Good Food Blog
Hey big spenderPosted at 11:45AM, 30 January 2009 by Christine Hayes - Editor, olive magazine
If you've dipped into olive magazine recently you might have come across the Pro vs Punter restaurant review, where a critic and an olive reader compare notes on a restaurant they've separately visited.
One of our regular critics is MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace. His brief is simple: order whatever's most appealing and write about it. At least, that's how it's worked up to now.
In this month's olive, the cheeky vegman visits new London restaurant Bob Bob Ricard and as usual, goes for whatever winks at him on the menu. This time, it's caviar and champagne and his bill comes to a stonking £222.19. "Not credit-crunch food, is it?", he says. Well quite.
It's a hefty amount to spend on dinner at any time, but right now it feels crazy ape bonkers
£222.19 would buy six weeks' worth of meals for £35 and is more than £80 more than the punter's bill. It's a hefty amount to spend on dinner at any time, but right now it feels crazy ape bonkers.
I like Gregg's reviews. They are funny, honest, and give a good sense of the food and atmosphere, as well as a little look-see into Gregg's World. Unlike some critics who seem to revel in finding fault, he always tries to have a good time, and usually does. Ok, that might be helped by the fact that he's often recognised by staff, seeing as his mug is on tv most nights and his veg business supplies the restaurant trade, but that's exactly the point: Gregg provides the colour, and the punter tells us what we, the average diner, can expect from the same place.
But in these belt-tightening times, is it a bit irrelevant to order the most expensive thing on the menu? Should we curb Gregg's spending, limit him to house wine and an overall budget of fifty quid? Send him to cheap and cheerful places, new Mexican takeaways , Thai cafes and the like?
Or do you think that he should represent the shameless bon vivant that, given half the chance, we'd all like to be?