When bloggers - certain bloggers - responded by introducing a table of disclosures '[placing] us at the leading edge of blog transparency', the clear implication being that anyone who didn't follow suit must be a deceitful bounder, I felt that the very heart of my hobby had been ripped out and that it was becoming more of a chore than a pastime. The almost-final straw came when an article slating restaurant bloggers appeared in a respected publication, written by someone not only who I knew and liked but who had also been my host at a free event for bloggers some months ago. Et tu, Brute? I thought, and started very seriously to question whether the game was worth the candle.
And then I went for lunch at Brawn, and in the space of a couple of hours of near-perfect food, fantastic wines and the most exquisite company, I was reminded why it is that I do this. Not for freebies - though I won't deny they're a nice, occasional bonus - nor for any perceived credit for being the first through the door of a new restaurant to write about it, even if my hastily-written 'review' is so poorly constructed as to be barely intelligible. No, I do this because eating out, when it's as good as this, is so bloody pleasurable that to then relive it through writing about it - even if no-one reads the result - is almost as joyous as having the physical experience all over again.