Restaurateur set to sue after review

Sunday Telegraph: editor ‘lost no sleep’ over demands

The Sunday Telegraph is facing legal action from an outraged restaurateur after critic Matthew Norman compared his establishment to the “eighth circle of hell”.

Norman’s review of Shepherd’s in Westminster said: “There is so much about Shepherd’s that is wrong that it would, in a more elegant age, merit a pamphlet rather than a review.”

Suzanne Reeves, a partner at Wedlake Bell, who is acting for Richard Shepherd, said: “We acknowledge that a reviewer is entitled to review a restaurant and express honestly held opinion. We think this was over the top and can’t be an honestly-held opinion.”

In a four-page letter to The Sunday Telegraph, lawyers for Shepherd demanded that he be given space for a right of reply in the newspaper, confirmation the allegations wouldn’t be repeated and a donation made to charity.

Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson said he hadn’t lost any sleep over the threatened libel action and believed Shepherd would be ill-advised to continue it.

Regarding the contentious review he said: “It’s the opinion, honestly held, based on the experience of the reviewer.

Different reviewers often have different opinions about the same restaurant. It’s a very subjective field – that’s the basis of all such journalism.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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