Can it really be only the third week of the school hols?
We've been mobbed all week but for some reason that I cant for the life of me work out, there haven't been that many children around.Precious few plain pastas with grated cheddar and urgent bread baskets to silence the little darlings until their food arrives which when it does everyone gets uptight because they cant eat it because unsurprisingly they've stuffed themselves full of bread....

People are starting to accept this run of good weather as the norm,the feel good factor seems to have evaporated,as normal service has resumed,with the regular flow of disgruntled diners(albeit a minority) that have no intention of coming out and God forbid trying to enjoy themselves...

There were a couple of tricky examples the other lunchtime.
Asking for the 'printed menu' not the blackboard specials is usually a signal of impending doom,we listened increasingly disheartened as they slowly read each item out primary school style,with accompanying criticisms: 'Ham hock salad-that'll be really salty' 'Gazpacho-thats'll be cold and bland '..'rump steak,that'll be tough'
Eventually settling on plaice and chips and a BLT with chips.Soon after the meals were sent one of the woman gestured me over.
'I cant eat this there's too many bones'
I looked at the plaice,it had just been delivered an hour previously and we'd commented how fresh they were.I glanced up at the menu,momentarily thinking I'd omitted the word 'whole'.
'But it does say WHOLE plaice on the menu' I nodded and smiled encouragingly.
'Does it?Well whole often means its been filleted'..
'I cant eat it theres just too many bones-Ill have something else instead'
Yup and I guess you wont be paying for it despite the fact you ordered it and we cooked it and served it  as described on the menu ..Sigh...
'Ok what would you like instead?'
Oddly, she asked for the previously mentioned 'too salty' ham hock salad.
'You're having a laff' said Chef 'If there were no backbone it'd be an effing WORM not a fish' whilst furiously shovelling yet more chips into the fryer.

Much later,after they'd sat at the table for over two hours and finished every scrap of food on the plates,I enquired had they enjoyed their lunch.
'Well, to be honest no not really,we were a bit disappointed,none of the food was particularly special.'
None of the food was particularly special can a BLT be???? I wondered if they were relatives of the previously reported Special Cheese sarnie couple..
The Cynical One caught my eye with an exaggerated eye roll.
'I wonder what special thing it is they wanted' I wondered wistfully.
'Well they did ask me if we had any jacket potatoes when they first came in..' replied the Cynical One.
We giggled.
'Lets hope they don't come back' I said through gritted teeth as we smiled and waved them out of the door.
That evening we were particularly rammed.
'Make sure you point out that the Plaice is whole' I said as the night kicked off.I knew Chef would have no further inclination to be cooking alternative meals.
Shortly after service began a walk in four arrived.Sadly with all tables being booked and rather than sending them away empty handed and with it being a particularly balmy evening,they were offered the option of dining outside,so long as they ordered promptly.
They accepted eagerly.
The woman ordered a rare steak.
Shortly after the steak was delivered,she appeared in the bar waving her steak knife around,I headed over and just caught the tale end of a conversation and the words 'THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS'
I followed her out to the garden.
"Is everything Ok'
'No I ordered a rare steak and this one is not rare but Im eating it anyway as I want to eat with my family and Im not prepared to wait for another to be cooked'
Dont be fooled,this is a euphemism for 'Im eating it but you wont be charging me for it as it isn't what I ordered'.
Nice try.
'Oh thats no problem we can cook you another'
'No,Im not prepared to wait this length of time again'
'Well it wont take long to do a rare steak,to be honest it was the other dishes ordered that took time to cook,let me get you another'
'Well THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS,look this isn't rare'
'Well, to be honest its harder..'
She interrupted her voice raised several pitches 'ITS HARDER???...BUT THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS'
'Yes I know' I grabbed the plate 'let me get you another steak'
She was grabbing at chips as I removed the plate from the setting.
Returning to the kitchen the rump steak was dissected disdainfully to reveal pleasingly rare flesh as ordered.

'So its blue steak she wants then?' said Chef angrily,looking every minute more like a Swan Vesta.
'Just show it to the pan and i'll take it back out to her' I said
Unfortunately sometimes people don't accept that if a steak isn't the same width all the way through it ain't going to be rare to the thinner outside edge as witnessed by this particular individual.
I returned to the table to have another bash at her.
'What I was trying to explain to you earlier was that with rump steak being uneven,unlike a fillet steak its more difficult to ensure the cut is perfectly rare throughout the steak.We did cut into your steak and it was quite rare,but we are cooking you another now,it'll be ready in a few minutes'
She kept repeating 'THIS IS YOR BUSINESS' as if I needed any further reminder of that painful fact.
A few minutes later the deed was done and I returned the substitute plate to the table.
'Would you like to cut into your steak...just to check its ok for you' I say Fawlty style.I smiled,complainers hate smiling it throws them completely.
She cut into the steak with vigour.It was completely raw and unrested.
Nice raw steak
Following main courses they ordered puddings and then coffees,finally requesting the bill over an hour later.
Posh Boy,being unaware of the earlier 'rumpus' (did you see what I did there??) presented the bill and enquired politely did they enjoy everything.
'Well it was OK, but we were told we had to sit OUTSIDE in the garden and ITS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH IS IT? AFTER ALL THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS..'
I recounted the tale later to Chef.
'Well I've told you before about frogmarching people out to the garden and forcing them to order food at gunpoint..' said Chef...
We sniggered.
Next time I'm just going to tell the feckers we're full...


Expat mum said…
Dear God - you're a saint. What did she mean - It's your business? was she meaning the opposite of "none of your business"? Weird.
Lee Burns said…
Funny. New rule: nobody should be allowed to eat out, ever, until they've done a couple of busy (say, bank holiday) shifts in a dining room. There'd be a lot more love and understanding after that!
Nicky said…
I like Lee's idea!
Liz said…
Ha ha - tis the season for it!!
Wally B said…
I think I would have stuffed the steak and fish down their respective throats. This is why it is NOT my business.....
Well done for not killing anybody...yet.

If you want help in training your staff in frogmarching people into the garden at gunpoint, I still have contacts in the Army who would be glad to conduct such training for a few good steaks.
I wanted to slap the customer around the fave with the fish just reading your post.

Adam said…
What the hell is wrong with people, what is wrong with going to a nice pub, ordering some food, sitting down and eating it, then speaking up - politely I might add, if anything is wrong. I hope the couple find this blog and read this.... IT IS YOUR BUSINESS to shut up and eat your flippin' steak!
Alison Cross said…
It's a miracle that you haven't shot some of these people!

Ali x

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