Tuesday, 12 March 2013

10 Restaurant Things I Hoped Might Have Gone Away by Now

It's March 2013, and what better a time to blow off the cobwebs with some spring cleaning. I wish restaurants would clean out a few of these tired old relics, still lurking around today. Or at least exile them to chains in motorway service stations perhaps.

1. Chunky Chips
I'd like to have been there when they invented these. Back in 1985 some hungover head chef at Berni Inn decided he really couldn't be arsed to slice potatoes any thinner, and he hated the French anyway. Eureka: Chunky chips were born.
Well, nothing filled me with more disappointment last week than when I ordered a club sandwich (very nice) & chips at Balan's and it turned up with inch thick, soggy greasy doorstops of deep fried King Edward (pictured above). I only ate one, which contained enough steaming wet potato to make a family-sized shepherd's pie.
This is SOHO FFS, not Swindon.
If I was an  EU politician I'd be lobbying for a rule of max 8mm sliced width in chips, or they must be called 'British chips' and reserved for theme pubs in airports with laminated menus.

2. Anything 'deconstructed'
I can't think of anything more about this than 'put the sodding ingredients together you lazy pretentious twat', sorry. 

3. Faux-sterity
Has anyone else noticed that the ironic thing with 'austerity dining', which begins with no-booking policies and single page websites, single item menus, wine served in milk bottles, scavenged furniture and decor that looks like you're eating in a rather less salubrious part of Chernobyl, is when the bill comes?

4. Battering and frying everything
Unless you're a chippy, yawn. Can't chefs think of any other cooking techniques? Plus i read somewhere that doing that to everything is a teeny bit bad for you.

5. Micro leaves, dusts and powders
This has become ridiculous. Looking at plates from certain big hitting chefs these days can be rather like looking at a compost heap that's been left for a few weeks and little shoots have sprung up all over it. I've written about it before here.

6. Absurd novelty afternoon tea themes
They're getting more and more twee - do we really want to eat an edible shoe? Can't we just be civilised without being made to feel completely ridiculous? Are we supposed to bring our teddy bears too, and talk in girly voices? It seems to be a female thing to want to go and dress up in vintage costumes and live in some sort of fantasy world for the afternoon.

7. Square plates
These belong to 90s Thai restaurants, Tetris obsessives, Footballers & Come Dine With Me contestants. No-where else.

8. Everything pickled
Of course this 'down-home' trend is the perfect partner to your smokey ribs or whatever, but it seems to have sneaked onto real restaurants menus now too.
I don't want everything to taste of salty vinegar any more. I thought pickles were for evening drinks parties with your Aunt's leathery skinned gold-jangling neighbours in her holiday flat in Marbella. Plus, rather boringly, pickled things contain up to 10 times more sodium than fresh things. Death by gherkin.

9. Flirty t-shirt slogans
Unless you've got a bar full of cheeky, young, model-esque staff, it just looks a bit embarrassing. Undress me? Quite honestly, the thought of you naked while I'm eating this bit of chicken skin is a bit weird.

10. Salted caramel
Fast becoming the 2010s answer to 'Death by Chocolate' in the eighties, or banoffee pie in the nineties.


  1. I ordered some banoffee pie recently and it came 'deconstructed'. I feel the same way.

  2. Amen to the chips. No one wants soggy "doorstops" of chips, which the chunky ones inevitably are. You have to dig through the pile to find the crispy little bits and that always make me feel weird.



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