A restaurant, reviewed

1 Feb

Ladies and gentlemen (but, if I’m honest, ladies), I have always been a lover of food. By which I mean, I have eaten a very great amount of it. If you put all the food you’d ever eaten in a pile, and then I did the same beside it, it would look like a dog had parked its breakfast next to K fucking 2. Do you see where I’m coming from?

So, given that practice makes perfect, who could you trust more as a food critic than someone who has eaten more of it than pretty much anyone else in the world?

An example: for breakfast this morning, I had a bacon, egg, sausage, cheese, pork pie, coleslaw, kebab meat, bacon, eggs, beans and bacon baguette. But to take the edge off my hunger while that was being prepared, I had a full English.

For lunch, I was taken to a chinese restaurant called Buffet Magic Happy Place. Or something. While my fellow diners charged their plates three times at the most, I only stopped when the owner came out and pleaded with me to stop. ‘Alright, Mr Yau,’ I said. ‘Let me take home the dessert trolley and we have a deal.’

My evening meal? I can hear the pot simmering as I write. In it is a dish of my own devising: two chickens, three cans of mince, four Pot Noodles and five pints of lager. I call it Two Three  Four Five Chicken. I serve it with a loaf of bread and a carrier bag of own label crisps.

So, you see, I know more about food than you. That is a scientific fact.

With that in mind, allow me to spread my knowledge with an ongoing series of restaurant reviews.

The Al-Something Indian Buffet

The buffet. Fill your boots. And your pockets, your handbag and your hat.

Buffets are something of an embarrassment in culinary circles. Quite apart from the vulgarity they connote (eat all you can – not all you want), there are very real concerns over quality. How can the kitchen truly guarantee excellence when it is merely slopping out a limited number of those dishes on the menu that are cheapest to produce? One diner may get food that’s fresh from the pot – another may be scraping up the congealed leftovers. It’s hardly gourmet stuff – and it’s an approach to dining that’s given a wide berth by most, if not all, restaurant critics.

Well,  fuck them right in their prissy cack-ends.

Buffets are to eating out what porn is to sex – infinitely preferable, way less hassle, much better value and, in the end, guaranteed to leave you satisfied.

And if you argue with that, you’re a fuckpot-pie. Or a restaurant critic.

So, I have no qualms with reviewing my recent lunch at the Al-Something-or-other in London. Or Kent. Or, who knows, Scotland. (I was taken there in a car which had a bottle of scotch in it. Yes, it was my bottle of scotch, but it was there. That is another scientific fact.)

The room at the Al-Whatever is shaped like a long room. In it are seats and tables. There were pictures on the walls of what I thought were famous customers, but it just turned out to be Jasper Carrott.

We started with starters, as is traditional in Indian cuisine. There were many on offer, but the stars were the meaty ones and the fishy ones, although the unidentifiable ones were excellent too. One particular meaty one was one of the finest of its type I’ve had in a long time – juicy, zingily spiced and small enough to get three in your mouth in one ago. Superb stuff.

The array of main course curries was generous and broadly varied. I decided to work from left to right, with a break in the middle for the inevitable black-out. It was food of the highest quality – hot and not poisonous and on a plate. In short, all you could want from food.

The runny brown curry was outstanding, while the thick brown curry was no slouch. A couple of the red curries were equally delicious, though the king of them all was a reddish-brown curry that was heady with spice and flavour, its richness cut by something green. Some of the creamy pale curries perhaps lacked the dynamism of their punchier contemporaries, but by the time I tried them I was pretty much operating on instinct and sheer grit alone.

The side dishes were ricey or bready, while some firey sauces provided something to drink while the waiter brought your next beer.

I can confirm that it is possible to snooze in the toilets undisturbed for at least 45 minutes.

I can also confirm that this is not the kind of establishment where goosing the waitress is openly encouraged, but is not entirely outlawed. Use your skill and judgement to find the right moment. (There’s only one waitress, though, so go easy on her. She was mostly alright with me until I accidentally stuck my hand in her trousers and she dropped a tray full of food all over this woman in a wheelchair – who, it turned out, didn’t see the funny side either.)

So, the scores. (All out of 10 Knockles.)

Food: 8 Knockles.

Booze: 6 Knockles.

Waitresses: 4 Knockles.

Overall: 6.5 Knockles.

I’d recommend the Al-Blahblah for a business lunch, a rugby club tear-up or a date with a woman who’s impressed by men who can eat more than they weigh.

I am Dave Knockles! And I know more about food than you!

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2 Responses to “A restaurant, reviewed”

  1. Sam G February 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Bloody hell Dave, I thought you was dead.

    Welcome back!

    PS. I always had a feeling you were a bit on the chubby side. Thanks for sharing your fat story.

    • daveknockles February 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      FAT? I never said I was fat. I said I ate a lot. My metabolism is like a fucking greyhound. Only a greyhound with four balls. And a fast metabolism.

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