Posts Categorized: restaurant bookings

The new shape of food journalism and reviews

Some things creep up on you. Others arrive in clusters. The evolution of food journalism and reviewing in Australia is a mixture of both with the dumping of two important restaurant critics in Sydney and Melbourne, the replacement of the editors of two major newspaper food sections at Fairfax and the elevation of Yelp! as the most likely winner in the food review stakes. So what happened? First to the Yelp! news, which is really significant. The latest IOS update for the Apple iPhone swapped Google Maps for Apple maps. Not only are they better looking than the Google product but businesses featured are Yelp! listings. That’s very big for Yelp!, which only launched in Australia earlier this year and is still overshadowed by Urbanspoon in Melbourne and a few other cities and Eatability (which was bought by telecoms company Optus this year) in Sydney. Apparently the Apple iPhone accounted for about half of all visits to Google Maps. Now Yelp! has this kind of visibility making it likely that the numbers of reviews there will accelerate. This is actually a good thing as Yelp! has an algorythm that prevents one-off snarky reviews appearing in its listings. One week earlier both Stephen Downes and Simon Thomsen were dumped as food critics by the Herald Sun in Melbourne and the Daily Telegraph in Sydney respectively. The last of their reviews are appearing in the Saturday lifestyle (as opposed to the Tuesday Taste section) liftout of the papers and as yet it is uncertain how they will continue. The editors of Epicure in The Age took redundancy and the editor of Good Living and other members of staff were redeployed in advance of a relaunch next week with a fresh look and, hopefully, structural improvements. Good living will be renamed Good Food. And it looks like the future of food writing at Fairfax will come under a single uber-editor – Janne Apelgren editor of The Age Good Food guide in Melbourne has been mooted but I’m told this may not be the case – just as a few years back the News Ltd taste section consolidated. Meanwhile, I understand that the Sunday Herald Sun is dumping its food pages and editor Wendy Hargreaves is leaving. Compared to the Yelp! news this is as dry as eating a packet of Carrs Table Water Crackers without any cheese. But what it means is a… Read more »

New service: You can book restaurants here now

Jackie from Eating with Jack remembers when she first met me. She was front of house at Mrs Jones in Carlton maybe five or six years back and I wasn’t in the reservations book. Being a pro she managed to squeeze us in. She later told me that’s often what happens when a chef or kitchen hand answers the phone. It’s a problem, more common than you’d imagine. Luckily, I’ve mostly been accommodated when bookings have gone astray but it has also led me to question my sanity (a bit like writing this post where coding and old drafts have been going haywire). I’m pretty sure that I’m capable of booking a restaurant and turning up on the right day. I mean I seem to be capable of booking holidays, flights and arriving at the correct time. Most recently my booking went astray at Bistro Vue at the Heide Museum of Modern Art when I booked lunch for two on the same day that I phoned. My booking was even repeated back to me; there was no misunderstanding that it was that day and at Bistro Vue at Heide. How the hell did my booking disappear? Anyway this new service Dimmis takes human error out of the equation and you can book restaurants directly online here. Each week I’m thinking of offering a selection and this post is just to see how it all works. I’m going to try and ensure it doesn’t change my eating behaviour and I will review restaurants that are in the system and not. I’m also thinking of adding reservations tags to my archives. Of course, I make a small amount for each booking and I hope readers would choose to support me over and above bigger more commercially motivated sites as apart from the odd freebee this site is completely self funded. All you have to do is click on the booking links below. I’ve included two different types and I’d like feedback on which you prefer or if I should be doing this at all. Gordon Ramsay Apparently you can only book Gordon’s Ramsay’s two new Melbourne Restaurants through Dimmi, which basically were given a 14/20 (recalculating the score) in the Herald Sun: Maze The posh local Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Maze Grill The slightly cheaper local Gordon Ramsay restaurant. The Palace, Port Melbourne I guess if you like breakfast TV you might like… Read more »