The case centres on a review of Coco Roco restaurant published in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in 2003. Matthew Evans, then the newspaper's chief food critic, dined at the restaurant twice and was not impressed. He said the flavour of oysters soaked in limoncello "jangled like a car crash" and that a sherry scented apricot white sauce that accompanied steak was a "wretched garnish" that he scraped off.
Awarding the restaurant nine points out of 20, he concluded that "more than half the dishes I've tried at Coco Roco are simply unpalatable", and that the food was overpriced.
The restaurant closed shortly after the review appeared.
The Sydney Morning Herald's current chief restaurant critic, Simon Thomsen, said yesterday the judgment meant that now "anything short of hagiography will be defamatory".