Russell Norman, founder of Polpo Venetian restaurant has written about his top restaurant gripes.
In an article for food and drink magazine Noble Rot, Norman vents about the most annoying things that have infected the restaurant industry recently.
The list of his top 10 gripes includes the phrases ‘artisanal’ bread and ‘hand-cut’ chips, which are so ubiquitous that many even fail to notice them anymore. However, Norman points out that they don’t actually mean anything.
"An artisan is simply someone who has a special skill so describing your bread as artisanal means “made by a baker” and artisanal cheese is, guess what, “made by a cheesemaker”, he wrote.
"I cannot forgive 'hand-cut'. This pointless prefix, too often used when describing chips, inevitably provokes the response 'as opposed to what?' How else would you cut something? With a knee?"
Noble flinches when a waiter or waitress tells him to ‘enjoy’ his meal when bringing anything to the table. You would think that it’s just common courtesy, but not according to the restaurateur, describing it as "appallingly insincere", adding: "I want to reply: 'Don’t you tell me what to do' but instead I grimace, a rictus smile fixed on to the mask that hides my sobbing soul."
It’s not the only thing that stokes Norman's ire about waiting for staff as the ‘is everything OK?' question doesn’t sit well either. "The question the waitress should be asking, with a big smile, is 'do you have everything you need?'" he said.
And if a waiter comes to the table without a pen and claims he’ll remember the order, well, he’d better get it right. "Of course, they will always forget something… and when inevitably they do, I will want to grab Mr. Memory and shout 'Why didn’t you write it down?'"
He also takes aim at waiting staff asking do you get the restaurant's 'concept'. "You feel like shouting 'it’s okay. We get it. We order the food and you bring it to the table!'" he said.
Understandably, Nobel detests novelty serving containers for chips such as the miniature frying basket, shopping trolley or flowerpots.
Take a look at Norman’s top 10 annoying things about restaurant:
1. 'Do you have a reservation?'
2. The concept
3. 'We fly our mozzarella over from Italy twice a week'
6. Square plates
7. Novelty crockery
8. Sommeliers sniffing corks
9. 'Don’t worry - I’ll remember everything'
The real question is: what gets on your nerves about restaurants these days?