Food for Thought: The Trials and Tribulations of Blogging

There’s something rather addictive about blogging, from the high of hitting “Publish” on a post I simply can’t wait to share to the multitude of benefits that I’m still discovering – whether in the form of new friendships made with kindred e-spirits or thrilling new encounters and experiences that I might not otherwise have had!

While there’s been no flip side per-se, I’m also discovering that the #BloggerLife does come with its own nuanced set of complications (an expanding waistline notwithstanding!)…

I think for me, the biggest issue I’ve had to contend with is that of consistency.

There has been more than one instance where I’ve learned (albeit from others) that the standards/ service/ quality of a restaurant have seemingly slipped long after I’ve given it a glowing review based on my previous (and more stellar) experience.

On a related note, it’s inevitable that people are likely to have different experiences at a restaurant even within the same time-frame. There are so many contextual factors at play from personal preferences or the mood you (or indeed, your servers!) were in, to the specifics of the dishes tried and tasted. Eneko, the new Basque restaurant in London (an off-shoot of a three Michelin-starred establishment in Bilbao) is a prime example of this.

Its reviews have been fairly mixed, with many of my fellow foodies (whose opinions I hold quite high) having been underwhelmed by their meal here. Having read their point of view, I found myself second-guessing my own… until I mentally shook myself with the reminder that each person is entitled to their own perspective, however different. It also reminded me that that in general, reviews (whether by a critic or blogger) should be taken with a subjective pinch of salt – especially by those reading it. 

Third, there’s the question of how scathing should a review be following a less-than-favourable impression of a restaurant. Each reviewer’s style is different, so again this varies across the board.

As for me, I try and paint a balanced picture, not least for some of the reasons so eloquently articulated in Tom Sellers’ recent review of a reviewer.

We thrive in negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than “our” criticism designating it so – Tom Sellers

Life’s not perfect, and there’s no such thing as a perfect meal – each is likely to involve a mix of hits and misses. While I do call out the things which didn’t work for me, I also try and highlight some of the positives, as it’s not all bound to be fallible. 

I could go on (I’m known for over-thinking things from time to time!) but to get to the crux of it, I always remind myself why I started keeping this online journal in the first place… As a way of sharing my thoughtstravels, out-of-the-ordinary or other memorable experiences, culinary quest and latest discoveries, which in the past have included the likes of macaron ice cream sandwiches, matcha ice cream cones wrapped in candy floss and even FreakShakes in Bombay.

The FreakShakes make another good point actually.

Yes, they’re outrageously over-the-top and no one’s expecting them to win any great gastronomic awards any time soon. They’re probably not to everyone’s taste (shockingly proving too sweet even for me!), but they were rather fun to order, taste and write about – hopefully making for an entertaining read for you too. I know that I often live (and eat) vicariously through the adventures of my fellow foodies…

So as I continue on my various exploits, I do so in hope that you find these chronicles interesting, informative and useful!

What do you find to be the trickiest part about blogging? Equally, what do you look for when reading other blogs?

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  1. indjagar

    I also quite often go to restaurants and find that I go against the grain with my review (more often the case is I don’t think the restaurant is half as good as the reviews say, but happens the other way around).

    I think also important as reviewers is the ability to cut ourselves off in a way from our day to day lives – I often ask myself whether I had a great or bad time because of the company I was in, because I had an awesome day otherwise, and try to balance it out.

    And shit experiences make for some much better posts. I’m just naturally shady so then easier for me to be mean that uber nice.

  2. Stephanie

    Presumably the reason why your reviews are usually more glowingly favourable than genuine restaurant critics and regular diners’s reviews is that firstly the restaurants are often not charging you for the meal and secondly the restaurants have invited you because you write favourable reviews of them in your blog. Further your blog provides you with income so you can’t afford to upset anyone by writing a critical review. Unfortunately this leads to a loss of credibility although your writing style and photography are excellent.

    1. The Foodie Diaries

      Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for appreciating my writing skills and photography.
      Just to clarify, I do not get paid for the writing that I do – this blog is and will remain a passion for me, not a profession.
      And yes, I am often hosted by restaurants but visit them on my own accord much of the time too. In both cases, all opinions expressed are my own. If you have a read of some of the hosted features, you would see that I do call out the aspects of the meal that didn’t quite appeal to me personally!
      Thanks so much again for reading.

  3. Stephanie

    Thank you so much for replying. Your writing is excellent. I used to subscribe to a lot of blogs but soon realised that whenever the restaurant or hotel had invited them and footed the bill then the blogger was always rather fawning so after a while I unsubscribed from all of them. However, your blog is so beautifully written that it is a very valuable resource. It’s slightly disappointing to hear you’re not making any money from the blog because you are such a good writer – there are far inferior ones making a tidy sum! You could have a very lucrative career in journalism if ever you wanted one. Anyway, thanks again and for replying so generously to my slightly harsh comments. Best wishes, Stephanie

    1. The Foodie Diaries

      Thank you so much for your feedback and very kind words Stephanie – it’s really nice to be appreciated. It’s this blog actually which made me rediscover my love for writing, whilst opening up a whole avenue of new possibilities (which I do wish includes writing for a newspaper or journal one day!). Really hope you revisit The Foodie Diaries in the future 🙂 My best, Ayushi

  4. Tanja

    It’s the same with TripAdvisor reviews for hotels, you have to take them with a pinch of salt:)) I am aware that my experience in a city/with a tourist attraction might be different from other people’s. We’re not the same:)

  5. Planes & Champagne

    I love this post Ayushi! You’re points are spot on, whether we eat in the same restaurants or not, we all have different foodie experiences so never second-guess your own 🙂 xx

  6. Honey @ The Girl Next Shore

    I totally agree with this. Angie and I had contrasting experiences at M Restaurants; Andrea and I had different views about Engawa; and so on… but even with different tastes, I would still read blogger reviews to pique curiosity. I think most of us are still very honest about our tastes with or without the blogger invite.

    Your FreakShakes ‘review’ reminded me of my recent DSTRKT review. It’s never going to be the best place for Japanese or food but it gave off a fun vibe so it was rather enjoyable in the end.

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

    1. The Foodie Diaries

      Exactly, I read blogs for various reasons but especially driven out of curiosity! And agreed, it’s possible to have a great experience even if the food isn’t necessarily the best… (Btw I really enjoyed your post on DSTRKT!) xx

  7. Andrea

    So very true, not only consistency with regards to other people’s reviews, but also to publishing consistenly, which I am proving to suck at! But all that said, the positives FAR outweigh the negatives, and having just spotted Honey’s post above and my name 😉 v true on Engawa for Honey and I, but I also didn’t enjoy M though Angie really did, etc. Can’t win ’em all, and it also depends a lot on the dishes you actually order! AP xo

    Andrea’s Passions

  8. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I’m not a food blogger myself as you know but from reading so many other food blogs, I often get the sense that sometimes actually, bloggers seem to feel pressure (or feel PR pressure) to eat the same foods at the same places, take the same photos and say the same things and actually, for me, that’s not the interesting bit at all – the interesting bit is the variation in opinions, the way people see and perceive the dishes and restaurants differently, a bit like reading about varying blog posts with different opinions about the same destination to put it in terms I’m better at 🙂 PS, I reckon your posts are fun, informative and have definitely led me to some spots I have been glad to discover in London 🙂

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