A few years ago I ate at ‘the best’ restaurant in Rome – the three Michelin-starred La Pergola. It’s the only restaurant in Rome to have three stars. I think it was one of the most disappointing meals of my life and we left course after course of the tasting menu. The multi-awarded chef Heinz Beck came out at the end of it and walked straight to our table, fuming – ‘so, you didn’t like?’ No, we didn’t. We appreciated his skills but we prefer food that tastes of what it is, rather than food that is an excuse for a chef to show off his technique. So much for being the best restaurant in Rome.
Clients often tell me – and some of them are kind enough to write – that I have given them ‘the best massage ever’. I’m of course flattered and happy that they are happy. But I know I am not ‘the best’ massage therapist in London. The best does not exist.
But I know the difference between a good massage and a bad one. I once had to review the ‘Top 10’ massage therapists in London – this meant going to plush spas which I don’t generally care for (not in this country anyway). I got to have a lot of massages while I was writing this review, but few of them did anything for me. Some of them I even walked out of.
My favourite massage therapist is a guy who does Thai. The massage goes on for two hours, includes loads of stretching and twisting of my body in directions it doesn’t normally take, and I get a dose of my own medicine – wonderful, sometimes barely tolerable pressure that makes me feel great afterwards.
Whether he’s ‘the best’ massage therapist in London I couldn’t say. All I know is that I’d rather get a massage off him any day than eat another meal at La Pergola.