A Trendy Con Trick

Saturday 9/7/2005

Back to noshblog site (click here)

Diary and Notes

I have become convinced that there is a scam going on and we're all being caught out. A trendy scam, a cunning ruse by restaurants to make us think they are more upmarket than they really are and it's time we called their bluff.

Today my chum Laurie and I are off to the opera. "Bloomin' aida!" I hear you exclaim,. "That seems most unlike you." but no folks, I am a lover of the arts and happily sit through a music concert as long as it's not a string quartet or anything by Handel.

Also, Laurie's girlfriend Rachael sings in the choir of the Hallé Orchestra and we get cheap tickets. It was a lovely evening of Puccini, Verdi and Bizet which was well worth the eight quid I didn't pay.

So what's my ranting about above, where's the con?

The con is with restaurants saying they have things on their menu when they don't and clearly never do.

For dinner we went to the Pitcher and Piano near the concert hall, it's a trendy bar that sells trendy food to trendy people. (They only let me in because I had just bought a new pair of trousers from Gap) and it needs to be seen to be trendy in all ways, including the menu.

And here's my problem. There's always something on the menu in places like this that they don't actually sell. Order it and five minutes later the waiter will come back and say "Sorry but the ****** is off today." When he knew full well it was off all along. Today it was the chicken liver salad. It sounded wonderful, a salad of chicken livers, bacon and leaves with a fresh chutney, what could be more fun? But I knew when I ordered it they wouldn't have it, they never have these sorts of dishes, they only put them on to sound good in the hopes that nobody will order it.

"Nobody will ever order chicken livers in Manchester." I can hear the chefs saying "But we'll write them in anyway as it sounds really posh."

Well they didn't reckon with me did they?

This has happened to me on many occasions. Almost every time I go into a restaurant like this the first dish I order is strangely 'off today' and now I know why, it's all one big ruse.

If you go into a French resuarant and on the menu is Jaques Chirac's favourite dish, tete de veaux (braised calve's head) you know it's not available and never is. If you go into an Italian restaurant and order the coppo di testa (braised pigs head and trotters) you know you wont get any, and no English restaurant will ever have tripe (unless it's Sweaty Betty's chip shop in Didsbury, but that closed down 10 years ago).

So as you can probably guess I didn't get my chicken liver salad, I got a chicken Caesar salad and so did everybody else. We had a glass of Baltika No3 and sat in the sun listening to the fountain. Not bad, but I still think we're being had.

Cake Blog

A Magnum Choc Ice: I didn't get a photo as I'd popped out for a stroll into Levenshulme and forgot my phone (silly me). Choc ices count as cakes under my cake blog rules (check them if you wish). It's too hot to be eating sticky cakes today so ice cream it is.


  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • French Bread with Black Olive Tapenade
  • Chips