Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Review Restaurants – Navy Style



Here is my Food Review Guide on HOW TO RATE RESTAURANTS once more on popular demand

A Spoof

This happened nearly 38 years ago in the 1970’s during my early days in the Navy.

We were sitting in our ship’s wardroom enjoying our first drink of the evening – when some shipmates peeped in and asked me: “Hey – we are thinking of going to ‘XXX’ restaurant for dinner…”

“…3 Large…” I said.

My shipmates promptly downed 3 Large Pegs of Whisky each – and then proceeded for dinner to ‘XXX’ restaurant in the heart of Mumbai.

I was – and I still am – an avid ‘Foodie’.

During my early navy days – I was lucky to be appointed on ships based at Mumbai – which gave me great opportunity to explore the culinary delights of the best foodie city in India.

If you have read ‘food reviews’ – you will notice that most restaurant reviewers rate restaurants on a scale of 1 to 5 – with 5 meaning ‘Excellent’ – 4 (Very Good) – 3 (Good) – 2 (Average) – and – 1 (Poor).

These food reviewers consider various parameters like food, service, ambience etc to rate a restaurant (and some even give sub-ratings for each parameter).

Some restaurant reviewers use ‘stars’ instead of numbers – but it is basically the same rating system.

My restaurant rating system is different.

I rate restaurants on the number of Pegs of Booze (Rum/Whisky) you are advised to imbibe before proceeding to eat food in the restaurant.

Yes – I rate restaurants on a scale of ‘0’ to ‘6’ (Zero to Six) – ‘0’ Pegs’ to ‘6 Pegs’ (Zero Pegs to 6 Pegs) to be precise

Of course – the ‘Peg’ referred to is a ‘Large Peg’ – which is ‘60 ml’ of Rum/Whisky.

And yes – this rating mainly applies to Indian Cuisine.

It is my experience that alcohol does not go well with Indian Cuisine which is highly flavorsome.

Alcohol dulls the taste buds, and olfactory sensation, and encumbers the unmitigated enjoyment of good food.

‘0’ Large (‘Zero Peg’) Restaurant

So – if you are going to have an authentic Indian ‘Pure Vegetarian Thali Meal’ prepared hygienically with pure ingredients in clean surroundings – you will ruin the eating experience if you drink alcohol before, or along with, this pristine food.    

This will therefore qualify for a ‘0’ Large or ‘Zero Peg’ rating.

‘6 Large’ Restaurant

On the other hand – hard-core street-food – like oily spicy greasy mutton curry prepared in most unhygienic earthy manner and eaten in noisy, crowded, polluted, filthy surroundings.

Such ‘robust’ food which requires a ‘cast iron stomach’ to digest and fit only for a seasoned trencherman – will qualify for a ‘6 Large’ rating.

You have got the drift – haven’t you?

‘Zero’ Large to ‘6 Large’ Restaurant Rating Scale

At one end of the scale (‘Zero Large’) was delicate refined pristine food to be savoured by the high-falutin gourmand.

At the other end of the scale (‘6 Large’) was fiery robust earthy food fit only for a tough trencherman.

My shipmates were going to a ‘3 Large’ eatery for Mutton Biryani in the heart of the city.

There was a ‘2 Large’ eatery nearby too which served a more “refined” biryani.

And – of course – there were a few ‘5 Large’ street-joints where you got earthy “Kababs” and “Bheja” dishes too.

In my entire life – I have rated only one eatery with the top ‘6 Large’ rating  and I have never dared to go there again.

Of course – I have eaten in many ‘pristine’ restaurants which qualified for a ‘Zero Large’ rating.

‘Zero Large to ‘6 Large’ Food Rating Scale Works for Home Cooked Food

Later – I started applying this ‘0’ to ‘6’ “Large” rating whenever someone called me home to dinner.

Those days – I was known to be a passionate drinker.

We had been invited to dinner at a friend’s place – and my friend was surprised when I declined his offer of my favourite ‘Rum-Pani’ drink.

“You don’t want a drink…? What’s wrong with you…?” my friend asked me.

“Nothing is wrong with me. Your wife is such an excellent cook – I visited the kitchen  and I have seen in the kitchen all the delicious dishes she has made for dinner – so I don’t want to spoil my eating experience by drinking alcohol…” I said, “Your wife’s cooking has the best ‘Zero Large’ rating...

Another friend’s wife overheard our conversation – and she gave me an angry look.

She had called us for dinner a few days ago – and I had downed 5 Large Pegs of Rum at her place before daring to sample her cooking.

In fact – after tasting her ‘mutton curry’ – I had insisted on ‘one more drink’ – yes – it was truly a mutton curry worthy of a ‘6 Large’ rating

So – Dear Foodie – the next time I ask you to rate a restaurant – please don’t give me numbers – just say anything from ‘Zero Large’ to ‘6 Large’ – say – ‘3 Large’ – or – ‘4 Large’ – and I will know how many large pegs of Rum/Whisky to imbibe before I go there.

Moot Question:

You may ask me: “Why do you limit the restaurant/food rating to ‘6 Large’...?


‘6 Large’ pegs is nearly half a bottle of Rum/Whisky.

If you drink more than ‘6 Large’ pegs of Rum or Whisky – after drinking so much alcohol – your senses will be dulled – and the taste buds on your tongue will hardly be able to discern the taste of the food you are eating. 

Happy Eating – and – Hic’ – make sure you imbibe the appropriate number of pegs of booze as per the rating – before you head to eat out...

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1. This article is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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This article was written by me Vikram Karve in May 2015 and posted earlier in this blog at url: and re-posted at url:

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