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Professor Rob

Jay Rayner reviews Le Cinq, Paris

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I'm not a big fan of most food critics but Jay Rayner is pretty good, he seems to appreciate good food, as opposed to just expensive food.

 

Well worth a read, if only for the line "My lips purse, like a cat’s arse that’s brushed against nettles."

 

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I always look out for Jay Rayner's reviews. When the restaurant's good they read deliciously. But when it's bad they're great fun. You win either way (and I'm a veggie, so the good ones generally aren't even that relevant to me - but I enjoy them vicariously regardless). This one was a beauty. The contrasting pictures of the onion dish would suggest that there's a big difference between the promise and the reality, and the prices were frankly eye-watering. He's great fun as a judge on Masterchef etc. too.

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It's an Emperor's New Clothes situation, where everyone pretends to enjoy it as it is just so expensive it must be great food. The 'milk skin' got me. Used to gross me out when it came on top of school custard, imagine paying sixty euro for it!

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3 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

It's an Emperor's New Clothes situation, where everyone pretends to enjoy it as it is just so expensive it must be great food. The 'milk skin' got me. Used to gross me out when it came on top of school custard, imagine paying sixty euro for it!

 

Quote

"like something that’s fallen off a burns victim."

 

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I like Raynor - when he turns up on Masterchef he just wants something that's been done well, flashy or not, and preferably not. Some of the other judges are totally joyless.

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It's a good piece in general but the premise seems a bit weird in this paragraph...

 

Quote

It wasn’t meant to be so. Irritated by reader complaints about the cost of eating out I decided to visit a classic Parisian gastro-palace, as a reality check. I imagined it less as review, and more as an observational piece, full of moments of joy and bliss, of the sort only stupid amounts of cash can buy. We’d all have a good laugh at rich people and then return to business as usual, a little wiser. I chose Le Cinq, restaurant of Christian Le Squer, named chef of the year by his peers in 2016. I assumed it would be whimsical, and perhaps outrageous. Never did I think the shamefully terrible cooking would slacken my jaw from the rest of my head.

 

Readers complain about the cost of eating out. He goes to a 3 star restaurant which is (I think) not unsurprisingly very expensive. I don't mind paying good money for good food but I don't think someone could convince me eating out wasn't expensive by visiting a 3 star place with these prices even if it was incredible. I'd go if he'd not said it was shit) but it's not cheap.

 

Maybe to resolve his irritation he'd have been better off at one of the likely many amazing inexpensive and great places in Paris or any major city, avoiding the restaurant business's own hype.

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He's Claire Rayner's son, wow, didn't know that. What a small and nepotistic world celebrity is!

 

(He talks about her death and the sentence hyperlinks to her obituary! That's pretty damn weird.)

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I always like to think there is a special place in food hell reserved for food critics, I just can’t understand how these know nothing parasites have carved out such a reputation for themselves in being snide and unpleasantly slagging off the efforts of others.

 

I always despise the cunts when they come on masterchef.

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Nah, he's pretty grounded considering his job is effectively "being a food twat". I like him. He's funny and has an exquisite way with words.

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On 21/03/2018 at 15:50, Gotters said:

I always like to think there is a special place in food hell reserved for food critics, I just can’t understand how these know nothing parasites have carved out such a reputation for themselves in being snide and unpleasantly slagging off the efforts of others.

 

I always despise the cunts when they come on masterchef.

You could say that of anyone who reviews anything. Games, films, TV, art...

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1 hour ago, deKay said:

Nah, he's pretty grounded considering his job is effectively "being a food twat". I like him. He's funny and has an exquisite way with words.

He's a terrible writer IMO. 

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Food critics serve the same role as game reviewers, film critics etc. They're there to try inform the public about how best to spend their money. This is useful info - especially when eating out can cost a small fortune. The fact that food critics often come across as pretty awful people is a problem they need to address amongst themselves. Many of them probably are awful people, but not all of them - and Jay Rayner IMO is one of the good ones.

 

With a restaurant this bad there are two main options - either they didn't know the food was this bad before they decided to charge lots of cash for it (in which case someone else really should have told them before they spent huge sums of cash opening a restaurant - friends, family, someone...), or they did know it was bad and opened it anyway (which is pretty damned cynical and unpleasant). Either way they're prepared to take hundreds of pounds off customers for food that simply isn't good enough. They deserve to be held accountable for this, and when the discrepancy between the price and the quality is so large I think it's fine if the gloves come off.

 

For many years when I worked in the games industry I was a Creative Manager, and as such would get to review the CVs of artists who'd applied for a job - occasionally with a  view to hiring them for my team, usually just to whittle the wheat from the chaff so the company could just keep the half-decent ones on record. Out of the many dozens of CVs I reviewed for a job as a professional artist maybe 5% were truly great, another 25% were good enough, and another 60% were varying degrees of bad. The last 10% were truly awful. Not just bad - absolutely piss-poor, far below GCSE level, utterly wretched. They had no business sending them in, but they did so to try to win a well-paid job - either deluded or chancing it.

 

Now happily, the only thing they were wasting was my time, so other than keeping a few examples of the worst stuff to show to friends when we fancied a laugh it went no further than that. If however, I'd have paid good money to go into an art exhibition and seen work of this abysmal standard I would feel perfectly entitled to rip it to shreds and deride it to as large an audience as I could find, because they've had the cheek to take my money for absolute tosh. When they're asking for lots of cash for worthless crap I think it's fair to stick the boot in.

 

Edit: Also this thread has two examples of reviews of terrible restaurants separated by nearly a year. I've read the majority of his reviews between these two (which are weekly) and almost all of them are of good, great or fantastic places, beautifully written. These are the very occasional exceptions where he gets to have a field day. This isn't what he does week-in, week-out - it's usually a celebration of great food, good service etc. 

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And a third, separated by about a week:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/25/studio-88-london-of-course-the-cooking-is-going-to-be-a-disaster-jay-rayner

 

A review of a nightclub. Why would anybody need a review of the food in a nightclub? Why would anyone choose to review the food in a nightclub? Unless, of course, the reviewer just spotted a chance to stick the boot in for *hilarious* comic effect...

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2 hours ago, Tourist said:

And a third, separated by about a week:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/25/studio-88-london-of-course-the-cooking-is-going-to-be-a-disaster-jay-rayner

 

A review of a nightclub. Why would anybody need a review of the food in a nightclub? Why would anyone choose to review the food in a nightclub? Unless, of course, the reviewer just spotted a chance to stick the boot in for *hilarious* comic effect...

 

Yet he has a lot of really good things to say about the venue itself.

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It feels to me very much like the good things he says are written to provide a pretext for the drubbing - and in any case they pertain entirely to the nightclub aspect of the nightclub he has visited (and as a review of a nightclub it's awfully written and as a nightclub it sounds awful to anyone who isn't a cardigan-wearing pompous restaurant reviewer).

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2 hours ago, Tourist said:

It feels to me very much like the good things he says are written to provide a pretext for the drubbing - and in any case they pertain entirely to the nightclub aspect of the nightclub he has visited (and as a review of a nightclub it's awfully written and as a nightclub it sounds awful to anyone who isn't a cardigan-wearing pompous restaurant reviewer).

 

Or maybe, just maybe, the food was shit?

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11 hours ago, Tourist said:

And a third, separated by about a week:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/25/studio-88-london-of-course-the-cooking-is-going-to-be-a-disaster-jay-rayner

 

A review of a nightclub. Why would anybody need a review of the food in a nightclub? Why would anyone choose to review the food in a nightclub? Unless, of course, the reviewer just spotted a chance to stick the boot in for *hilarious* comic effect...

Properly laughed out loud at bits of that.

 

Really enjoying these reviews. Keep posting!

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2 hours ago, deKay said:

 

Or maybe, just maybe, the food was shit?

 

Yeah, more than likely. But if you need a review to tell you that the food is going to be shit at a nightclub then you need more help than a pompous ass sticking the boot in. So why review the food in a nightclub? Like I say, I suspect the reason he reviewed the food in a nightclub is because he saw it as an easy opportunity to score some righteous zings. 

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Just now, Tourist said:

 

Yeah, more than likely. But if you need a review to tell you that the food is going to be shit at a nightclub then you need more help than a pompous ass sticking the boot in. So why review the food in a nightclub? Like I say, I suspect the reason he reviewed the food in a nightclub is because he saw it as an easy opportunity to score some righteous zings. 

 

Or he was asked to?

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I can see this is a topic close to your heart so I won't go on any more about how much I dislike Jay Rayner, but, last point: he could have said no. 

 

eg.

-Hey Jay, apparently there's a nightclub serving food. Why not review them? 

-Uh, because it's a nightclub serving food. Everybody knows that the food will be shit. Why don't we review, I dunno, a restaurant, where people might be unsure about the quality of the food. *That* way we would be providing a service, of sorts. 

-Jay, you're a genius. You're hired. Wait, you're already hired. I've got shit for brains haven't I, lol

[both guffaw loudly, cut to credits]

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It's billed as a requests bar/restaurant. The food is a pretty big part of the deal. 

 

https://www.timeout.com/london/shop/food-and-drink-studio-88

 

I thought the review was fine. Can't really understand your objection, but you seem to have a pretty big chip on your shoulder about what you perceive to be some entitled oaf setting out to have a pop for the lols. I've met Jay Rayner (albeit briefly), and I don't think he's like that at all.

 

Edit: He even addresses your concern ("Why would anybody need a review of the food in a nightclub"), in the review itself:

 

Quote

I know what you’re thinking: what exactly did I expect? It’s a dance bar off Leicester Square. Of course the food is going to be a disaster of a calamity of a travesty. Except that my experience at Albert’s Schloss in Manchester recently taught me never to make assumptions. There, the superb live music was matched by the cracking food. Why shouldn’t Studio 88 be the same? Surely it’s in my favour that I travel so damn hopefully.

 

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