Friday, October 04, 2013

CORDON NOIR..
From Serge Osvaldo - our Restaurant Critic

I have to report that the family of Monsieur Snoppeur had an `interesting` visit to a local restaurant the other day and he has asked me to pass on the benefit of his experience as a warning to other potential lunchtime hosts. His son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons were spending a few days with him from their home in Hamburg and M. Snoppeur thought it would be good to take them for a nice lunch.

He decided to visit a restaurant he had not been to for over 30 years - an imposing looking building enjoying peaceful riverside surroundings a little up river from the centre of Maidstone.   The menu looked appetising - plenty of `traditional` English fayre - frequent references to chips and an enticing dessert menu including Snoppeur`s own favourite, Le Mess Etonique.   Just to be sure, he pre-booked a table for six and he and his party arrived at the appointed time.

A very bubbly waitress quickly took their drinks order, which arrived swiftly and promptly took the orders for their main meals.   And they waited....and they waited...until after 50 minutes with no sign of any sustenance, our host decided to enquire as to progress under the guise of leaving the table to `inspect the plumbing.`   There followed what can best be described as a controlled rant in the direction of the waitress, whereupon the meals miraculously appeared after about an hour`s wait.

Ah, le cuisine.   Most definitely cordon noir - black belt catering on an industrialised scale and whilst one or two of the party were reluctant to find too much to complain about, I fear our host found that his `ultimate cod - chunky Atlantic cod freshly battered to order and fried until crisp and golden` turned out to be anything but ultimate, but rather a small, limp, overdone attempt at culinary subterfuge.   After the inordinate wait and the disappointing fayre (which wasn`t cheap and failed to live up to its extravagant billing) the party were disinclined to risk desserts, coffee, etc., and departed  as quickly as they could.

This all left our gallant host feeling embarrassed, cheated and determined never to darken the restaurant`s doors ever again, but he did send an e-mail of complaint to the company concerned.   He hopes that they do not offer him the ultimate insult of vouchers for a free meal but then he has received no response so far.  He may have a long wait - if it takes an hour to produce an indifferent collection of cordon noir dishes, it could be a few months before he gets a reply - if he gets one at all.

Sacre bleu bien sur!! 

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