Monday, 2 April 2012
Please sir, I want less…
There seems to be a scourge wracking its way through the eating establishments of Great Britain these days… the size of the portions.
Whilst I am not adverse to the fantastic food revolution that this green and pleasant land has undergone over the last 20 years, it seems to have been coupled with the serving of wasteful, gargantuan portions masquerading under the false tags of 'hearty', 'rib-sticking' and 'wholesome'. This is entirely misleading and more often than not I have been to gastropubs and restaurants where a large number of plates leave the table still piled with food. In the words of the lawyer from Pink Floyd's Rock-pera The Wall (1979) 'This will not do!'.
As much as I find the change for life campaign terribly patronising, they have a very important point about cutting down meal sizes to healthy portions. It seems that this point has passed over a number of establishments.
The way a number of eateries present a plate with a large cut of very rich meat (giving the false impression that more ingredient makes it more worth your hard earned cash) and then an unreasonable portion of vegetables (kale, spring greens or some other ruffage rich and toothy leaf) and a stodgy carbohydrate (the current trend seems to be a root vegetable mash). The classic fayre of ye old England, some might say and whilst I do not deny that many of these dishes are cooked with finesse, the result is a heart clogging heap of food which most people cannot manage and a withering look from a waiter when you don't finish it.
I am not trying to suggest that we go back to the times of Novelle Cuisine (or the bastardisation of it) but let's bring a bit of moderation into the restaurant industry and set on a size that the average person can realistically finish. Whilst I like British root vegetables, I do not need a whole bag of parsnips on my plate to prove it! Nor do I need half a kilo of pork belly to get the satisfaction i need from this delicious cut of meat!
Take a leaf out of the chef Bruce Poole, who, at this restaurant Chez Bruce has managed to obtain the perfect balance of flavour and quantity without leaving the customer either too hungry or too full.