the sommelier when encouraging you to the most expensive end of the menu' or a personal bugbear of mine - 'random inclusion of unwelcome mystery ingredient when the menu bore no warning!'. The last generally being some extremely unnecessary tomato based substance that has been snuck into my meal. And the problem here is that I abhor waste so I am torn between fishing the offending article or requesting a version of the dish without the stealth tomato. A tomato concasse running through an otherwise fabulous smoked haddock risotto is a case where I can't really just pick it out.

D reads the Food and Drink section of the Times every Saturday but I get my Giles fix electronically; I can then read his wise words on my BlackBerry. I've also heard he's written a book 'winkler' which has won the dubious accolade of having the worse described sex scene this year. Though it has made me even more intrigued by it!

Giles was a regular on the first series of Gordon Ramsay's F word and would go forth intrepidly each week to investigate some foodie item. He was replaced in the second series by Janet Street-Porter who was interesting but a bit shouty and just not Giles! Giles made a guest appearance on the recently ended second series as a 'posh food critic' and investigated the world of snack pimping. For those unaware of this phenomena, snack pimping is the fine art of reproducing a much favourite snack (for example a custard cream) but on a gargantuan scale. The pictures of the 'pimped snack' are then displayed alongside the original so the web site can admire your reproductive skills and undoubtedly the sheer size of the thing. I was impressed firstly that Giles plumped for a Jaffa Cake for his pimping but secondly that he made the Jaffa's sponge layer in a paella pan and then when it refused to fit into his oven he asked his local kebab/pizza place to pop it in their oven. I think he produced this giant chocolate orangey centred creation in his girlfriend's flat. Now why would I know that? It's almost as bizarre as Giles knowing the chef at the place he went to in Henley has seven children! That's because as the girlfriend (Rachel) is a seemingly fairly recent addition he feels the need to talk about her a lot. We can only hope the gloss wears off! Anyway despite constant references to the fragrant Rachel the pimped Jaffa cake was a very fine specimen indeed! Though Giles did declare that it tasted pretty rotten! Maybe he should sticking to restaurant reviewing and leave the baking alone!

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