Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell has hit back at a reviewer on online ratings site TripAdvisor after the latter wrote a scathing account of his meal.
A reviewer, writing under the name 714Missy of Limerick in Ireland, wrote a long and much misspelt review, alleging that Purnell’s restaurant in Birmingham – rated #4 of 1,772 in the city – served too-small portions of food for the price, had not been able to cater for a customer with a seafood allergy, had not been able to offer an alternative to a recommended beef dish, and had overall been a “let down”. The review also called the prices “disgraceful”, said “tiny quenells [sic] of food on a plate with a sprinkling of leaves is just sinful in this day and age”, and advised Purnell to “watch MasterChef: The Professionals for a few lessons”.
However, Purnell replied that he had spoken to the reviewer over the phone already, and had initially been shocked to realise that the party had a bad experience at the restaurant, claiming that he had not been made aware of any issues at the time.
He also claimed that customers are always quick to threaten intentions to complain on social media if they are not happy with any aspect of service, even if they hadn’t registered any complaint when actually at the restaurant.
Purnell spoke to his local newspaper the Birmingham Mail after news of the reply came to light.
He said: “Social media is playing so much on the darker side of things. If someone doesn’t get their way, they will say: ‘I’m going on to social media’. This time, with this review, I thought if people want to criticise they should get their facts right and that a restaurant should have the confidence to reply in a professional manner.”
He added: “When things are not right I will respond, [but] some people fabricate things because they want something, but nothing is perfect and restaurants are very subjective. Some people like basic foods, others want things more elaborate.
“Generally, I brush criticism off, I’ve got big shoulders. But I’m not a multi-millionaire and like any independent business wouldn’t last long if we weren’t good at what we do… Social media does take the romance out of running a restaurant, I know that much.”
Purnell, who released the cookbook Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales in 2014, opened Purnell’s in 2007, and also helped create the menu at the Harvey Nichols site in Birmingham’s Mailbox. He regularly appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen programme, and was also a multiple winner on the BBC’s Great British Menu, going on to appear as a judge by series seven.
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