How I review

I'm not a food critic; just a girl who likes her grub. I don't pretend to know much about reductions and remoulades, but I hope I know a well-cooked, well-priced meal when I eat one.

When I visit a restaurant or cafe, I consider more than just the food on offer. Of course the choice and taste are the sticking points, but atmosphere, service and price are also very important. As a pescetarian, I'll also be assessing the availability of fish and vegetarian options.

Just like any other diner, what I order depends on my appetite and the health of my bank balance. Sometimes I'll just opt for a main dish; on other occasions I'll order three courses and wine.

Scoring isn't easy, with so many factors to consider. I rank each place within its own category, so a sandwich bar wouldn't be scored against a gastropub, for example. Variety, taste, presentation, quality, service, ambience and price are always weighed up before reaching a verdict.

Here's a guide to what I mean by my marks:

below 5: below par
5: average, not in a rush to return
6: worth considering if you're in the area
7: a good choice for a decent meal
8: recommended - well worth a visit
9: something special
10: book now
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