On Saturday afternoon we went to the Botanical Gardens. It was full of little first communicants in regalia which filled me with envy. On Saturday night, Mr. Waffle and I went to see Date Night. This, although entertaining, was a very poor choice. It’s about a married couple in mid-life who work full-time, have small children, are well-meaning and are constantly exhausted. Mr. Waffle and I are that couple. We winced as each joke hit home. In an example of life imitating art, after the cinema we went to an edgy new restaurant. Happily, no one tried to shoot us.
The restaurant is run by a man called Conrad Gallagher who is famous/notorious in Ireland. An acquaintance had recounted investigating his new restaurant and I was curious to go myself after hearing her description. She described the service as pert. Before she arrived, they rang several times to remind her that they only took cash – no credit cards. On arrival, the waiter interrupted her to tell her she was wrong about something. My acquaintance, who is formidable, was not pleased. She was also right.
My own experience of the service was similar. When I rang to book for 8.30, I was asked whether I played the lottery. I was baffled. I was told that I had as much chance of winning the lottery as getting at table at 8.30. How about 9.15? Oh how we laughed. 9.15 it was. Which would have been fine, if we had been seated at our table at 9.15 as promised, instead of 9.45. There is no waiting area so we stood just inside the door feeling deeply unwelcome.
Dinner is a tasting menu and you opt for one of 4, I think, set menus. We opted for the â‚¬34 a head menu which, I have to say is pretty good value. Courses 1, 4 and 5 worked very well. Dessert was particularly good, I thought. On the minus side the second course of curried crab reminded me of the curry tuna orange paste that is such a staple of the Belgian lunch time sandwich market and the third course asparagus risotto boasted woody asparagus and, bafflingly, a duck confit topping. Not a marriage made in heaven. Still, I think that all would have been well, if the service had not been so unbearably slow. By 11.45 when we finally got the bill, I was practically asleep on the table. My mood was not improved by the waiter saying smarmily to me as he handed over the bill and pointed to my husband “Is he boring you?” Yes, certainly you will endear diners to you by insulting them/their partners. All in all, I’m not sure I will be rushing back.
On Sunday afternoon, we went to the park to celebrate my niece’s 2nd birthday. I was very dubious about this outing as a) it was likely to rain and b) my children were unlikely to eat anything offered in the market. I was wrong on both counts and a very pleasant afternoon was had by all. We were able to let the Princess encounter commerce – she went to buy herself some sweets. I deeply regretted giving her a â‚¬20 note (smallest I had) as she arrived back with a â‚¬9 box of artisan fudge rather than a 50c bar of chocolate. A learning experience for all of us there. However, she was able to run and play in the playground on the far side of the park on her own which made her seem very big and grown-up and I think she was quite pleased with herself.
When we got home, herself ran upstairs to finish off “The Horse and his Boy” and Mr. Waffle played ball games with the boys in the garden while I made dinner. It was all very suburbia in the 1950s but none the less pleasant for that.
Then, yesterday, disaster, my childminder’s boyfriend can’t find a job and they are moving back to France. Alas.