Last night Gauri and I went out for dinner. Our good friend Marton occasionally works in the pub were going to and offered to book a table for us. On our way to the restaurant, I got a call from Marton and he told me that when he was booking the table, he told the owner that I was a food tester and a writer. Being the cheeky little Hungarian that he is, he joined these two pieces of information together and let them believe that I was an actual food critic, rather than a guy who writes a blog and ate too much focaccia bread the other day when food testing.
Interlude – Gauri and Marton are crazy about pranking people. I hate pranks, so I live in perpetual fear of them joining forces to pull the mother of all pranks on me.
So, I thought I would play along for a laugh.
Interlude 2 – When I say I hate pranks, I mean I hate it when I am pranked. Yes, I own up to my hypocrisy.
We arrived late (not on purpose, we just suck at being on time) and they kindly led us to our table. This is when I started to feel super guilty. I knew that they knew (or thought they knew) that I was a food critic and I could see it in their eyes how much they wanted me to like the place. I have actually been there many times and I love the place, so I did wonder why no-one said ‘Hey isn’t that the guy who sat across from the couple who set their table cloth on fire?’ Anyway, we sat down and we were served by a lovely waitress. I actually saw the chef peek through the shutters of the swing door to see where I was sitting, in much the same way we used to peek through the stage curtains in my theatre days when we knew a reviewer was in the audience. The food was superb as it always is. We had blue cheese burgers, crispy chicken, calamari and tempura prawns. And this is when I am surprised that no-one rumbled us. We couldn’t eat it all so we asked for a doggy bag. What sort of critic would do that? Except for a crazy scientific critic who tests the chemical make up of the food when he gets home.
What I didn’t know at the time, but found out later was that the chef had been a bag of nerves all day about the visit and that the lady who was hobbling around on crutches was the owner who came back to work because a critic was coming in.
Interlude 3 – I am actually sinking into my chair in embarrassment and shame.
In conclusion, I am definitely against pranking. I just can’t do it.
Oh and to try and make amends.
Please check out Reds Bar and Lounge in Dorking. Amazing food that is better than a lot of restaurants. The decor is very smart. The staff are lovely and the new garden is stunning. All in all, 5 stars.
Take care buddies,