Restaurant reviews too tough to digest

DINERS everywhere are champing at the bit.

No more heavy dependence on takeaways and ready meals. No more huddling outdoors beneath heaters and umbrellas to “enjoy” a meal with family and friends.

We can venture inside our favourite restaurants to escape the British summer’s Atlantic gales; seated at table, a menu to peruse, staff to bring our food and drink.

Just like “normal” times.

Well, not quite. There will be limitations on numbers, seating and layouts, protocols to follow, regulations to adhere to. The “new normal” as it is tagged.

On the other hand, some things never change. Our palates will doubtless still be assailed by foams and  gels; and classic standards will go on suffering the indignity of nonsensical deconstruction.

Elsewhere on the dine-out spectrum menus will simply be dusted off to continue giving the great British public what it mostly desires –  pizzas, pies and burgers,  and chips with everything. The health food that fuels a nation; that ensures we maintain our proud place among the leaders of the global league table of obesity.

But I digress.

Back on the dining scene will also be my bete noire among restaurant reviewers, the one who scrambles words better than anyone scrambles eggs. Critiques that are a regular paean to the stream of consciousness school of writing.

That we are sure of more of the same came in today’s preview of the reopening of restaurant doors. In a  reminiscence and reminder of pre-lockdown dining the reviewer writes:

“…whether it was a big, blousy room putting on a seamless show even as it allowed the diners to take centre stage, or a self-consciously curated little space in which the punters’ intimacy with the process was essentially what made the food enjoyable, I remember the way that good (and, indeed less good) restaurants used to make me feel: thoroughly in-the-moment alive.”

What other food writers might term an overworked hors d’oeuvre. Difficult to digest, hard to chew on.

While others might ask if it was the sub-editor’s day off. Or what happened to journalism’s belief in short, clear, concise English; not 62-word sentences.

As starters go, it’s not quite up there with rambling pre-lockdown examples from the same reviewer. But standards are being maintained. It promises well for the reviews to come, with plenty to chew on .

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