Delia left red faced over brasserie

PUBLISHED: 11:30 14 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK super cook Delia Smith has been left red faced today after critics labelled her brasserie at Norwich City Football Club "top of the league for bad value".

SUFFOLK super cook Delia Smith has been left red faced today after critics labelled her brasserie at Norwich City Football Club "top of the league for bad value".

And in contrast to the crescendo of noise generated inside the stadium at home matches, Delia's City Brasserie was also battered for its "lack of atmosphere".

Finally, to rub a pinch of salt into the wound, Harden's Top UK Restaurants guide 2002 slated the food for being "bland" and served in "mean" portions.

The annual guide is equally scathing about celebrity chefs such as Gary Rhodes and Raymond Blanc for the poor offerings served up in their spin-off eateries.

Delia, who is a director at the Carrow Road Club, opened her brasserie at the back of the Barclay Stand in May 2000, and has attracted customers with a succession of evenings focusing on food from around the world.

But those who reported to the guide said the football-themed restaurant offered a lack of atmosphere and "mean" portions of "bland" food.

A spokesman for her said she was aware of the views in the guide but did not wish to comment.

Peter Harden, who co-edited the guide with his brother Richard, said: "The result of this is that restaurant-goers nationwide are beginning to learn the lesson which has been clear in London for years – if you want quality and value, it's often best to avoid the big-name operators."

Chefs such as Rhodes, Blanc, Paul Heathcote and Nick Nairn have opened spin-off restaurants, often selling less expensive food, in addition to their flagship establishments.

It is these secondary concerns which have been criticised in the 2002 edition of Harden's guide, released last week.

Raymond Blanc, who runs the celebrated Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, in Oxfordshire, has also opened four smaller Le Petit Blanc restaurants around England.

Reviewers said standards in his Cheltenham outlet, where prices range from £20 to £25 for an à la carte main course dish, were too often "truly awful". There were also complaints it was too noisy and overcrowded, that staff were unfriendly and the cooking "mediocre".

The guide said a "sizeable number" of reviewers were disappointed by Le Petit Blanc in Manchester, with some finding the cooking "rather average".

TV favourite Gary Rhodes is slated for his Rhodes and Co restaurant in Jenners department store, Edinburgh, which is described as "overpriced, mediocre and unimaginative".

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