“One must have standards”
WOW London can’t decide whether he’s a proud Londoner, or just a snob. Here’s the story.
I had plans to meet a friend the other night for dinner. She’s from Scotland, so can be forgiven for not knowing the restaurant “rules” in London.
WOW London blurts into the ‘phone, “Sure, just find a restaurant near Oxford Circus and let me know where to meet you”. Not a smart idea.
You see, she had chosen a “Tourist Restaurant”.
I’m on the way to Oxford Circus, waiting for the call. It comes. Then, the horrifying news. I scream into the ‘phone “DON’T ORDER, DON’T ORDER!!!” and break into a sprint. Thoughts race through my mind – What if I’m too late? Will I have to go in? What if my friends see me? I run faster, knocking old ladies from my path…
It was a nightmare scenario. I could see her through the glass, under the neon, wine in hand, cutlery laid out before her, awaiting delivery of her order. I steeled myself, and went in. A Rubicon had been crossed, and I would never be the same again. Oh the shame!
Of course I didn’t let on the thoughts that were going through my head. I did the English thing – smiled at everyone, made a few polite comments, and looked through the menu. But I couldn’t keep it up for long. It was too much to bear, I could feel a sweat coming on. What to do?
I opted to buy my way out of the situation. Before the food had even arrived, I called for the bill. Everybody stared at me blankly – the Czech waitress, the people at the table next to us (from Canada one side, Spain the other), my Scottish friend. I was alone – a Londoner among tourists. Then the manager was called. He, a Frenchman, also stared in disbelief.
I mumbled something about being in a hurry and smiled. Did they know? Could they see through me? Had I revealed the big secret?
Big secret? Londoners need read no more. But for the rest of you, an explanation:
In your own city, you know which places are good to go, and the places where only tourists go – “Tourist Restaurants”. Blissfully unaware of the reputation but impressed by the central location, bright lights and catchy name, they flutter in, wallets first – you know, the whole moth & candle thing. It works. Keeps the tourists out of the places we like to go to. And you can snigger at them as you walk past the window and see them looking blankly at their foul, expensive, tourist food.
In London there are two such chains: A******* ***** *****, and G*********. My friend had chosen G*********.
There are three reasons why these are mostly asterisks:
1. The WOW Report doesn’t wanna get sued
2. EVERY Londoner knows what they are just from that clue
3. It would be breaking the code to reveal the secret to non-Londoners. If we did that, not even the tourists would eat there, and then we wouldn’t be able to snigger at them.
Sorry, but that’s just how it is. But avoid the neon and you won’t go too far wrong.
– Barry Shaverin