Forget the decor and the great wines; forget the fabulous menu, the music and soft lights. A recent in cognito survey on CFN's Restaurant Show revealed that the state of the lavatories is a key factor in determining whether an evening spent in a restaurant is rated a success.
OK, so we could get around the problem by going before we get to the restaurant, and not drinking too much when we're there, but frankly that's not fair. In any case, a lavatory should be easier to keep clean than a full kitchen up to the rigorous standards required by law.
We have all sighed at a WC the size of a shoebox with no lock on the door, no soap, no loo paper, no towels - and the stench of a medieval maiden. Our recent visit to smart New York showed Britain to be a Third World country in this respect ... if the Americans can get it right, why can't we?
The Grey Suits from Brussels have laid down many new Draconian hygiene laws for food production in the UK. This has seen many small firms involved in cottage industry-style production either be forced to invest large sums of dosh to meet the new legislation or close up shop. Is it fair that, on one hand TGSFB can wield enough power to threaten our gourmet heritage, yet backstage hygiene, so to speak, is ignored. We would like to cause our own stink about this.
It is time for all restaurants to qualify for a hygiene approval certificate which could be placed prominently on the front window along with the credit card logos. It would be displayed like a car's tax disc to regulate standards rather like an MoT (being policed at random through the year).
By avoiding the non-approved establishments you would then be forcing them to clean up their act ... literally.
Top five toilets
The Savoy's grandeur extends to free colognes and brush-up. Strand, London
Tamasha's toilets boast framed illustrations from the Karma Sutra. Lisson Grove, London
Cafe Pacific Quirkily designed loos with plenty of interesting reading material and leopard-skin walls. Viaduct St, Huddersfield
Livebait Top fish restaurant nets a mention for its pristine white tiles and all-round fresh feel. The Cut, London SE1
The Square High-class modern British nosh with lavs to match. Berkeley Square
The Nosh Brothers book 'Entertaining' is available from Macmillan Direct 01256 32942Reuse content