Good Food Guide Reader's Restaurant of the Year
They have just released the frontrunning nominees at the halfway point and I thought it might be intersting to see what people think. Full info here, incl. details of how to nominate:
•Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow
•Mountain Cafe, Aviemore
•Cail Bruich Restaurant, Glasgow
•The Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston, Lancashire
•The General Burgoyne, Ulverston
•Eric's Restaurant, Huddersfield
•Yorke Arms, Ramsgill
•The Vine House, Paulerspury, Northamptonshire
•The Inn at Grinshill, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
•Charlotte's Place, Ealing
•Dishoom, Covent Garden
•Angelus, Lancaster Gate
•The Mistley Thorn, Essex
•Roger Hickman's, Norwich
•The Leaping Hare, Stanton, Suffolk
•Relish, nr. Norwich, Norfolk
•The Ambrette, Margate, Kent
•The Horse Guards Inn, Tillington, W.Sussex
•L'Ortolan, Shinfield, Berkshire
•The Thomas Lord, West Meon, Hampshire
•Sosban, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire
•Bar 44, Cowbridge, Glamorgan
•The Fig Tree, Penarth, Glamorgan
•The Foxhunter, Nant-y-derry, Monmouthshire
•The Muset, Bristol
•The Seahorse, Dartmouth, Devon
•Menu Gordon Jones, Bath, Somerset
•The Hasletown Inn, St Ives, Cornwall
•Balloo House, Killinchy, Co Down
•Uluru Bistro, Armagh, Co Armagh
•The Ginger Bistro, Belfast
Not sure of the precise system of how somewhere gets nominated. .But it seems to be a mix of the usual customer feed-backs to GFG - I did one for them a few days ago (as I do with all my meal write-ups) and a straighforward nomination.
I take the view that it's possibly quite phoney - although without doubt customer led.. Place we were in last week had GFG nomination postcards on the table. I've come across them before in a place where they were pointed out to us by staff (the palce went on to win the NW regional award).
I'd be reasonably sure that there must be some internal Consumers Association system that gets a place nominated. Perhaps the number of recent reviews submitted to the Guide (although it cannot simply be absolute numbers as large places may well attract larger numbers of reviews?
Whatever nomination system is in place, it does throw up some odd results. I've only eaten at three of the places listed above (two in the North East, one in North West). One of these was a very average eating experience with rude and dismal service from the owner - but it does seem to be very popular so maybe I hit a bad night (but it was bad enough that I'm not going back to find out). The other two were pretty enjoyable experiences.
Whilst I rely quiite heavily on the Guide and it's scores, particularly when I'm not eating on my own patch, I'm not swayed by the "Readers Restaurant", knowing that it seems to be able to be manipulated by customer groups (the Twitterati for example), in the way that the Observer Food Awards seemed to be for a couple of years or so.
By the by, does anyone have experience of the Seahorse in the South West listing? I'm down that way in a few weeks and have it on my list for lunch. Owned by Mitch Tonks (who regularly pops up in the Great British Food magazine), it gets a good GFG write-up.