We don’t go out for a meal that often, but when we do – we know exactly where to go. Lying not far away from where we live in a cobbled street, it’s an easy walk. Last time, as we headed towards the restaurant, we noticed two things. Firstly; the proprietor standing in the doorway (as he normally does) and secondly a bold sign outside proclaiming a new menu.
We smile at each other when we are directed to a dirty table. The slightly effeminate waiter clears the crockery away before telling us that he will soon sort out the tablecloth. After a short delay, he appears with another tablecloth and with a flourish, he lays it over the top of the dirty tablecloth before laying out mismatching cutlery. It’s no surprise that the new tablecloth is even dirtier than the original.
He hands us the supposedly new menus. Indeed they are brand new and in pristine condition. However, they contain exactly the same dishes we are used to, just with higher prices. He makes a show of handing us a handwritten list of specials. It’s a nice touch, but it’s the same list we always get.
We order drinks. Julie goes for a glass of wine and I order a bottle of beer. The menu tells me that I should get 330ml and it’s no surprise to me that I only get a half pint glass. Instead of feeling cheated, it simply adds to the experience.
Before too long, the food comes out. Mine is fine, but Julie finds hers a little dry. When the slightly effeminate waiter comes over to clear the plates, he notices that she has left a lot of food. When she explains, he apologises and calls over the proprietor. After we relay the problem, the proprietor protests that the meat is far from dry and proceeds to cut off a large chunk which he stuffs into his mouth. He manages to chew his way through the meat, all the time telling us that the meat is far from dry, but he agrees to deduct the cost from the bill.
When the bill comes, I am happy to pay, but Julie notices an anomaly. Although we have not been charged for her dish, we have been overcharged for drinks. When we bring it to the proprietor’s attention, he struggles to work out the new total and blames the heat. Myself and Julie look at each other before glancing out the window at the cold, torrential rain. What makes it even more amusing is that he supposedly comes from a hot country.
By any conventional measure, the restaurant would struggle but we wouldn’t have it any other way and we can’t wait to return.