This Review That Brutally Slammed a Michelin-Starred Restaurant Has Gone Viral

‘By far the worst restaurant experience I have endured in my 18 years in this job,’ Guardian reviewer Jay Rayner wrote

Rayner called his apparently abysmal experience “the stuff of therapy.”

Restaurant reviews rarely make waves in the media, unless they are particularly creative takedowns like Pete Wells’ famous scathing review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar written entirely in increasingly ridiculous rhetorical questions. The new review of chic Michelin-rated French restaurant Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hôtel George V in Paris, written by The Guardian’s Jay Rayner, offers brutally cold commentary on the entire meal, from soup to nuts.

Calling it “by far the worst restaurant experience I have endured in my 18 years in this job,” Rayner uses nauseatingly specific descriptions of the food he encountered. The first canapé, for instance, “looks like a Barbie-sized silicone breast implant, and is a ‘spherification’” that when popped tastes like “eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocer.” Apparently the “popped spherification” is the “trick” that turns up in many of the restaurant’s dishes.

Other vulgar images include an off-color description of Rayner’s response to the flavor of passionfruit (“my lips purse, like a cat’s arse that’s brushed against nettles”) and a merciless characterization of the French onion soup as “mostly black, like nightmares, and sticky, like the floor at a teenager’s party.”


The crass descriptions go on and on in this vicious critical takedown. The most fascinating detail of this errant gastronomic experience comes at the end: Le Cinq would not let the reviewer photograph their food and instead provided the paper with picture-perfect press photos. Of course, the gallant reviewer sneaks grainy photos with his iPhone and posts the alarming comparison in his article.