Last Night’s TV – Restaurant in Our Living Room

by Lynn Connolly


Virgin 1 offered up this lovechild of Come Dine With Me and Virgin Cooks, and I was fairly bored, fairly fast.

And I had some questions about hygiene and so on too… aren’t there rules and regulations about that kind of thing?

Apparently, each of the couples who feature on the show have undertaken a Level 2 Food Hygiene award via the internet, which takes about two hours from start to certificate. Mmm, I’m not entirely sure that’s sufficient. And what about the premises they’re cooking in? Aren’t they supposed to be inspected or something?


However, putting those concerns aside, we’ll return to the show itself, the premise of which is that two couples, armed with a budget of £500 each, will turn their homes into – what we were reliably informed is a new ‘craze’ – a pop-up restaurant for the night, and guests would pay what they felt was deserved for their meal. Whoever made the most money, won.

The first two couples featured last night were Amanda and Graeme – who were rather snobby I thought – and Charlie and Sam, who were just ordinary but pleasant people. Amanda and Graeme invited 56 diners while Sam and Charlie invited just 32, so from the get go, unless Charlie and Sam’s food and service were exceptional, and their guests generous, they were on something of a back foot in terms of anticipated revenue from the night.

We watched as the couples planned their menus, sneered at each others menus, then prepared their homes for the diners and the meals that were on offer. Predictably enough, there were frayed tempers and overly critical diners, and a rowdy mob at Alison and Graeme’s, some of whom shouted “Get your top off!” every time Graeme walked into the room. I don’t quite know why… he wasn’t exactly buff or anything.

Anyway, meanwhile, Charlie and Sam had a fair few complaints about their “lumpy” mash and food gone cold while awaiting service. Someone moaned that their fish was undercooked, even though it looked overcooked if anything.

Back at Amanda and Graeme’s, diners moaned about one of the dishes being too salty and too garlicky, and they still wanted Graeme sans shirt. Graeme summed up their evening’s clientele by saying, “They’re complete f***ing tossers.”

In both homes, some diners paid as little as £5 but one man, bless him, paid the princely sum of £27. By the end of the night, with everyone looking remarkably like wrung out dishcloths and with crockery as far as the eye could see, Amanda and Graeme had taken £706.93 and Charlie and Sam, £367.34, so Amanda and Graeme won the holiday in Italy that was up for grabs.

Ultimately, the proof of this show’s pudding was in the watching, and whilst it was mildly entertaining – if you aren’t already sick to the back teeth of cooking shows, and I am – it wasn’t something that I’d deliberately watch again, so I’m afraid I won’t be a returning customer.

Do you fancy starting your own restaurant or enjoying a meal with a difference? Check out the restaurant map here.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.