simple pleasures should not be underestimated

Yesterday I had lunch at one of those places which is more concerned with their atmosphere than with the provision of food.

You know the places: where the menu contains such exotic items as fillet of atlantic salmon, the fish in question having been nurtured in dark and lightless caverns tucked under the antarctic ice shelf for several years, before being slaughtered and the meat wrapped around a lemon and shot into space and thus lightly seared upon re-entry, and then served upon a bed of, god, I don't know, alfalfa sprouts drizzled in caterpillar spit. Gourmet.1

The menu contained all of four items: one entree, two mains, and one cheese. It took the waiter no less than twenty minutes, and three trips, to bring us a slice of bread each, and there was only four of us present.

The meal arrived an hour and a half after ordering2 — and vanished down our hungry gullets in thirty seconds. Partly because we were starved by the wait, but mostly because the portions allotted to us wouldn't have sated an anorexic silkworm.

I couldn't bear the thought of waiting another small eternity for the cheese dish, which I was rather beginning to suspect would be a single cracker with just a sliver, dahling, of cheese.

Give me a pub meal any day.

  1. Okay, okay, I am not saying all gourmet food is bad. But there is a particular breed of gourmet establishment which confuses arrogance with a sterling reputation. Those ones. []
  2. I didn't choose the salmon kingfish. I chose the beetroot and goat's cheese risotto — which I think could more correctly be described as borscht with a bit of rice thrown into the mix. []