Would-be Portsmouth restaurant critic’s first review

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FOODIE James Wilkinson’s dream job is to be a restaurant critic.

So imagine his joy when he was invited by the owner of a top Portsmouth eaterie to try out his food.

Kevin Bingham, owner of Restaurant 27 in Southsea, found out about the 11-year-old’s ambitions as his daughter attends the same school.

So he decided it would be a good opportunity to invite James and his parents in for a meal.

James, from Camber Place in Old Portsmouth, said: ‘When I first got asked to do it I was excited.

‘I couldn’t wait to come in and try out the food. It was the best food I have ever tasted. I like going to restaurants and places to try food.

‘This has made me want to do this job even more.’

James’ dad Chris Wilkinson, 52, added: ‘When we go to places we always encourage him to try food. It’s fantastic.

‘It was a good experience and we would certainly look at coming back again.’

James was treated to a three-course meal.

He added: ‘I was bursting to try the food because it’s like nothing I’ve had before. It was an exciting experience.’

Kevin said: ‘I saw that James wanted to be a food critic.

‘Fortunately, we are in the privileged position to try and give someone an opportunity so we offered him the chance to come in, try the food and write a critique on us.

‘It’s amazing. I wish more youngsters were that way inclined – to think positively about their futures so young.

‘It was a positive review. You don’t normally know your critics when they come in, but this one was organised.

‘I think it went very well. He was well looked after and hopefully he had some great food. The critique was very well-balanced.’

‘Luscious tender pork belly...’

AN excerpt from James’ review:

Restaurant 27 sits serenely on a corner just set back from Southsea seafront, away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area.

The head chef and owner, Kevin Bingham, along with his wife Sophie have had time to establish themselves as Portsmouth’s top-ranked restaurant (as rated by customers) since opening four years ago.

While we were served diving freshly-crafted bite-sized canapes, we selected a different starter and main course for each of our party of three as we wanted to see and taste the widest variety.

I enjoyed the ham, egg and chips to start (the complete opposite of how it sounds!) - ham hock terrine, quails egg and a great potato concoction which looked like a bird’s nest, drizzled in piccalilli.

I followed this with a luscious piece of pork belly which had been cooked until mouth-wateringly tender for 30 hours, finished with a fabulous crunchy topping and served on a bed of squash and accompanied by whipped potato and smoked apple sauce.

Finally my already-high expectations of the meal were topped with an amazing vanilla creme brulee accompanied by the contrasting textures of soft rhubarb and toasted peanuts.




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