The Restaurant Inspector Review: Dumb Waiter

THE RESTAURANT INSPECTOR: Thursday 3rd May, Channel 5, 9pm

As a concept, The Restaurant Inspector is less original than a poster of Che Guevara on a student’s bedroom wall. Not only is it a direct spin-off of Channel 5’s popular reality series The Hotel Inspector, but it’s format is nearly identical to Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

You’d think that this would make the show unbearably stale, but the producers have at least managed to get the most important part of the programme right by finding an entertaining and hopelessly deluded subject to hang the whole thing around.

Young Nash Ahmed is supposed to be taking over the West End Curry House his old man has owned since 1980, but instead he’s playing on his phone while the business ships £5,000 per week. How the pair are not suffering a combined nervous breakdown (just think about that figure for a second!) is an interesting point, but first to Nash. There’s not even anything that original about him, after all feckless children who throw away their parent’s hard work are ten a penny in this field, yet for cringe value he’s priceless.

He may wear a ridiculous bandana and talk like one of the chipmunks, but his appearance is nowhere near as dumb as his various ideas for The Maharaja Tandoori. The tacky restaurant looks like it’s seen better days and struggles to attract customers despite being situated in one of the busiest streets in the country, but he stocks Jay-Z’s champagne at £750 a bottle. “How often do you sell those?” asks the eponymous inspector Fernando Peire.. “Once in a blue moon” comes the response. So ‘never’ then. He also wants to spend money on hand-crafted flower-shaped carrots for the plates. Remember, this is a business that’s losing five bags of sand a week. It must also be a bit galling for any other restauranteers watching who are struggling to make ends meet, because despite a dream location, Nash’s incompetency means it all goes to waste.

Basically, this lad is a wannabe party-boy who reckons a restaurant manager is like the general of an army. One mystery customer sent in on a filmed visit jokes that he looks like Elton John (which isn’t far off) but he definitely sounds like David Brent. He’s got a million ideas for sorting out the business, but their all – on the words of Fernando Peire – bullshit.

Oh well. The place gets a nice make-over and it seems that Nash might have learned something from the bloke who runs The Ivy’s restaurant, but whether he has or not is anyone’s guess. As Forrest Gump said, stupid is as stupid does..