Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Whole New Take on Fast Food

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Whole New Take on Fast Food

Article excerpt

Byline: gary bainbridge One man's struggle with the 21st century. Follow Gary on Twitter @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at gary.bainbridge@trinitymirror.com

IFIND dining out to be something of an ordeal. It's a thrill ride of anxiety during which so many things can go wrong, and I have little control over them, like a Labour leadership election.

This fear of a bad dining experience can strike at any establishment. It can strike at one of the Argos-like collection points at a big McDonald's, where I am convinced somebody is going to filch my burger bag and abscond.

It can strike at the production line at Subway, in which I come under pressure to make so many rapid decisions about the constitution of my sandwich that I might as well have made my own at home.

And it can strike too at one of those very posh restaurants where they have plates and cutlery, where you order while sitting down, and where they only ask you to pay AFTER you've finished your meal.

As a result, I find that the less time I have to spend in the restaurant, the better, which is probably why I pop up out of my seat like a meerkat as soon as I have finished eating, waving frantically at the waiting staff, and miming the writing of a cheque in an attempt to obtain the bill at the earliest opportunity. This is despite the fact nobody who waits in the sort of restaurants I visit even remembers cheques.

Essentially, nobody has ever wanted me to leave the restaurant quickly more than me. Or so I thought...

I went with a friend some time ago to one of those small plates restaurants. It was not exactly tapas because not all of the food was Spanish, but you understand the sort of establishment to which I refer. I am yet to be convinced that small plates restaurants are not some sort of scam to fool us into buying simultaneously too much food and not enough food, but that is by the by.

I was not sure how much to order, but I was told the advice was that I should order one more plate than I thought I would need.

"But what if the amount I think I need is the amount that I actually need?" I asked.

"Just... Just order," my friend said. Nevertheless, the food was sufficiently tasty, and our waitress was sufficiently friendly, and for a moment I was able to forget that I hate dining out. …

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