Like most people, there's always a deep, dark part of myself that wishes I was rich. It's the same part of me that wishes I didn't have to do chores or think too hard. You probably know what I mean - the little evil voice in your head that says you don't really need to go into work today or that the dirty dishes can wait until tomorrow...
When I begin wishing that I was rich, I begin thinking about what I would do with more money than anyone really needs and I came to the conclusion that I would like to go to fancy restaurants and eat fancy foods.
So you can imagine my excitement when, this week, I was given the opportunity to go to a fancy restaurant and see what all the fuss was about to write a review. I'd set my sights high - five star dining, exotic cocktails, and well-connected clientele that would spot me, quiz me about my writing and immediately send me to one of their publisher friends.
But like all deep, dark wishes, what you get isn't normally what you'd hoped. So I've made a list of reasons to avoid overly fancy restaurants to try and prevent anyone else experiencing the disappointment I did.
For the sake of this post, I will name the restaurant: "OMNIPRESENT GOBBET".
(If you try working out its real name, it's not really that hard.)
Naturally, I wasn't going to go to Omnipresent Gobbet alone. I brought some of my friends, in the hope that we could all pretend to be high-rollers together. A band of rich vagabonds. Two of my friends arrived before I did, and felt distinctly unwelcome.
They'd made an effort to dress nice and everything.
When I did eventually arrive, I was admittedly very impressed with the restaurant's interior, so decided to take some photos.
Apparently that was a mistake.
I was immediately approached, and asked what I thought I was doing. Several smart-alec answers came to mind but, in respect of this waiter, I kept them to myself and said..
"I was just taking some photos of the dining room, for a friend who is coming to eat here next week."
Okay, it was a little white lie, but I couldn't come out and tell him that I was writing a review, I was specifically told not to do that.
Do you want to know what I got in reply?
"Fine. I suppose that'll be alright..."
AND THEN HE LOOKED ME UP AND DOWN, STALKED OFF AND STARTED GOSSIPING ABOUT ME TO THE OTHER WAITERS!
I was not impressed. I didn't think what I was doing was that bad. If anything I was trying to do them a favour, by getting some nice photos to go with their nice review.
So, in order to avoid being talked down to or completely judged for your fancy clothes that just aren't fancy enough, DON'T FINE DINE.
2. YOU WILL FEEL STUPID WHEN YOU READ THE MENU.
I'm not a huge foodie, so I've come to expect that when I go out for dinner, there will be things that I've never heard of before or won't be able to pronounce.
However, when you have taken a friend experienced in the food business, who knows a hell of a lot about food, and he doesn't understand half the dishes on the menu, that ought to be a warning sign.
Here's a quick round of "Do You Know Food?". Ten points for every one you get right. What is an emulsion? How do you eat a shimeiji? And in what universe does an anchovy salsa taste good?
Luckily, we weren't there to eat, so didn't have to endure the embarrassing ordeal of either asking the snooty waiters to translate the menu, or ordering blind and realising you've ordered fish heads or something like that.
So if you want to know what you've ordered before it arrives squawking at your table, DON'T FINE DINE.
3. WHAT YOU GET ISN'T ACTUALLY THAT GOOD.
One of the things that appealed me to fancy restaurants in the first place, was the belief that the food and drink I would get, would undoubtedly be the best of the best. Omnipresent Gobbet proved me wrong.
I put aside my intial prejudices about the waiters and the menu to go to the bar and get myself a drink. A Long Vodka. It's relatively easy to make. Ice, Angostura Bitters, Lime Cordial, Vodka and either Lemonade or Soda.
The barman made two mistakes, which have resulted in me never wanting to go back to Omnipresent Gobbet.
He put in too much Bitters, which is poisonous when undiluted.
He forgot to put in Lime Cordial altogether.
If I'm paying for a drink, I like it to have all the ingredients I'm paying for. He didn't even put in a little wedge of lime...
So, if you like a drink made well, DON'T FINE DINE.
It was an experience, and one I'm sure I will probably attempt again when I have a decent disposable income. For now, I'll settle with student deals at Wetherspoons. At least when I order a burger there, I know what I'm getting.