Restaurateurs warned about bogus critics

13 July 2006
Restaurateurs warned about bogus critics

Time Out magazine has warned restaurateurs to watch out for two con artists posing as food critics from the magazine who have defrauded two Middlesex restaurants in a fortnight.

The magazine's food and drink editor Guy Dimond said the imposters, who call themselves Robert Blair and Marie Martélle, arrived at the Thai Handwell in Uxbridge and Fiddlers in Harrow Weald with fake business cards and left without paying.

"Our reviewers invariably review anonymously and we pay our way without being recognised. Our critics don't meet PRs or restaurateurs, much less expect free meals," he added.

He said the pair appeared to be targeting smaller restaurants that might be flattered by the attention and less likely to challenge them. "Blair" is described as slim and in his 50s, while "Martélle" is of East Asian appearance and in her 30s.

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