New York restaurateur Keith McNally has been slammed after going on a bizarre rant against British restaurant critics, claiming he ‘bought’ reviews when he opened Covent Garden bistro Balthazar.

Mr McNally, 69, launched a tirade against Evening Standard and Tatler food critic Fay Maschler, claiming she only gave his restaurant a ‘stupendous’ review because they were good friends.

In a scathing attack posted to his Instagram page, he said that ‘four or five of London restaurant critics have so much Putin-like power that the people who slave away cooking and serving the food are scared s *** less to publicly find fault with them ‘and said that Italian restaurant Brutto’ greatly benefited ‘from the owner’s friendship with Sunday Times’ restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin.

The restaurateur has previously claimed to ‘out’ anonymous critic Ms O’Loughlin – by sharing a picture he claims is her to Instagram. However, photos shared were of academics and other journalists.

In her own Instagram post, Ms O’Loughlin says’ I’m not sure he realises the horrible story he paints about himself ‘before accusing him of speaking’ utter b ******* ‘for accusing her of’ fictitious corruption ‘.

New York restaurateur Keith McNally has been slammed after going on a bizarre rant against British restaurant critics, claiming he ‘bought’ reviews when he opened Covent Garden bistro Balthazar

Mr McNally, 69, launched a tirade against Evening Standard and Tatler food critic Fay Maschler (pictured) claiming she only gave his restaurant a 'stupendous' review because they were good friends

Mr McNally, 69, launched a tirade against Evening Standard and Tatler food critic Fay Maschler (pictured) claiming she only gave his restaurant a ‘stupendous’ review because they were good friends

Taking to Instagram, Mr McNally – who describes himself as a ‘Deadbeat New York Restaurateur’ posted a pictured of Faye Maschler receiving her MBE and wrote: ‘LONDON RESTAURANT CRITICS ARE RIFE WITH CORRUPTION. ME TOO.

‘In 2013, a few months before opening Balthazar in London, I became friends with the restaurant critic, Fay Maschler MBE, and her husband, the painter Reg Gadney.

‘We met for dinner – once with AA Gill in Barnes – and watched one or two movies together. My then wife, Alina, sat for a portrait painting, for Fay’s husband. I even cooked dinner for the two of them. All in all, we were good friends. The elephant in the room, of course, was the opening of Balthazar and Fay’s impending review of it.

‘Balthazar opened in the spring of 2013 and Fay gave it a stupendous review. The rest of the English critics gave it af ****** awful one. (And perhaps deservingly so.)

‘Without Fay Maschler’s “bought” review, which I take 50% responsibility for, Balthazar would have closed. Despite my suspect character, I’ve felt guilty about this ‘bought’ review ever since. However, Fay Maschler MBE is not the culprit. The culprit is the immense – and unchecked – power of London’s restaurant critics.

‘In London’s food industry it’s an open secret that many of London’s restaurant critics are open to corruption.

In a scathing attack posted to his Instagram page, he said that 'four or five of London restaurant critics have so much Putin-like power that the people who slave away cooking and serving the food are scared s *** less to publicly find fault with them 'and said that Italian restaurant Brutto' greatly benefited 'from the owner's friendship with Sunday Times' restaurant critic Marina O'Loughlin

In a scathing attack posted to his Instagram page, he said that ‘four or five of London restaurant critics have so much Putin-like power that the people who slave away cooking and serving the food are scared s *** less to publicly find fault with them ‘and said that Italian restaurant Brutto’ greatly benefited ‘from the owner’s friendship with Sunday Times’ restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin

‘The recently opened Gross – an excellent restaurant – greatly benefited from the owner’s friendship with Marina O’Loughlin, the Sunday Times food critic.

‘After exposing this fact on Instagram I was deluged with emails and DMs from the owners, chefs and managers of London restaurants – Hawksmoor, The Delaunay and St John included – agreeing with me, but absolutely terrified to talk about it publicly.

‘Four or five of London restaurant critics have so much Putin-like power that the people who slave away cooking and serving the food are scared shitless to publicly find fault with them, or even talk openly about the restaurant critics’ colossal power. Something is Extremely Rotten in the State of Russia. ‘.

Many people took to the comments of the post to correctly point out the pair’s mutual friendship was disclosed in the review, with Ms Maschler pointing out that Mr McNally’s children and her step daughter went to the same school and they had become ‘family friends’.

Others also said it was disingenuous, with the owner of Hawksmoor Will Beckett writing: ‘For what it’s worth, as the actual owner of Hawksmoor, I don’t think this is right, I don’t think London critics are corrupt, and if I did I’d be more than comfortable speaking out about it.

‘There is a huge difference between London and New York restaurant criticism (like Keith, I also have restaurants in both), but my personal view is that it is being misrepresented in this post. And in case anyone is worried I’m sticking up for people out of self-interest, I can confirm that Fay Maschler gave one of my restaurants the worst review I’ve ever had, which I can still quote verbatim to this day, 16 years later. ‘

In her own Instagram post, Ms O'Loughlin says' I'm not sure he realises the horrible story he paints about himself 'before accusing him of speaking' utter b ******* 'for accusing her of' fictitious corruption '.

In her own Instagram post, Ms O’Loughlin says’ I’m not sure he realises the horrible story he paints about himself ‘before accusing him of speaking’ utter b ******* ‘for accusing her of’ fictitious corruption ‘.

Another added: ‘You don’t seem the type to feign a friendship and you enjoyed Maschler and her husbands company outside of dining. It sounds as though you enjoyed a lot of non restaurant related events. So calling her review “bought” sort of unnecessarily discredits that friendship ..? Maybe some overthinking going in here. (She probably DID think it was worth the good review) ‘

A third wrote: ‘You seem to be ascribing an awful lot of power to restaurant critics when the entire world of food reporting has changed enormously’.

A fourth penned: ‘Your view is a unique one. I liked Balthazar because it was good and had excellent staff. I’d say there’s nobody better to judge a restaurant than Fay. That you’ve dragged your friend into your bizarre conspiracy theory is really quite pitiful and spiteful imho ‘.

In her own post, Ms O’Loughlin referred to Mr McNally as a ‘has been restaurateur’ and described his comments as ‘utter b ******’.

Sharing a picture of Ms Maschler, she wrote: ‘Sigh. So the has-been restaurateur is at it again. Two observations: 1) I’m not sure he realises the horrible story he paints about himself in that latest post: deliberately cultivating and grooming someone with actual ‘friendship’ before dropping it like a stone once the (fair and transparent) review was published . And 2) funny how it’s always the women.

Mr McNally is no stranger to controversy and feuding and has previously banned high-profile guests from his New York restaurant.

Mr McNally is no stranger to controversy and feuding and has previously banned high-profile guests from his New York restaurant.

As to his famous DMs – b ******. Utter. I’ve also had messages curiously enough, from the same sources he mentions, attaching his demands for dirt on me and deeply uncomfortable at having been dragged into the nonsense.

‘Good luck with that, babez. I’m very sorry, but on the dirt front, he picked the wrong guy. Also, re Brutto – you’d think that with his many decades in the biz he’d know the difference between a review and a round-up listing. And my famous ‘friendship’ with its owner– two lunches in twenty years. I’ve a closer relationship with some of my socks.

‘Anyway, he can come after me if he likes. (And he does like, a lot. But lawyers – not mine, The Times ‘lawyers – are watching. As I’ve said before, aalllll the receipts. And if he’s going to continually accuse me of fictitious corruption, I wish he’ d remember it’s on a national, not just London scale.) But coming after Fay just demonstrates how low he has sunk. ‘

FEMAIL has contacted Balthazar and Tatler for comment.

Mr McNally is no stranger to controversy and feuding and has previously banned high-profile guests from his New York restaurant.

In May, Mr McNally, whose culinary empire includes Balthazar, Pastis and Minetta Tavern, wrote a furious post on Instagram denouncing the behavior of former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter who had booked a table for 12 on a Wednesday lunchtime but not showed up.

In May, Mr McNally, whose culinary empire includes Balthazar, Pastis and Minetta Tavern, wrote a furious post on Instagram denouncing the behavior of former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter who had booked a table for 12 on a Wednesday lunchtime but not showed up.

In May, Mr McNally, whose culinary empire includes Balthazar, Pastis and Minetta Tavern, wrote a furious post on Instagram denouncing the behavior of former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter who had booked a table for 12 on a Wednesday lunchtime but not showed up.

‘Unless Graydon kisses my feet, the ban’s forever,’ he said.

In November, he nearly banned a brazen real estate developer who barged into his restaurant

He claimed that millionaire mogul Michael Shvo waltzed past wait staff sat himself at the eatery’s best table

The fuming foodie – who has been active in the New York City restaurant scene since the 1980s and has an estimated net worth of about $ 18 million – then implored Balthazar staff to ‘Please have Mr Shvo’s AA status torn to shreds.’

‘AA’ is an acronym for ‘always accommodate,’ an in-house grade used by restaurant staffers to classify a VIP’s importance.

He’s also defended Gov. Andrew Cuomo and in February he defended Ghislaine Maxwell, in jail awaiting trial for sex trafficking with Jeffrey Epstein, and insisted she was ‘currently innocent’.

He then praised Woody Allen and Soon-Yi for appearing at Balthazar, captioning a picture of them at his restaurant: ‘I’ve never been as happy at Balthazar as I was last night to see the beautiful Soon-Yi and her husband dining there . ‘

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