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Giles Coren: ‘Fine dining: the two most dreaded words in the business’

Posted at 8:00 am, March 17, 2015 in Food & Drink, Fun London

Giles Coren wonders just how much restaurants hate us.

A restaurant in Manchester caused an almighty stink the other day when it responded to a customer complaint by shouting back – like an angry drunk berating lampposts – ‘CHAV CHEAP TRASH!’ and ‘PEASANTS!’

This was especially awful because the customer they were abusing was a young bride-to-be who had chosen their establishment, 47 King Street West, for her hen party.

‘Worst most vile people ever to grace our restaurant!’ they wrote on their official Facebook page. ‘Wouldn’t know fine dining if it slapped them in their ugly faces! What absolute trash they were. We pity the groom.’

Yes, ‘We pity the groom’. Fighting words. If a restaurant talked like that about my wife, I would go and burn the bloody place to the ground.

Except I wouldn’t. Because 47 King Street West was only saying what I reckon a lot of restaurants think about their customers, but don’t dare articulate. Not fun little squat-and-gobble hipster joints, just pompous ones that describe themselves as ‘fine-dining’.

And so I offer the following guide to the difference between what a certain sort of restaurant says, and what it means.

Giles decodes restaurant-speak

 ‘Good evening.’= ‘Fuck off.’

‘Do you have a reservation?’ = ‘This restaurant is too posh for you.’

‘How are you spelling that name?’  = ‘It’s obvious from your shoes that you cannot afford our prices.’

‘Oh yes, here it is.’ = ‘Bollocks, I’ll have to get off my arse and seat you.’

‘Let me show you to your table.’ = ‘I’m going to put you at the wobbly one between the bogs and the till to make you feel really unwelcome.’

‘Would you care for an aperitif? = ‘I bet you don’t know what that means and you can’t afford one anyway.’

‘Shall I explain the menu?’ = ‘You muppets look like you’ve never been to a restaurant before.’

‘The chef has two specials today.’ = ‘Here’s the shit we couldn’t shift last night.’

‘Are you ready to order?’  = ‘Come on, losers, we don’t want you here all night.’

‘I recommend the steak.’ = ‘It’s the most expensive thing.’

‘The fish is popular.’ = ‘It’s on the turn.’

‘Excellent choice.’ = ‘I’m going to spunk in it.’

‘How is everything?’ = ‘Like I give a fuck.’

‘Would you care for a dessert?’ = ‘Go on, cram some cake in there: you’ve got room for it, Jabba.’

‘Here’s your bill.’ = ‘It’s shit-your-pants time, scumbag.’

‘Service is included.’ = ‘Mean cunts like you wouldn’t tip if it weren’t.’

‘I hope you’ve had an enjoyable evening.’ = ‘I’m going to have a wank over your wife later.’

‘Can I order you a taxi?’  =  ‘Enjoy the night bus, benefits boy.’

‘Hope to see you again.‘ = ‘I’ve cloned your credit card.’

Add a gratuity? Yes/No. Tweet him @gilescoren.

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