Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On the perils of lunch

Last Friday an associate, The Widget, and I carried out a plan that we'd been havering over for a while.

Having a three-course business lunch. In an retro, Seventies/Eighties style.

Quite why we decided that we should do this has now been lost to time's mist. Nevertheless, we thought that we should still scoff in this manner. And devil take the leftovers.

We had previously agreed that our 80s menu would consist of:

- a prawn cocktail
- a steak, of whatever cut
- a black forest gateau

possibly supplemented by a wine of suitably similar vintage.

Do you know how tricky it is to find a restaurant in London that serves all three items? Neither did we, until we started looking. It appears that the prawn cocktail has roared back from its culinary mid-90s exile and into the hearts and stomachs of a nation's diners. But the German cherry cake confection hasn't yet - and sadly it appears with good reason, as will explained in a mo.

But in a remarkable stroke of luck, I did stumble across a venue that does manage to provide you with - for money - all three dishes.

The Scotch Steak House on Charing Cross Road.

I am aware that more sensitive readers are at this point now slack-jawed in their amazement, possibly girding their loins and muttering, 'For the love of God, they didn't.'

Oh yes. We did.

And we have the photos to prove it.

Herewith the prawn cocktail:

Retro 80s lunch 1

Note the stunning lack of bowl-type receptacle, almost perfectly inversely proportional to the amount of Marie Rose sauce on top of the prawns.

But it was, reassuringly, edible. As was the steak:

Retro 80s lunch 2

A handy fillet cut, cooked as requested. While the quality of the meat wouldn't get any lomo hounds excited, it was adequately passable. And have you seen such an old-skool salad? I hadn't in ages; and then twice within two dishes! The Widget chose to have his steak with a bacon and egg on top. He is not from the North of England, btw.

And so then to the climax of the meal, the highly anticipated sampling of this most unicorn of dishes. Ladies and gentlemen, let your digestive tracts gurgle appreciatively for M√ľnchen's finest:

Retro 80s lunch 3

And then, oh Lord, the waves of regret and nausea. Jay. Sus. What. Had. Possessed. Us? An evil Germanic sprite, whispering sweet nothings in our ears, that this sickly confection of sponge and liquor and fruit wasn't sinful, no, but bliss and joyous, joyous release.

The lying get. It was cardboard with red doorknobs on. That had been placed in said fucking Forest for two days, used as toilet papers by badgers and then left to go hard, before being air-freighted to London to be served to gullible idiots like us.

Even the taste of the Asti Spumante we ordered couldn't wash out the shame from our mouths. (And believe me, we'd asked for Blue Nun. They'd run out.)

As we emerged into the gloom of early afternoon London, our pallors as grey of the skies above us, we turned to each other, The Widget and I, with only one thought on our minds:

"Do you think we can find somewhere that serves fondue next time...?"

To be continued...



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