Twitter was responsible for one of the UK’s leading food critics finding her way to a bistro in the Chester suburbs which she wants to ‘clone’ it was that good.
Hoole’s Sticky Walnut came to the attention of The Guardian ’s Marina O’Loughlin ‘not via its swaths of slavering local reviews, but by its chef/owner Gary Usher’s gung-ho way with a tweet’.
She wrote: “His, um, robust ripostes to the kind of numpty who likes to say ‘the lady wife and I’ on Tripadvisor quickly went viral among industry types, and I remember tweeting ‘Like his style’.
The response was an unexpected one: “Please don’t travel to eat here,” he typed, “it’s just a bistro”; and: “We are not worth 400 mile trip”.
“Well, bubba, sorry, but that’s the reddest of rags to this here Taurean. So hello there, Gary. *waves * Turns out I love your restaurant, sorry, bistro.”
Marina, who reviews anonymously but is rumoured to bear more than a passing resemblance to Nancy Dell’Olio, added: “If I could clone Sticky Walnut, I would. I’d plonk its like the length of the land, replacing every Frankie & Benny’s and La Tasca and Cafï¿½ bloody Rouge. I’m beyond glad I ignored Usher’s instruction to stay away.
“But I can understand why he wouldn’t want the likes of me sticking my nose in, trailing a wake of metropolitan plate-sniffing ‘foodies’ all ready to be underwhelmed, all peering in local estate agents’, muttering ‘they call it Notting Hoole, you know?’ and disenfranchising the current happy, normal clientele. Sorry, Gary. Couldn’t help myself. Tweet me, yeah?”
Marina rated the food as eight out of 10; atmosphere as seven out of 10 and value for money as eight out of 10.
Gary told the Chronicle : “We are absolutely over the moon. The biggest thing is the shock. We didn’t expect to get a good review, we thought it would be terrible because what we do is really simple basic cooking.”