Hine London Cognac alcohol SquaremealIf you’ve ever checked out #SMDinerReview on Twitter, you’ll know that we love reading your opinions on the capital’s restaurants and that we rather enjoy flinging rewards at our readers (not literally), ranging from the finest Champagne to the latest cookbooks. Our greatest prize, however, is our Amateur Critic of the Year award in association with Lavazza. Amy M has just taken the crown as our favourite reviewer of the past year, so she’s off to Bocca di Lupo in Soho for a blow-out meal. Jealous? Read on to find out how you can get involved.

Words: Eamonn Crowe

Lavazza Squaremeal partner Italian coffee

Amy has been steadfastly writing Squaremeal reviews since 2011 and is a respected member of our online community. Surveying restaurants from the classy to the casual, Amy’s reviews are always worth a read. Informative, focused and often fun, they’re exactly what we look for in a diner review.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed her updates throughout the year, so here’s our pick of some of her best moments.

Hush London restaurant bar Mayfair

Hush, Mayfair 

“Do you know that Champagne grows on trees? At least, it does in the Hush Courtyard.”

J-Sheekey-Atlantic-Bar August 2016 9

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar, Covent Garden 

“The terrace is a surprisingly atmospheric place to sit, not disturbed by the passing tourists and of course, that incredibly rare thing in this great capital of ours: no traffic.”


Park ChinoisMayfair 

“I love this place! It has style, sophistication, decadence and a hint of the exclusive. But not impossibly so.”

Woodlands, Piccadilly 

“I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is the best Indian food I have eaten since I was in Delhi.”

Amy’s grand prize is dinner for two at Jacob Kenedy’s Italian restaurant, Bocca di Lupo. On receiving her award, Amy said: “I have had a copy of Squaremeal on my desk since 1998 and it has been my go-to when choosing where to eat out for almost 20 years. I write reviews so that others can get a genuine diner's perspective of the restaurant, rather than just that of a professional gourmand. I know that I have sometimes nixed a choice due to diner reviews being unfavourable, so why not help other diners get the most out of their meal?” If you want to reap the rewards of writing diner reviews, head to our login page and register. 

The runners-up

Squaremeal’s amateur reviewer community is so strong that we couldn’t resist giving out a few runner-up prizes too

Joanna G

Joanna has been writing for Squaremeal since 2009 and loves documenting her culinary adventures. Always cheery and witty, Joanna’s reviews make for an entertaining read.

Favourite meal of 2016: “My favourite meal was at Eneko at One Aldwych. From the home-made butter with basil reduction and sea salt, to the Basque duck liver parfait and hake tempura with confit vegetables, I love it all – there is nowhere else like this in London.” Joanna wins a case of 12 fine wines

Hugo G 

Hugo may not write often, but his reviews are always worth the wait. Food-focused and succinct, he gets straight to the point and isn’t afraid to criticise.

Favourite meal of 2016: “I took my friends who were visiting from Istanbul to St John Bread & Wine and we tried everything from the ox heart and the grouse, to the lamb’s brains. Gluttonous, yes, but the food coma that came later was bliss!” Hugo wins a case of six fine wines

Richard E 

Richard E has written an astonishing 151 reviews for Squaremeal, since becoming a member in 2009. Eating his way around the capital, Richard’s palette has passed judgement on everything from Michelin-starred dining, to casual tapas joints and we’ve loved every bit of it. Richard E wins a case of six fine wines

Favourite meal of 2016: A cosy place serving exquisite small plates run by a master sommelier; what is not to like about Blandford Comptoir? The stand out dish is the quail with truffle boudin, although everything that emerges from the subterranean kitchen is spot on; combine this with the ever changing wine list and you have the perfect restaurant.

Continental Diner 

A true veteran, Continental Diner has been a Squaremeal member since 2009 and has written over 120 reviews. He offers nuanced, thought-out opinions and is always ready to offer constructive criticism.

Favourite meal of 2016: Eneko at One Aldwych was my outright winner in 2016. Straight out of the blocks, it combines some of the best service in town with superb food and a beautiful space – the front-of-house team are extremely professional.” Continental Diner wins a £100 Squaremeal restaurant voucher

Espria plus Lavazza be the critic prize coffee

To join in, register with Squaremeal here, search for a restaurant and leave your comments. As you may have noticed, we’re constantly rewarding our diner reviewers with prizes. Next up, you could win a Lavazza coffee machine such as the Èspria Plus (above) and a £250 meal in a restaurant of your choice, if we pick you as our critic of the quarter in the spring. Every week, we also pick one comment submitted in the past seven days to win a cookbook, a bottle of Champagne, or something equally fab. So what are you waiting for? Check out #SMDinerReview on Twitter, register with us and get writing.

This article was published on 31 January 2017