Metro 145

Richard Herring: I’ve got a beef with offally posh nosh

Wednesday 17 Dec 2014 

I don’t often go to posh restaurants, unless you count Pret A Manger (which I do, ooh la la, so classy its name is in foreign) but this week I was invited out to lunch by some high-flying newspaper editors and we dined in a place that was so sophisticated it didn’t even do sandwiches.

I had steak and chips but one of my dining companions had plumped for lamb and something called sweetbreads and asked me if I wanted to try them. I love bread and the more sugary, the better, so was disappointed to be proffered something that looked a little bit like wormy cat diarrhoea. But I don’t turn down free food so gave it a go.

I was then told that I was eating animal testes. It’s not the first time a newspaper editor has taken me out to lunch and I’ve ended up with testicles in my mouth but that’s another story. I was eating animal gonads, so I thought, and like a chump I wasn’t being paid £50,000 to do so by ITV.

Posh restaurants are clearly run by perverts, tricking you to ingest the contents of a scrotal Ferrero Rocher by giving it a fun-sounding name. It was OK but I’d have preferred actual sweetbreads. Call them what they are, poshos: ‘Brackish epidymi’!

As it turns out, sweetbreads are not made from trouser walnuts at all but the thymus and pancreas of lambs or calves. Which is much less weird, right? But by the way the waiter was looking at us, I reckon they’d at least dipped some genitalia into our food anyway.

You’d think getting rich enough to eat in fine restaurants would mean you get the best food, so why were all these businessmen eating bits of animals that sausage manufacturers would turn their noses up at (before putting the noses in their sausages, with God knows what else – let’s face it, we’ve all eaten testicles at some point)? If I was this rich I’d be eating the finest Pizza Express pizza and Nando’s and Pot Noodles freshly prepared by Nigella Lawson. I almost feel sorry for the wealthy, having to pretend they prefer this to Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes (my usual lunch).

My steak came with bone marrow smeared over it. By eating glands and spinal fluid I was behaving very much like a pervy cannibal serial killer. Not just the regular cannibal serial killers who just eat the palatable bits of their victims but a pervy one who starts sucking stuff out of bones and fricasseeing private parts.

I once went to the Fat Duck, where the massive Willy Wonka, Heston Blumenthal, serves up snail porridge and salmon coated in liquorice. It was mind-blowing and made me appreciate the sense of taste but I couldn’t help thinking Heston was involved in some kind of bet with the other chefs. ‘Let’s see how much we can get these rich idiots to pay for the most ridiculous dishes possible.’ Like the emperor with his new clothes, everyone goes along with it because they don’t want to look like an unrefined fool.

Comedians attempt to satirise the privileged but maybe restaurateurs are doing a better job. ‘Sure, yeah, you’re super-rich, well done. Now eat some mashed-up knackers and drink this coffee that’s been up a cat’s bum. It’s only £500 each. You’re much cleverer than the twits having a bacon bap for £2 at Greggs. Thanks for the money.’

Bravo, Blumenthal and all you other kitchen revolutionaries. You are the Jonathan Swifts of the 21st century. Bon appetit.