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A.A. Gill is an unashamedly intolerant perfectionist whose witty observations and scathing criticism have made him one of the most respected critics to walk through a restaurant's doors. 'Table Talk' is an idiosyncratic selection of A.A. Gill's writing about food, taken from his Sunday Times and Tatler columns. A.A. Gill is an unashamedly intolerant perfectionist whose witty observations and scathing criticism have made him one of the most respected critics to walk through a restaurant's doors. 'Table Talk' is an idiosyncratic selection of A.A. Gill's writing about food, taken from his Sunday Times and Tatler columns.


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A.A. Gill is an unashamedly intolerant perfectionist whose witty observations and scathing criticism have made him one of the most respected critics to walk through a restaurant's doors. 'Table Talk' is an idiosyncratic selection of A.A. Gill's writing about food, taken from his Sunday Times and Tatler columns. A.A. Gill is an unashamedly intolerant perfectionist whose witty observations and scathing criticism have made him one of the most respected critics to walk through a restaurant's doors. 'Table Talk' is an idiosyncratic selection of A.A. Gill's writing about food, taken from his Sunday Times and Tatler columns.

30 review for Table Talk

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Crowther

    A book to read whilst reading another. Why? I love Gill's sardonic, cutting style - he exposes myths and shines a light on the absurd. But too much at one time leaves a negative aura. Certainly recommend, but take your time A book to read whilst reading another. Why? I love Gill's sardonic, cutting style - he exposes myths and shines a light on the absurd. But too much at one time leaves a negative aura. Certainly recommend, but take your time

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I did enjoy A.A. Gill's amusing and acerbic snippets and some of them had me laughing out loud. However, this is the sort of book one dips in and out of for entertainment, not for those looking for an absorbing read. I did enjoy A.A. Gill's amusing and acerbic snippets and some of them had me laughing out loud. However, this is the sort of book one dips in and out of for entertainment, not for those looking for an absorbing read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Broomfield

    I only learned of the late, great AA Gill when I read one of the many obituaries that lavished praise on this restaurant critic and essayist for the London Times and Tattler. I immediately bought Table Talk so that I could experience Gill's perceptions and wit for myself. I read a lot of food criticism and history, but this collection of Gill's food columns is the best I have come across. I found portions of Gill's reviews to be laugh-out-loud funny. Here's only one of many examples. Gill is writ I only learned of the late, great AA Gill when I read one of the many obituaries that lavished praise on this restaurant critic and essayist for the London Times and Tattler. I immediately bought Table Talk so that I could experience Gill's perceptions and wit for myself. I read a lot of food criticism and history, but this collection of Gill's food columns is the best I have come across. I found portions of Gill's reviews to be laugh-out-loud funny. Here's only one of many examples. Gill is writing about truffles and what started out to be a fine meal at an unnamed restaurant. All was well until the truffle ice cream. Gill's companion,The Blond, tasted the ice cream and did the predictable "Yeach, yeuch, that's horrible, horrible." But then some time later, the Blond turns to Gill and described the experience this way: "You know what it was like? It was like slipping into bed in the dark and finding a familiar warm body there, then switching on the light and discovering it's your grandfather, naked and aroused. You know what I mean?" Gill responds, "Not precisely specifically, but generally." Gill combines this humour and sharp wit with more profound statements about cuisine in general, including a masterful take-down of Britain's saintly Elizabeth David. As someone who admits to worshipping David herself, I went from anger at Gill's critique of David to a grudging admiration for how he gets to a truth: David's championing of Italian and French cuisine at the expense of British cuisine has had lingering, terrible consequences for a nation that suffers from a culinary identity crisis. As Gill writes, "The real problem is not just that we [Brits] cook Italian food day in, day out, it is that we cook it so jolly badly. . . . Housewives try to cook dishes that may be cheap to put together in Milan or Rheims, but cost a lot in Bolton or Penzance. Take those two staples of Italian cooking, the tomato and sweet basil. The plum tomatoes that grow in the heat of Italy taste totally different from the forced-under-polythene ones that we get here. . . . Consequently, robust peasant food tastes insipid and second-rate when it is prepared by foreigners." And a whopping dose of the blame, Gill contends, rests with Elizabeth David. Gill writes a lot of unorthodox, irreverent things in Table Talk, provoking readers to take an active part in engaging with him, critiquing him, agreeing with him, and most of all laughing with him as he punctures our fine gourmand sensibilities with abandon. This is a book that I will buy extra copies of just to give out to my friends and colleagues in the culinary industry. In this way, I will do my small part to keep Gill alive forever, even if he is no longer with us in the flesh.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larissa Archer

    I will forever wish it was I who described certain mozzarella like "a blind whale's eyeball"... I will forever wish it was I who described certain mozzarella like "a blind whale's eyeball"...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Langstroth

    β€œπ’²π‘’, π“ƒπ‘œπ“ƒπ‘’ π‘œπ’» π“Šπ“ˆ π“€π“ƒπ‘œπ“Œ π’½π‘œπ“Œ π“‚π’Άπ“ƒπ“Ž π’Ήπ’Ύπ“ƒπ“ƒπ‘’π“‡π“ˆ 𝒢𝓇𝑒 𝓁𝑒𝒻𝓉 π“‰π‘œ π“Šπ“ˆ. π’―π‘œ π“π‘œπ‘œπ“€ 𝒷𝒢𝒸𝓀 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π“‡π‘’π’Άπ“π’Ύπ“ˆπ‘’ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š'𝒹 π“Œπ’Άπ“ˆπ“‰π‘’π’Ή π’Άπ“ƒπ“Ž π‘œπ’» 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓂 π‘œπ“ƒ 𝑒𝑔𝑔-π“Œπ’½π’Ύπ“‰π‘’ π‘œπ“‚π‘’π“π‘’π“‰π“‰π‘’π“ˆ, 𝑔𝓇𝑒𝑒𝓃 π“ˆπ’Άπ“π’Άπ’Ήπ“ˆ π“Œπ’Ύπ“‰π’½π‘œπ“Šπ“‰ π’Ήπ“‡π‘’π“ˆπ“ˆπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π‘œπ“‡ π“…π“Šπ“‚π“…π“€π’Ύπ“ƒ 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π’·π“‡π‘œπ’Έπ’Έπ‘œπ“π’Ύ π“‚π“Šπ“ˆπ’½ π“Œπ‘œπ“Šπ“π’Ή 𝒷𝑒 π“‰π‘œπ‘œ π’Ήπ’Ύπ“ˆπ“‰π“‡π‘’π“ˆπ“ˆπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘”.” . The by product of another reading slump. I didn’t fancy reading anything and have felt down lately and picked this from my boyfriends bookshelves. The only sort of famous literary person I can claim a β€œsix degrees” connection to is A.A. Gill. In my case it’s four and I can’t tell you β€œπ’²π‘’, π“ƒπ‘œπ“ƒπ‘’ π‘œπ’» π“Šπ“ˆ π“€π“ƒπ‘œπ“Œ π’½π‘œπ“Œ π“‚π’Άπ“ƒπ“Ž π’Ήπ’Ύπ“ƒπ“ƒπ‘’π“‡π“ˆ 𝒢𝓇𝑒 𝓁𝑒𝒻𝓉 π“‰π‘œ π“Šπ“ˆ. π’―π‘œ π“π‘œπ‘œπ“€ 𝒷𝒢𝒸𝓀 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π“‡π‘’π’Άπ“π’Ύπ“ˆπ‘’ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š'𝒹 π“Œπ’Άπ“ˆπ“‰π‘’π’Ή π’Άπ“ƒπ“Ž π‘œπ’» 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓂 π‘œπ“ƒ 𝑒𝑔𝑔-π“Œπ’½π’Ύπ“‰π‘’ π‘œπ“‚π‘’π“π‘’π“‰π“‰π‘’π“ˆ, 𝑔𝓇𝑒𝑒𝓃 π“ˆπ’Άπ“π’Άπ’Ήπ“ˆ π“Œπ’Ύπ“‰π’½π‘œπ“Šπ“‰ π’Ήπ“‡π‘’π“ˆπ“ˆπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π‘œπ“‡ π“…π“Šπ“‚π“…π“€π’Ύπ“ƒ 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π’·π“‡π‘œπ’Έπ’Έπ‘œπ“π’Ύ π“‚π“Šπ“ˆπ’½ π“Œπ‘œπ“Šπ“π’Ή 𝒷𝑒 π“‰π‘œπ‘œ π’Ήπ’Ύπ“ˆπ“‰π“‡π‘’π“ˆπ“ˆπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘”.” . The by product of another reading slump. I didn’t fancy reading anything and have felt down lately and picked this from my boyfriends bookshelves. The only sort of famous literary person I can claim a β€œsix degrees” connection to is A.A. Gill. In my case it’s four and I can’t tell you on social media 😬 . I’d read a few books Gill had written on Zedel and The Wolseley, but nothing more. It was hearing his Desert Island Discs (posthumously) that inspired me to read this - probably my favourite most considered selection of songs and I loved hearing how bizarre, fulfilled and often pained his life had been. . You don’t have to be hugely into gastronomy to enjoy this. It varies from cuisine to travel to food trends. There’s a chapter on Leeds which had me in tears, mainly because it’s probably the truest thing of the city I’ve ever heard πŸ˜‚ Everything he wrote was spot on and there is an event he chronicled with Jeremy Clarkson taking him out for dinner there which was hands down one of the funniest things I’ve ever read πŸ“– Admittedly this isn’t for everyone but Gill’s wit and humour certainly helped me laugh and smile myself out of a slump 😁 . I didn’t recognise him whilst alive - but having read this, at times, such a personal complication I can’t believe he is gone. Rest in peace, A.A. Gill ❀️

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz Chapman

    Years ago I used to read every week AA Gill's column in the Sunday Telegraph. When I got this book it brought back memories. The snippets of his record of different restaurants, Gastro pubs etc was very witty and made me burst out laughing . There are not many books that do that. Going on through the book was interesting and amusing such as the Rainforest Cafe and the Yak. All good so far and I have my nose stuck in the book. Then we get to the different countries section and the whole thing cha Years ago I used to read every week AA Gill's column in the Sunday Telegraph. When I got this book it brought back memories. The snippets of his record of different restaurants, Gastro pubs etc was very witty and made me burst out laughing . There are not many books that do that. Going on through the book was interesting and amusing such as the Rainforest Cafe and the Yak. All good so far and I have my nose stuck in the book. Then we get to the different countries section and the whole thing changes to acidic renditions verging on insulting and at times rather needlessly nasty. What happened ? I actually felt a bit sick after the Vietnam and China sections. I do think that apart from Hong Kong Chinese food isn't very good and with the C19 virus in the world today the Chinese have a lot to answer for . Friends and relatives who have visited Vietnam have eaten nice foods there . The French influence the croissants etc and the local dishes they enjoyed . Chilli hot but nice . Since sadly AA Gill is no longer here to defend himself I'll leave it there . As Snoopy would say " This book is fudge ..... with a little bit of coconut! BLah "

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jo Dorning

    Very hard going. Sentences are purposefully convoluted and complex. Some jokes were funny, but most just made me cringe. The racist and rude comments he aimed at everyone and everything were offensive and downright embarrassing! Racism and all its relatives. I ploughed through it because it did contain some interesting facts (I assume they were well researched...) about food history and food culture.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Vasey

    A compilation of the late food critics most well observed, acerbic, celebratory and funniest food columns organised by country. An essentially-informative but also a laugh-out-loud funny world tour of eating places. Don't travel with it. A compilation of the late food critics most well observed, acerbic, celebratory and funniest food columns organised by country. An essentially-informative but also a laugh-out-loud funny world tour of eating places. Don't travel with it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bookshop

    4 stars because he insulted durian. Otherwise could have been a 5.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephen RΓΆtzsch Thomas

    More or less exactly what I expected - a buffet of opinions, a smattering of exceptional nuggets, and a few tasteless and outdated ideas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jude Grindvoll

    Like all good critics, Gill does not give a flying whatsit what anyone thinks of him (or whether they might inflict actual bodily harm) and this makes him charmingly cutting and acerbic. I find him at his best when writing about home rather than abroad and I love that he has no problem smashing from their pedestals people like Elizabeth David who, as he rightly points out, did not contribute anything like enough to be deified, sanctified and bloody iconised (pretty sure that last one was made up Like all good critics, Gill does not give a flying whatsit what anyone thinks of him (or whether they might inflict actual bodily harm) and this makes him charmingly cutting and acerbic. I find him at his best when writing about home rather than abroad and I love that he has no problem smashing from their pedestals people like Elizabeth David who, as he rightly points out, did not contribute anything like enough to be deified, sanctified and bloody iconised (pretty sure that last one was made up). If you like people who don't mince their words, know their own minds and have a canny knack for a spot-on simile then you'll probably enjoy this book. And i'd recommend Giles Coren's Anger Management which is equally hilarious and quite rightly anti-vegetarian too, as all good Times writers are.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    "Puttanesca is prostitutes spaghetti- hot and, I suppose, cheap and fast." I feel like this quote sums up the entire hilarity of this book. Gill does his job exceptionally well. He gives credit where it is due, and rips the culinary souls out of the places that burn their food, customers and the general reputation of fine dining. If you like food for the experience of eating as opposed to the sensation of being full, if you like to travel and experience something more sophisticated than a hamburg "Puttanesca is prostitutes spaghetti- hot and, I suppose, cheap and fast." I feel like this quote sums up the entire hilarity of this book. Gill does his job exceptionally well. He gives credit where it is due, and rips the culinary souls out of the places that burn their food, customers and the general reputation of fine dining. If you like food for the experience of eating as opposed to the sensation of being full, if you like to travel and experience something more sophisticated than a hamburger and chips, and you are mildly witty, with a slightly devilish sense of humour, you should give this a go.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    You don't really need to be a glutinous pig or gourmet snob to enjoy this book. Gill writes about food the way that Anthony Lane writes about film. It's extremely caustic, witty and elegant - and it contains an argument for eating whale that's hard to find fault with. If anyone knows where I can find his Vanity Fair piece about Celine Dion in Vegas, please let me know. I can't find it archived online anywhere. You don't really need to be a glutinous pig or gourmet snob to enjoy this book. Gill writes about food the way that Anthony Lane writes about film. It's extremely caustic, witty and elegant - and it contains an argument for eating whale that's hard to find fault with. If anyone knows where I can find his Vanity Fair piece about Celine Dion in Vegas, please let me know. I can't find it archived online anywhere.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The best critic in the business, bar none, whether it's telly or food, countries or cultures. It took me a while to get through, but I'm sure I'll return to it in years to come. Interesting to see one of the quotes I lifted from him on my restaurant guide was included in this collection, demonstrating I know a good savaging when I read it. The best critic in the business, bar none, whether it's telly or food, countries or cultures. It took me a while to get through, but I'm sure I'll return to it in years to come. Interesting to see one of the quotes I lifted from him on my restaurant guide was included in this collection, demonstrating I know a good savaging when I read it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    I'm not sure if I love GIll or hate him. He's arrogant and for a restaurant critic his reviews are suspiciously devoid of reference to food, or, you know, the actual restaurant. Howeverβ€”He has a definite style and while rarely HA HA HA funny it is often ha funny. Read, but you don't have to. I'm not sure if I love GIll or hate him. He's arrogant and for a restaurant critic his reviews are suspiciously devoid of reference to food, or, you know, the actual restaurant. Howeverβ€”He has a definite style and while rarely HA HA HA funny it is often ha funny. Read, but you don't have to.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catrien Deys

    A very funny series of columns, but it was mostly humor bordering on cynicism (and narrating bad restaurant experiences only), which I consider a waste; and casually mentioning Indonesian cuisine as unexciting, shows much ignorance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley

    It's okay. Reading several in one sitting only highlights his deficiencies as a writer, his predelections for certain words (Stygian) and prejudices (vegetarianism). Having said that, the man can turn out a wickedly funny simile. It's okay. Reading several in one sitting only highlights his deficiencies as a writer, his predelections for certain words (Stygian) and prejudices (vegetarianism). Having said that, the man can turn out a wickedly funny simile.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Lee

    This guy has got his hilarious food descriptions down pat - you know exactly what he means when he says adding truffle oil is like eating out teenager's sneaker. Often spot-on, sometimes whingy, occasionally a little too vitriolic. Overall a fun read. This guy has got his hilarious food descriptions down pat - you know exactly what he means when he says adding truffle oil is like eating out teenager's sneaker. Often spot-on, sometimes whingy, occasionally a little too vitriolic. Overall a fun read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eilish

    a a gill is a food writing legend. his descriptions are toe-curlingly gruesome. a compilation of his best stuff from the Sunday Times. Great stuff

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alison Smith

    Loved every page. A A Gill - British TV & restaurant critic for the London Sunday Times. Who knew food reviews could be so entertaining, so witty, so blithely politically incorrect? Read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Superb writing! Laugh out loud funny at points.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    As usual, AA Gill is entertainingly provocative - but a little of him does go a long way. I think I prefer to read him in small sips, rather than quaffing the whole in one or two gulps.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Madeeha Maqbool

    Snarkily amazing. As always.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Ferguson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alison Hodnett

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dee O'connor

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris Thorne

  28. 5 out of 5

    Addie Morgado

  29. 4 out of 5

    Timdoe

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gayann

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