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Oh dear, bad language seems to be infectious. According to Tim Zagat, publisher of an eponymous series of restaurant guides, we at Harden’s are ‘full of sh*t’. Our sin, apparently, is to have made criticisms of his hero Gordon Ramsay, on the publication of our new guide.

So keen was Mr Zagat to impart this message to the media, that we’re told by one who was present at the relevant event that he was peddling his criticism of Harden’s “to everyone”. Must be the first time that the publisher of book A has felt that his best route to publicity is to disparage the launch publicity of book B! Desperate times, obviously.

We’re not going to get into a slanging match with a competing publisher, but would just note the following:

1) We’ve already noted that Harden’s coverage of Ramsay over the years has mainly been positive.

2) Far from undermining the particular criticism we made in our press release, Mr Zagat’s own new London guide tends in fact to support it! Our release concentrated on the poor standards of the three most recent ‘budget’ additions to the Ramsay empire), and two of the three (Foxtrot Oscar and The Warrington) are similarly notably poorly reviewed in the Zagat guide.

3) We have in the past noted how odd it is that Mr Zagat seems to be in the business, if necessary regardless of the facts, of ‘boosting’ Gordon Ramsay. This seems to be yet another example.

PS (16 September) One of the many aspects of his own publication from which Mr Zagat was presumably anxious to distract attention is its woefully poor coverage. The Zagat London Survey 2009 has 834 reviews in it. Harden’s coverage, 1383 reviews, is on this basis over 65% greater.

If you look at ‘full’ reviews, however – including only those reviews which come complete with ratings – Harden’s coverage is heading for twice Zagat’s. Harden’s has 1354 such reviews compared to 700 in the Zagat.

No wonder Mr Zagat prefers to resort to expletives.

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