Golden Spoons for Cayman’s eateries

| 07/04/2016 | 32 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Up until now, restaurant reviews in Cayman Island publications tend to be tied to advertising, which is why they also tend to be glowing, whether it’s deserved or not. But today, Cayman News Service launched the first of what will be a weekly column on CNS Business that will give honest, as-you-find-it reviews of the various eateries around Grand Cayman, for which we have recruited a small team of reviewers — the CNS Foodies. None of them are professional food critics but all of them love good food and the experience of eating out.

The CNS Foodies will be going undercover to review breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner at any restaurant, as well as food stands, fast food places and coffee shops. Afterwards they will give their Golden Spoon ratings for Food, Service, Ambiance, and Value for Money, based on their own personal experience and opinions.

None of the restaurants will know that a CNS Foodie is coming and none of the meals will be paid for by the place being reviewed or tied to advertising in any way. This does not mean that CNS will never have restaurant ads but this will never be discussed with a Foodie or influence the review.

The CNS Foodies will be going undercover so they have a normal customer experience. We don’t want restaurants to pull out all the stops because they know they are being reviewed.

The reviews will be based on their judgement of the food that was ordered, prepared and eaten on a particular day. Other people may have a completely different experience, so after each review readers can vote in our star ratings in the same categories and also vote as to whether they agree with the CNS Foodie or not. (The star ratings should function on all computers and devices and smart phones but please let us know if there are issues.)

And, of course, readers can always add their views in the comment section.

Here is our first review: Golden Spoons Review: Calypso Grill

The next Golden Spoons review will be published on Monday, 11 April, and then one every Monday after that.

Bon Appétit!

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Comments (32)

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  1. michael dill says:

    Review me….Blue Iguana…assess a “new” restaurant that’s both oceanside and could use some help. I’ll roll the dice.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I personally this is the brilliant ideas to bring the real experience since all the foodies go undercover. It will be just like regular customers who will enjoy the food, drink, service… Etc. Hope you can do it will couple of pictures so we – as a reader – have a better view of what’s do you got during the meal.
    By the way, how do I apply to be one of the CNS foodies team?

    CNS: Taking pictures is a good idea. We actually have enough Foodies right now, though. But thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    A Golden Spoons review of the food at Northward Prison might actually be a good crime deterrent.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is wrong on so many levels, I can pretty much guess who the Foodies are, probably the same bunch that did the judging for the best dressed chicken table talk awards. They are entitled to their personal opinions regarding restaurants, but that’s where it should stay. CNS scrap this idea before you create a monster.

    CNS: You have no idea who the Foodies are.

    • Think of all possibilities says:

      Why should they remain silent? Have something to hide perhaps?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. From what was ordered to how it is described this is redolent on a reviewer with little experience beyond over enthusiastic amateur.

      CNS: Note that it explicitly says in the article that the Foodies are not professional food critics. So your point is…?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well…Food critics on this island very bad idea. All this =WANT TO BE FOODIES= too many on this island or persons who have no ideas about restaurant cooking, going out and judge an establishment with one visit. That’s absolute nonsense. Why businesses like hospitably always heavily criticized. Is anyone going to review Banks, Insurances, Stores/Business of all kind…..and so on. Stop that madness

    • Think of all possibilities says:

      Why yes! Maybe all those other businesses should be reviewed as well! Great idea!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Grand Old House. Blue. And that is probably it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    While you are at it, please confirm if they have a current license to do business posted, as required by Law..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bad idea CNS it is too bad that you are trying to gain readership at the expense of small restaurant owners and staff who trying to make a living on this small rock. Your team of reviewers are not professional food critics and they should be not allowed help destroy someones livelihood. A professional restaurant critic will often visit a single location three times before publishing a review. They usually have a history of professional kitchen experience, and a specific list of things they are looking for in service, cuisine, and atmosphere. They should not be anonymous, this gives the restaurant an opportunity to reach back out to the clients to follow up with a complaint or compliment they may have made on this website. Restaurant managers will take these reviews seriously. I wondered if they knew that simply writing that it took15 minutes to get a cocktail would cause a good bartender to be taken off profitable shifts and have his or her income greatly reduced. I wondered if maybe this is what reviewers wanted. Your so-called team who review actually look forward to having negative experiences so they can rant anonymously, and get accolades with no repercussion. Now the server is going to work today and will maybe lose their job. It won’t be hard to determine who your reviewers are, its as easy as going back through the checks and seeing who it was by either a staff member knowing them or by the credit card receipt. I hope they become pariahs in the community and every restaurateur admonishes them, if I find out who they are I will not associate with them and “out” them quickly. When your clientele becomes the type of people looking for problems, it becomes nearly impossible to take care of them.I hope it dies a swift, permanent death. This a great example of bottom feeding journalism.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said!

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed that they should visit more than once. But lets be honest most restaurants are ok and so overpriced it is sickening

        • Anonymous says:

          A good critique discusses the food. Not value for money. If you can’t afford it, then don’t go there. Simple.

          • Anonymous says:

            That’s a food critique. A restaurant critique assesses ambience, taste, service,hygiene and value for money.

    • Anonymous says:

      To raise a point in their defence. I had a dinner there about 2 years ago and had the exact same experience, extremely crowded, noisy and overpriced food. Even the sides haven’t changed!

      You don’t have to be a food critic to know the difference between good and mediocre food, lousy ambiance and overcrowding.

      If anything, a blind review by a ‘non-foodie’ should get restaurant owners thinking about their weaknesses?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your points are quite valid, but I would think that this should not be anonymous and that CNS would take the position that this would aid the restaurant community rather than doing it a disservice. Frankly speaking, if I had an eatery, I would welcome the chance for folks to come in and sample the cuisine and provide feedback to the rest of the community whether it is good or bad. Of course, negative publicity would spell the death of any business but FWIW there are some businesses on this Island that have been operating for years by having complete and total disregard to their clientele.

      There are some businesses that I would never spend a red cent with, and these are established businesses, but yet they remain open and profitable. I am sure that a bad review of one day in the life of a restaurant would not spell the death of any restaurant on Island. It should force them to provide excellent service every time all the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s a welcome offering and I’m looking forward to reading, mostly because I like to dine out but tend to stick to two (maybe 3) places, and this may encourage us all to try more establishments.

      I wouldn’t just jump to negative+bottom feeding & all the rest when not a single word has been written yet. Also if it takes 15 minutes to get a cocktail and someone writes about it then fair play. Why? Because it shouldn’t take 15 mins to get a damn cocktail!
      Rather than going through cc receipts and generally being a maniac, take action and correct any issues identified, then contact CNS or the person directly and invite them to return (anonymous or not).

      Also as someone already mentioned, you don’t have to be a professional food critic to understand good food from bad or good vs lousy service.

      This should benefit all involved, well except those establishments that just don’t care.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you that angry psychotic chef out of the Monty Python skit?

    • Think of all possibilities says:

      I can’t believe how many people here don’t want honest opinions to be known. It’s an OPINION. Take it or leave it. I think there are a lot of restaurant owners in here posting to protect themselves from honest opinions getting out… maybe they should be spending more time improving their food and service instead.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Restaurant reviewing is my dream job, and I’m well qualified to do it. The challenge in Cayman has always been the inability to do it anonymously, a problem which TripAdvisor also has. A shame that CNS did not open this opportunity out to a wider section of the population. That would have given the reviews much more credibility as right now a reader doesn’t know if this is just ‘friends of CNS and the restaurants they think are overpriced’ or something more rigorous. I’ll read but with much less interest than I would otherwise.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree totally, very overpriced and small portions!! I would never recommend this restaurant

    • Anonymous says:

      Small portions tend to be the sign of the better establishments. Shows the American tourist market is not the primary target.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hey CNS, I wish you had sent out something asking folks if they were interested in being a foodie. I also hope that we are not only doing upscale restaurants but taking the opportunity to highlight some of our own local restaurants, some of which have made the list for locals and visitors alike. I know that some of my friends and I have for years used to do our own roaming around Cayman style. We would go and have meals at various restaurants and we would critique the dishes that we had and speak to various other patrons and find out from them what they had and what they thought.

    I hope restaurants embrace this idea, not as a criticism of what they offer but see it is an opportunity to showcase what they have on their menus. I know for me personally there were some restaurants that I would never ever patronise (Bacchus, thank goodness it closed), not because the food wasn’t good but just because of how the wait staff treated me. There are a few others here on Island which will never see my money but as they are still operating I won’t divulge their names.

    I am really looking forward to seeing the first set of critiques. Very good idea

    • Think of all possibilities says:

      You said: “There are a few others here on Island which will never see my money but as they are still operating I won’t divulge their names.”

      Why not?? Why are so many people on this message thread afraid of giving their honest, personal, ANONYMOUS opinions?

      Many of you are taking this WAY too seriously. And if a single review hurts someone’s career (instead of being a valuable learning tool to improve performance), then that’s the restaurant’s own fault too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good idea! Many of us roam around to eateries that cater to the average joe. The Hibiscus Cafeteria at the hospital, for instance, serves good local fare at excellent prices and the Pink Ladies volunteers are most accommodating. Reviews of jerk stands would also be interesting!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I hope they also review the cleanliness and back room areas like towards the bathrooms and the condition of the bathrooms. Some are so disgusting I can’t imagine what the kitchen looks like!! UGH
    One restaurant on SMB where you can see into the kitchen is so revolting not to mention the area back by the bathrooms.

  13. Anonymous says:

    thank you……… maybe people will realize how overpriced most restaurants are with mediocre food.

    • Anonymous says:

      For me it’s simple, if get served something I can cook far better myself, then that restaurant is off my list.
      Over the years I’ve had far better food served up by street vendors than medium & high priced establishments. Never had food poisoning from a street vendor but 3 cases from different restaurants. Sadly most of the good street vendors and local restaurants have been forced to shut due to the over zealous demands of DEH. We are now left with a collection of wannabe gourmet restaurants that serve the same tasting, Mediterranean fusion, fake “Cayman Style”, so called “organic” slop for $20+ a plate.

      We’ll have fun out there CNS, better you than me as you’d have to gag me with a spoon to get me into some of the places you’ll unfortunately be dining at.

      There are still a handful of gems out there, but I’m not saying. That’s for you to decide. Just hope your collective palettes are worldly enough to provide an objective review and rating.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree 100%! Great idea.

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