That restaurant review….

That Giles Coren review of Goodfellas is online now (it was the Irish News, not the Irish Times Giles). Paolo Tullio is both a restaurant reviewer and a former restaurateur and has experienced the issue from both sides:

I can’t speak for reviewers of things other than restaurants, but on that subject I do have some opinions. Unusually, I think, for restaurant reviewers, I used to have a restaurant and I know exactly what it’s like to get reviewed. I got reviewed in my restaurant, I’ve been reviewed when acting on stage and my books have been reviewed. I’ve had two excoriating reviews in my life, one for my restaurant and one for my book on Italy.

Let me be clear here: both the book and the restaurant only ever got one bad review each, but curiously they’re the ones I remember best. Helen Lucy Burke gave my restaurant a real going over — naturally I thought unfairly — but here’s the odd thing: my business improved the following week as regular customers came specially to lend their support. And the book? It’s still selling 10 years on.

In which case, it will be interesting to see whether Goodfellas takes the case back to trial…

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  • latcheeco

    LMAO Its a bit like sister wendy reviewing a kindergarten picture LMAO again. As for the fat people remark no doubt the name Giles Coren is now in the hat 🙂

  • “If you’ve ever sniffed your finger after scratching your arse, and then done it again, then this dish may not be entirely wasted on you.”

    Is Coren a restaurant critic or a brickie’s apprentice? 🙂

  • The Raven

    ….and yet, people still eat there.

    In not inconsiderable numbers, either.

    Go figure…

  • Comrade Stalin

    In not inconsiderable numbers, either.

    Go figure…

    I’m figuring the general public have exceptionally bad taste. Look at the top 40, and go figure again.

    BTW on a barely-related note, did anyone used to get their sandwich and lunchtime from Pulp in the city centre, on Howard Street ? They used to make fantastic sandwiches, smoothies and other cool healthy things. However, someone has taken it over (around about six months ago, I reckon) and turned it into a greasy spoon. It now does butties, £1.99 fries (“with free tea”) and the smell of grease in the place wafts out to the street below. I notice that the long queues for sandwiches no longer form now. What a travesty! There appear now to be no decent sandwich shops in Belfast.

  • jone

    Printers in the Cathedral Quarter and Ventnors off Bedford Street are decent enough sandwich shops.

  • Rory

    The chip butty is a sandwich, Comrade Stalin. and is in fact one of the foremost signature dishes of great British cuisine. Indeed without it whole generations of students, workers and heavy drinkers would have suffered severe malnutrition and we might even now be responding to appeals by the likes of Bob Geldorf and “Sting” and “Bono” and all sorts of other people with similarly funny names for funds to save little desperately skinny people like Robbie Williams, Grant Mitchell and Vanessa Feltz from ultimate death from starvation.

    You wouldn’t like that would you? Not a kind-hearted fella like yourself.

  • chewnic

    ‘What a travesty! There appear now to be no decent sandwich shops in Belfast.’

    You wouldn’t ply your trade as a Civil Servant, by any chance, CS?

  • The Raven

    There remains one…Doorsteps on the Lisburn Road.

    Accept no substitutes.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m not a civil servant, perish the thought. Strictly private sector.

    The butties they’re selling aren’t chip butties, they appear to be bacon/sausage butties. Not that I have a problem with butties at all, it’s just that there’s a time and a place for them. If you eat them every day you’ll get fat very quickly. I warned Malenkov and Beria of this, and they just wouldn’t listen, not for the first time either.

    I have tried Ventnor’s. It is very good, but not as good as Pulp used to be. I have not heard of Printer’s, I’ll have to have a look, although it’s a bit far away from my end of town. I have oft heard tell of the legendary Doorsteps, and I will have to look into it, but again, it’s a bit of a trek to get there.

    I just thought the thing with Pulp was how funny it was when they let some Gorbachev take it over. Talk about how to take a perfectly good thing and fuck it up.

  • Earl of Sandwich

    The best sandwich shop in the whole of Belfast was the one which used to be in Linenhall Street, just behind the Beeb – the name was Reubens if I’m not mistaken. Absolutely massive sarnies and none of the poncey fillings which you get in these new-fangled places. Shame it closed a few years back…

  • If I were the proprietors of Goodfellas, I’d take Mr Corens’ review and frame it and hang it in a prominent place in their restaurant.

    The Times thinks it can condemn a people by the food it eats – and really only ends up showing itself up as an arse sniffing nest of snobs.

    Catholic owned is, of course, the give away remark, beyond which it is unnecessary to venture.

  • Goodfelllas is a dump, but Giles’ review isn’t worth the paper it is written on given the fact he cosistnetly refers to the Irish Times rather than the Irish News.
    Are we really supposed to believe he read the original review when he can’t get the name right of the paper the review appeared in?
    Seems like a hachet job to me. That’s unfortunate because a genuine review of the place would have found it to be a dump, like I consistently have. Ah well!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Paul, well at least (despite the efforts of the proprietor) you can actually express this opinion in public without getting sued.

  • cynic

    “a genuine review of the place would have found it to be a dump, like I consistently have”

    So are you a masochist as well that you keep going back?

  • flaminglip

    The writer of that review seems to think Northern Irish folk aren’t real people and don’t read newspapers etc.

  • cynic

    “Catholic owned is, of course, the give away remark, beyond which it is unnecessary to venture”

    Aw go on……..why dont you venture to the rest of the article where he was making the point that it was near an interface, had in the past had to have security measures to prevent loyalist gun attacks and that the generally shitty atmosphere outside did not lend to the ambience of the dining experience.

    Why not venture there? Just because its Catholic owned and in West Belfast doesnt mean that it cant be a dump or as Coren put it a “poor, benighted Irish craphole.”

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Am I right in thinking that the father of the owner of Goodfellas is Seamus Convery, the Maidstone escaper?

    When seven republicans swam from the prison ship, Convery Sr covered himself in butter to insulate himself from the cold.

    It worked well – but with a little seasoning and a dash of lemon, who knows how far he could’ve gone…

    More seriously, Goodfellas isn’t that bad. I have had a mix of good and average meals there. None were particularly outstanding, and none were sent back. It is what it is, a kind of Ratners of restaurants, and it would perhaps a tad unfair to compare it with five-star Michelin outlet.

    To do so would be like comparing chalk and, err, “a pot of that powdery pregrated grit that smells like dessicated dog vomit”.

  • latcheeco

    Gonzo here’s another door you could open in good faith. Do a piece on “Are West Belfast women really that fat?” 🙂

  • Comrade Stalin

    More seriously, Goodfellas isn’t that bad. I have had a mix of good and average meals there. None were particularly outstanding, and none were sent back.

    Probably very wise, given the circumstances. It wouldn’t round off the night to end up being taken to the community justice people for “disrespect”.

  • Ahem

    How I wish Belfast and everything and everyone in it would just one day slip into the Welsh Ocean and never be seen or heard from again. And take Liverpool with you while you’re at it.

  • touche

    “….and yet, people still eat there.

    In not inconsiderable numbers, either.

    Go figure… ”

    Well, that only proves that there are more than enough gormless, obese, slack-jawed peasants in the vicinity to keep it in business.
    Great to see someone in the national media giving an accurate picture of how vile West Belfast really is. Chin-chin!

  • Granni Trixie

    The Yellow Door,Lisburn Rd, has sarnies and other titbits to die for.I am curtailed in how many per week I embibe – I was born and bred in Andytown and according to Coren, a big fat puddin’ (only joking, not quite).

    To be serious, whilst I tend to slag off my own,I find there is something racist in the remarks of someone who zoomed in for 5 minutes to try and make a name for himself.

  • Mustapha Mond

    “To be serious, whilst I tend to slag off my own,I find there is something racist in the remarks of someone who zoomed in for 5 minutes to try and make a name for himself.”

    I read the review, and found it lacking in any racist sentiment.
    Would you be so kind as to point out the remarks in question?

    As for Coren making a name for himself… I think that happened before he came to Belfast.

  • Granni Trixie

    Mustapha Mond:I suppose I mean ‘racist’ not in the usual sense but it is the nearest word I can think of to desctibe characterising and reducing people from an area as having “little pink faces” etc.
    He may be known but is still at the stage of trying to establish a name for himself so is it not reasonable to say, as I do, that he saw an opportunity – he was always going to give it a smart alec review, wasn’t he?

  • touche

    It’s hardly racist – Mr Coren is merely pointing out that we can proudly boast to have the fattest and ugliest section of the British underclass in the UK. There are probably grants available. Rejoice!

  • Rory

    Belfast may, as you say, Touché, “proudly boast to have the fattest and ugliest section of the British underclass in the UK” though I feel sure that there are a number of cities that would dispute Belfast’s claim to that title, but it is certainly true that London, in season at least, boasts “the fattest and ugliest section” of the British upper class in the UK.

    I think in particular of one Tory grandée, Christopher “Fatty” Soames, of whom one lady of his acquaintance was moved to recall in print that, “Being made love to by him was like being fallen on by a fully-loaded wardrobe. With the key sticking out!”

  • gaelgannaire

    Just cant wait to go to Goodfellas now.

    An feidir ordu i nGaeilge? bhfuil a fhios ag einne?

    Can you order in Irish?

  • runciter

    Coren’s vile racism is plain to see.

    I heard him on the radio this morning talking about enjoying the smell of his own farts. Charming fellow.

  • Wrong Soames, Rory.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Coren is a Jewish name, so any criticism of Mr Cohen is itself racist. Or at least as racist as any criticism by Mr Cohen of other white people.

  • Belfast Dissenter

    If you want a decent sandwich in Belfast you just have to go to Benny’s in Short Street, Sailortown. Good value. Well filled and you can get decent plain bread. Watch the friendly staff make up your sandwich in front of you.

  • Rory

    Why does “Coren” become “Cohen” and why on earth should, indeed how on earth could a criticism of someone’s work possibly be deemed racist?

    Are all suits from Burtons to be accepted as flawless whether or not they are? Must we now apologise for ever turning our noses up at a gift of jewellry from Ratners? Are we not to be permitted to find Woody Allen’s last movie abysmal, as I did? Do we really have to listen to Barbara Streisand whether we wish to or not and must we all find Vanessa Feltz absolutely adorably attractive?

    Crack open the whiskey bottle, Jeeves, I’m in need of a little restorative.

  • NP

    Having eaten a Goodfellas on a number of occassions i take exception to Giles’ “strips of mole” comment I think it was more like kangaroo anus. As to the “fat comments” highly accurate in my experience.

  • austin

    You must be a fond of the occasional kangaroo anus, if you went there more than once, NP.

  • NP

    austin : my only defence is “much drink taken” & even then…… Certain people kept telling me it “was a great wee place”. All I can confirm, is that at least its consistant.

  • Comrade Stalin

    An feidir ordu i nGaeilge? bhfuil a fhios ag einne?

    Can you order in Irish?

    You can order in Hungarian if you want, but you’ll have to repeat every sentence in English.

  • gaelgannaire

    Comrade Stalin,

    I think you may be mistaken there Comrade, bit more research needed.

    I was making enquiry as to the staff in general but the proprietors are from a well known Irish speaking family.