There are 4 categories that I think are most important when considering a meal. Three are obvious; the food, service and value for money. The fourth I often find overlooked - the bread and butter. Fortunately most fine dining restaurants put a lot of effort into their bread and butter and I think it really demonstrates dedication to the overall meal - so I score the bread and butter as well!

Scoring is roughly as described below, but from time to time I might throw in the occasional half score.

Bread and butter

5 - Warm bread, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside and well flavoured. Butter is also well flavoured and served at room temperature. Usually there are multiple breads.
4 - There might be less variety and the texture or flavour of the bread might be less impressive. Butter should still be room temperature.
3 - Butter might be too firm to spread and/or the bread is reasonably good
2 - Butter is too firm to spread and the bread is mediocre
1 - Butter is too firm and bread is poor. Stale bread would always get a 1


5 - Throughout the meal there are wow moments of flavour and the food is beautifully presented
4 - The food is good throughout with the occasional wow moment. The food is beautifully presented
3 - The food is good throughout but with no wow moments. The food is well presented but perhaps not beautifully
2 - The food is generally not very exciting, lacking in flavour and unimaginatively presented
1 - Some of the food I actively did not like and/or did not want to finish


5 - Service is attentive but not overbearing. You should never have to ask for anything as it is always offered. The restaurant is stunning and in immaculate condition (including areas outside of the dining room). Cutlery, tableware and glassware are of highest quality and add to the meal experience.
4 - Service is generally excellent but not quite perfect
3 - There are a few small issues with the service but does not necessarily detract from the meal overall
2 - The service from staff is poor, it is difficult to get attention and requests are not carried out from time to time.
1 - The service is so bad you consider asking for it to be removed from the bill

Value for money

5 - The price of the food is less than you would expect for the quality, there are multiple options (on a set menu) and there are reasonably priced, good wines available. There are extra goodies throughout the meal, such as canapes, an amuse bouche and petits fours. Filtered water may be provided free of charge.
4 - The price of the food was less than would be expected for the quality but options may be restricted on a set menu. There are extra goodies offered, but perhaps not all extra goodies are offered (i.e. no petits fours or no amuse bouche, but canapes are served)
3 - Price of the food is average and there are minimal/no extras provided. Wine may be expensive with few cheaper options
2 - Price is expensive for the quality or quantity of food, there are no extras and wine may be expensive
1 - Everything is expensive and comes across as meanly priced and stingy


The overall score given in a review is an average of the individual scores, with each section given a weighting as follows:

Bread and butter: 1
Food: 3
Service: 1
Value for money: 1

In some cases a meal might not be expected to include bread and butter, in which case the weighting for bread and butter is zero.


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