London’s top eatery a fake
A nonexistent restaurant supposedly based in a garden shed briefly became London’s top eating place on travel and restaurant website TripAdvisor, which yesterday hit back at the hoaxers.
The Shed at Dulwich, based in a south London back garden, offered invited guests conceptual dishes named after moods, including “Lust – rabbit kidneys on toast”; “Empathetic – vegan clams in a clear broth”; and “Contemplation – a deconstructed Aberdeen stew”.
The menu was accompanied by mouthwatering photographs of the dishes which, in reality, were comprised of bleach tablets, shaving foam, gloss paint and even a fried egg rested against a human foot.
“One day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation ... maybe a fake restaurant is possible?” said Oobah Butler, who has a history of pulling pranks for news and entertainment website vice.com.
“In that moment, it became my mission. With the help of fake reviews, mystique and nonsense, I was going to do it: turn my shed into London’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor,” he wrote.
Starting at number 18 149 – the worst restaurant in London – “The Shed” worked its way up the rankings, thanks to fake reviews.
One reviewer wrote: “As the sun was setting we were offered blankets – we politely declined (one had a stain on) but a nice touch, adds to the alfresco feel!”
The restaurant was soon inundated with bookings, PR offers and media requests, shooting its rating to the number one spot just six months after its initial listing.
Bowing to popular demand, the restaurant eventually opened its doors, with diners treated to ready meals from budget supermarket Iceland.
TripAdvisor said in a statement yesterday: “Generally, the only people who create fake restaurant listings are journalists in misguided attempts to test us.
“As there is no incentive for anyone in the real world to create a fake restaurant, it is not a problem we experience with our regular community – therefore this ‘test’ is not a real world example.” – AFP