Always buy cheapest bottle on restaurant wine list, says top critic Jay Rayner

'I do not hold to being intimidated by anything in this life and if a wine list irritates you just buy the cheapest on the list.'

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Friday 14 October 2016 15:13
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Restaurant critic Jay Rayner
Restaurant critic Jay Rayner

Restaurant diners should only buy house wine to protest complex and overpriced wine lists, according to a top food critic.

Food mogul Jay Rayner said punters should even buy the “cheapest bottle on the list” to hit back at wine snobbery.

The 50-year-old also claimed expensive wines should only be bought in shops to be drunk at home.

"I refuse to be intimidated by a wine list. Wine lists are fraught with problems but mostly because of the b******t spouted by wine connoisseurs. They irritate me profoundly,” Mr Rayner told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

“I do not hold to being intimidated by anything in this life and if a wine list irritates you just buy the cheapest on the list and tell them all to p**s off."

He also told of a dining experience at City Social - Jason Atherton’s central London restaurant.

The most expensive bottle of wine at the iconic venue can cost £2,990, which Mr Rayner called “stratospheric”.

“I asked the waiter if he could find me a bottle of Pinot Noir for under £50,” he said.

“He looked at me as if I was some kind of scum on his heel and he couldn't so I then called him back and said, 'there's one for £49, you didn't even know your own wine list'.”

Mr Rayner also hit back at claims that those who eat takeaways are unhealthy.

“There is a group out there who will make an assumption and wag their finger at you and say 'if you don't cook everything from scratch you will be unhealthy',” he said.

“The evidence based on all the academic papers I have looked at is not conclusive on that and it is the home cooks, the ones who absolutely love cooking at home, who can also turn out to be the greedy b******s. So you just can't make an assumption.”

The Independent has approached City Social for comment.

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