Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A brilliant dissection

AA Gill gets a third mention in three posts. Nothing at all to do with the fact he was a regular at Pan and hopefully won't find mk 2 to offensive to his palette to continue shopping with us. Sucking up? You betcha.

Anyway this is his brilliant destruction of the new Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Dorchester. I particularly like the last few paragraphs:

"Altogether, lunch took an unconscionable two hours, but that’s by the by. The point of this gaffe is the bill. For four of us – one person only had two courses – with a bottle of £40 wine chosen by the snail-mouthed sommelier, it came to 435 of your English pounds, including £48 for service. That’s sickening. The fixed price for three courses is £75, with a £10 supplement for a snivel of black truffle. I have always said that value depends on what you start off with, but I’ve changed my mind. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, this place would deafen you with the tearing sound of being ripped off.

And I’ve got a new definition of value and worth and hospitality: if the main course costs more than the waiter who serves it makes in a shift, then I don’t want to eat it, or support the restaurant that tries to get away with it. That sort of radical divergence of society – the sort of envy and resentment that it encourages – is immoral, and bad for a city and for everyone who lives in it. And if that doesn’t spoil your appetite, then nothing short of the chef pissing in your soup will.

As I looked round, I realised that nobody in this room was actually paying for their food: it was all on expenses. And, ultimately, all expense accounts are paid for by people who use goods and services. I hope it’s scant joy for you to know that, although you will never eat, nor be able to afford to eat, at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, you are still able to pay for those who do."

I do love the sound of furious and righteous anger. And talking of radical divergence, on the short cycle ride between Sloane Square and shop 2 I spotted 3 Aston Martins, 2 Bentleys, A big flash Maserati, a Mercedes Mclaren and Range Rovers, big Beemers and Mercs too numerous to mention. A far cry from the Marsh. This is our new world now, I'd better start getting used to it.


  1. A A Gill - never read him.

  2. Angry Island is a good start if you are inclined. I reckon he gets the english just about spot on there.