Friday, 25 January 2008

The Imaginary Restaurant Reviewer goes to Town

In all my many years as a restaurant reviewer I’ve witnessed the birth of many new fads and fashions in the dining world. The pre-meal bar, allowing patrons to have a drink while their table is prepared, for example. Themed restaurants, like Planet Hollywood (films), Hard Rock Café (music) and Aorta (open-heart surgery). The introduction of vegetables in 1949. The list goes on.

It seems that the most pervasive new trend in the eatery world is that of the ‘fast food’ restaurant. One cannot stray from one’s home into the boondocks or the cityscapes without falling over outside a fast food restaurant and having to call one’s significant other to help one up before one is mugged by an oik. Never one to turn up my nose at a meal away from my own dining room with its ghastly paint scheme and incessant dance music coming through the walls from next door, I decided to venture to a nearby vendor of this ‘fast food’.

The establishment where I found myself certainly did itself no favours in the ‘first impressions’ department. The décor was bland to the point of invisibility and the tables and chairs looked like they had been formed out of cheap plastic that was too rickety to be used in a primary school.

The service was terrible too. I sat and waited for an hour before any member of staff attended to me, and even then it was to sweep the crumbs from under my table rather than to give me a menu. In the end I gave up and went to see the Maitre D’ to try and get a menu from them. It was here, talking to the rather young worker, that I realized that I was supposed to get up and order my meal there. Another low score, then, for service.

I ordered something called a ‘burger’, which, I was rather scornfully informed, was a sandwich containing ground beef. This was accompanied by very thin chips and a large milky drink (sadly, there was no wine menu). So, after the disappointment of the décor, atmosphere and the service, was I to be let down in the food department too?

Far from it. The meal, though inexpensive, was absolutely delicious! The meat inside the burger was superb, as if every part of the cow had been used in its production. A cacophony of different flavours rippled in my mouth, with the hearty slab of meat, the zesty tang of pickled gherkins, the crunchy onion explosion and the wondrous inclusion of a completely delicious sauce. I was so taken with this sauce that I asked one of the kitchen staff what was in it, but apparently the sauce is ‘secret’. I can only imagine what wonders go into making it!

The chips were among the best I’ve had, from Gordon Ramsay’s Food restaurant to the Oubliette in Paris. What they lacked in size they more than made up for in taste, with a cunning mixture of crispness and sogginess. I scarfed them down with gusto.

So all in all, the food more than made up for the terrible service and vomit-inducing interior design. And all for less than the lowest denomination of English banknote! A bargain!

I shall certainly be returning to this establishment, as I can’t wait to try all their different meals. In fact, I have cancelled my reservation at the Fat Duck so I can go back as soon as possible. Next on my list is the rather exotic-sounding ‘Chicken Nuggets’. I can’t wait!

1 comment:

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