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Pretentious Menu

(56 Posts)
Esmerelda Wed 14-Aug-19 14:47:11

Time for a rant (if YOU have the time). Had a Day at the Races last week, but I think the chef has slight delusions of grandeur. The menu really makes the mind boggle as some of it, and the accompaniments, are truly bizarre!

Nothing wrong with Sundried Tomato and Basil Profiteroles for the veggie starter I suppose, although a bit pretentious, but it was served with Bloody Mary Coulis and Basil Oil - Parmesan Wafer. Ditto the Roulade of Confit Duck and Foie Gras served with White Onion and Thyme Marmalade - Port Reduction, Parsnip Crisps and Roasted Hazelnuts (although the portions were so tiny I imagine you might only get one hazelnut!). I could go on with the starters, but let's move onto the mains. Imagine ordering the Full English Breakfast (some people did for their main course) and getting an Oak Smoked Bacon Chop, Lansdown Baked Beans - Home-made Brown Sauce, Fried Quails Egg (only one of these tiny eggs, you notice). Not what I would call a Full English! And as for the desserts, well ... nothing wrong with the main description but if you ordered Tea & Cake would you want to get Earl Grey Pannacotta, Lemon Drizzle Eggy Bread, Raspberry Semifreddo - Baked Fig puree? But what really takes the biscuit (and one would no doubt be grateful for a biscuit after the miniscule dots of stuff that were scattered around the plates, whatever you ordered) were the Strawberries and Cream. How could you mess these up, you might wonder? Hmm, serve them as Pickled & Ice Filtered Strawberry Consomme, with Baked Vanillla Cream, Bee Pollen - Black Pepper Meringue 'Kisses' ... actually I don't think you would get any strawberries as such, do you? What pretentious twaddle and just muck, really (and tiny muck at that as I can't overemphasize the acres of white plate confronting one on which these miniscule blobs of ridiculous foodstuffs were placed ... what's Bee Pollen, for heaven's sake, it's surely pollen or do they scrape it off the bees legs?).

Am I being silly to have expected a decent meal for the exhorbitant price we had to pay? I was far from full at the end and, as this was a birthday treat for a friend, I felt extremely embarrassed. That place is definitely off OUR menu for the future.

Still, once the horses started running we had three winners and a second so the racing itself was splendid! 😀😀😀

EllanVannin Wed 14-Aug-19 14:55:34

You forgot the Rennies at the end of the list.

Gonegirl Wed 14-Aug-19 15:16:03

But did they do free wrapped biscuits? And did you bring home a bagful?

M0nica Wed 14-Aug-19 15:20:19

I absolutely agree with you Esmerelda. I always see it as a sign that those behind the scenes have no knowledge of food themselves, have hired a third rate chef and assume that the majority of the punters (I use that word advisedly) do not understand good food either and just think complicated foods like those you describe are a sign of 'class'

You are clearly not one of them. If you do go to a really good restaurant, one of its outstanding qualities is usually the simplicity of the food.

At least you won on something that day!!

Mossfarr Wed 14-Aug-19 15:33:15

I've just read an article entitled "48 hours in Valletta", Malta.
One of the paragraphs headed 'EAT' went on to describe a 'dinner crane' where a 22 seat platform is suspended above the city. On the menu - lemony ceviche with a touch of chilli and feta foam!! what the hell is "lemony ceviche" or "feta foam"?

That must be the absolute height of pretentiousness (pun intended).

paddyann Wed 14-Aug-19 15:48:27

I've been watching "remarkable places to eat" on BBC,I know I 'm sworn off BBC but my friends son works for Tom Kitchen and his restaurant is featured in the 2nd of the series .Its a really good look at restaurants,the food they produce and the behind the scenes .So far Venice ,Edinburgh ,Paris and San Sebastion have featured.Its worth a watch .

SalsaQueen Wed 14-Aug-19 15:59:38

What a lot of poncey twaddle. I prefer proper food, with proper portions and simple wording for it all.

Septimia Wed 14-Aug-19 16:10:08

Along with all the pretentiousness and tiny portions, I notice on these chef programmes that the food is often put on the plate by hand, not using utensils. Are their hands really clean? Have they touched something that might have allergens? What happened to the food safety training I had to have for our village hall? Does it not apply to fancy restaurants? Perhaps the Michelin stars kill all the germs.

Minniemoo Wed 14-Aug-19 16:13:29

You're lucky to get plates in some places. Scraps of driftwood, marble worktops, mini shopping trolleys and whatever else they come up with. My daughter was somewhere where the puddings were served in plant pots.

Prawn cocktail, scampi and chips and a slice of Black Forest Gateau was my idea of heaven back in the 70s.

They'd probably throw me out if I asked for that now

Esmerelda Wed 14-Aug-19 16:18:35

Agree 100% SalsaQueen and MinnieMoo ... and no Rennies required as we definitely had not over-indulged.

Callistemon Wed 14-Aug-19 16:22:35

Lansdown baked beans

I can guess which racecourse, dahling! grin

I have had deconstructed prawn cocktail and deconstructed Black Forest Gateau in the past year or so.
Not as good as the real thing with steak, chips and trimmings in between, which was standard fare at a 1960s Berni Inn.

quizqueen Wed 14-Aug-19 16:22:51

I prefer Toby Carvery myself. Huge portions of wholesome, good basic food at a reasonable price (we are often sent money off vouchers too). BTW, I think horse racing is cruel!

Jane10 Wed 14-Aug-19 16:27:33

The daftest meal we ever had was at Tom Kitchen's Michelin starred restaurant. I wrote a thread about it at the time. All I can remember right now is that the pudding was rhubarb seven ways and that the bill for 2 (with one glass of wine each) was £250! Lucky we weren't paying as it was a treat from a business partner.

Callistemon Wed 14-Aug-19 16:33:16

rhubarb seven ways grin

I bet it didn't come with custard either!

Jane10 Wed 14-Aug-19 16:36:53

No it didn't - would probably come in a cunningly carved brussels sprout if it did!!

Teetime Wed 14-Aug-19 16:51:57

I suppose its our fault for paying for all this nonsense. I used to love fancy restaurants but the chefs have really gone nuts now. This type of menu just puts me off and I really like nice food but the descriptions and some of the torture the food is put through is silly and as for the drinks prices....

ninathenana Wed 14-Aug-19 17:13:53

As DH is fond of saying " little bit of nothing on a big white plate"
Or as Minimoo says on a roof slate/chunk of drift wood

M0nica Wed 14-Aug-19 17:30:44

We stopped using one restaurant when I was served a 'deconstructed' mushroom risotto:
Along thin plate with a couple of spoonsful of cooked rice one end, a spoonful of mushrooms at the other and a handful of salad leaves in the middle, for a price I am too embarrassed to admit to.

Funnygran Wed 14-Aug-19 17:39:41

We stayed at a hotel where the dinner offered a ‘tasting menu’. That’s exactly what it was! Each tiny little plate was brought out with a flourish and a long explanation as to what it was. And each time we had eaten it before the waiter even got back into the kitchen and there was a long wait for the next dish. The food was lovely, just not enough of it and b****y expensive ☹️

Charleygirl5 Wed 14-Aug-19 17:40:42

I no longer watch any food being prepared by chefs or anybody on TV because of the constant touching of the food and using hands to rearrange it on the plate. Yuk.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 14-Aug-19 17:42:44

Jane10 Oh no we are going to Tom Kitchins restaurant in Edinburgh at beginning of October.

( I have never been to Scotland, we are going with our dear friends for 5 days and I am so looking forward to it)

Nannarose Wed 14-Aug-19 18:01:30

Just to say that if you go to one of the old fashioned jump racecourses in winter, you tend to get better food! Or you can always take a tailgate picnic!

annodomini Wed 14-Aug-19 18:03:17

Prawn cocktail, scampi and chips and a slice of Black Forest Gateau was my idea of heaven back in the 70s.
My idea of heaven in the 70s too, Minniemoo. Mind you, anything I didn't have to cook myself was a treat.
My DSs, then sub-teens, were so hooked on Black Forest Gateau that, well into their teens, they insisted on my making my version of it for their birthdays.
Maybe a retro menu like that would be an attraction for an enterprising restaurateur, though where would they find a chef that would agree to produce it?

Jane10 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:06:18

GrannyGravy best save up! I gather that the lunch menu is more reasonable. He also has a 'bistro' style place called the 'Scran and Scallie' with rather silly menu wording but the food is good and the staff are nice. Less OTT pricing but still not exactly a bargain.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:28:23

Jane10 We are going for dinner!

Mr.Gravy and "his pal" have been looking at the menu, but I shall wait till we get there, although I eat some meat I predominantly eat fish and he is known for his fish cookery.

I do adore rhubarb though 🤔

paddyann Wed 14-Aug-19 19:33:11

I hear his tasting menu at £125 a head is exceptionally good."£125 a head isn't a lot ,I've paid more in non michelin starred places over the years .Food like everything else is a personal taste thing .His restaurant is busy and that usually means its good ,people dont recommend bad food

Callistemon Wed 14-Aug-19 19:45:13

tasting menu grin
DD and SIL ordered that one evening and SIL had to go for a hamburger about 2 hours later!

As for deconstructed risotto, I would never have imagined a risotto could be deconstructed.
Although my friend looked in horror at her risotto when we were out and it just seemed to be rice, a couple of 'herbes' and some Welsh cheese.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 14-Aug-19 19:47:26

paddyann I think that is what "the men" are favouring at the moment.

M0nica Wed 14-Aug-19 19:56:08

A couple of years ago a friend of DD went to The Fat Duck at Bray, Heston Blumenthal's gaff.

The party he was in had the tasting menu. It cost a small fortune. Their next stop was the local fish and chip shop because they were still so hungry

We live within reach of Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. Most people we know have been there for lunch to celebrate special events. We have yet to go. From everything we have heard, the food is as pretentious as the rest of the offering there.

We prefer to go to the really good gastro pub in our next village that serves beautifully prepared food in reasonable portions in comfortable surroundings.

Jane10 Wed 14-Aug-19 20:41:39

It's not so much the food as the daft little touches that got me. A furry stool for my handbag. Extra little things like an amuse bouche served in a hollowed out onion etc. It's coming back to me - I nearly burst out laughing at the 'main' course: 6 dots of Venison with a smear of turnip and something else. I couldn't believe I'd held back on the bread in case it filled me up!
I suppose like anything else it's an extreme rather than everyday food. Perhaps you'll enjoy it GG. I assume the men will be paying? Hope so!

Callistemon Wed 14-Aug-19 20:46:09

Reminds me of The Emperor's New Clothes'!

Everyone worrying about saying 'well this is an absolute rip-off' for fear of being thought of as a pleb grin

paddyann Wed 14-Aug-19 20:49:00

I think its catered to people who dont want plates heaped with food ,that way they can savour each course .I can honestly say I have never headed for a chip shop after a nice meal ..especially a 5 or 7 course tasting menu .
If you've time while you're here try Roman Camp in Callender and Knockderry House in Cove ,both do lovely tasting menus .Roman Camp is my favourite Hotel in Scotland though Knockderry comes close .

M0nica Wed 14-Aug-19 21:04:38

I have once been to a really top restaurant where it was worth every penny. A couple of years ago DD took us and a good friend out to Marcus Wareing's restaurant, The Glibert Scott, in the St Pancras Hotel in London and everything about it was outstanding, the menu was simple the food was delicious and plentiful, the service superb without being oppressive. It was very expensive, but there was a reason why we were being taken there.

What is more on her way home on the bus DD examined the bill and realised that she hadn't been charged for the drinks in the bar before hand or the coffee after. After such an exceptional meal she felt she should ring them up to make sure she paid for everything. They refused to charge her, saying the mistake was theirs not hers.

I just wish we could afford to go there again.

Jane10 Wed 14-Aug-19 21:07:04

We havent been to the Roman Camp for years. It was lovely while the Denzlers had it but I expect they're long gone. If it's still as good we'll need to go back sometime. It's a beautiful building in lovely grounds. I expect it still is.

BradfordLass72 Wed 14-Aug-19 21:17:15

We used to have a 'very famous chef' restaurant here which charged more for one meal than I (and probably you too) pay for a month's groceries.

Still, gullible people came from far and wide to eat there, just to say they had.

My friend brought here very pretentious son (won't drink any wine less than $40 a bottle type of person) all the way from Gisborne (6-8 hour drive), for a birthday treat.

It cost her, literally, the price of a small, 2nd hand car and they came home to my house and filled up on peanut butter sandwiches (albeit that the bread had to be artisan and the PB organic hand-pressed bought on the way).

Give me a good fresh vegetable stir-fry any day.

Although I admit I am partial to a portion of peppered smoked salmon, it tends to be a once-a-year Christmas gift to myself.

Only 5 months to go smile

GrannyGravy13 Wed 14-Aug-19 21:22:49

Monica we have been to the Le Manoir in all seasons of the year, we have never found it pretentious.

The food, service, rooms and gardens are exceptional. I have allergies as does one of my friends and they are always accommodating.

I agree about the Fat Duck, but his gastro pub The Hind just down the road is very good.

Callistemon Wed 14-Aug-19 23:06:08

paddyann most people I know would be put off with a plate piled high with food but there is a happy medium.
This was pretentious.
I think DD enjoyed the experience anyway but may not rush repeat it.

sodapop Thu 15-Aug-19 09:01:46

I think it depends why you are going to the restaurant. If its just for a good meal or socialising then you probably want a reasonable amount. My husband however really enjoys a tasting menu as a treat. He was a chef and likes to try new dishes and cooking methods. I dislike a plate piled up with food, immediately puts me off.

Esmerelda Thu 15-Aug-19 14:14:04

I dislike a plate piled high with food, too, but I prefer to have a reasonable amount on it. And we were going to the races, not to some high-faluting celebrity chef restaurant.

We go racing quite often and the food is usually very good, but this was awful. I had red snapper for my main course (I won't bother you with the pretentious accompaniments except suffice it to say the asparagus was the only recognisable veg) and the fish was totally tasteless ... like chewing damp cardboard. I also think it was too late for fresh asparagus, which no doubt explains why it was tough and stringy.

As I said, we are never going back there!

MissAdventure Thu 15-Aug-19 14:33:51

I like my plate piled high! grin
The more the merrier.

Jane10 Thu 15-Aug-19 15:31:15

We often go to a small local restaurant run by a couple. They specialise in fish. The menu changes at least twice a day depending on what fish has been delivered.
It's just perfect. Beautifully simple fish or shellfish cooked to perfection at very reasonable prices indeed. I couldn't believe the gorgeous halibut in dill sauce for the set price last week. Still drooling at the memory.
It's always a treat to go there and nice to support a small independent restaurant. 🍴

Fennel Thu 15-Aug-19 19:28:53

paddyann I watched the first in that series, at Venice.
I liked the fact that the chef went to the fish market himself and chose the freshest, best quality. His cooking style was simple, don't know about the prices.
Today we had fresh mackerel fillets, 'pan' fried. Can you fry without a pan? Avec le tagliatelli, et sauce de piments rouges et echalotes. Cost £2.00 per portion.
We've never eaten at one of those places so can't comment further.

Callistemon Thu 15-Aug-19 20:03:42

Can you fry without a pan grin yes, but with difficulty!

Tomorrow DH will cook pan fried fresh mackerel en herbes avec les pommes frites deux fois cuis, tomatoes rôties et petit pois - avec une verre de Sauvignon Banc.
Haven't decided what I'll have yet, depends on what's on Waitrose's fish counter tomorrow!

Callistemon Thu 15-Aug-19 20:05:05

Blanc !
From New Zealand.

GabriellaG54 Thu 15-Aug-19 22:56:52

I totally agree. Sometimes the plate is wrist-breakingly heavy and you need opera glasses to see, let alone determine the origins of, the food.

GabriellaG54 Thu 15-Aug-19 22:59:34

You'd have to be a dunce to mess up cooking a simple plate of fish.

GabriellaG54 Thu 15-Aug-19 23:06:53

I like the Hand and Flowers in Marlow and Kerridge's Bar and Grill in the Corinthia Hotel London.
Both highly recommended.

GabriellaG54 Thu 15-Aug-19 23:35:19

I'm another racing fan but rarely eat at the courses.
Jump racing used to be mainly in Winter, hence heartier meals esp for men but I don't go to eat.
The boxing day meeting at Kempton is a must for afficianados.
I met a guy there one year who handed me his business card, took me to dinner that evening and gave me 2 x £500 to play the tables in a members only casino in London where a white-gloved waiter followed us from room with our drinks on a tray.
I lost the lot. 🤭😂😊

GabriellaG54 Thu 15-Aug-19 23:36:26

from room from room to room

GrannyLiv Fri 16-Aug-19 00:28:55

Paddyanne I have been watching that show too, and particularly loved the idea of the steak place in San Sebastian.

GrannyLiv Fri 16-Aug-19 00:33:05

Fennel The term 'pan' fried is used to denote frying in shallow oil, as opposed to'deep' frying.

Fennel Fri 16-Aug-19 09:10:31

I see! Thanks Liv.
I like your menu, Callestimon. Mackerel are very good at the moment.

Teetime Fri 16-Aug-19 10:57:36

DH took me to Le Manoir about 7 years ago it was wonderful but far too expensive. The service was fabulous.

Callistemon Fri 16-Aug-19 16:45:58

DH bought the mackerel, Fennel, and I chose the plaice.

Demzel Wed 21-Aug-19 12:44:28

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M0nica Wed 21-Aug-19 13:54:31