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30 November 2005

Toby Young on London's worst restaurants

Toby Young doesn't pull any punches in tonight's Evening Standard.  The title of the piece "Worst celebrity restaurants" is pretty self explanatory. 

So what makes a bad restaurant? Obviously dreadful food is a clincher, but there are also surly waiters, a dingy atmosphere, woeful decor, too many people or too few people and the crucial litmus test - value for money. If there's something that really niggles, it's being ripped off.

The restaurant's that Young lays into, and their worst dishes are:

  • Nozomi - Deep-fried edamame in chilli oil. After the paint-stripping potency of this appetiser you won't be able to taste the rest of your meal.
  • Cipriani - Veal Milanese. It costs £35 and looks like flattened road-kill.
  • Nobu Berkeley - The chocolate bento box. I've had better chocolate fondants at Pizza Express.
  • Mint Leaf - Anything that's accompanied by dried fenugreek leaves. You might as well sprinkle sawdust on your curry.
  • San Lorenzo - Veal Milanese. It tastes like a piece of shoe leather sandwiched between two pieces of sandpaper.
  • Brunello - Duck ham. The fat is inseparable from the meat, making each slice impossible to chew.
  • St John - Barnsley chop. It tastes like it has been boiled in effluent.
  • Fifth Floor Café - Globe artichoke salad. The bits of artichoke had been marinated in lemon juice for so long they'd started to ferment.
  • Graze - Potato gnocchi. It tastes like cotton wool wrapped in Plasticene.
  • The Gallery at Sketch - Endive, pear and blue cheese salad. My wife said it tasted like "sick".

These are Young's own opinions, not mine.  I haven't been to most of the restaurants so can't comment specifically.  But I can generally.  You need to start worrying if a restaurant is more famous for who eats there than the quality of the food.  Many of these probably fall into the famous for who, rather than famous for what, category and no doubt there are many more besides these ten.

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