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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Wednesday 3rd November 2004

Richard Shepherd's Reply to Langan's Review

Dear Toby Young,

Perception is an incredible thing. So are facts and very rarely do they meet.

In over forty years of being in the restaurant industry I have most probably had more critiques than anybody in the business, both favourable and un-favourable yet I have only ever had two disputes:

1. With Fay Maschler twelve years ago which had nothing to do with a restaurant review--believe me; and

2. With Matthew Norman earlier this year.

Yes, I am highly passionate about what I do but I am also realistic enough to know how subjective restaurants are, especially the food. Just like paintings.

1. Langan's opened it's doors in 1976;

2. Fay Maschler was banned in 1992;

3. The original Bistro was where the artists gave pictures in lieu of meals;

4. I bought Michael Caine out five years ago.

With regard to the food, I can appreciate that young people like your good self have different tastes but believe me I let my customers decide. Last year I tried to take off the Spinich Souffle which has been on the menu for twenty-seven years. There was such an outcry that one week later I had to put it back on. Also, with regard to the Bangers and Mash--it's amazing how many so called 'fashionable' restaurants have it on their menu now and the fish and chips with mushy peas and fishcakes. They say imitation is the best form of flattery.

No I am not looking for Michelin stars, I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt but why is it that critics cannot give any credit that twenty-eight years later people still want to go to an establishment?

Yes, we make mistakes and thank you for telling me it is a well-run restaurant. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, you will be lucky with the food but as they say 'never let the truth get in the way of a good story'.

Yours highly sensitively!

Richard A Shepherd CBE

P.S. Good luck with your West End show.

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