Fifteen courses and I'm still hungry: The gammon food critic samples the tasting menu

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who thinks fresh-faced 16-year-old Sam Fox cheered the nation up

FINE dining? Fucking rip-off. Poxy little plates that would leave a bulimic peckish and pretentious menus in French.

But my mate had booked the tasting menu for an anniversary dinner just days before his bird left him, and I can’t abide food waste so I persuaded him we’d go together. He’s paying. I’m doing him the favour, after all.

The place has got one Michelin star, which to my eyes seems like a tyre company thinks it’s shit but apparently means it’s good. It boasts about offering a ‘unique, enlightening dining experience’ like it’s some kind of culinary road to Damascus.

There’s more cutlery at the table than I’ve got in the house and the menu’s entirely in French. I’ve a problem with French anyway, because surely they should be speaking English post-war, from simple gratitude? And it’s billed as a ‘Menu Degustation’. Now that’s taking the piss.

I order the wine, since my mate’s still being a miserable prick about getting dumped and needs to get some booze down him. Says it’s 105. Presume that means £10.50. At that price we’ll have two.

We begin with an amuse bouche. I’m not laughing. Seared scallops this, cauliflower puree that, elderflower the fucking other. I feel like I’m eating the leftovers of six other meals.

The main courses aren’t much better. Tiny pan-fried trout fillets when a jumbo battered cod is what I really want. Poxy little quail breasts. I’ve seen bigger tits on Olympic gymnasts. And how do you expect to serve a foie gras cappuchino and not be laughed at?

‘Pommes frites?’ I enquire hopefully. ‘D’oignon en beignet?’ ‘Pain a l’ail?’ All in vain. They keep bringing sorbets to cleanse our palates. I nip out for a B&H for much the same reason.

And I know it’s a difficult time, wondering if he’ll ever dip dick again, but my mate’s no company. ‘She said she can’t see an us anymore.’ Aye, they always say that. What she means is she’s met someone better, which you’ll find out in about three months.

Dessert is some sort of bland, creamy panna cotta type bollocks. Or mille feuille. Honestly it was so small it was impossible to tell. We go our separate ways and my route very deliberately goes past the chippy.

A unique dining experience? Definitely, because I’m not going fucking back. At least it was free.

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How to choose which of the gentlemen in the club will be the most chivalrous choker?

HOPING to get choked to climax tonight, but unsure which lucky chap will be the most adept at strangling you without accidentally murdering you?

It’s a fine line to walk. After all, you’re literally inviting asphyxiation so you can come harder, which is something of a risk. Nonetheless you’d like the hands around your windpipe to be gentle. Here’s how to find a prince of breathplay:

The one with delicate hands

If you spot a man with the kind of beautiful, slender hands that would seem equally fitting playing Beethoven on a baby grand or moisturising, make your advances. With those delicate mitts around your windpipe, the asphyxiation will be next-level. Avoid manicured fingernails, which stray a little too far into serial killer territory.

The one who’s thought about what he’s wearing

Yellow shoes? A neatly ironed short-sleeved shirt? Mismatched socks? These are the telltale signs of a try-hard and it’s always a bonus to land yourself a choker who’s fastidious. But talk through your requirements beforehand, because you can’t shout instructions with closed airways in the way you can for cunnilingus.

The one propping up the bar

You’re aiming for that sweet spot: drunk enough that some of the brute force will have drained from his hands, but not so drunk that he won’t be able to get it up. And a beau who’s withdrawn from the fray will be so grateful for company he won’t balk at requests that veer a little close to serious crimes of violence.

The one with the intricate facial hair

Scan the dance floor until you find someone with the kind of pencil-thin goatee that would make Kanye West want to switch barber. If this guy can achieve that level of precision with a razor, surely he must be well-coordinated and good at gauging pressure. Steer clear of mutton chops – not because of the choking, because nobody can pull them off.

The one who can’t dance and he knows it

A man whose dance face screams ‘kill me now’ is your ideal candidate: self-consciousness is a fine trait in a choker. It’s that constant questioning of his own skills and fear he may be getting it wrong that will ensure he throttles you in exactly the gallant way you have requested.

The one who won’t choke you

A ghastly pick if you want to be choked. But maybe he isn’t just gaslighting you and, as the untimely death of Michael Hutchence showed, the asphyxiation isn’t worth the orgasm. He could be a keeper, as in keep you alive.