Londoners fume as US food critic slams Hawksmoor restaurant and is ‘amazed English food can be good’

A US food critic is facing the wrath of Londoners online after reviewing Hawkmoor’s new New York restaurant. Jiayang Fan wrote a review of the restaurant for The New Yorker titled “Delicious finds in Hawksmoor”.

In the article In conclusion, Jiayang wrote, “It was late in the meal when I decided to have a cocktail. I had been afraid to do it because I was sure the drinks in an English steakhouse would be so stiff that a light weight like me would need to be sent home. I was happy to be wrong.

And while that part was probably justified – Brits are good at managing their booze – it was the next part that angered the internet: “That must be why, when I ordered the sticky caramel pudding, ‘the most English dessert on the menu,” according to my waiter, I emboldened myself to tell him how amazed I was that something so English could taste so good. My companion tried to silence me, but it was too late. The waiter nodded with a smile. Wasn’t the first time he’d heard that sentiment.”

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And Londoners are not happy with the insinuation that good British food is surprising. Taking to Twitter, journalist and writer Robert Colvile shared the article and wrote “New Yorker criticizes Hawksmoor, discovers new depths of culinary condescension towards English people”, adding “We’re actually pretty good at food! We have been for a while!” And the responses from Londoners were quick to pour in.

“Oh yes, the culinary condescension of the land of cookies and gravy. And oatmeal,” one person wrote, and another added, “Imagine being an American, where putting a pickle on something counts as class, and criticizing the food from other countries.” One person joked “If the New Yorker had any guts, he’d review Greggs.” and another said “This from canned cheese country.”

“I find this especially annoying considering the awful pit that is the majority of American food culture,” another person wrote. “Excuse me while I go fry this turkey.” And the backlash grew so much online that even Hawksmoor’s story itself chimed in, referencing Robert’s original Tweet: “This isn’t the first reaction I’ve seen from a very positive Hawksmoor review. New York that takes umbrage at a certain view of English cuisine.As a recipient of criticism and a man with a foot in both cities, here are some thoughts…

“First, no one should take offense on our behalf (not that they are!). Hawksmoor NYC is uprising and New Yorkers seem to really like it. Sure there were questions, but for the most part they were answered. We all know where prejudice comes from, we know it’s outdated, and I think it’s good to tackle it head-on. I know we (Hawksmoor) are really proud to challenge him and do so well there.

“New York is an amazing city. It feels like the center of the world. Yes, it’s also a bit narrow and parochial view, but I’m not sure we Brits are entirely innocent in this regard. This is absolutely part of what makes it such a magical place. New York is more like London than either cares to admit. I like both of them. They are full of people who are proud to be New Yorkers or Londoners, and actually welcome newcomers from elsewhere. Certainly ours.”

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