My Dining Hell by Jay Rayner

One of the more disturbing facts about me is that I get a good giggle out of the most disgruntled and dissatisfied reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor. So, it should come as no surprise that a collection of Jay Rayner’s most feisty, strongly worded and hostile restaurant reviews would bring me great joy. Okay, so it’s a mixture of joy and guilt for enjoying such things, but, honestly, Rayner really is at his best when he’s letting loose on a disappointing meal. Nothing about these reviews says mediocrity.

I, as a food writer by day, with no experience (and no place!) working in the hospitality industry, cannot possibly understand the work that goes into opening and running a restaurant – but I do eat, a lot, and so does the famed and respected critic behind My Dining Hell: twenty ways to have a lousy night out. Of course, many experiences are in the eye of the diner, and much about taste can be subjective, but Rayner’s descriptions are fabulously grim nonetheless. He also provides helpful updates on whether these establishments are still in business at the end of each review. If you too get a sick kick out of reading one-star ratings, you’re going to love this book.

[Penguin, 2015]

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