13 March, 2011


A triumph of marketing

I'm sure you all eat this dish every week, but it's a new one on me. I called in for refreshments at a hostelry in the Seven Dials district of the West End of London, a district which seems to attract huge numbers of tourists, most of them keen to sample the English national dish. No, not chicken tikka masala, but fish and chips.

But what of those visitors who have chosen to follow the vegetarian path? How to cater for them?

And there before me was the answer:

Vegetarian fish and chips

announced the chalkboard behind the bar. I boggled gently. I was reminded of a former colleague, a batty Vincentian* woman who, among her other foibles, claimed to be a vegetarian — she never forwent an opportunity to sneer about people eating "dead, rotting animals" — but who also admitted that she ate fish, which in her twisted logic did not count as animals. We never did manage to get a lucid explanation of that one.

I consulted the menu and conferred with the bemused East European barstaff, and learned that the "fish fillet" in vegetarian fish and chips is a wodge of deep-fried battered halloumi cheese, presumably made from the milk of "goats, underwater goats with snorkels and flippers"

Well, Bombay Duck me, you live and learn, innit?

* I've always thought that "St Vincent and the Grenadines" would be a good name for a watered down Calypso or Soca ensemble, perhaps one targeted at the package-tourist market and the sort of Black band that always takes to the stage in identical slightly oversized shiny lounge suits and sings choreographed close harmony and smiles a lot. But then that's just the sort of bollocks that rattles round inside my head, innit?

Served up with chips fried in beef dripping, as in Yorkshire..? :)

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