What is Palate?

Palate is a free, independent, monthly-updated online magazine dedicated to food and drink. Primarily UK-based but international in spirit, we publish restaurant reviews, articles, interviews, wine and bar reviews, food travel tips and much more. Here we explain a bit more about us and our content…

Palate’s story

Palate was co-founded by C Ley and J A Smith – two bon vivants who connected over a shared passion for dining out and all things French. With a background working in hospitality and events, they spent their twenties organising wine tasting evenings, experimenting with their own cooking and exploring London’s amazing dining scene (as far as their budgets would allow alongside day jobs). Having contributed to other food and drink publications, and regularly asked by friends for restaurant recommendations, they decided to form their own online magazine dedicated to food, drink and travel.

Palate’s restaurant reviews

Palate is entirely impartial and independent. Our reviews are editorial content: this means we do not accept any form of incentive or payment from restaurants to promote them, nor any form of control over the content of the reviews. We always pay for our own meals (plus service) like any other customer. We never review restaurants we know well already. We remain anonymous when reviewing restaurants and they are not told that they’re being reviewed before or during our visit. We may, however, be invited to new openings or be gifted items to try: when this happens (usually in a social media post rather than a review on this website) it is duly disclosed. 

Palate takes a particular interest in discovering and championing the rising stars in the hospitality industry as well as providing an alternative perspective on the more established institutions. Our contributors bring their experience and insight together to help readers make an informed decision.

Of course our reviews are just our opinion, and reflect just a snapshot in time, but we believe our grading system provides a more accurate reflection of a restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses. All of the restaurants we feature, whether venerable institutions or the up-and-coming stars of tomorrow are marked out of 20 with only the very best being awarded anything over 17. You can find out more about our marking system in more detail, but in a nutshell the four main things we look for are:

  1. good quality food and technically proficient cooking that isn’t wacky or overly “cheffy” for the sake of it;
  2. a sedate ambience where you can relax in comfort and hear your dining partner(s) speak;
  3. value for money that is fair for the type of restaurant, its location and ingredients used; and
  4. excellent service that puts the diner first and makes you want to return.  

Palate Cleanser

This is the section of the site dedicated to wine, cocktails, bars, coffee shops and everything in between. With the advent of Coravin (something that Palate welcomes with open arms) and bars starting to rotate their wine selections, there has never been a more exciting time to imbibe in fermented grapes. We’ve also seen massive strides in the mixology scene, not to mention the craft beer and microbrewery craze, so there are lots of exciting developments we would like to keep our readers informed about. 

Food travel guides

Whether in the UK or abroad, there are ‘gastro adventures’ to be had. Palate’s Travel section includes travel guides on out-of-town excursions, mini-breaks and trips that any bon vivant would be mad to miss out on.  

Insight from industry

We love experiencing restaurants and bars but reviewing them from the point of view of the customer is just one side of the story. We’re also interested in the wider context of how they work. We feature carefully researched articles and interviews with interesting insights from those who work behind the scenes.


We want to hear from you, the readers, so if you have any comments or hot tips, please do drop us an email using our Contact page

We’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – providing photos and updates almost daily.