Monday, September 04, 2006

Restaurants, and the lies they tell.

Yesterday I met up with a friend of mine I hadn't seen in a while. We decided to have lunch, even though I am loathe to spend Sunday doing anything but drinking rum, reading the papers and having lazy afternoon sex.
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. ''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!


Blogger SheBah said...

I spent the weekend in Dublin (first time back for a visit in six years). We went to a highly recommended Mediterranean restaurant on Friday night - the food was absolute shit and very expensive. East European waitresses, very nice, but could not see anything amiss with the food. Our "full Irish" hotel breakfast was a miserable, dried up buffet affair - most disappointing, as I had been going on to the love interest about how good black pudding is in Ireland. Mucho egg on face! On Saturday we had a reasonable meal in the Chinese restaurant in Dame Street - but by London standards hugely expensive for an average meal. What has happened to food in Dublin? Or is because we are no longer "in the know". However, the scenery that hasn't been built over was still beautiful, and Blessington lakes are still there, though surrounded by strange Dallas style bungalows.

2:51 p.m.  
Blogger beezer said...

Go on FMC, tell us the name of the restaurant, or an obvious hint maybe? It's only by outing these places will they HAVE to buck up the trend.

3:43 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

I once pretended to be a food critic when I went to a restaurant.

What can I say, I was alone and bored at the time, and figured life is only as fun as you make it.

Felt a bit ashamed afterwards (I'm normally to honest for my own good), but I got over with the superb service I got - t'was great fun :)

I agree with shebah that restaurants in Dublin are overpriced.

3:45 p.m.  
Anonymous QJS said...

Restuarants tend to demand maximum prices for minimum quality. You may be against this FMC but I am all for Polish waitresses, especially when they drizzle extra virgin olive oil everywhere...

5:19 p.m.  
Anonymous Annie said...

Yes, FMC, please do tell us the name. I'll be in Dublin next month and it sounds like a restaurant to be avoided.

5:22 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Superquinn are now doing a black pudding with a white pudding centre, apparently it is the very by word for delish when spread on soda bread!
I won't name names just yet, perhaps it was a one off, but I can say it was just off grafton Street and it was ridiculously over expensive for the slobber they served up. Shebah, there is a strange pub on Liffey Street that sells tapas and all sorts of nice food, it is cheap and it is cheerful and pubby. But they sell things like Chinese noodle salad and all sorts of other nibbly things that are lovely. It's called The Pub and next time you are over this way email and I shall stand you a martini and some Dublin Bay prawns in chilli.
BY the by I am right this secnd eating a packet of walkers sensations, oven roasted chicken with Lemon and Thyme. Very very tasty. Sort of like sunday dinner but in a bag and crispy, with no washing up afterwards.

5:28 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...

i bet you're kicking yourself now. you could have had HUNKY DORYS.

1:14 p.m.  
Anonymous cp said...

great review - but i'm annoyed you won't name and shame the f*ckers - they get one chance - its not hard to produce good quality food - they only cut corners if they think they can get away with it and by not naming and shaming them you are letting them away with it ! as a race, we're too accepting of shite ! [runs back to corner]

12:31 p.m.  
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11:14 a.m.  

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