Rabbit kidneys on toast and macaroni on cheese served in a 600 thread Egyptian cotton bowl were among the recipes which made the Shed in Dulwich the top-rate London eatery on Trip Advisor. But don’t try to get a reservation there: it doesn’t actually exist.

Oobah Butler was sitting in his garden shed in South London when he decided to set up a fake restaurant to see what happened, with a website offering reservations to the ‘best kept secret’ in London, and a menu which should have tipped people off to the reality.

Even the photos were fake, with dishes made using shaving foam and bleach tablets.

It worked, and over six months, by posting fake review from different computers, the shed worked its way up from 18,149, the worst restaurant in London, to the best – generating media hype and reservation requests.

TripAdvisor said on Thursday: "Generally, the only people who create fake restaurant listings are journalists in misguided attempts to test us. Most fraudsters are only interested in trying to manipulate the rankings of real businesses - so naturally that is what our content specialists are focused on catching.

"As there is no incentive for anyone in the real world to create a fake restaurant it is not a problem we experience with our regular community - therefore this 'test' is not a real world example," it said.

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