We live in a world of pretentious bollocks.
When some hairy-backed cave dweller first stumbled upon the idea of singeing the fur off their mammoth steak before eating it, they couldn’t possibly have imagined the barnstormingly mental heights of ludicrousness that cooking would eventually scale.
The intercepted tomato incident
Last weekend I was in Brighton. I had a fry up for breakfast. Except I didn’t. It was more a game of hipster bullshit bingo.
I had *ahem* “sourdough toast and slow cooked egg”, “treacle cured bacon”, “espresso mushrooms” and, my personal favourite, “baked beans made with intercepted tomatoes”.
The circumstances of this interception were never made clear but I’d like to think they were liberated from the clutches of Big Veg after an elaborate Fast and Furious-style truck heist.
We’ll never know for sure, because I was too afraid to ask in case the whole thing was a joke to catch out uncultured Welsh tourists (“‘Scuse me butt, woss all iss intercepted tomato stuff about ‘en?!”).
How did we end up like this? Who is responsible for food hurtling up its own bum in a shower of deconstructed artisan sugarwork?
In the grand South Walian tradition of class hatred, I blame The Posh.
Hip to be Square
The Square in Mayfair is one of London’s top restaurants. It’s got about 73 Michelin Stars, and a three course meal costs more than a four bedroom house in Merthyr (at least fifty quid then… *rimshot*).
I have never been to The Square because I’m not a Russian oligarch with a dubious property portfolio or a Tory MP on expenses. But I have had a peep at their menu.
I present to you, without comment, one of their starters – and I must stress that this is 100% genuine, and not a lost paragraph from Finnegan’s Wake:
Vesuvian Bulls Heart, Noire de Crimée and Green Zebra
with Organic Curd and Barrel Aged Olive Oil
Other highlights include Day Boat Turbot, which may or may not be the name of a 1930s bare-knuckle boxer with a handlebar moustache and a Cappuccino of Shellfish, which sounds like the sort of thing a Starbucks product designer would come up with after finding out his wife was sleeping with his boss.
There’s also an Emulsion of Potato and Truffle, which happens to be the colour we’re considering painting the spare room.
Too many cooks…
It isn’t just hipsters and wealthy idiots though. Chefs have just as much to answer for.
As I write this, The Great British Menu is on in the background.
If you’ve not seen it, essentially it’s three chefs sneering at each other and making wanker signs behind each other’s backs before serving bizarre platefuls of concept art to a panel of obnoxiously pompous judges (think the dinner party scene from Beetlejuice with the snooty guests, minus the Harry Belafonte).
One of the chefs has just constructed some baroque scallop nonsense with “seaweed butter”, “foraged sea lettuce” and “aerated oyster sea foam” (pardon the air quotes, but Jesus Christ).
It looks like something a penguin would chunder into its first born’s gob.
The fact that they can produce this sort of guff with all the seriousness and dedication of a North Korean cardiologist with the shakes performing open heart surgery on Kim Jong Un makes it all the more hilarious.
Recipe for disaster
All of which has given me an idea. I’m going to open Cardiff’s most pretentious restaurant.
Couilles Prétentieux* will only serve heirloom things in reductions of jus, hand-carved escalopes of unicorn served on Swarovski encrusted table tennis bats and ungodly looking savoury mousses made of offal.
And no, you can’t have a table because we’re fucking full.
Anyone want to invest?
Prefer chips to sauteed pomme de terre? Or would you rather a steaming bowl of creme Anglais to plain old custard? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @fuudblog.
* If I tell you Couilles means a particular pair of male anatomical features you’ll probably see where I’m going with this…