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Restaurant Babylon

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  26 reviews
What makes a restaurant hot? Whose name do you need to drop to get a table? Why is one place booked solid for the next nine months while somewhere equally delicious is as empty and inhospitable as the Gobi desert?

Welcome to the restaurant business, where the hours are punishing, the conditions are brutal and the Chef's Special has been languishing at the back of the fridge
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Hardcover, 317 pages
Published July 18th 2013 by Bantam Press (first published April 25th 2013)
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Tamsin Lim
Dec 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to love this book. I put it on my birthday wishlist because I was hoping it'd offer an insight into the restaurant business as thrillingly visceral as Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Unfortunately, it was brimming with typos and followed exactly the same narrative formula as the other 'Babylon' books I've read, making it extremely predictable. It also failed to capitalise on the success of the other books in that it deviated from the usual system of integrating anecdotes ...more
Tanja Berg
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a perfectly readable book, picked up at Dubai airport at 4 am in the morning without much thought. Given the circumstances, I could have been way worse off. I was a little worried, given some of the ratings. There are a few too many swear words for my liking, but other than that, there wasn't anything major tikcing me off. The narrative move easily enough. I gained a few insights - such as "lick and stick" - that I could have done without. Much of the content consisted of things I had h ...more
Lakota FHCS
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
These Babylon books are always fun - lots of anonymous anecdotes semi-fictionalised and condensed into 24hrs - in a the life of a restauranteur in this case. Everything from deaths at the table to fist fights between the chefs.
Sarah Woodburn
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was fascinating and amazing and really cheered me up as I've got the flu
Strona po stronie
Honestly, it's like this one reality show type - rather disgusting, seems exaggerated, but when you're exhausted, sick or stressed - somehow you keep on watching.

The Author's writing style is good.
Neil
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Weird and in a way interesting.
Darren
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Have you ever gone to a restaurant with high expectations and came out disappointed with a bit of an "was that it?"-attitude. Sadly this book left this reviewer in a bit of a quandary as the hype and expectation was not matched by the delivery. If it was a meat course, it would have been sent back to the kitchen with a few harsh words for the chef.

The concept should be compelling. A number of rather outlandish incidents taken from many top restaurants and their kitchens are anonymised and consol
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Caro
I don't know why it has such a low rating. I had never read the books of the Babylon Series but if they are all in the same style I must say they are pretty good. I am planning to read the complete series. The story is funny and insightful it gives you an interesting perspective of the life inside a restaurant and how they work. I have a background in restaurants myself and know some people that have been in the business for over 30 years and despite the fact that they are not the same high- cla ...more
Steve Horsfall
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favourite Babylon book since Air Babylon. The anecdotes flow thick and fast as narrated by a fictional London restaurant owner with two premises to manage; he works and plays hard with the best of them whilst trying to keep his staff in order, i.e. stop them fighting or making sure they don’t drop dead with exhaustion . Of course there are lot of good quips about the now infamous TV chefs, particularly Marco & Gordon. I certainly learned a lot about how food is marked up, the vit ...more
Scott
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like the other books in the Babylon series, in this case a restaurant, bar and bistro are covered in all their operational aspects over a year. Again condensed into 24 hours.
Anonymous yet again contributes but though the establishments and staff are fictional, the incidents are real.
It makes you consider both sides of the counter and whether you are as great a customer as you like to think you are.
Similar books have been written and I admit, I wasn't overly impressed. Covering 24 hours from 6 a.
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Kara
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Little saucy anecdotes sprinkled along a typical day at a restaurant do lend me a magnifying glass into the steamy kitchen affairs around the clock. It fascinates me how both front of house and back of house play a role in the running of an f&b enterprise. Certain secrets, which are still subject to my own verification, are not what you normally find in the menu but they turn out to have a more compelling effect on your dining experience than the wine you sip or lobster you splurge on. The c ...more
Louise Armstrong
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very funny. The writer sounds just the way you'd expect a hard-working chef/restaurant owner to sound. Lots of anecdotes, and that feeling of capturing the madness of a busy, extreme life.

A couple of useful tips as well. The house wine usually is a reasonable deal for the customer because they have ordered a lot of it to get a good price & will pass it on. Also, beware of 'double' specials. If there's lamb on the menu and lamb on the special, it probably means they over ordered the lamb &am
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Kingfan30
This follows the same format as the rest of the Babylon books, so if you liked those, you will like this. My hubby was a chef for several years and some of what comes up in this, is what he's told me in the past, such as the specials board, some of it is special, but some of it is because they have stock going out of date shortly and they need to shift it. An interesting insight that provided an entertaining read.
Alexandra
As some of the other reviews have already said, it feels too much like the other "Babylon" books. (I've read all except "Fashion".) Maybe it's time for me to give up the series.

There was just no surprise, and all the scandals felt like stories I've read in chef biographies, as well as in a Hotel Babylon, and the dead body angle has been explored in Air Babylon as well.
Paul
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: babylon-series
A good book to read but I felt the latter part of the book was better than the earlier parts where there was just too much action involved. Of course some of the events are put into the 24 time frame so I'm sure it'll be different in real life. Would have been better if there were more examples or maybe more about the Michelin reviews.
Jamie MacDonald Jones
Another reliable installment of the Babylon series, I am always impressed by Edwards-Jones' ability to combine sinister reality into a believable narrative that manages to keep a consistent pace and humour. As usual, an enjoyable light read.
Livinginthecastle
The assimilation of facts and figures into the action wasn't as well done as other Babylon books and the name dropping of restaurants I had no clue about (I can only afford to go to chain restaurants) got a bit annoying, but overall it was interesting.
Nadya
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the first Babylon book that I have read. the format is definitely interesting, easy to follow and give insight into the restaurant business. Don't expect to learn a lot from it but there are some simple things explained in the book that are just fun to know.
Daphne Ho
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Maybe been reading too many Babylon series, not very exciting. Did not reveal as much insiders information as I expected. Chefs boozing and food almost rotten as daily specials doesn't seem like new news to me!
Ellen Brickley
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I put off reading this because I was sure it would be a litany of horror stories about gross things being done to food. It's not! Classic Babylon series - personalities, anecdotes, etc. Also liked the sneaky reference to Beach Babylon :)
Ramya DRozario
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the best books I've come across related to the F&B industry. This book provides a wholesome perspective of the restaurant business, and focusses not just on food. A must-read definitely.
Zelly
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recension: ZellysBokhylla
Audrey
Two stars is generous. Think 1.5, but some of the 1-star books I've read didn't have actual sentences or chapters.
Jeanette
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this - better than the last couple of Babylon outings. Can't imagine what the next one will be about ? Wouldn't mind reading a Police Babylon !
Joshua Ong
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fun read on the British restaurant industry. 2nd of the Babylon series that I've read. Would still continue reading another title by the same author. Good job Imogen Jones!
Kasia
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Sep 23, 2016
Corina
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Feb 26, 2016
Nicola Schneller
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Jan 18, 2014
Felicity
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Jul 27, 2013
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