Don’t Defy the Don

Why was Don Carlos so grumpy with us?
We moved from his choice of ludicrous
to a bigger table far from the door,
where tapas plates wouldn’t fall to the floor.
A small surface means crocks are not stable.
He should put a cake-stand on each table.

The food was fine, well, three out of four.
The chickpea with spinach got my top score,
while the omelette with prawns and garlic greens
was cooked just right. So too the sardines.
But the roast veg had been stewed unto death,
smothered with passata as its last breath.

Why were you so grumpy with Don Carlos?
Because at the time to say adios
a more expensive wine was on our bill
and ten percent that would go in his till.
It wasn’t pleasant arguing our case
with the Don who conceded with bad grace.

Casa Don Carlos four tapas

(Casa Don Carlos, Brighton)



In the Heel of Italy

It was the last Friday before Christmas
and the lengthy lunch break was near ended,
when two travellers sought shelter and food.
But the Apulia boss shook his head,
“There is no room. We have nowhere for two.”
They were standing by an empty table.
“This one,” they said. “A group of three might come.”
+++The two sat down. Served with friendly banter
+++they watched diners depart and none enter.

The warm efficiency of the servers
could not elevate the dishes and drink
to the expectations from the prices.
The eighteen pound house wine was diddly-squat.
The six tiny bread rings, came with the wine,
but with only one down the mains were served.
+++The pasta pile in mud was a dismay
+++while the vegan pizza was just okay.

A sure sign of greed in a management
is when Service Charge is stuck on the bill.
Twelve and a half percent in this instance.
The Catholic church demanded only ten
and was offering eternal salvation
(T&C apply). All very feudal.
+++So, it was coins to the serfs who’d been nice
+++though Apulia’s bland fare has a grand price.

(Apulia, Long Lane, London EC1A)

Apulia’s tagliatelle antara plus a bread ring

Sting in Barracuda’s Tail

Yes, we accept the Gourmet card,
said Barracuda with a smile.
We sat. Waited. Waited some while.

Whitebait, cod, skate, all were tasty.
Watched, not served, by Barracuda,
the lax, basking … et cetera.

No, we don’t take the Gourmet card,
said Barracuda through her teeth.
We remonstrated with the thief.

A quarter off only the food,
half what the discount should have been.
Yet full S/C to strip you clean.

(Barracuda restaurant, Brighton Marina)