Monday, 29 November 2010

Posh Food Foiled: Part 2

If you read it, you'll know that my last post was a day early because I was about to embark on a fun filled weekend, complete with posh dinner at a fine dining establishment in Nottingham. I was very excited.

Sadly, things didn’t exactly go according to plan, with the first problem making itself abundantly clear when we woke on Saturday morning to this sight:

Damn weather. It’s like Winter read my post about why I don't like it, and decided to throw its worst at the country in a childlike tantrum at learning not everyone wants to be its friend. Fortunately, our area hadn’t been the worst hit by the snow storms and by the time we’d packed our bags and were ready for the off, the retreat down our hill was fairly clear. We made it to our destination in about an hour, and spent a pleasant, if not bitterly cold, afternoon wandering around the many, many shops that the city has to offer. Before carrying our bags back up to our home for the evening, we asked the hotel receptionist to book us a taxi to transport us to the posh restaurant in which we would be dining, before heading up to get ready for our highly anticipated night out.

An hour or so later, we arrived back in the lobby and were delighted to see a cab waiting outside. Except it wasn’t our taxi. Neither was it the taxi of another couple waiting impatiently for theirs to turn up. The waiting taxi was for a room that wasn’t due to be picked up for another five minutes and whose occupants were nowhere to be seen. Another taxi turned up for them too. So there are two couples waiting, two taxis waiting, and another two taxis due to arrive (all four from the same company, I hasten to add). Despite the blindingly obvious solution to the situation, the drivers would not agree to swap and take the already waiting couples, because just screw common sense. It was at this stage that the receptionist chimed in to cheerfully inform both impatient couples that our taxis had actually been jumped and would we like her to reorder them.

We got into the next taxi that turned up – which came from a completely different company to the incompetent one apparently preferred by the hotel, leading us to suspect we may have inadvertently ‘paid it forwards’ and jumped someone else’s taxi. By this time, we were already ten minutes late so all we cared about was finally being on route.

Or were we?

No, we weren’t. The driver kept asking us about Indian restaurants, which we found to be quite strange given that Restaurant Sat Bains is vaguely French. It turns out the cabby's vigorous assurances that he knew our destination were completely incorrect. We ended up parked on a double yellow line while Fiance frantically persuaded his phone-based internet to divulge the post code of the restaurant, while the driver happily pulled out his sat nav. After a worrying hiatus, we were back on course, and eventually found the place, about half an hour late.

But no bother, we were there and our magical food-based experience was about to begin. We had a pre-dinner gin and tonic while taking in the delights of the menu – a seven course set taster menu, with an optional eighth course, comprising of the Ham, Egg and Pea starter which won the Great British Menu. 

The food was lovely, although by the time the second official course arrived, I had started to feel a bit strange and was struggling to eat. The staff clearly aren’t used to seeing food being left, and asked if everything was alright. I told them the food was lovely, but I didn’t want to fill up too early with so many courses left to come. A mouthful into the third course, and I couldn’t will myself to eat another thing. I admitted to feeling a little off colour when the waitress came to collect another practically untouched plate. Within sixty seconds, head waitress came over and asked if we wanted a fifteen minute rest from the food to see if I felt any better – she even bought over some mint tea, renowned for its stomach soothing properties.

Sadly, it didn’t work, and I found myself in a queue for the toilet, feeling ever increasingly nauseous, and trying to formulate a plan if a cubicle didn't free itself in a short space of time.  

And that was the end of my latest attempt at dinner in a posh restaurant. By the time I got back to the table, Fiance had already ordered the bill and a taxi. I am absolutely gutted that we didn't get to enjoy the entire experience, but I am looking on the positive side – last time, I didn’t make it at all. This time, I made it half way through. I take this as an omen that I will make it through the entire experience next time I venture out to a fine dining establishment. 

Oh, and I should probably clarify that I wasn't sick in a vase. 

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