Festival of Obvious Ideas #7: Pig out when you eat out
Guillaume Brahimi makes the World’s Best Mashed Potato in his posh restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong, at the Sydney Opera House. It costs $14. I could go there for dinner and happily eat nothing but the Paris mash.
Why’s it so good? Well, you try tossing an entire packet of butter in with four potatoes next time you’re making mash to serve with snags. You’ll win Masterchef in no time too.
Quay at Sydney’s Circular Quay is regarded as one of the world’s best restaurants (ranked No. 26). Yes, chef Peter Gilmore is clever, but I reckon brushing almost everything with butter before it leaves the kitchen is part of that genius. You show me a delicious meal and I’ll show you a restaurant with a big block of churned milk.
So does anyone seriously go out for dinner because there’s not enough salad and low fat yoghurt at home?
But that hasn’t stopped a new wowserism descending on dining out, starting with new laws in NSW from February 2012 forcing 40 restaurant chains to list the kilojoules in every dish and drink they serve. Honestly, if I’m going to go completely crazy and have a third glass of wine, cocking my nose at the NHMRC drinking guidelines, the last thing I want is a sommelier telling me the 09 is an extra 650 kilojoules.
It’s bad enough that people who don’t want to eat what’s on the menu - because they’re vegan, dairy free or duck intolerant - are hijacking restaurants. Does anyone go to see Hamlet and tell John Bell to change the ending because they don’t like tragedy?
Restaurants are about escape whether it’s from the washing up or a crap day. Waiters are nice to you, hoping to score a tip. Restaurants are fun, an indulgence, adventure and the grown up version of kid-in-a-lolly-shop. I want to have too much sugar. I want to go completely Augustus Gloop without having the nanny state telling me I’m a very naughty boy.
As Frederic Raphael, the American novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter, said:
Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth-brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled
I don’t want to be saved from my dining indiscretions. Or reminded of them by do gooders worried about my waistline.
There’s a saying in cooking: fat adds flavour. Toss in a bit of salt and sugar too. That’s the dirty secret in every restaurant, whether it’s Maccas or one with three Michelin stars. If you want to make tofu sexy, deep-fry it in duck fat. The best brussels sprouts I’ve ever eaten were cooked in duck fat too.
We go out to eat chips and avoid mixed leaf salads. We go out to have three courses and order three desserts between two. For tomorrow, we diet.
I eat out for a living and increasingly tighter jeans tell me restaurants are ruining my supermodel career dreams.
But that’s why I love them. I know they’re bad, so don’t spoil the fun by nagging me about it. I’ll stay at home and steam vegetables with plenty of fibre when I want to be good. I might even wake up to a bowl of bran, rather than heading out for a chocolate croissant.
About now there are nutritionists and dieticians loading up their celery sticks and rounding up a posse to hunt me down.
Look for the bloke at your local restaurant tucking into the pork belly and trying to save room for the cheese - just after dessert.
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