We went to a famous restaurant recently. $350 a head degustation with matched wines. Appalling extravagance, but a friend knew the owner (which was how we got the booking) and they had a winelist it would’ve been nice to get on, so I put it down as market research. The dishes we were given varied, in my entirely personal opinion, from the sublime (the majority) to the slightly-too-out-there-for-their-own-good. But I liked that. It’s how it ought to be if you’re a chef bent on pushing the boundaries.
The waiters and waitresses were charming and attentive, but the one less than pleasing feature of the evening was them coming up to the table and reeling off a carefully memorised pretentious description of each thing we were about to eat just before we ate it. There were fifteen menu items; for each spiel we felt obliged to stop talking and feign interest and nod politely. Several of my best funny stories got fatally interrupted. If I were more forthright and assertive I might have said something, but it was their job and the staff were so nice I couldn’t bring myself to be discourteous. But after the bottle of champagne we started with and the seven wines the dishes were matched with my attention began to wander …
Cue hovering waiter:
“A petit pate of finely diced, delicately seasoned, char-grilled prime Angus steak, nestling atop a fresh-baked bun crafted from superfine boltered flour and sprinkled with hand-polished, roasted sesame seeds, enwrapped with 100% dairy Illinois farm cheese, overshadowed with selected, market-foraged iceberg lettuce leaves, slices of vine-ripened, locally harvested tomato, deconstructed onion and medallions of dill pickle, drizzled with a swirl of Dijon mustard and a coulis of spiced, acidulated heritage tomatoes. Temptingly accompanied by to-die-from triple-fried batons of Maris Piper potato.
And to follow, a sweet reduction of Ambrosia apples hand-picked in Washington by native Americans, lovingly enrobed in a beignet of crisp pastry topped off with a kiss of locally-sourced, organic triple cream.
And to go with it, what could beat an amusing little Rose?