|Guess the taste: raw beef, eggs and potatoes|
In my entire life, I have never been able to finish reading a food review. Sorry Naresh, sorry Iain, sorry Guy (the food reviewers that I worked with) - not even yours, not even the ones that I may have joined you for the food to.
It is not because I don’t care for food. I do. I really do. Bad food upsets me. Bad service upsets me. Bad ambience upsets me. Which is why I was permanently upset in London - the food quality was so poor in general.
Today, while reading a review in the toilet of a seafood restaurant Dimitri’s by some Mr Michael Harden in the latest Melbourne Weekly, I finally figured out why.
It is because most of the review is just gibberish to me.
Here’s a line out of the review. “There will still be the superb spakonita made with wild greens, the semonila-dusted calamari served with auso aioli, French toast made with baklava and the brilliant gigantes - large tomoatoey baked beans served with poached eggs, loukaniko sausages and feta, all examples of the modern Greek approach that owner Jim Karabagias does with intuitive flair.”
To begin with, I find my comprehension hiccuping four times in that one sentence - at “spakonita”, “auso ailoi”, “gingates” and "loukanikos”. And each time I hiccup, my interest in the review falls a few notches unconsciously. (In all, I hiccuped nine times in the tiny half page review).
Besides, even when I do recognise all the ingredients I find it tough to imagine them together - French toast made with baklava? Now there are people who can simply put unlikely ingredients together in their minds and conjure up the taste. They are usually contestants in MasterChef. To the rest of us, the words describing the dishes are simply gibberish until we actually taste them. And if we can’t imagine the taste, how will be know that we will like the taste?
The only time a food review comes to life for me is when something goes wrong with the service - the staff is rude, or the food comes too late or the bill contains an unexpected charge. Because human F-ups are something we all can relate to.
The problem is that food reviewers want to bring to you interesting new restaurants offering interesting new foods in interesting new ambience. But newer the foods, ingredients and atmosphere, the more I hiccup, and the more I lose interest.
And that is what I call a Catch 22.