Plat du jour

18 December 2010

The clinking of drinks and each tables’ murmurs grow louder as more and more find seats in this long-anticipated restaurant. Everyone’s my age, so I don’t think anyone has dined here before.

The entrée, a lovely printout of my HSC results, took a heap of preparation, and for most here, I believe it went down well. However, it was but an entrée, and my chosen mains, a year overseas, is soon served.

As I look around the restaurant, I notice most people getting up to leave, but keeping their things on the table. They’re coming back for dessert, provided by universities and other tertiary eduction institutions alike.

The problem is that you can neither smell nor nibble at my chosen meal, you’ve just got to put on your 85-litre bib, straps and all, and hope that all the unknown on your plate isn’t chilli. Chilli burns and hurts, but you always manage to munch through it, painfully enough, because you feel:

  1. You are wasting food,
  2. You are wasting the money you spent on your meal,
  3. You are wasting what is supposedly a (very) good meal, even though every bloody taste is masked by that bloody spice that is evident in your bloody watering eyes.

I’ve heard no previous diners say that the meal is spicy, but I’m looking at my recently-served plate suspecting the spicier varieties of fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, family Solanaceae.

I look around the restaurant again and, with a sigh of relief, see that the very small number of people left are looking at their plates in exactly the same way. I’m not eating yet; I’ve still got to get some final pieces of cutlery together. After that, I look forward to digging in not only because it will be a bloody good and unique meal, but because it’s conventional wisdom (except in the US) that dessert is really only appropriate, and tastes that much better, after main course.