Well Done Fillet

Well Done Fillet

Waiter Stuff

Ye olden days of waiting

Restaurants have changed over the years and mostly for the better. The quality of food and wine available is almost beyond comparison to what was available when I was a lad. The range of choice has grown with every taste and style being catered for.

It's hard for most to remember the things we have left behind,
but not for me.

I remember them and I miss them too....


Waiters wearing white shirts and bow ties. You just don't see that anymore unless you are in a provincial backwater such as Letterkenny or Lisburn maybe Portadown but I don't care what happens in Portadown. Uniforms are sponsored by the suppliers now meaning that the restaurants get their uniforms for free or at a hugely subsidised rate. So gone are white shirts and bow ties in come aprons with Stella on them and shirts like Grand Prix drivers. Where's the class gone people, where?

Chefs with tall hats. Not even head chefs wear tall hats anymore. No, now it's baseball caps with a thousand logos. And what ever happened to chefs whites and blue checked trousers? All gone whacky that's what happened! Chefs look like 1970's jazz musicians now. Even George Melly would balk at the outfits they wear to work now. Flashy cunts.

a chef

Tables set with hundreds of pieces of cutlery, glasses, and plates. Ah the magic of cutlery and how it confused people! You rarely get that anymore either unless you are dining with royalty. Fish knives, salad forks, soup spoons, multiple wine glasses were all set out to impress but mainly to bewilder and bedazzle. I still chortle to myself when I think back to those wonderful days and how people stuttered for an age when presented with their first course. They would lift a fork and then check the person to the left to see what they were using and then realise they were having soup and change again. Tremendous fun. But they took that joy away from us and now we bring cutlery as it is required. Spoil sports.

"Exotic" specials.
And by exotic I mean pineapple rings. Those were halcyon days my friends. No menu was complete without something being topped with a ring of tinned pineapple, mainly gammon it has to be said but there were other things too. A perfectly formed ring of sugary pineapple also found it's way onto summer salads too and alongside spicy chicken. Tinned pineapple was a luxury in pre-tiger Ireland/during the troubles with only the richest drug dealers and celebrity terrorists being able to afford the real deal. But it wasn't just pineapple rings, hell no, there were other exotic items to be found on menus in the 70's and 80's. Pure orange being just about the strangest. And by pure I mean from a can. How the fuckity fuck they got away with offering a small glass of canned OJ as a first course I will never know.


The Sweet Trolley. Long before the Health and Safety people were good at their jobs the un-chilled sweet trolley was the main attraction at any restaurant. There it sat tempting you for hours whilst you chomped your way through your pineapple ring topped gammon and "pure" orange. Restaurants that couldn't afford a sweet trolley or didn't have the space for one just put pictures of the sweets on the menu. For what it's worth you should never eat at a restaurant with pictures of the food on the menu, never. The waitress, and it was always waitresses back then, dragged the rickety and heavily laden trolley over the carpet to your table. And having finished everything you got to pick what you wanted. Would it be the trifle with the cream going off in the heat? Would it be the melting strawberry mousses? Or would it be everyones favourite, the homemade Sara Lee Black Forest Gâteaux? It didn't really matter which it was, they were all good if a bit warm and probably full of nasty bacteria.

But just as the bow tie was replaced with the open collar shirt sponsored by Guinness the sweet trolley was replaced with a two tonne refrigerated behemoth that just didn't have the same magic and sparkle.

Food served in baskets, prawn cocktails served in wine glasses, gravy, spag bol, fondue, aspic jelly, meat n three veg all replaced with rocket salads, tagliatelle, and my least favourite thing stuff that ain't soup served in a bowl. I hanker after a simpler time when we, the waiters, had the control and you, the customer, didn't know the difference between a fish fork and a soup spoon...........