I've got a bee in my bonnet about food critics from national newspapers. I think they're all grumpy buggers who rarely venture out of London. When they do, it's to complain about the very act of having to. I've blogged on it here.
There is one exception to this. Jay Rayner in The Observer. He makes the effort and seems to enjoy it. On the whole I agree with his Manchester and Leeds observations. By chance a bloke I've met recently, Thom Hetherington, is a mate of his. And it was Thom who drew Jay to Red Chilli back in 2005, for this review, here. This restaurant is a skip from my office, but I've never been. Until yesterday. And I don't think I'll be going back for lunch again any time soon. Bear with me.
I let Thom order and he didn't even look at the menu. Minced pork with green beans and chillis, poached lamb, spring onion bread and Peking dumplings. And some rice. It was an unbelievable taste sensation. I could eat the pork forever. The dumplings were extremely moorish. As for the lamb, we didn't seem to dent it, but I had a good few scoops on the rice.
I didn't eat anything else for 24 hours. It was a major assault on my digestive system. It would make for an amazing banquet of an evening, but it sat rather heavily on me for the afternoon and evening. It is, without doubt, an incredible food experience.