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Foaming At The Mouth: Amateur night

In his new column, Mathew Sloane says some people should not be allowed anywhere near the restaurant game

Written by . Published on June 19th 2012.

Foaming At The Mouth: Amateur night

GORDON Ramsay is an entertaining sort. I like his ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ thing, well I hate every single person who’s ever been on it, but I like the bits when they get told off. 

It irks me that these people ever had the notion to be in the restaurant business and its happening every day. Some arsehole who’s made a few quid doing up council houses decides that seeing as he’s been to the odd restaurant for a bit of well done steak him and his best mate who used to manage a Ladbrokes should open up a “bar and grill” with the vapid expectation that “if we build it…they will come”. 

'These criminals should have their own
testicles served to them, medium rare,
on a bed of raw violence'

I occasionally get asked by friends for advice on opening bars and restaurants. My advice is simple, if you haven’t done the time – forget it. 

Liverpool has tons of great places that I hope will flourish – but for every great new place opened by seasoned experts with a long and gleaming history of success in one of the most demanding and competitive markets in existence, there’ll be at least one contemptuous, plastic funhouse of a gaff – badly thought out, badly designed and badly managed. Save yourself the heartache and spend the money on plastic surgery and a new Cayenne. 

I commend the patience of the aforementioned Mr Ramsay, I’d end up doing time for these marauding gobshites. What I cannot condone is that he will then reward their consummate dumbwittedry by redesigning the restaurant, teaching everybody how to actually do their jobs and saving the business. 

I would rather see a TV show where an expert visited restaurants that were doing quite well, gave them a pat on the back, some free publicity and then everybody sits down and has a nice dinner and a pleasant chat. 


Either that or Ramsay should continue to visit morons but doesn’t help them – they have their business taken away then have to fight to the death against rabid mutants in a post-apocalyptic arena…music by Toto. 

I especially hate it when Gordon returns to a restaurant he’s salvaged and they have returned to former, erroneous ways and are right back in the mire. It’s usually some part time pan-jockey with too many cookbooks trying to reinvent the wheel by serving everything with “foams” and “swooshes” on plates made of fossilised mermaid.

These criminals should have their own testicles served to them, medium rare, on a bed of raw violence. 

Which leads me to another thing: who writes these crackpot menus? “Ballotine of Chicken Hips with a disgruntlement of radish sweat, served on a flourish of dolphin nipples with a pepper spray and moonrock infused jelly”. 

And who gives a monkey’s nut how the bloody thing was caught? “Diver-tormented sea urchins” – “Hand molested baby pigeon” – “Accidentally electrocuted pheasant”. Get a grip. 

I saw a menu recently which used three different words for the same effing thing, “rocket, rucolla and arugula”; another using the terms “spring onions” and “scallions”. Just stop it. Stop.

Why A Plumber Should Not Open A RestaurantWhy A Plumber Should Not Open A Restaurant

If it takes me half an hour to decipher the pretentious ramblings of a deluded maniac, that’s half an hour that I won’t be spending any money, half an hour spent on your precious real estate doing nothing but giving myself a migraine and a churning gut. When a badly conceived menu becomes the focus of dinner, we may as well jump in the river and be done with it. 

So if you’re sitting there with a good few grand in the bank, hard earned Sterling just waiting to be invested, look back at how you made the money in the first place and do a bit more of that. 

Don’t waste your money, your time and precious moments of all of our lives by throwing it down the never ending drain of opening a third rate restaurant. Nobody cares how great you think it is or how amazing you believe yourself to be or how many times you’ve tested the patience of a good restaurant with your borrowed and fleeting expertise. 

I used to get a train to work every day – I would neither attempt to drive one or build one, should the opportunity every arise.  

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on June 19th 2012.
Darth FormbyJune 19th 2012.

Do you think It's necessary to book a table at Modern Toilet for next Mother's Day? Well said though Mr Sloane!

WagJune 19th 2012.

Brilliant that!

Darrell Doo-MeeJune 20th 2012.

Great rant......... The menu sounds lovely, esp a flourish of Dolphin nips!

Bit harsh to drag Toto in though

SaladDazeJune 20th 2012.

Too kind by half.

AnonymousJune 20th 2012.

Very entertaing and your so right to complain but the soution to the problem is more people having a go and opeining restaurants. If we actuly had a competative restaurant scene then bad places would close for as their customers moved on and we would over time be left with better quality places to eat.

A bit more competition and some restaurant style natural selection and liverpool really could have great places to eat.

SaladDazeJune 20th 2012.

But competition requires supply and demand and freedom of information otherwise the market is rigged. (And I don't mean St John's - with or without the apostrophe.) So we also need customer education and encultration. Decent restaurants are not places where you go to screech on Friday nights. If people are brought up on crap school dinners and if food at home is constrained by family poverty (or watching Ramsey on telly and thinking that's cooking) or by choice restricted to Tesco's then rational decisions are difficult to make. We have simply poured a layer of restaurants on top of shaky foundations. I'm not enamoured of natural selection; it gave us George Osborne.

AnonymousJune 20th 2012.

I have only got one word on this subject: Osqa

AnonymousJune 20th 2012.

La Cubanita

Andy MeliaJune 20th 2012.

I think Mr Sloane needs to go on an anger management course.

Paul WardJune 20th 2012.

I can't understand why so many restauranteurs, not just amateurs, staff their establishments with part time students who don't want to be there, don't know how to wait tables or communicate with custoemrs and don't care either.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Arthur AspicJuly 2nd 2012.

Because they do it for £6 per hour. Customer service is very low in restaurateurs' priorities, so why pay a professional, experienced waiter when a surly young lout in a black t-shirt will be rude to customers for the National Minimum Wage?

AnonymousJune 21st 2012.

An interesting argument until you consider that the worst restaurant in Liverpool operates under the auspices of a professional chef, Jamie Oliver. And it's usually packed. No wonder people look at that and think they can serve up any sub-River Cafe shit for a few quid.

AnonymousJune 21st 2012.

Has Jamie bought Alma de Cuba then?

Pam GreenJune 21st 2012.

any menu featuring jus or confit, is just pretentious, and an excuse to bang the price up! No thanks just give me good grub, well cooked in a friendly clean atmosphere and pan fry your la di dahs

1 Response: Reply To This...
CastromofoFebruary 7th 2013.

the well known peasant dish of duck confit pretentious? how so?

Marco Pierre ShiteJune 22nd 2012.

This should be posted through the letterbox of every restaurant on Allerton Road

AnonymousJuly 2nd 2012.

I've heard that many restaurants in Liverpool (especially Allerton Rd) are just fronts for money laundering....

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