Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who thinks the Suffragettes must have been on their periods
I’VE got myself a date. Swiped right on a dating app I heard about in the pub, had a chat and we’re meeting for dinner. Technology has its uses after all.
I haven’t had a first date in a decade so I’ve pushed the boat out, and you know what that means: French. The Frogs have had the monopoly on fine dining for bloody centuries, but she’s worth it, and hopefully it’ll soften the blow of me not resembling my profile picture.
Turns out we’re a match in that regard: she looks fuck all like hers either. Still, she’s the right side of 50 and dressed up nice, so I’m hardly in a position to complain. Any port in a storm at my age.
The menu’s in French, which is unnecessary and rude, but there’s none of the disgusting shit on there. No frog’s legs, no snails, no inflated veal lung which they served my great-granddad in Amiens after the Great War. Sickened him. He never left Worcestershire again.
I suggest we skip starters and head straight to the ‘menu a prix fixe’, whatever that is. Sounds like a specialist in genital correction work. Then, stupidly, I ask for the wine list. Fuck me, how much?
‘You could empty the shelves at Bargain Booze for that,’ I tell my date, and order tap water. To eat, I’m tempted by the rare venison loin with blackberry jus but play it safe and order garlic chicken. It doesn’t mention the garlic but it’ll be smothered in it.
Linda opts for the pan-fried sea bass – what else would you fry it in, a fucking kettle? – with samphire and buerre blanc. It looked quite nice from the brief glance I gave it, before going into a bit more detail about tank movements at the Battle of the Bulge.
The bill turns up and it’s a bastard fortune. I pull my ‘I’m a food critic’ line to get out of paying but the manager, it eventually turns out, is having none of it. It doesn’t surprise me. The French are world-renowned for being rude, insolent wankers.
I stick to my guns, but she’s looking a bit awkward for some reason – the sea bass, no doubt – and offers to pay for the lot. Fair enough. I’m getting the distinct impression I won’t be getting in her knickers regardless, so why not?
Will I see her again? No. Quelle fucking surprise, as the French say. I’m blaming this on their bloody fancy gastronomie dominie food. Never again.