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Around the Table | DineOut Articles
La Joie de Nourriture avec Monsieur Lu!
by Mr Lu, Sun 15th Mar 2009 08:09pm
The great & gracious souls behind the scenes at DineOut have called upon the humble, indeed lapidable, Mr Lu, to make a brief but regular appearance on these delectable electronic pages, to non-philodoxically, yet without undue meekness or a complete lack of conviction, impart some of his knowledge, experience and joie de nourriture.
In essence, I will more than likely rant, rave, ramble and rattle on about matters miscellaneous and facts & figures that may render me nothing more than a pathetic fustilarian in the eyes of some. Nonetheless, my aim and my desire will be to entertain you and to lead you, over time, on a journey of discovery, a culinary cruise that will titillate your senses and excite your emotions! And the cost to you will be but a moment of your time.
If you're reading this you will most likely have scanned or read a review or two and will have perhaps, at the very least, dipped your toes into the pond of penmanship by writing your thoughts and impressions of a dining out experience for all the world to see. In each and every one of us there is, I believe, the innate human need to express ourselves and seek recognition, perhaps even immortality in some way, shape or form. We all communicate with others using our native tongues and through the use of gestures, body language, the written word and, of course, suggestive looks and glances!
But rest assured that everyone has the ability to tell their story, and tell it well in my view, in one way or another.
Of course, on DineOut, you weave a tale & tell your story using the wonderful world of words!
Clearly, there's more than a little of us in each review we write. We either proudly strut our stuff or ignominiously betray our indiosyncracies & shortcomings, or both (God forbid), for all to see and interpret. Neither of these is a bad thing, as I see it, as to fairly reflect the vein and volatility of vox populi all things must be the subject of our contemplation and the fields of our considerations must not be too narrow. Notwithstanding this, it must be said that there can be no rigid constricts to writing a review because each of our interpretations and approaches will differ.
My approach is no doubt much the same as many others in that I do like to talk about the whole experience of dining out where possible when considering a review. In essence, every place has some positives and some negatives and because you, through the power and reach of the internet, have the ability to potentially damage the reputation (and hence the income) of your subject eatery, I believe it is incumbent upon you, as reviewer, to take the matter seriously enough to enter into the requisite thought processes and take the necessary steps to as accurately & as exquisitely as you can, record as much detail as possible.
For instance, the food might not be up to your expectations but the service may well be exemplary; the wine list may be deficient but the ambience unforgettable... and so on. Don't just focus on the negatives, rather, try and accentuate the positive! After all, for those folks running a restaurant or café, the reality is that every day is a new day and each and every day your establishment is on trial again. Do something wrong and people will remember it! Don't you have just a little admiration for those who place themselves at the mercy and the machinations of the masses every day they open their doors?
Of course, there are establishments throughout New Zealand that are operated by people who should not be in the industry and there are examples of abject, unforgiveable rudeness and arrogance in customer relations & service etc which can be found described by us in some reviews. To err is human but to despise your customers and abuse your staff is like buying an express train ticket to early bankruptcy, to say the least.
The joys of dining out, in general, in New Zealand, are manifold and I walk into a restaurant looking to be pleased, looking for good service and great food in surroundings commensurate with the type of place it is. Naturally, a corner café in a small town cannot be directly compared with a city restaurant specialising in haute cuisine. It just wouldn't be fair to do so. Often the necessary components of success are all there but, alas, often not. However, I do like to comment on the overall feel, the service, the food and the physical side of the restaurant interior as well, if time and space permits. Without writing voluminous amounts this is not always possible as there may be an aspect of the experience that thoroughly overwhelms the other components - in that instance you have to deal with it as best you can. I am uncertain as to the attention span of the average Dineout reader but suspect it is not unlike someone reading a newspaper. There is only so much information you want or can handle on a casual scan through the pages. Correct me if I'm wrong as I could just about write a book on some of the restaurants I've visited... Of course, depending on circumstances a brief but salient few words of comment may be entirely appropriate also and we have all written very short reviews as some time or another.
Now you might think it's a tad sanctimonious for the smug Mr Lu to be telling you how to write a review but, remember, this is my opinion and writing is a source of immense pleasure for me... Some of you might be more vocally inclined and your day will truly arrive when/if Dine Out introduces You Tube style video reviews. Now there's a thought...
Because I love you all so much (he states with just the merest hint of facetiousness) I'm going to be giving away something worth having each time I appear here in print. The martyrs heroic enough to read these, the first of my rantings, from start to finish will be able to go into the draw for a very fine writing set, made in Amsterdam and purchased in Paris. This rather elegant aid to your penmanship will, I am sure, accelerate your journey along the road to masterful wordsmithery. It consists of a beautiful mahogany writing box containing 2 China inkwells, 2 fountain pens and some old fashioned Italian blotting paper. A delight to behold, a treasure to own and a gift to last.
And so it was written... until next time.
Sun 15th Mar 2009 08:17pm
OK so how do you win the Oxford Writing Set? Simply send us an email (to firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and address, and we'll draw a winner.
Sun 15th Mar 2009 10:27pm
As usual, written beautifully by the popular Mr. Lu. What you say is all true - one must look at the 'big picture' when writing one's review. I read all your reviews, Mr. Lu, and when I visit your chosen restaurants & cafés, I always know what to expect. Sometimes I agree with you, but occasionally I don't!
Having lived in France for some years, I am rather more critical than your goodself, for obvious reasons.
My passion is great food, but often our restaurants & cafés neglect the wonderful fresh vegetables, that we have at our disposal in this beautiful country of ours! Also, the service often leaves much to be desired.
You're a gem, Mr. Lu! Keep those reviews coming.
Mon 16th Mar 2009 10:16am
Bloody good. Its nice for Dine Out to have an independent someone like Mr Lu to review restaurants and write a column with some intelligence, rather than a quick stab by some arrogant person who was probably the most difficult customer in the world in the first place, that's why their dining experience was sub standard. (cant tell I'm in hospo aye!).
Mon 16th Mar 2009 10:47am
An good read ,It was rather like an morning amble with an amusing friend.
Mon 16th Mar 2009 07:28pm
What a wonderful idea DineOut...
Tue 17th Mar 2009 07:38am
Mr Lu, your verbosity will go down in the annals of dining history. Your reviews are a novel way of discovering more about the wonderful range of beautiful restaurants at our disposal in the wonderful city and from places further afield. Keep up the good work.
Tue 17th Mar 2009 01:52pm
Mr Lu, I have been reading your loquacious reviews for some time. Your verbosity is poetic in nature and very enjoyable to digest, much like a good long black at a quaint corner cafe. I look forward to hearing more from you and other DineOut VIPs in this forum.
Wed 18th Mar 2009 01:07pm
I love your work Mr Lu. You have a natural ability to expand one's mind and curiosity while being in front of the computer, quite rare I must say.
Thu 19th Mar 2009 05:04pm
Looking forward to it Mr Lu. I particularly like your comments on looking for the positives and I have noticed how well you do this in your reviews - while your experiences dont always match mine, they are always objective and you dont let poor service (for example) influence the ratings you give for other factors. I hope you can pass this wisdom on to those reviewers who manage to twist the fact that 'the waitress doesnt smile much' into terrible toilets, horrid environment and the worst food they have ever had! It must be difficult to work in an industry where your customers think they can do the job better than you can, are quite happy to tell you so, and are able to PUBLICLY criticise your efforts (even when some of them clearly have little knowledge on the matter). How many of us would feel comfortable being on the receiving end of that?!
Mon 23rd Mar 2009 12:10pm
You are a real treat....a sort of starter/entre/main/dessert all wrapped and encased in one body of literary and culinary delight !!! How on earth Dine out found you heavens knows .!.??.but on reflection heaven would know ....for your reviews are from the highest and most knowledgeble source...
May your taste buds flourish....may your palate sensitze....may your pockets empty into every restaurant and cafe imaginable....and may we continue to read your amazing stories about the eating houses, that life bestows upon us ...Write on McDuff....there's tasty work at the crossroads.....
May the Food be with you...
Wed 25th Mar 2009 11:01am
Thank you to you all for such wonderful, ego boosting compliments! I am very much encouraged by your support and hope my subsequent missives meet with your approval. Watch out for my next article in a week or so.
Fri 24th Apr 2009 08:50am
Congratulations to Thrash Cardiom who was the winner of the Oxford Writing Set.
Mr Lu is giving away a typewriter (remember them?) for his next gift - check out his "50 ways to lunch with your lover! " to find out how to be in the draw.
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