Restaurateur Keith McNally sends Eater a response to British critic Giles Coren, whose scathing review called McNally's recently opened Balthazar London "the best restaurant in London, and the worst food in Europe." Saying the harsh review was written "so clearly for controversy's sake," McNally references "a strong sense of inferiority amongst many" Londoners. As for Coren's "exaggerated dig at New York," McNally calls it "about as accurate - and as quaint - as Dick Van Dyke's cockney accent in Mary Poppins."
No matter: according to McNally, Balthazar London "is packed day and night and turning down 300 reservation requests a day." He also notes that Time Out London, Metro, The Independent, and the Standard all gave Balthazar London excellent reviews, which is true. Below, McNally in his own words:
Many of the reviews have been great: Standard, Metro, Time Out and Independent to name just a few. Others critical but balanced and fair. For Giles Coren to write "you can't get a mouthful of good food" in New York was absurd. But because it was written so clearly for controversy's sake it discredited every word he wrote afterwards. When discussing New York restaurants there's a strong sense of inferiority amongst many, but not all of, the press here. No one more so than Giles Coren. I was warned before he stepped into Balthazar that he might use the review to make an exaggerated dig at New York and, unfortunately, that's what he did.
On a less serious note I found Coren's depiction of New York strangely cliched and outdated. His account of downtown was about as accurate - and as quaint - as Dick Van Dyke's cockney accent in Mary Poppins.
Meanwhile Balthazar is packed day and night and turning down 300 reservation requests a day.