I was discussing with an old friend the other day the modern restaurant trend to provide set menus with no choice and whether being this dictatorial is a step too far for the customer.
When I set up “Hari Covert’s” my menus have always in the most been a no choice affair and we will to a degree cater for allergies or dietary requirements where we can.
I can think of a few places in Kent who operate a set menu no choice or very limited menu policy and my friend bemoaned the one he wanted to go to was inflexible in its approach. Not only did he have to book so far in advance to secure a table there was not an alternative if you did or could not eat what was on offer!
He had some friends who went and were given a “bloody” pigeon breast that basically they could not eat and it has put him right off.
My argument would be do not go if for some reason you cannot be open minded enough to try even if no choice!
Now this for me is a major turnaround from the young lad who would not eat any meat as child unless it was chicken breast and was a very fussy eater!
Chefs today have to be so clever and so flexible to deal with so many food fads and allergies it does not surprise me to see them offer limited or no choice menus. It not only makes commercial sense it also is a very big challenge to come up with something to suit all tastes, palates and dietary needs.
Planning for the YCPS Charity Dinner in May has been a challenge not only trying to get the dishes out of the participating chefs but also to make the menu fit for all tastes.
In fact one likely attendee said to me recently when I revealed the menu to them that they would not be able to eat the first course as it would contain an ingredient they could not stand – “just more for my partner” they remarked (a good attitude to have)
Open mindedness is vital when partaking in a set or very limited choice meal and whilst I equally have foods I am not so keen on I always try to keep a really open mind to what I am being served.
It always use to annoy me when inspecting restaurants, especially Asian to be told the Chinese or Japanese scripted specials on the table were not for the “Western tastes”. Let me make that decision please.
Very true on one occasion when I ordered a “raw squid marinated in the bile of its own intestines”… mind you the crispy salmon skin on another occasion was a revelation that I still fantasize over.
So I thought it would be good to conduct a poll… let’s see what you all think (up to 2 answers allowed) and do feel free to comment about some of the surprised revelations that you have eaten and even your own food hell’s that you wish you hadn’t !!!