The 100th Michelin Guide to France is published today and it has been met by some fairly predictable howls of outrage. Critics claim it is out of touch, snobby and too French. In response, the Michelin man has given the verbal equivalent of a Gallic shrug and pointed out that last year the guide sold some 1.2 million copies around the world. The unsaid meaning is that the critics can go bile theirs heids or rather poach them gently in a fragrant stock of sour grapes.
The Guide announced that only one new restaurant had been elevated to three star status. Run in Paris by a Monsieur Eric Frechon, the restaurant in the Hotel Bristol will do you lunch for a mere 95 euros while dinner comes in at around 250 euros plus drinks.
Equally as jaw-dropping but for different reasons is the Oriental Aroma Restaurant in Wootton Bassett which has been attracting vast amounts of publicity by paying customers to eat as much as they like. Diners must spend at least £5 a head on cold drinks but in return, they have free run of the buffet and are then given a £1 and a bottle of Chinese beer as they exit.
Somewhere in between these two tales are the following recent additions to the 5pm club. At Bar Square, Red Chillies and Assam’s, all in Glasgow, they aren’t giving their meals away but nor will lunch come anywhere near 95 euros.