Thursday, November 15, 2007

Crap Food Shock Horror

We scope out venues on a pretty much constant basis for clients and, as a result, all sorts of menus pass by my eyes. Some are tantalising and sound interesting, even fascinating, attractive and inspiring - often those where someone bothered to describe the food and its preparation.
Most are overpriced, lacklustre and drab - a product, perhaps, of Dubai's hotel sector being booked to the nines and disgustingly spoilt right now.
But some of the menus that are suggested to us are outstandingly underwhelming, even bordering on the mildly disgusting. That’s not just judging the book by it’s cover – there’s a lot of experience under this belt. So much that the belt is positively straining with it…
The following suggestion for a client's corporate event managed to offend me on about every level I can imagine. I shall omit to tell you which venue proposed it. Unless you ask really nicely.


Caesar salad with smoked chicken and creamy dressing

Grilled beef tenderloin with roasted king prawn and black olive glaze

Green apple and pecan rustic pie with oriental spiced ice cream

The price being asked for this strange collection of things was Dhs 250 ($70) a plate, plus drinks. It would have to be damn fine quality food to justify that price tag for a couple of slices of chicken breast, a few torn up iceberg leaves, an anchovy, a few ounces of fillet with a prawn and a handful of pickled olives, half an apple with some butter, flour and a spoon of cream with a scattering of dried spices. Even *gag* Ready Steady Cook would come up with something better than the menu above given these ingredients, surely?

For starters, literally, we have a chicken Caesar salad. It comes, if it is indeed a Caesar salad, with a creamy dressing. Why we see fit to include the fact that there is a creamy dressing is beyond me.

The main course of this expensive little extravaganza is a fillet of beef topped with a prawn. Hardly inspiring, but then let’s count our blessings: at least they didn’t call it ‘surf and turf’. There’s a hint of adventure with a black olive glaze, but I’m not quite sure what that’s going to do to the flavour of the roasted prawn. In fact, to be honest, it sounds dry and horrible.

And the bit that really ticked me off: a green apple and pecan rustic pie. Rustic my arse. What’s rustic about a pie served with an ‘oriental spiced ice cream’? It’s hardly Elizabeth David is it? And what is oriental spiced ice cream? Ice cream with ginger and lemon grass? This has fusion food disaster zone written large across it.

And if you’re going to charge that amount of money for this minimal food cost effort – wouldn’t you at least try and describe it appealingly?

We didn’t bother finding out more about this menu. Would you?


halfmanhalfbeer said...


Mita said...

(asking really really really nicely)
Who is it so I avoid them, please?

Alexander said...

The West Wing at DIFC.

Mita said...

Thanks for the warning - I nearly went there for an event early this year but the weather saved me!!