A visit to the World Famous Fish and Chip Restaurant.
Like most grumpy old people nothing annoys me more than poor service and bad manners. Last Saturday, for some unknown reason, the entire family set off for Great Yarmouth. The younger members have simple tastes and like nothing better than Fish and Chips. They will eat virtually anything but, when push comes to shove, it’s the old favourite that comes to the fore. Their standards have become more “sophisticated” over the years so the ultimate is a Fish and Chip Restaurant. What better place can there be than the one that claims to be “World Famous”. Great Yarmouthis also boasting about its facelift so it seemed an opportune time to visit.
Parking is no longer easy in Pikeyville (my daughter’s expression, not necessarily the view of the writer – much). The new car park machines want you to enter your car number before they will give out a ticket. Why? Apparently it is to stop us passing the unused 10 minutes to another lost soul who is entering as we leave. And they wonder why we are not such a kind and sharing society anymore…..Anyway, I eventually mastered the machine with the help of a newly acquired friend from somewhere north of Kings Lynn. He joked that we obviously didn’t pay much attention at school. I felt a little hurt as he was probably spelling that “skool” in his head.
We admired the wonderful new promenade with it’s 21stCentury image and 10 seconds later crossed the road to the World’s most famous F&C restaurant. “Please Wait here to be seated”. So we waited…….and waited. Several youths both male and female passed by clearly struggling for breath. At least I assumed they were as their mouths were open and they sniffed a lot. Eventually one arrived and asked “How many”? Which is a pretty dumb question as there were only four of us standing there. “Eh…four”, I ventured.
“Upstairs or down here”? he asked.
“Upstairs, I think”. I offered. On the basis that it couldn’t possibly be less unpleasant upstairs. It couldn’t smell less of damp holidaymakers and asylum seekers, or be less noisy as the air was filled with the sound of screaming babies.
Without batting an eyelid our host said, “We’re full upstairs”.
You will be pleased and proud to hear that I resisted the temptation to grab him by the throat, pull him towards me and scream at him, “Then why the f**k did you ask me”?
“OK, then – down here”. I hissed. My family were so impressed they almost burst into applause. The children are at the age when they won’t make a fuss about anything – unless it is anything that their parents do.
We were shown to a table. Formica top, still damp. Knives and forks set out. Crumbs on the sticky seats but hey, we were about to enjoy a World Famous experience as every tacky poster around the walls proclaimed.
Our host returned to take our order. Three soft drinks and a coffee for me. He took our orders and announced that there would be “a little delay for quite a while as we are very busy”. We were still pondering that one when he arrived back with the drinks – minus my coffee. I assumed he had gone back to get it but it never arrived.
Relatively quickly four meals arrived. I have to say these were the most unremarkable Fish and Chips I have ever seen or eaten. The only reason they could be world famous is for their blandness. Nothing wrong with them particularly, but massively disappointing. We eat them in silence and disappointment and our host arrived back to take the plates away with a cheery, “Everything OK”?
“Yes”, I said grudgingly as there was nothing particular to complain about, “shame about the bread and butter (mixed) which never arrived though”.
“Oh, no. I forgot that”, was all he said.
“Can I get you something else”.
They ordered desserts and I asked for a coffee.
“Two sticky toffees, one cheesecake and another coffee”
“To go with the one I didn’t get last time”
“Did you clear a cup away”?
“Well I can remember not drinking it”
At this point things took a turn for the worse. If you are born and inbred in Great Yarmouth where would you go for a good night out? You guessed it. The World’s Most Famous Fish and Chip Restaurant. In walked fifteen of Yarmouth’s finest Biffas. All shapes and sizes, all large or extra large. They were wearing less that a Newcastle Night Out and queued right beside our table. The uniform was angel wings and cowboy hats. Why do hen parties always have to have angel wings on? For Hen Party it was. The one with the glasses at the back had a sash on saying “Hen Party” and she was festooned in condoms. By the smell of this lot most of them were used. When you mix liquids eventually it turns to a mud colour. When you mix fifteen of Yarmouth’s cheapest perfumes the smell is unbelievable but if it could be a colour it would be bright mud. Bare bellies were the order of the day. Belly Bars to the front a “tramp stamp” at the rear. They also felt an overpowering urge to talk to everyone, including me. Thankfully they were the reason that upstairs was full and, apart from the odd appearance for a fag break, we saw nothing else of them.
Desserts arrived. Forgive me if I’m wrong but cheesecake isn’t meant to be served hot, is it? My daughter’s was. Clearly served straight from the defrosting microwave. However, sticking strictly to teenage tradition there was to be no complaint. As for the coffee – you guessed it – it never arrived. The bill did though, even before the last mouthful of hot cheesecake had been consumed. Incredibly it didn’t contain reference to bread, butter or coffee – so the little s**t hadn’t even ordered it!
I went to pay the bill at the counter. Host took my card and processed the payment as a surly waitress pushed my children aside and, seeing me about to rip her throat out mumbled, “’scuse”.
I took my receipt and card and lingered as the family left. As soon as they were a safe distance away I turned to our host and said, “Oh, I nearly forgot – would you like a tip”? Idiot that he was he couldn’t see it coming and eagerly smiled, “That’s entirely up to you sir”.
“OK”, I said leaning forward so that only he could hear me, “next time remember the coffee”. I turned smartly and flounced out feeling that the whole experience had suddenly been worthwhile.
My euphoria lasted all of two minutes which was how long it took to get back to the car and for young son to remove the ticket from the window and announce, “Hey, this is good. On the back here it says we get a buy-one-get-one-free at The World Famous Fish and Chip Restaurant”. Now I know why such offers are affectionately known as BOGOF!