Italian cuisine is always a mixed emotion for me. I married into an Italian family so I tend to find myself either completely maxed out on Italian or pandering for more like a junkie.
I guess there must have been a shortage of Italian food in our home because I was needing a fix.
Enter the restaurant “Ask”. Literally. In we went.
The restaurant was pretty much empty, which should have had me edging towards the door or signalling to the wife to bring the car round. But I didn’t. I must have assumed that the evening rush just hadn’t started. Either way, we were sat in an empty restaurant and looking at a menu with hungry eyes.
We were left uninterrupted by the waitress for a considerable length of time, in fact such a considerable length of time that I was able to read each item on the menu numerous times and even read the small print on the rear of the menu.
Eventually a surly waitress that had all the joy and enthusiasm of a teenager asked to clean their room shuffled over and took our simple order in the manner of someone that was meeting their attacker for the first time.
The waitress then shuffled off and into the kitchen.
And then something unexplainable happened. It was one of those moments that is featured on the Discovery Channel and has speakers such as Stephen Hawking or Professor Brian Cox and almost certainly some profound perspective from a NASA scientist, because no sooner had the kitchen door closed behind our delightful waitress had it burst back open with her holding two plates of food and steering towards me and the wife.
And then it happened . . . the plates were placed in front of us. I looked at my offering for a few moments before looking up to the wife. My lips flapped but words would not escape from my voice box. Had I taken a serious blow to the head whilst in the restaurant? Or had they been pumping monoxide in via the air-conditioning? Because this seemed an amazing speed in which to be served a dish you had ordered less than 45 seconds prior to it arriving. I’ve had slower falls down stairs than this, and the drinks weren’t even with us yet.
I reasoned that this must be some space anomaly whereby everything operates at a speed that the poorly evolved human brain just can’t comprehend and therefore I must have already had my drink – obviously launched at me in the form of protons that were blasted at me as if from an exploding neutron star.
So with a perplexed look I raised my fork and tucked into the pasta.
What was I really expecting? Compliments to the chef? A rolling of my head as I make orgasmic sounds of sheer delight?
Well, I know Italian food well, and this, this pile of jaundice blandness was not even comparable to a petrol station pasta bowl that has sat two weeks past its sell-by-date.
No, this was the offering of a meal that had been reheated for perhaps no less than three attempts in order to sell it.
It was a disgrace to the Italian world of food.
Hell, it would have been a disgrace as a first attempt at cooking by a primate that had been pumped full of sedatives.
I couldn’t stomach more than a mouthful, and I’ve eaten at a Little Chef before.
I hacked at the pasta until it was a pulpy mess – in the hope that they couldn’t reheat and serve this to the next poor S.O.B that enters Ask with a slither of hope of receiving an edible meal.
I covered my plate with my paper napkin, as if covering a victim of an accident that didn’t make it, and pushed the plate away with the repulsion I reserve only for when Jordan appears on TV.
The waitress scuttled over and slammed two drinks down in front of us and then took my road kill dinner away without even asking (ironic) if I enjoyed it. Had she enquired, I feel I would have stood up and fired off a tsunami of abuse about the insult to my taste buds that I had just gone through.
Let us not forget that all of this, the food order, the food serving, the pulping of the food, the drink servings and removal of my plate had happened in less than three minutes . . .
I didn’t even wait for the wife to finish. She too had had a single mouthful of this utter garbage and what with her fiery temper, I thought it best to settle our bill and exit before she went all Godzilla on the restaurant and reduced the building to debris.
So, short of around £18 later, I exited Ask with a feeling of betrayal, confusion and hunger.
One thing I always promise after a bad dining experience is that the establishment that wronged me will never, ever see another penny of my money and with that I will ensure that anyone prepared to listen will know of my woes. It might have been a bad day for the restaurant . . . however, is your stomach asking for sustenance? Then just Ask yourself, do you feel lucky, punk? Well? Do you?