In all of 2005 AA Gill only gave one "no stars" rating in the Sunday Times. The first unlucky recipient this year is The Bell in Gloucestershire, in what is an amusing demolition job on rural hospitality:
"It’s pretentious, twee and seemingly run for the convenience of the management. The food we ate was risibly bad, the atmosphere smilingly inhospitable, the décor a sordid cliché of rural nostalgia, puppy porn and green-welly fascism."
"The place was full of whispering old folk, the itinerant retired who traipse the B roads of Britain, eking out the unforgiving days and squatting in places like the Bell, because they have nothing else to do. The food is the sort of careless English fare that owes more to daytime TV and women’s magazines than any particular county, and for which Gary Rhodes has much to answer."
My father's place in Berkshire is literally surrounded by these sort of fine dining establishments. And yes, they all seem to have those stupid cartoons in the gents'. Utterly awful.