Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Food critic embroiled in bun fight over St Patrick's Day advert for Made In Belfast restaurant that he slated

Eclectic: Made in Belfast has its own quirky style
Eclectic: Made in Belfast has its own quirky style

A Belfast restaurant has become embroiled in an online spat with an award-winning food critic after making a joke out of his review to try and advertise St Patrick's Day.

The row erupted when the owners of Made In Belfast decided to capitalise on a scathing review written by Jay Rayner, a journalist with The Guardian and Observer newspapers.

In the 2011 article, Mr Rayner lambasted the city centre restaurant.

His criticisms included frequent mention of the use of Irish ingredients on its menu.

For St Patrick's Day, the business mocked up a picture of the writer dressed as a leprechaun and quoted part of the review. It said: "It uses the word 'Irish' 16 times. The beef is Irish. The chicken is Irish. So are the mushrooms, the butter, the goat's cheese, the bacon, the beetroot... You get the point."

But the restaurant then added 'Sure where else would you rather be on St Paddy's Day?' along the bottom of the picture.

Within hours of putting it up on its Facebook site the post went viral.

But Mr Rayner saw it and requested it be taken down. Responding via Twitter, he said: "I'm not the one who selectively quoted from the review to make me sound positive," he posted.

During the time it remained up Mr Rayner reposted his full review on Twitter to more than 73,000 followers.

The restaurant then received an email asking it to take it down.

Owner Emma Bricknell said she was "shocked" by the response, but took it down.

"We put it up and literally within seconds it was being commented on," she said.

"It was just meant to be a tongue-in-cheek thing."

Ms Bricknell said that the situation between it and the journalist was "amicable".

The posting on the restaurant's website read: "We took a lot on board from this review and will always be extremely grateful that Mr Rayner visited us amongst other great restaurants in Belfast for his first visit here."

Mr Rayner replied: "Thank you. I appreciate the sentiment, but there are ways to do these things. Still, done. Have a great St Patrick's Day."

Ms Bricknell (35), originally from London, said: "We work really hard and I was just, like, we were laughing at ourselves, it was a joke, but we took it down.

"At the time the review was hard for us. Businesses are going through a hard time at the moment. But it was ended amicably, and we hope to get a good crowd over St Patrick's Day."

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