Jay Rayner is one of those food critics you trust implicitly. His palate isn’t to be sniffed at, and his reviews are taken by gospel by many who read them in The Guardian.
But the UK food personality divided opinion when he said he wouldn’t be returning to The Parakeet, in North London, due to a pro-dog policy – and that’s despite the fact the food was very pleasant.
Yup, in a review that has since gone semi-viral online, the journalist and regular MasterChef judge had some choice words about pups in restaurants, and it seemed that many people agreed with him.
“There are many things that might improve a restaurant experience. Having a stranger’s chunky dog rub its hind quarters against you, then lick your companion’s hand is not one of them,” he said.
Would you dine with a dog nearby? (Credit: Getty)
Later adding: “I’m genuinely glad your dogs bring you so much love and comfort and companionship. I just don’t want one indulging in rigorous arse-end frottage against me while I’m trying to get into the asparagus.
“A pub with a pro-dog policy is obviously fine. A restaurant like this with a pro-dog policy really isn’t.”
When the review went online, you can imagine the hubbub it caused.
“Don’t blame the dog. Blame the dog’s owners,” one wrote. “I’ve no objection to a well- behaved pooch sharing space with me. Most responsible people will get their dog lying down under the table out of the way, not annoying other diners.”
Whilst another reasoned: “Seems simple to me, there are dog friendly places (very few are restaurants usually pubs) and non dog friendly places. We all have the ability to exercise a choice to go or not to go, to take our dogs or leave them at home. If you don’t like dogs don’t dine in dog friendly places.”
Some people were all in favour of dogs in restaurants (Credit: Getty)
“I think I might be going because I quite like dogs slobbering over me and the food sounds alright. You could also surreptitiously feed them. It’s practically swimming with dolphins,” said a third.
“Bulldog frottage’ is the fault of the owner of the bulldog, not the policy of the restaurant. It is not reasonable to blame the restaurant for it. It is like not going to a restaurant because it accepts children,” a fourth chimed in.
Since Jay’s review, The Parakeet have actually responded to the noise, and revealed that their dog policy was only a trial anyway, and they’d since reverted rules so that dogs were only allowed in the restaurant area, and not their adjoined pub.
“Opening a pub isn’t the easiest thing in the world and one of the countless decisions we had to make was whether we’d let your furry friends into our dining room,” they told diners on Instagram, sharing a picture of Jay’s review.
“We decided to trial welcoming dogs into our restaurant for one week. Luckily for us, one of the nations most notorious food critics ( @jayrayner1 ) just so happened to swing by to see what we’re about!
We’ve seen thousands of comments since THAT @guardian review went live yesterday, so we just want to be totally clear on what our doggy policy is. Dogs are always welcome in the pub (where you can get banging bar food), but the dining room is for humans only.”
The Parakeet was trialling a pro dog policy (Credit: Instagram/ The Parakeet)
So, that clears that up then. Poor restaurant owners probably didn’t know what hit them when Jay arrived!
If the hype is anything to go by, you should definitely check this place out, too (dog lover or not).