I think the key to this problem is to have something you seriously want to discuss or tell others, or something you have a deep passion for, and to keep it small and simple are where the gems lie for consistancy in this practice. I can think of no better place to start than writing ones own reviews. When writing from ones loves and experiences, finding the right words comes easier. Now whether that’s a cheat or a scapegoat for me, I don’t think it matters. The end result is words on a page that are my own and that hopefully improve over time like cheese, wine or cast iron cookware.
To kick it off with a good review that I’d be excited to write about and share, I think it would be wise to begin with a topic that everyone loves and enjoys, and can further participate and contribute in. That topic should be towards life basics. So Food & Drink it is!
How to write a good review? Good question. What do I want to convey?
If the review is on a restaurant it’s probably best to start with items you’d generally talk about at the table as you arrive. Personally I’d comment on the ambiance of the place: How it feels, it’s aesthetics, it’s vibe, it’s cultural flavor(s), it’s patronage, it’s decor. All the shallow points one could make about something or someone but hey, visual is the first impression for anything show and tell, right? Ambiance!
Second in conversation I’d personally be looking at service. Having worked in Hospitality & Tourism for 4 years as a bartender/cocktail mixologist, service was and always is big on my check list. Is it a 5 star feeling or a 1 star feeling? How is their attention to detail on their products and services? People go out not just for the food but more importantly for an experience, and you’ll receive service (good or bad) the moment you pick up the phone to make a reservation or simply walk in the door before you receive your foods and beverages. It can be a warm fuzzy start or a cold heartfelt blow to the beginning a good/bad night out. Service!
Next up I’d be chatty about how well people did to find the place, and if the place feels like a privilege to arrive at. Beach views versus a concrete wall, I’m always inspired to talk about both. Parking convenience? Alternative transport? Proximity to other cool landmarks/locations? Can I bring my decrepit grandmother out for a good time? It’s the same laws for real estate: “Location, location, location”. Again, it all comes down to attention to detail. Location & Accessibility!
After general conversation table, it’s time for the meat of the review, the food! (full pun intended). The juicy part of any eatery review and what I personally get excited to talk about the most, is the food! How I love food! I’m not the world’s greatest chef, but food is king and rules my world! Why is food always everyone’s comforting escape when times are rough? Because it’s the essence of the body! You are what you eat, remember! I also like to think of food and beverages as chemistry experiments. No one was ever bored during science experiments at school, especially chemistry and physics. Theory yes, but experiments no! The successfulness or disastrous results of food coming together is always an exciting process to me. I love to break down someones presentation as it says a lot about their craftsmanship. Ingredient selection and flavor is ultimately everyone champion, I’m not sure I really need to expand here. Textures is always intriguing as it goes deeper into the dishes soul and diversity of menu’s is a big plus if a venue is to cater for fussy eaters. The essence of any eatery review. Food & Food Menu!
No better way to compliment a food menu than a drinks menu. Again, 4 years a barman I’m super critical here. Everything plays with weight here. Beverage menu availability, presentation, cleanliness, ingredient selection, ingredient preparation and handling, glass handling, even knowledge of what is served goes big in my book. I could go on days. Drinks & Drink Menu!
Finally the bottom dollar to everyone’s abilities to enjoy an establishment is pricing and/or value for money. There are places I will enjoy visiting because the food and drinks are cheap and delectable, or I will happily fork out the bigger dollars to establishments on rare special occasion to enjoy the fruits of labor and life. It’s hard to know how that $100-$250AUD per person is going to be justified. So value for money weighs heavy on my accounts. Pricing & Value for Money!
I can’t see how this criteria wouldn’t perform in a good review, and I’m always open to ideas from everyone. I also think a good process to have will be to create a cheat sheet critiquing template in a program like Evernote so as the criteria is not overlooked and it keeps the field fair game. I may pop up my template at a later date. So, now that we’ve established a good criteria, it’s time to get cracking and write some reviews!