Three meals out in two weeks. Wonderful company. Not wonderful food. The waiter says “Is everything all right for you?” Do you respond? (hook for trans folk: how are you, complaining to strangers?)
The first was in a chain. The design and typefaces on the menu are the same, and that was how I realised; and my heart sank. We had eaten in the branch in K-, and it had been dry and dull. Still, that special looked alright. When I got it, H asked, “Is that what you ordered?”
I had to check the menu. Perhaps I should read it more carefully. Yes, it is all the things listed; but looking at the plate, I wondered, “What were they thinking? How could anyone imagine that plating this for a main course, even a cheap one, was a good idea?” Her salad was just leaves from a bag, and a few cherry tomatoes.
We went to the bar for the bill, and the man said, “Do you use TripAdvisor?” They are desperate for feedback. I really did not want to say. “I like the decor,” I said. Actually, I didn’t. In the K branch, it has a feel of being created by someone with a bit of flair. In the M branch, it is as if it is set up by someone according to a list of rules, this is what our bar/café chain looks like, and is a bit of a mess.
No, it is a mess. There are times to be positive, and times not. The company is delightful, and that has to be enough. Oh, and the wine was acceptable.
I don’t know why I did not want to tell him my opinion of the food. Perhaps I do not like complaining, or at least not when I have no particular end in view. It was not quite bad enough to refuse to pay. I don’t want to eat there again, but he does not know that.
Then, with a different H- there are at least three Hs on this blog- to a Turkish restaurant before the play. It is called tajine. It has apricots and olives in it, but H thinks it is toned down for the English market: it tastes like an Irish stew. Again,
-Is everything to your satisfaction, ladies?
-Yes, yes, fine, thank you.
No eye contact is required.
And finally a pub a mile away, in the posher village. J exclaims on the beauty- one house has a grapevine trailed on its south wall, there is thatch and a red telephone box. The pub lunch menu is from the 1980s: J has fish and chips, I have a gammon steak. We are pleased by the proper cloth napkins.
The chef introduces himself and asks how we enjoy our meal. “The gammon steak is a bit salty,” I say. Actually all I could taste in it was salt. It was tender enough. He will talk to his butcher, and thanks me for my comments.
The foot in the bottom left hand corner is the famous Monty Python foot. Enough Aphrodites, do you think? Time to change picture theme?