The Shed at Dulwich
|The Shed at Dulwich|
|Current owner(s)||Oobah Butler|
|Rating||1st in London on TripAdvisor|
|Street address||Friern Road, SE22 0BB|
The Shed at Dulwich was a spoof restaurant in a garden shed in Dulwich. It was created as a hoax by journalist Oobah Butler for Vice magazine and became the top-rated restaurant in London on TripAdvisor before the listing was taken down. The restaurant was open for one night in November 2017, serving ten guests including a couple from California.
The faux menu theme was "moods”, and Butler photographed plates of food created using household products including shaving foam and dishwasher tablets. One item on the menu purported to be "Empathetic Vegan clams in a clear broth with parsnips, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Served with rye crisps."
Butler had once worked posting fake reviews of other restaurants at a rate of £10 per review, saying, "I’d look at the menu, pick something, and start lying." For The Shed, he asked friends to post fake TripAdvisor reviews in sufficient quantity to place the venue among the top two thousand restaurants in London. The restaurant attracted a single one-star review from what Butler assumed was a rival.
After becoming the top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor and bombarded with requests for bookings, Butler staged a genuine opening night for the restaurant, serving thinly-disguised £1 ready meals to ten customers. Having been blindfolded and then led down the alley past his house to the end of the garden and the shed, some said they wanted to come back and would recommend it.
The hoax drew comparison to the trend for micro-restaurants. In 2017 chef Tom Kerridge started a real venue called The Shed, opposite his gastropub, The Hand and Flowers, in Marlow, which was described as an "intimate private dining space".
- Patrick Grafton-Green (7 December 2017), "Writer 'tricks' TripAdvisor into making his Dulwich shed number one ranked restaurant in London", Evening Standard
- Valentine Low (7 December 2017), "Prankster Oobah Butler tricks TripAdvisor into thinking his shed is London's best restaurant", The Times
- Helena Horton (6 December 2017), "Garden shed becomes top-rated London restaurant on TripAdvisor after site tricked by fake reviews", Daily Telegraph
- "The Never-Ending War on Fake Reviews". The New Yorker. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "I Made My Shed the Top Rated Restaurant On TripAdvisor". Vice. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- Harry Wallop (11 January 2018), "From Evelyn's Table to Tom Kerridge's Shed: the rise of the micro-restaurant", The Times
- Listing on TripAdvisor, archived on 4 December 2017
- "Restaurants in Dulwich and TripAdvisor". The Dulwich Society. 28 September 2017.