Admit it — we all love a good bad restaurant review. Not because we think certain restaurants deserve a public berating, or because we want to do irreparable damage to someone’s business, but just because they can be so darn entertaining.
And we’re not talking about the 2-out-of-5 star reviews here, either. We’re talking about when critics write “if-there-was-a-way-to-give-negative-stars-I-would” sort of reviews (who could ever forget Pete Wells' brutal slam of Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant in the New York Times?). Reading those write-ups is akin to that scene in Jurassic Park where the cow gets lowered into the velociraptor pen: It’s nasty, but you can’t look away.
And if there’s one food critic who has unabashedly refined his ability to skewer restaurants for their perceived incompetence, it’s Jay Rayner, the longtime restaurant critic for The Guardian who notably once described a dining experience as “a pallid fart of mediocrity, priced for some dodgy clientele that’s ripped off the gross national product of a small impoverished nation and is now domiciled in London for tax reasons.” Between Rayner, Shakespeare, and Gordon Ramsay, we think it’s safe to say the British are genetically predisposed to well-crafted insults.
And now, Rayner has outdone even his own high standards with what is possibly the most biting restaurant review of all time: an unapologetic roast of Le Cinq, a Michelin three-star restaurant located in the Four Seasons hotel in Paris. Le Cinq is notably ranked among the top 100 restaurants in the world according to Grubstreet, though Rayner, who described his more than $600 dinner as among the worst experiences of his 18-year-career, probably disagrees with that assessment.
On his expectations for Le Cinq pre-visit, Rayner writes, “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.”
It only gets worse from there.
Continuing on, Rayner describes a canapé as resembling “a Barbie-sized silicone breast implant,” while his tablemate depicts it as “'eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocer’s.'”
A bitter amuse-bouche then causes Rayner’s lips to “purse like a cat’s arse,” while a plate of gratinated onions is described as “mostly black, like nightmares, and sticky, like the floor at a teenager’s party.”
Choosing all the greatest quotes would rob you of the joy of reading the entire piece, so we’ll leave you with just that preview. Be sure to head over to The Guardian to check out the full review, however — even Gordon Ramsay could appreciate the burns.
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