Belfast Telegraph

Review: Engaging Jay Rayner serves real treat

By Andrew Johnston

If Jay Rayner was nervous on his return to Belfast four years after dishing out a bad review, he wasn't showing it.

Rayner wasn't in town to critique our eateries, but to present My Dining Hell at the aptly named Out to Lunch festival.

It was a fine-tuned hour of anecdotes and insights into what makes a good dining experience, what makes a bad one and what makes a downright ugly one.

Clad in one of his trademark shirts that was nearly as flowery as his speaking style, Rayner proved an engaging raconteur.

He was honest enough to admit his write-ups have no real influence, judging, he said, by the amount of restaurants he has slated that have remained in business. The second half of the show featured a lively Q&A, which ranged from where Rayner had eaten yesterday (Harry's Shack) to how he had once saved an unnamed restaurant from closing by not mentioning the fact the manager's dog had, er, left a review on the floor.

You wouldn't have needed to be a foodie or to frequent fancy restaurants - I'm not, and I don't - to enjoy what Rayner served up last night.

Four stars

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