Ouch: Restaurant reviews contain more cliches than any other genre of food writing

Bad restaurant reviews contain more clichés than any other genre of food writing. What is a cliché anyway?

It is a phrase so familiar to your ears, you don’t hear it any more. It makes your writing stale when you want it to be fresh.

‘Glorious sunshine’

‘Right up my street’

‘Pretty as a picture’

Examples from food writing are: burgers have taken the capital by storm; the roasted apricots were so smooth, they just ‘melted in the mouth’.

In her book Get Started in Food Writing, Kerstin Rodgers advises avoiding the following terms and expressions

  • my companion, to refer to your friend, partner or family member sitting at the table with you
  • commensurate – fancy pants word for ‘worth the money’
  • delicious – use rarely
  • tasty – use only sometimes
  • yummy – use even more rarely
  • ‘nom nom nom’ – never use this
  • washed down with
  • cuts through
  • accompanied by
  • tucks into
  • lip-smacking
  • sinful/decadent dessert
  • perfect foil
  • Prussian – as in Marcel Proust’s extensive memory trip inspired by a bite of a madeleine. Food does evoke memories but try to use other expressions
  • lashings of
  • ‘the…did not disappoint’
  • plumped for – use chose
  • opted for – ditto
  • ‘Chef suggested that we try…’
  • ‘The X was to die for…’
  • ‘enrobed’ – a bit Hobbity
  • cooked to perfection
  • saved room for
  • meltingly tender
  • an array of…

What are your pet hates in restaurant reviews?  Can you add any clichés to this list?

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