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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious! Imagine food reviews written by Charlie Brooker
I've seen Jay Rayer a few times on television, mostly on The One Show and Masterchef and have always thought of him as the more `cuddly' of the food critics; giving criticism but constructively and with eloquence and wit. This short collection of restaurant reviews (all, pleasingly, very negative) read like a food-munching Charlie Brooker and had me laughing out loud...
Published 20 months ago by Sarah Durston

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Presumably not as disappointing as the meals it describes
This was a bit of a disappointment. From previous reviews I had expected to laugh out loud at least once, and preferably once per piece. Instead of which it left me largely unmoved, apart from a slow, but perceptible, slide into depression. The individual reports would doubtless have served as useful warnings in their time, but by now practically all the restaurants...
Published 8 days ago by Douglas Wood


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious! Imagine food reviews written by Charlie Brooker, 18 Mar 2013
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
I've seen Jay Rayer a few times on television, mostly on The One Show and Masterchef and have always thought of him as the more `cuddly' of the food critics; giving criticism but constructively and with eloquence and wit. This short collection of restaurant reviews (all, pleasingly, very negative) read like a food-munching Charlie Brooker and had me laughing out loud throughout.

The introduction to the collection also makes interesting reading. Rayner outlines why he feels it is both necessary and important that he gives honest feedback and frankly, if I was contemplating paying fifteen quid for a starter, I'd be very grateful to know if it was worth it before I spent my hard earned cash! Most of the restaurants are now out of business and there is a short update telling you about their current fortunes.

Just to give you a taster, here are a few of my favourite quotes:

`Bloom's is an institution. Mind you, so is the high-security psychiatric hospital at Broadmoor'

`It had a weird plastic flavour which reminded me of the taste you get when you blow up a new lilo.'

`Langtry's does indeed celebrate British food, but only in the way a murderer might dance upon a victim's grave'

And so it goes on!

Incidentally, Rayner includes a couple of pages of criticism he has himself received in the interests of balance. They make great reading but saying he has a `face like monkfish genitalia'? Well, that's just rude isn't it! Ha!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inimitable Rayner., 29 Mar 2013
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
"Read out loud" qualities helped to pass a long journey with relish. The agonies Rayner endures on our behalf are laudable and he writes with such flair, employing deliciously apt language.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of bad reviews of restaurants, 7 Jun 2012
By 
J. Smith "jimsmith" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
This isn't a book. Do not be afraid. It is a collection of bad reviews of restaurants, by which I mean the restaurants are bad, not the reviews. The reviews are very funny, full of acerbic wit and clever observations.

Jay opens the collection with an explanation of why he is (re)publishing a load of old reviews.

Jay points out that we, the restaurant going public, can't get enough of well written reviews of bad eating experiences and he is happy to indulge us. What Jay doesn't say is that what we really want to read about is truly terrible, expensive, exclusive restaurants full of dim-witted, rich people paying a fortune for dry fish and ghastly Scottish/Thai fusion or other nonsense. Jay is in on our shared joke, and writes it up in a brilliant style, so we can all laugh at the deluded diners together. Jay guides us through some of the worst best restaurants that have graced London and the UK recently.

I particularly enjoy Jay's eternal enthusiasm for a great meal which results in him being suckered into travelling to Scotland on the mere basis of a "local menu", only to starve, or to an "Indian Jamie Oliver" in Harrogate after just an email only to discover the waiters are later removed by the Border Agency.

If you like Jay's reviews you'll like this. If you don't like Jay you might still enjoy reading about him having a miserable time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belly Laughs, 16 Sep 2013
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
Jay Rayner finds lots of ways to be very rude about restaurants that seem to deserve a good kicking.
This is molecular criticism of the highest order, and the taster menu format (20 short reviews from across the UK) allows us to sample the very worst of restaurant pretension, preening and performance from the last decade or so. Rayner doesn't shy away from some big names, and as he selflessly makes clear, he puts himself through these culinary calamities so that we don't have to. One pound ninety nine on Kindle is a bargain for all those belly laughs - and no service charge!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Presumably not as disappointing as the meals it describes, 18 Nov 2014
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
This was a bit of a disappointment. From previous reviews I had expected to laugh out loud at least once, and preferably once per piece. Instead of which it left me largely unmoved, apart from a slow, but perceptible, slide into depression. The individual reports would doubtless have served as useful warnings in their time, but by now practically all the restaurants concerned must have either changed hands or simply died. The collection was really all about schadenfreude, but for this reviewer the schaden just weren't freude enough!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, 18 Jun 2014
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this because I go out to eat a lot and I thought I might know a few of the restaurants mentioned. Also Jay Rayner is a decent critic and writes well. Its a book you can dip into and read a couple of reviews at a time, some are quite amusing and it makes you realise that being a restaurant critic isnt always an enviable experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ascerbic honesty...thank goodness for that., 19 April 2014
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
Mr Rayner deals with several things in this book about the establishments which he visited: the food, the service, the decor, the atmosphere and, of utmost importance, the individual prices for the foods. All too often, when you read reviews for restaurants, the critics tend to gloss over the prices for certain dishes. As he mentions, there is a proliferation and increase of mediocre (or less) restaurants which are charging £100 or more for food.

He writes with wit, honesty and clarity of description..

Some may question the role of restaurant critics - is it really a tough job that someone has to do?
Their roles are justified when the likes of Mr Rayner describes with such honesty about snobbish and arrogant restaurateurs who offer overpriced, ridiculous and snobbish food which makes a mockery of solid, well-cooked and appropriately priced food.

Bravo, Mr R.
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4.0 out of 5 stars short-crust but sweet, 29 Jan 2014
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
A nice collection describing not-nice restaurants. Pithy and amusing as is typical Jay Rayner. Worth getting if you're a fan
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5.0 out of 5 stars Angry, snarky, biting reviews of bad food and lazy restaurateurs, 15 July 2013
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
I love Jay Rayner's reviews in the Observer - this book collects a small number of these mini-masterpieces, explaining exactly why one would not wish to dine at any of the featured establishments (almost all of which have closed since the reviews were published but some of which remain inexplicably in business). The reviews target poor/lazy cooking, inadequately briefed staff, the pretension which so often accompanies dining out in the era of "menu-speak". It is funny, and sad, in almost equal measure: the fact is that good restaurants close when poor (but better-marketed) restaurants thrive. And if you don't like Jay Rayner, you can at least revel in his account of various all-but-inedible offerings and reflect that he actually had to try them to write the reviews. It is a short read, but very enjoyable all told.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super short read!, 22 Jun 2013
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This review is from: My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Kindle Edition)
Have watched Jay Rayner regularly on The One Show and have always enjoyed his entertaining opinions on food...and anything else! This was an excellent introduction to his restaurant reviews and has made me even keener to read his latest book which I know I'm getting for my birthday!!
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