Being in the family of a prominent restaurant reviewer sometimes has its perks: for one thing, we have easy and direct access to a wealth of information about where to go (or not), and secondly, a constant gentle pressure to eat out so we can report back on our experiences. Given that this is something we like to do anyway, the gentle pressure has the added advantage of allowing us to tell ourselves that our culinary adventures out in the world are actually helping someone. Sometimes we even go so far as calling a night out “work”.
Once a year the pressure builds up a little as the new, revised guide is made ready to hit the streets, and going out really does become work. Because let’s face it, for all the glamour in the idea of reviewing restaurants for a living, you also have to sit through a lot of crap (and pay for it!).
But best is when work takes us to unexpected places that we wouldn’t have discovered were we not the samaritans/workhorses that we are.
The other day we planned a breakfast review which quickly became so disastrous (bad service, fake orange juice, one coffee instead of two on the table) that we cancelled our orders and walked out. Our next target was closed for breakfast, so we ended up at another that didn’t really do “breakfast”, but did open at 11am, at which time it is apparently legitimate to start eating pizza.
And so we did, and pasta too, with a glass of wine that slid down surprisingly smoothly at that time of the day. (OK, don’t panic – we started with coffee, so it was closer to 12.30 when we hit the vino. And definitely after 1pm when we had limoncello.)
Our food wasn’t outstanding by any measure, but it was just perfect for what it was. We were also attended by two charming and witty waitrons/servers – something which too many places just don’t realise can make ALL the difference.
The drinks menu was also quite entertaining:
(What would happen, I wonder, if I wanted Omega Tequila Gold? Or Olmeca Silver?)
After deciding that whoever wrote this just didn’t understand that a strawberry is a fruit (and a Brutal Fruit flavour too), and that a Stewbarry is not (and neither is it a Brutal Fruit flavour), our theory was discomfirmed by the following – I might say perfectly expressed – rendition of the fruit in question:
Unfortunately the fruit which should have flavoured the (orange-flavoured) Van der Hum liqueur fared less well under the menu-scribe’s hand, being transformed into a ham.
So we had a good laugh about that, while I surreptitiously took pictures, Bond-style. It was a lovely and unexpected way to have breakfast that day, thanks to “work”.
But I remain truly perplexed about how spelling can be so meaningless to some people. Literally: without meaning. Because that’s where all the meaning is. You can string together all sorts of words in meaningful or less meaningful ways, but if you don’t take the time to make sure you are using the right words (or sequences of letters that make real words), then the whole endeavour becomes ridiculous (and this clearly wasn’t a case of not being able to spell – it was just lazy. C-o-p-y f-r-o-m t-h-e l-ab-e-l).
OK, so it’s a menu. But oranges have feelings too. Absolut.
(Mogwai is watching you)