Be The Critic: summer 2012

restaurantcritic - restaurant_critic_copy1.jpgWe all need a little help from our friends when choosing a restaurant. Get your grumbles off your chest or give credit where it’s due by leaving a comment on

Square Meal readers are continuing to come up trumps when it comes to submitting online reviews and comments – and we are continuing to reward their efforts handsomely, with a great selection of top prizes. In May, regular contributor Caped C won the coveted Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition tablet for his reviews of Mayfair star Pollen Street Social and glitzy Cantonese charmer China Tang at The Dorchester. Long-time member Grumbling Gourmet – Square Meal’s Amateur Critic for summer 2011 – also bagged himself a £200 meal at Roti Chai Dining Room for reviews of central-London restaurants such as Ceviche.

But you don’t need to be an old hand at the amateur critic game to pick up a gong: anonymous reporter The Cheese was awarded a luxury overnight stay in one of Hand Picked Hotel’s properties for her comments on Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi – only her second review for the site.

Other reviewers were sent bottles of Louis Roederer Champagne: newcomers with something to celebrate included Tom M (Capote y Toros) and NardiniNick (The Delaunay, Medlar), while gold contributors Neil M and Junglefresh were rewarded for their succinct, regularly submitted comments.

This summer, there are yet more opportunities to impress. Leave a comment on and who knows what you might win. You don’t have to be as poetic as Byron, as prolific as Shakespeare or as scathing as AA Gill. Just register with us and make your opinion count. Good luck!

Continental Diner_reader reviewer 2012 - Patrick-Bate-(reader-review-winner)-summer-mag-260.jpgAnd the winner is…

Congratulations to Continental Diner (pictured, left), who has won the Critic of the Quarter title for summer 2012. Square Meal’s editor, Ben McCormack, commended the winner’s pithy, funny and eminently useful reviews, saying: ‘There are some really nice, on-the-ball observations here. I’d trust what Continental Diner had to say and I like the snappy way he says it.’

A gold-rated reviewer, Continental Diner has posted more than 60 comments on since joining in 2009, and his review of Scott’s has earned him a £250 meal for two at a restaurant of his choice, courtesy of Square Meal. Below is his winning review, plus snippets from some of his other contributions.


Scott's_2012_-_Scotts_MBDS_back_of_resto_1.jpg‘Now, reviews are a subjective thing. But Scott’s, I think it is safe to say, is a matter of taste. Without doubt, it encapsulates a certain pre-2008 financial sphere and Mayfair scene, but you should be absolutely clear about one point before eating here. You come to be seen and, if you’re lucky, to see others. Food is secondary; service is tertiary. Wine is widely available at a Mayfair mark-up. Sometimes – especially if you’re tired – there can be moments where it feels as if you’re in a (not very good) movie. However, as an anthropological experiment, it is quite interesting. Having said this, I would like to dispense with the myth that this is a good place for a date. It is not, unless your date is the kind of person who likes to name-drop where they’ve been taken.’

How to nail a restaurant review


• keep the review short and concentrate on the facts
• explain why you liked or disliked something
• write to entertain

be the critic 2012 - Picture_13.png3.png


• focus too much on one part of the dining experience
• write about yourself at the expense of the restaurant
• rant – give objective criticism instead

This feature was published in the summer 2012 issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.