On writing bad reviews

I am in the habit of writing poor restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor. Now, this is for no other reason than the meal I had was nearly always worse than I expected.

I went to Ziggy’s in St Andrews the other day to try their fish and chips. I have never been to Ziggy’s but have heard mostly positive reports about it.

My suspicions were immediately raised though when I was told that the fish only came breaded. I asked if it was fresh and was informed that it came in every day. However my hunch is that maybe it did come in every day but it probably came in already breaded.

Anyway, my fish and chips arrived and it confirmed my suspicions. A tiny piece of fish breaded to death in a thick, tasteless hard crust, alongside some bulk processed chips, a tiny bowl of tartare sauce with the highlight being two slices of lemon.

I advised in my review that they shouldn’t really be offering fish and chips if they can only muster up what you’d expect to get in your bog-average, city centre Costco. This is St Andrews.

When I vented my grievance with the waitress she remonstrated that they sold a lot of them. I said I’m sure they did and indeed Starbucks sell a lot of coffee but this doesn’t mean it’s any good.

I tried the new Mowgli street food Indian place in Edinburgh a few weeks back after reading a rave review in the Telegraph, but it was similar. Albeit they used much better ingredients and there were some reasonable flavours in a few of the plates. But on the whole it was a rip-off. Huge prices for very small quantities. We had a poor bottle of red and several plates, got stung £50 each and left feeling we could certainly eat more.

So basically I’m very reticent about eating out nowadays. It’s largely a huge let down. And I’m not going to splash out on any of your bank-busting tasting menus in a hurry, as I’ve worked for one of these joints and have seen that charade from the inside.

This is not to say that I will not be dishing up my tasting tours in Edinburgh and St Andrews soon. But I will make sure that people get enough to eat, the quality is up there and that people will feel that they haven’t been monumentally ripped.

I have invited Jay Rayner (why not at least aim high!) on my first Edinburgh tour which will sample oysters and chablis in the White Horse, some nice tapas in Piggs, a cheeky snifter in the Jolly Judge at the top of the High Street, some venison and a wee claret in The Witchery, Peking Duck in the West Port chinese and then head to the Radford’s at Timberyard and see what they can dish up on the dessert and cheese front?

Check me out on Tours By Locals. It’s going to be a blast.

But no poor reviews please!

Well unless they are justified, constructive even.

I don’t mind that.

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