It’s true. I always tell porky pies in restaurants . When that waiter arrives to check everything’s OK (i.e. making sure you’re going to pay the bill) I always nod and smile or otherwise acquiesce. But why?
Last night was a case in point at a restaurant I won’t name (it’s not in Manchester). After being served a starter of watery, over-chilled crab with tasteless cucumber relish and disagreeable, dying alfalfa sprouts, I returned the half full plate with a nod and a smile.
Why didn’t I explain why I’d left most of it because it was revolting? Hoping for a better main course, I suppose I wanted to keep the peace. Not make a fuss.
The main (pictured) was worse.
The sauce the consistency of custard with a taste I could only compare to a student toilet after too much cider had been consumed. Then there was the “herb-crust”. I’m not convinced it wasn’t actually stuffing mix with added soap. If it wasn’t, then it certainly did a good impression.
All this for the bargain price of more than £11 but what did I do? Pay, smile and then go home fuming about being ripped off. Obviously I will never, ever return – even if it becomes the last restaurant on earth – but why did I, and presumably lots of other people, pay up?
Yes there’s the embarrassment factor, then there’s the fear that it goes back to kitchen and some unspeakable bodily fluid is added before it return appearance. But more than anything I think it’s recognition that bad food is the norm and that good food is the exception.
After all, how can something that is truly vile be improved? It’s easy to rectify if the food is just not hot or burnt, but what if the entire idea of the dish is wrong?
Every single plate of it is going to be the same because that’s how it has been concocted. Only a mass rejection will ever persuade the chef that he’s gone off the rails.
So, having been so cowardly in person, I can only hope that enough people will never return to make the owners question their menu and tackle it themselves.