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Kitchen Rat: our rodent is cheesed off at a wine hotel and discovers lots of football gossip

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Kitchen Rat: our rodent is cheesed off at a wine hotel and discovers lots of football gossip

Safe as steakhouses

It’s not just its Catey award or the £4,500 bottles of Château le Pin Pomerol kept under lock and key in the safe at Hawksmoor Manchester. It’s also where streetfood kingpin and footie fan Jonathan Downey keeps his Manchester United season tickets. There’s no chance of a PR own goal from the much-loved steak slingers with a first-class security service like this on offer.


I like to treat my ratty partner occasionally and last week saw us spend a night away at an outpost of a well-known, wine-led hotel brand. Confirming our visit, the hotel asked if we’d like to secure a space in the hotel car park for £10. Being thrifty, we declined and were fortunate to find a solitary spot on arrival among the many reserved signs. But at dinner we discovered that packing them in had its pitfalls when the restaurant manager (doubling as the duty manager) who had been serving us disappeared to deal with a prang. He left us for so long my partner decided we were beyond taking dessert, making the rat somewhat cheesed off.

Gunner have a problem

This week newly signed Arsenal defender David Luiz got a new club, a new squad number and a new host of one-star TripAdvisor reviews for his restaurant. Babbo in London’s Mayfair, which the defender co-owns with former Chelsea teammate Willian, was bombarded with false critiques from Blues fans – since removed – with some claiming the restaurant was infested with rats. I won’t comment on any speculation linking me to the site at this time.

It wasn’t the only bit of deadline day banter the industry was caught up in. Pizza Hut managed to get a dig in on Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward after a subdued transfer window, posting on Twitter: “Does Ed still want this table booked under ‘big name signing’ or shall we cancel that one as well?”

Rat for hire

This week saw launch a search for a canine critic. Once found, the paw-fect candidate will be sent on fact-finding missions to 10 of the world’s most dog-friendly hotels. The rat salutes for taking the welfare of man’s best friend so seriously and is more than happy to offer its own expertise if it requires other four-legged contributors – it’s not just dogs that like luxury.

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