Unlike our local food critics and terrified media, the British press recently had the joy of hailing the upholding of a defamation appeal in the Irish courts as a victory for free speech and unfettered reviewing of restaurants.
The courts ruled for The Irish News and against the restaurant Goodfellas, which had earlier been successful in defamation proceedings against the paper. The Times immediately put critic Giles Coren on a plane to Belfast to swing the newly validated club of reviewing freedom over the collective Goodfellas skull.
He didn't disappoint:
"It is revolting. It is ill-conceived, incompetent, indescribably awful," wrote Coren of his pollo marsala. "A dish so cruel I weep not only for the animal that died to make it, but also for the mushrooms as it sits before me, congealing quietly, I cannot leave it alone but return to it every few minutes with the grim fascination of a toddler mesmerised by a pile of its own faeces, nibbling at it, gurning with revulsion, then nibbling some more. 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." I've spent my entire life wanting to have available to me the option of reading real and unfettered reviews of books, films and restaurants.
Might have to move to Ireland.