There is culinary delight to be found in the simplest of places. One needn’t (indeed, shouldn’t!) venture out to a five star restaurant to arouse the gustatory sense, to tantalise the tongue and to court human spit. I have known the greatest excess, but I last-night knew revelation.
Imagine, if you can, a portly, but altogether quite handsome man with the kiss of unkempt whiskers upon his chin, fumbling a plate on account of one conciliatory sherry-too-many. A beautiful scene, tragically punctuated by a very thunderbolt from the Gods! The meal, exiled to the floor!
At first glance, it seemed nothing special. A square of toast, presented buttered-side down on a square of slightly faded grey carpet. A bold visual statement indeed – the edges of the toast (artfully shy of burnt) delicately adorned by ephemeral wisps of carpet fuzz, as if to wink at danger.
This is a unique culinary threat. It heightens one’s pulse, and the resultant heady anticipation does to a meal what not even three (or perhaps four hats) could adorn. For this is a masterpiece of interactive dining, daring to flirt with the ugly, eschewing that tastebud populist; convention.
But the true test of a masterpiece is in the eating: the first bite of the toast yielded a slightly dry crispness, evoking foreign deserts and a shameful squall of neglect. The crust, largely unremarkable, gave way to a moist centre, impossibly soggy, were it not for its carpet germination. If the stale, final edge of the toast had a taste, that taste was loneliness.
I would change nothing were I to sample this meal again (and I shall!). Such spectacular minimalism is a victory best left unquestioned.
Every crumb is a blessing, befitting of the kings who foolishly squander their days in the dining halls of Blumenthal and Pierre-White. I have sampled the offerings of such king-pleasers and they fall (as if a piece of toast!) in the face of this fallen piece of toast.
Five stars. I haven’t a single regret.