Steven Shaw's recent newsletter (Feb 2001) is a denunciation of London's dining scene. And while I agree with several of his points about sub-standard service, lack of choice, high prices and a scene that by and large does not live up to the hype - some are so remarkably off-base that I can't believe they are uttered in the same breath.
For example, he thinks AA Gill is the ne plus ultra of restaurant critics. AA may be a good writer I'd submit that what he writes about has very little to do with either food or restaurants (or at least, 95% of each "review" is not about food/restaurants - I imagine he needs to put the name, address and one or two details about the restaurant in order ot justify the expense to his employer).
And here's the snob in me...Shaw also praises All Bar One as the Starbucks of bars (and that's a good thing???)and thinks it would be a welcome addition to New York. In fact it's about as American a chain as London has and the kind of thing that only newcomers to New York or seekers of jail bait (of both sexes) would tolerate.
Last, he likes Bluebird food shop and says it's better than many of New York's gourmet-type food shops. Bluebird food shop is fine, but really it's only a step up from an upmarket supermarket and is another illustration Conran's (albeit phenomenally successful) strategy of pushing style over substance.
Anyway I'm curious to know what other 'hounds think of Shaw's report. Sorry there's no way to link it but you can subscribe at fat-guy.com, or I'd be happy to forward it).