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Sometimes you do wonder if Gordon Ramsay isn’t just moving from hype to self-delusion. He told the NY Post he’s “gonna do something [in NYC] a little bit more relaxed [than his Midtown restaurant] in the style of a cafe/bistro”. So far, fair enough. But he then goes on suggest it will be something like Foxtrot Oscar SW3 – “an amazing neighborhood bistro along the lines of The Spotted Pig”.

Foxtrot Oscar has been panned by (almost) everyone (including Harden’s), and even its creator, in a more lucid moment, accepted that it was in need of a relaunch (which, so far as we know, has never happened). The idea that FO could in any way be likened to the Spotted Pig, the innovative smash-hit Downtown gastropub, mobbed nightly, is ridiculous. And Ramsay must know that anyone who knows anything about the restaurant scenes in London and New York would find the parallel absurd.

Indeed, a tart comment on the much-read NYMag website quickly sets the record straight: “Foxtrot Oscar used to be a great neighbourhood hangout. Cheapish food, great wine, late nights, low fun. Ramsay took it over - gutted it - and turned it into drab, midprice catering hellhole - more aiport lounge than bistro. It received (and deserved) really horrible reviews. Last time I looked it was empty.”

Of course, however dire the product, it’s entirely possible that Michelin - mesmerised by its big name chefs – would dutifully come along and give a New York Ramsay gastropub some sort of award, which might help it ‘fly’, in the same way they saw two-star virtues in his Midtown operation which had generally been invisible to the local critics.

A fondness for Ramsay gastropubs certainly seems to be apparent among Michelin’s UK staff. How simply astonishing that an ‘inspectors’ picks’ list of gastropubs Michelin published yesterday found it necessary to include not one but two of Ramsay‘s middling-to-dire gastropubs among London’s top ten.

But then, Michelin’s inspectors idea of a good gastropub (see report in yesterday’s Evening Standard) often seems to involve the establishment concerned being as expensive, fashionable or central – ie as unlike a full-blooded gastropub – as possible.

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