As you are no doubt acquainted, I have been a patron of your fine restaurant, La Poule D'orée, for some considerable time now. Indeed I recall many a pleasant repast enjoyed at your premises over the years. However, not withstanding the afore-mentioned reveries of times long gone, I feel obliged to bring to your attention my last visit to your eatery which has left me traumatised and in need of psychiatric attention for a considerable period of time.
I attended your restaurant last Wednesday evening, the 19th inst., accompanied by a dear personal friend of mine and potential paramour, Miss Jocelyn Forthyse-Grants.
Sadly, you were not in attendance that evening, otherwise I would have made you acquainted with my displeasure there and then.
The evening was an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end.
For a start, we were seated at a corner table next to a gramophone speaker broadcasting funereal dirges in French, punctuated by Edith Piaf having no regrets, Maurice Chevalier thanking heaven for little girls, and Sasha Distillery complaining of raindrops wetting his hair. What is wrong with The Beatles or the Rolling Stones man? This is London, you know. Not Paris. You could at least play Land of Hope and Glory or Rule Britannia every now and then!
Notwithstanding the afore-mentioned, music being the least of my concerns, I have to draw your attention to the lowering standards and quality of the provisions on offer.
Your sommelier suggested a delicate white wine from the Loire Valley. I feel compelled to inform you that delicate it was not. It may or may not have originated from the stated valley, that is of no matter in itself, but it tasted more like lark's vomit. Not that I have ever tasted such regurgitated food I hasten to add.
At this juncture I would wish to add that it has not escaped my notice that your sommelier and your waiter, as well as the chef who prepared our dessert, are one and the same person. All that was different was the fact that the individual wore a different jacket whilst performing the different roles. He had a black jacket whist serving the wine, a white one whilst serving the food, and no jacket at all whilst preparing our dessert at the table; albeit he wore a chef's hat to perform this latter task totally inadequately as you shall learn later on in this missive.
The young lady in question and I ordered Escargot à l'ail; that is snails in garlic sauce, your speciality I believe. I'll admit that the garlic sauce was exquisite. However the snails were a tad underdone I believe. So underdone that the snails were running all over the plate, the table, and eventually hurried out of the premises before we could catch them! Perhaps they could not abide the smell of the garlic, do you think?
For our main meal, Miss Forthyse-Grants had frogs' legs; although I should confess that the rest of her body was really beautiful.
We ordered the ratatouille, which your waiter assured us was rodent free; although I could not vouch for that judging from its taste and the bits of fur floating on the surface.
I believe it was a very romantic touch presenting that young couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary with two doves on a silver tray hidden under a cloche. However, when the cloche was lifted, the two wild birds flew everywhere shedding their feathers and pigeon droppings all over the restaurant and our food. I got some bird poop stuck in my moustache which was difficult to remove with a damp serviette as it became entrenched stubbornly into my bristles. This ruined my intended evening with the young lady and became an insurmountable obstacle to my kissing her on the lips, or anywhere else on her anatomy.
Finally, I wish to add that the dessert was a total disaster. We first ordered the crème brûlée which reached the table burnt to a cinders. You might as well have called it crème cremated. We returned it and ordered the crêpe Suzette instead.
As you are aware, these are prepared at the diners' table for good effect. The chef explained step by step what he was doing whilst preparing the crêpes Suzette at our table. Towards the end he poured some Grand Marnier on them and lit it. Unfortunately he had poured enough fuel to start a bonfire. It went up in flames with a wooosh and singed most of my beard and set my hair on fire.
The flames spread all over the table and threatened to burn down the whole restaurant.
In order to save me from a fate worse than death my lady companion emptied the champagne bucket full of icy water all over my head. I was drenched to my underpants and had a sudden urge to run to the bathroom. Too late!
Another waiter wearing a fireman's helmet discharged a fire extinguisher all over the table and replaced my burnt out beard with a white one made of fire extinguishing foam.
All in all, it was a memorable evening; but not in a good way.
Sir Michael Inn (Retired).