Lonely Planet slams Nimbin Pub

Cheesed-off: Stuart Campbell and Angelica Samut, owner-operators of Hummingbird Bistro at the Freemasons Hotel in Nimbin, busy in their kitchen.
Cheesed-off: Stuart Campbell and Angelica Samut, owner-operators of Hummingbird Bistro at the Freemasons Hotel in Nimbin, busy in their kitchen. Jacklyn Wagner

LONELY Planet founder Tony Wheeler won't be welcome in Nimbin any time soon following the publishing of a new international travel book that rates the Nimbin pub's pizza as the 'world's worst'.

The owner-operators of the Hummingbird Bistro at the Freemasons Hotel, Angelica Salmut and Stuart Campbell, were horrified to learn of the listing this week as they don't even have pizza on their menu.

"It's unbelievable that they would do that," Ms Salmut said.

"As far as I can figure the 'review' could be a couple of years old and possibly about a previous operator of the bistro.

"I've been trying to source it on the internet and it appears to have been uploaded in 2009, but I don't know when it originated from."

Ms Salmut said the careless review stung because they took a lot of care with their food.

"We started up here in June 2008 and we put a lot of effort sourcing local fresh produce and organic meats in keeping with Nimbin's theme," he said. "We also serve a lot of vegetarian and vegan foods."

The furore began on Sunday when the UK's The Independent published a review of the book, The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel, which was published earlier this month.

Topping the list of dubious delicacies in the book, such as 'spleen burgers', 'boiled fermented cow's nose' and 'random pig organs', was the world's worst pizza, complete with a quote from Mr Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet travel guides.

"Many contenders but the pub in Nimbin, northern New South Wales, wins. How could the Australian centre for dope smoking, hippy free-living produce something so bloodyawful?" it read.

The Titanic Awards were initiated by former Chicago Tribune travel columnist Doug Lansky, who now lives in Sweden and could not be contacted yesterday.

He has now produced a book listing 2000 reviews and rankings of the world's worst in food and travel by 'better travelled than average people'.

It goes on to say:"Sometimes it's just as important to know where not to eat as where to eat. Here's proof from hardcore travellers like Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet founder."

The Northern Star contacted Lonely Planet yesterday, but Mr Wheeler was not available - though staff said they would try to get back to us.

The Freemasons' manager, Debbie Guest, said she doubted that Lonely Planet had that much influence any more since recent plagiarism scandals had rocked the credibility of the once sacred tome.

"We have a certain pride as a community that relies of tourism," she said.

"Lonely Planet has previously knocked Nimbin saying people shouldn't come here because of the violence - which really is no different to anywhere else these days."

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