RAVE reviews have propelled a pint-size food stop in Swindon’s Tented Market to the Number One spot on TripAdvisor.
Egg-E-Licious has just 18 seats and a tiny open kitchen but has seen off competition from established restaurants offering high-end cuisine and table service.
The travel reviews website has caused controversy in the town with accusations of fake reviews and traders saying they have been unfairly demoted for breaches of its code.
But Egg-E-Licious has enjoyed a roaring trade in recent months which has been boosted by the website – and its owner Ashok Mistry says customers are savvy enough to make up their own opinions after looking at reviews.
“I’m really pleased,” he said. “It is a vindication of my belief in good, fresh, nutritious food which is cooked and prepared in front of the customers. Nothing is made ready to go and I can tell people which vitamins are in every ingredient.
“I come from a pharmaceutical background and at first people didn’t understand the concept but it’s really taken off. I didn’t really know about TripAdvisor until a couple of years ago when a competitor described us as an egg and bacon place, which just wasn’t us.
“Someone counter-commented and since then it has just exploded. We have people from all over the world come here because they are in Swindon and have read about us on TripAdvisor. We tried all kinds of marketing in the past but nothing has worked as well as this. The website has 50m customers globally and when people visit somewhere new it’s the first place they look.”
Egg-E-Licious, which opened in 2009, uses ingredients such as Cajun chicken, spinach, chick peas and paneer which are put into toasted wraps.
Recent specials include green Thai squid, Kashmir tilapia with fenugreek and Mediterranean hake with sunblush tomatoes, fresh basil and olives.
Ashok estimates one customer visits every other day because they have seen his food stop ranked No 1 for restaurants in Swindon.
“I have had restaurateurs and chefs come to check me out and some of them have supported us and left five-star ratings,” he said.
“TripAdvisor can be reliable. Certain people are nasty but I never counter-comment. I let people judge for themselves.”