Encouragingly most customers have been beautifully behaved,save for the odd menu misunderstanding(more later).
Its been a week notable most for the inordinate volume of phone calls seeking tables for Mothers Day.I kid you not the phone has rung incessantly,even up to the eleventh hour on Sunday morning with the final male callers dispensing with the usual social niceties and simply uttering 'Ive left it too late haven't I?',their despondency acutely tangible even over the telephone line.
Chef wondered if there was some way of vetting prospective customers in order to allocate tables depending on prospective spend per head.You see, as with other special events Mothering Sunday is all a bit of a lottery as to whether or not you manage to book in the 'right' customers.As you know,Im not a snob but Mothers Day as with other special events brings out the diners who don't normally eat out and aren't fully au fait with the formal etiquette.If you're unlucky you'll have allocated all your tables to amateur diners who eat out but a couple of times per year-to them a main course and soft drink with 'extra Yorkies please' is pushing the proverbial gravy boat out..
We decided to get the window boxes revamped in time for Mothers Day so the place was looking all spring like and chipper.The canny chap from the Garden centre in question cleverly suggested we provide a complimentary plant for each of the Mums on Mothers day-along with a little half price voucher for them to hopefully visit the garden centre later and encourage some further spin off sales.Its always a good plan to support other local like minded independent businesses and everyone likes a bit of Gratis so obviously I jumped at the chance.
Chef had a glut of short ribs and spent the main part of the week adding to his repertoire of '100 ways with short ribs' in increasingly inventive fashion.In addition we happened to have an unusual porter with cherry overtones on the bar,at 6.2 percent not for the faint hearted(or those careering around the countryside off public transport routes), and not going down as well as we'd hoped despite my own efforts in drinking the odd wine glass full after service.The porter found its way into (amongst other things) a particularly delightful chocolate cake(ooh it tastes like a Blackforest gateau...).
The final Coup de Gras for both the short ribs and the porter was the production of the 'beef short rib terrine' flavoured with shallots which had been sweated down with the potent ale into a sticky concentrated mass.In a double whammy served with a shot of the offending liquor,the item flew out on the Saturday night and with only a few portions remaining for Mothers Day,Chef was well pleased with himself.
|Two items shifted for the price of one.|
First up 'Can you tell me what Chateau Rie is please?'
Trying desperately to rearrange my facial features so as not to display my utter confusion I floundered momentarily,the whole wine list flashing afore me minds eye but nothing remotely resembling the elusive Chateau Rie coming to mind.
'Im sorry-can you repeat that??'
'Chateau Rie-the third item down on the starter board.'
Recovering composure,I continued:
'Ah that's Charcuterie-served with pickles and bread(and a sneaky bit of the aforementioned short rib terrine but we wont mention that..)
'What is Charcuterie?'
Sharp intake of breath.
'Cold meats,pickles bread-its very tasty..'
Result they ordered it.
With further orders coming on for the terrine and one eye on the profits,Chef was feeling ever so slightly smug and pleased that we'd managed to attract more than single course diners..
All was going swimmingly well until Sunday Girl burst into the kitchen head in hands,bent over double and making a weird groaning noise.I wasn't sure if she was in pain,crying or laughing.
'Biff.. I think you need to write on the board that the terrine comes 'with a glass of Dark ale''
'Why? what's happened???'
'I've just had to stop someone from pouring the shot of ale over THE TOP OF THE TERRINE AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF GRAVY..'
'WHAT?Are you joking??'
'No I heard her say 'I wonder what this is' then just as I was going over she was just pouring it out...it was awful.. sob'
Chef looked over in disgust.
'Dear God,what the Rowan Atkinson in a Mr Bean outfit is that all about..??'
There was a further minor glitch when someone asked what anchovy and caper butter was.
'Erm..its a butter flavoured with anchovies and capers'
I was unprepared for the response which left me an uncharacteristically gibbering mess.
'WHAT ARE ANCHOVIES AND CAPERS?'
I excused myself and returned to the kitchen to slit my wrists.
The complimentary bouquets were going down a treat,one even smoothing over the disgruntled woman and potential future Tripadvisor assailant, with the alledgedly burnt Yorkie which had 'spoilt her dinner'.Though obviously there was no evidence to support this claim due to the offending charred Yorkie having been consumed in its sorry entirety.
Theres always one who has to spoil things though isn't there?
We'd placed the little 'Happy Mothers Day half price vouchers' out on all the tables prior to seating guests,the plan being that when diners requested their bills the Gratis plants to be presented to the Mothers at the optimum moment just prior to the eagerly anticipated tip allocation.
At this particular table The Stony Faced Daughter raised her hand just as the gift was about to be presented with a flourish to her overjoyed and aged Mother.
'Just hold on a minute there...Is the plant half price? Are we paying for that ??'
It appeared she'd read the little voucher and presumed we were flogging the plants to all the Mothers in a brazen attempt to impersonate the old geezer with the flower basket that used to trawl round all the toon bars touting overpriced and past their sell by dates flowers to everyone who was bladdered and hoping to get lucky..
To add insult to injury, rumour has it that this particular individual achieved a not insignificant win on the lotto recently.
If that were me,Dear Reader,I'd be be smiling and spending.Permanently.
So finally, I leave you with the thought that a Mother is for all year round-not just for Mothers Day.So why not take her out a bit more often and preferably spread yourselves throughout the year?