Restaurants, and the lies they tell.
But she is my friend and I like her company, so I got dressed in my finery and headed into town. We went to a restaurant much praised by foodie folk in the know. We were given a good table by the window where we watched folk run from shower to sunshine and back to shower again. We scanned the menu eagerly, ooohhh, darne of salmon with a chowder sauce, warm tiger prawn salad with a honey mustard dressing, fresh fish, striaght from the dock to your plate... oven baked pizza with pesto...yummy. Let's eat. But first let's have a martini.
Okay, so we drank more than one while we waited for our starter.
After an age the waitress deposited two plates of tired oil drenched limp salad covered in slurmy goo under which a handful of pertrified prawns hid. I had to ask for black pepper to be brought to the table and no bread was offered. Hopefully I pierced a shallot only to watch it deflate then slither off my fork with an oily plop.
We pushed our food around for a bit, but eventually had to admit defeat. Never mind, let's have another martini, the second course will be better-it sure as shit couldn't be any worse.
Avast and curses. Out it came, her pizza and my 'fresh from the dock to my plate' fish.
I poked it with my knife. 'Er..it's covered in bread crumbs.'
'Yes.' Irna, my Polish waitress nodded.
'Say, Irna is it? How, er, fresh is this fish?'
'Frozen.' She beamed at me.
'It looks like Findus catch.' My friend said helpfully, scraping inch thick lines of vomit green pesto from her barely covered in any topping at all pizza.
'It does indeed.' I agreed spearing the fish and watching it go the way of the shallot.
'I'm not eating this.' I said sniffly.' Take it back please.'
Irna smiled happily at me. 'You don't want?"
She took it away and moments later a harried flush faced manager descended on me like a seagull on a tip.
'Is there a problem?"
'It says on your menu that the fish comes straight from the dock to my plate.'
'Did it come in a frozen food truck?'
'Ah, well we don't have, Sunday you see we-'
And then he gave me a very complicated and frankly absurd excuse as to why my fish might have been fresh back in the day but on this particular ocassion it had somehow decided to dip itself in batter and freeze its fresh self.
I let him talk, it seemed the kindess thing to do under the circumstances. And then I informed him I wouldn't be paying for it.
This seemed to annoy him, but I persisted with my refusal. He went off in a huff some time later, doubtless to pickle some perfectly fresh pork, of drown a helpless lettuce in vinegar, or stick a cold fork in a perfectly good and fluffy sufflé, perhaps he would drizzle raspberry sauce over a large white plate and fling some duck who died of old age beside it. Either way you can be sure he was up to nowt good.
This is the reality with restaurants. They get cocky, they get a good review or two, next thing you know they change staff, lose a good floor manager or some idiot starts cutting corner and buff. Good restaurant suddenly becomes shitty. And a bad reputation is the sort of shit that take some serious elbow grease to shift again.
Snotty yet not so hotty restaurants, I'm against them!