Monday 7 September 2009
There are bad vibes attached to today.
For some reason I leave the flat (Bohemian Grove) somewhat earlier than usual today which ultimately means I get to the station at an impressive 6.54AM, at one point my personal record.
I don’t really know what I am walking into to as I head to work today. Expectations are that it will be the negative side of interesting.
At Colchester station on the train some guy sits next to me from the off. This is never a good sign, of all the free/open seats in abundance on the train he has to crowd me it seems. He then seems disbelieving as I refuse to squeeze up to accommodate him. Too many people lack self (and else) awareness.
In the end the train pulls into Liverpool Street at 8.05AM on a day when I wouldn’t have minded it being late.
After my tube journey I walk into the restaurant to the sound of shouting as it would appear my bad vibes are immediately realised. In response I just duck my head through and take my throne at my desk and buckle in, bracing myself for anything the working world has to throw at me.
Not long after I am settled into the day my boss trots in looking fragile after his spill Wednesday night. I had half expected him to bowl in as if nothing had happened but his appearance today is in full acknowledgment that he is in a bad way. Everyone in the office feels genuine concern and is happy to see him back at work however it does not seem that this is the end of the story as many hospital tests are being lined up.
It is pretty much a full house today and the IT Guy is bouncing off the walls discussing him impending divorce. As a result of his nervous energy he makes everyone two cups of coffee in quick succession and following the cup The Girl already makes for me it all equates to my drinking three cups before 10AM.
Soon I find out just what the tension was about and it turns out that yesterday one of our restaurants was reviewed in the Sunday Times by Michael Winner and the snotty cunt went and properly slated the meal and site with a really scathing review. The review reads as:
“THE FISHCAKE WAS NOT AS THOSE AT LE CAPRICE AND THE IVY AND THE CHIPS WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER BOUGHT IN
I realised how lucky I was in the lifestyle I lead and the food I usually eat when I went for lunch at Acme Restaurants in Kensington. It was beyond belief awful. Another world, which, thankfully, I seldom enter.
It was my cook’s day off. Geraldine wanted to go to Edera, which is north of my house. She said, “It’s owned by an Italian family who do the cooking.”
“I’ll believe that when I see it,” I responded.
Geraldine was in full flood. “Acme Restaurants is a chain and the food all comes in a bag,” she said.
“I’ll look out for the bag,” I promised.
“You won’t see it. It’s in the kitchen,” Geraldine continued, adding, “Microwave. Have you heard of microwaving?” She moved her left arm in a gesture. “All these chain places are the same. They have an enormous kitchen in the cellar somewhere.” I couldn’t work out how she knew it was in the cellar. “And they send it out somewhere.”
At this point the Rolls arrived at Acme Restaurants. Geraldine, my assistant Dinah and I alighted. It’s a nice-looking room. Very simple, large tin piping going everywhere.
“Excuse me, Geraldine,” I said. “It’s printed here on the menu, ‘All of our dishes are freshly prepared on the premises with produce personally sourced by our chef, including our fresh fish, corn-fed chicken from normandy (sic) and our award-winning beef which is selected first by Donald Russell from cattle that are reared on traditional farms, then aged for 31 days to ensure maximum tenderness and flavour’.” That failed to impress Geraldine. Didn’t mean anything to me either.
I started with “today’s home-made soup, lentil and cumin”. Tasted of nothing at all. Or worse. They’d have been much better off buying it from Whole Foods Market up the road.
I followed with home-made salmon fishcake with tzatziki, rocket and fresh-cut fries. I was assured potatoes were cut up in the kitchen and fried. The fishcake was vile. Heavy, clammy, ghastly. Not on the same planet as those at Le Caprice and the Ivy. The chips would have been better bought in. They were white, anaemic and underdone. I left nearly everything.
The menu announced “home-made desserts freshly made by us”.
“When was this banoffee pie made?” I asked the restaurant manager.
He replied, “I don’t know. I’ll have to ask the chef.” He did. Then informed me it was made on Wednesday. As it was Friday, it was two days old and had sat in the deep freeze. I don’t call that fresh. So I chose, from the blackboard, “summer berries with ice cream”. Squashed-looking mini-berries appeared in a small cocktail glass topped with a splat of revolting catering cream that squirts from a plastic container.
“Why is there no ice cream?” I asked.
“Genuine mistake,” he said. Unbelievable. There was hardly anyone in the place. They could see me dictating my notes. They knew I was reviewing it. Yet they produced a dessert minus one ingredient of two. I ate a berry. It was revolting. So was the cold, textureless bread that started the meal.
Dinah said, “I’m not too sure,” when asked about her sea bass. Geraldine described her poached salmon as “overcooked”.
The manager said there would be no bill. “Yes there will,” I responded. “I always pay.” It came to £75.54.
I placed the ladies for our photo. They saluted to indicate they were ready for me to join them. I thought they looked much better without me. Wouldn’t anyone?”
As much as I hate to defend the Winner’s piece I think I would feel physically sick too if I had to look at the ladies in the photo – fucking old skanks, now there’s a couple of examples of females that could cure the most deranged sex offender.
Reading the “review” on the internet is a depressing thing as the piece reads more of a declaration of “I’m stinking rich” rather than an actual piece about the restaurant and food with his crass comparisons to overpriced and excessive cuisine. For a man that has built his carerr on making awful movies and is now reduced to making humiliating TV adverts for Esure insurance (much like Iggy Pop) all in all people in glass houses really should not throw stones.
Against Michael Winner’s recommendation I have penne with merguez for lunch before being handed the reamins of a bowl of fries and then some pitta bread and chicken. I wonder why my clothes no longer fit me.
Today ultimately proves a very productive and satisfying day, my best in weeks, perhaps in months. I love the beginning of the month momentum when I can accomplish a lot without too much effort.
On the train home tonight I sit next to a fat yuppies in braces snoring his head off dreaming of the good times back in the eighties. Eventually the two people sat opposite me on the train fall asleep also as the journey possesses some kind of tired feel as the nights begin to grow dark earlier.
I get home to another 9/11 documentary on Channel Four, another exercise into voyeurism that cynically seems almost like another subliminal message of “look what they did.” Again the footage sends me to sleep which is ironic because it all used to fascinate. Maybe I have seen it all too many times now or maybe the powers that be are just scraping the barrel a wee bit too much. Regardless as a result it all means that by the time Match Point arrives on BBC1 I am long asleep.