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19 April 2014

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Be the Critic: meet the latest prizewinners

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nespresso u machine 2012 - U-Nespresso-machine.jpgMore and more readers are leaving comments and reviews on SquareMeal.co.uk – and it’s easy to see why. Over the years we’ve encouraged you to share your opinions by giving away scores of luxury prizes – and this year is no different. Square Meal invites you to join in and find out what 2013 has to offer.

Square Meal’s online community has become a bona-fide resource for many readers, who can now follow the latest restaurant openings through fellow reviewers’ opinions on everything from stand-out dishes to the best seat in the house.

We are always keen to encourage and thank those of you who leave reviews: firstly, by rewarding the best with irresistible prizes (see below), and secondly by improving the online experience for all users. That’s why we’re so excited about two recent developments.

As we announced in January, the competition has a new sponsor in the shape of Nespresso. Not only does this mean each Critic of the Quarter will win a Nespresso U machine (pictured) and a £250 meal at a restaurant of their choice, but it will also see readers invited to exclusive Nespresso coffee tastings.

Also, SquareMeal.co.uk’s ‘rate and review’ pages now have a sleek new look, making it easier to leave comments than ever before. When you next post a review, you’ll find a clearer star-rating system, a space for a title, plus a ‘preview’ function – it’s an altogether simpler process that we think you’ll like.

With all this, and our usual giveaway of top prizes, you’d be mad not to throw your hat into the ring.

The prizes

spa at the dorchester 2013 - The_Spa_at_The_Dorchester_Low_Res.jpgOver the next few months, we will be giving away:

• a Signature Spa Treatment for two at iconic London hotel The Dorchester (pictured), with use of the spa facilities, plus ‘Spatisserie’ afternoon tea for two, worth £250 in total (prize redeemable weekdays only)
• a £120 meal for two at high-flying City destination Cinnamon Kitchen
• bottles of Hine Antique XO and Louis Roederer Brut Premier

Prizewinners will be announced in the summer issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.

And the winner is…

Congratulations to The Cheese, our Nespresso Critic of the Quarter for spring 2013.

the cheese 2013 - The-Cheese_Critic-of-the-Quarter.jpgAs a regular reviewer, she reports on the dining scene in her south-east London stamping ground as well venturing into town for special trips.

Square Meal’s editor, Ben McCormack, praised her intelligent insights and enthusiastic approach: ‘Her writing is cogent, incisive, engaging, full of sharp observations and wickedly witty,’ he said. ‘She also knows what she is eating – and enjoys it.’

The Cheese wins a £250 meal out at a restaurant of her choice, plus a Nespresso U machine. Here is an excerpt from her winning review:

Ba Shan

‘I’ve had my face taken clean off by Szechuan peppercorns before. I enjoy it; it’s an addictive sensation without the dread of despicably hot chilli. While Bar Shu purveys an outrageously spicy assortment of Szechuan’s finest, neighbouring Ba Shan is more mellow and diverse. Think of it as a way to dip your toe into a deeply unusual cuisine, without said toe growing numb in the searing heat. I didn’t detect as much fire in the dishes here, but the flavours were bold, shouty and at times downright peculiar, which made for a pretty thrilling meal. Plus, the menu with pics helped us dodge bullets such as unsolicited offal and anything tubular.’

Read The Cheese’s full review.

And that’s not all…

Cotidie2012image03_24.jpg4.jpg

• another Square Meal reviewer has passed the 100-review mark – congratulations to Boatlady, whose efforts were rewarded with a bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne.
• new reviewer Mazzi B won the Greed overnight package at The Aviator hotel in Hampshire for her review of Meatliquor.
• following his review of Roganic, David H was treated to a luxury tasting menu for two worth £130 at Cotidie (pictured, right).
• newcomer London Gourmet was sent a No.3 Gin gift pack for posting nearly 100 of his thumbs up/thumbs down verdicts on restaurants ranging from Arbutus to Zuma – all in lightning-quick time.

This feature was published in the spring 2013 issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.

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