Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who reckons the BBC knew about Savile the whole time, but Thatcher and the Queen didn’t
THE sea’s full of weird shit. That doesn’t mean you have to eat it, and somebody should tell the Spaniards that.
No, there’s one way to eat fish and that’s deep-fried in lard with a massive pile of chips. And mushy peas. On a Friday night after the pub. People knock British cuisine, but show me the chef who’s come up with anything to beat that.
Still, gastronomes do persist. They’ll serve up prawns like they’re not an oversized aquatic flea. And there’s a new swanky seafood pleace in the centre I’ve blagged a freebie at by neglecting to mention I’m retired.
I breeze past the complementary caviar brushetta – nobody in their right mind eats eggs scooped out of a sturgeon’s fanny – and sit down only to discover this place is so up itself the menu’s in French and doesn’t have pound signs on. If I tried to pay in fucking euros they’d realise the exchange rate bloody quick.
There’s no beer, only overpriced wine with a note saying what wine partners what fish. It’s like Strictly under the sea. Still I’m not paying so I order a bottle that apparently steps out nicely with roe.
Starters? Mussels, oysters, other molluscs that lie on beaches eating raw sewage. Fuck that. ‘Are the scallops in batter?’ I inquire, at which the waiter looks at me like I’m a shit-eating mollusc myself.
I briefly consider the smoked salmon before deciding, as usual, it looks too much like skin grafts, and go for the lobster consomme instead, which seems to be the water a lobster was being boiled in before he got bored and pissed off. For ’13’.
Mains? Catch of the Day, like I’m dumb enough not to know it’s been in the deep freeze for months. Skate with black butter. It’s political correctness gone mad. I opt for the pan-fried sea bass wrapped in pancetta, and it’s passable. For fish.
I get up to leave – a fish restaurant’s idea of the sweet trolley is not something I want to face, it’s probably chocolate-dipped crab claws – and the maitre d’ asks when to expect my review. ‘Bloody soon,’ I tell him, slightly pissed.
‘In fact I’ll get it to the paper tomorrow,’ I continue, which is true. I don’t mention I retired in 2010 and they won’t even publish my letters after a post-Brexit correspondence turned particularly ugly.
Duplicituous and deceiving? Well, he’s the one running a restaurant that only serves fucking fish.