Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

People are debating dogs in restaurants after Jay Rayner review

07/06/2023

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman

05m read

Article saved!Article saved!

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.

the parakeet review jay rayner pro dog policy guardian

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.”

the parakeet review jay rayner pro dog policy guardian

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.

However, there were many who agreed with Jay. 

“As an owner of two dogs, and therefore a dog-lover by default, I totally agree with the sentiments expressed in this review,” said one supporter. 

As a fellow Twitter user concurred: “I’m sick to death with the proliferation of dogs in our communities. Not everyone likes them.”

“With you all the way on this & we have a dog. Last time we were at a certain relaxed Michelin Star seaside pub that allows well behaved dogs, every time the service bell went, the dog barked. Not great for a relaxing Sunday lunch, I felt sorry for the staff having to apologise…,” added another individual. 

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 dog policy jay rayner review

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).

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen people arguing over dogs in restaurants. In fact, a recent Trip Advisor review of The Clickham Inn in Penrith, Cumbria caused a stir last year, after a diner left a brutal one star review because of a dog begging at the table.

This resulted in a rather furious back and forth between the restaurant and the reviewer, and a lot of opinions on social media, too.

You can read more about that here. 

Featured image credit: Pexels/ The Parakeet

saved! saved!