The language of food is rich and sensual, and opening a menu should be one of the most exciting parts of a trip to a restaurant. A well written menu should be a pleasure to read, capable of conjuring up delightful anticipation of the treats to come. Of course, the food needs to live up to the promise of the descriptions on the menu (or else), but more than any other factor, the restaurant’s food and menu determine whether people will recommend you to their friends and come back again.
While we all love a menu blooper, it’s hard to comprehend why any serious business would invest good money printing costly advertising materials and menus but spend nothing having the content translated and checked by professionals, preferring to rely on autonomic translation programmes on the internet. Even typos are unacceptable, because they show your guests that you are careless. Don’t think twice! Do your menu again. A menu upgrade will have repercussions on your profitability and any investments you make will not take you long to recoup.
It’s hardly surprising that so many popular novels and films revolve around food, its significance, history, characteristics, taste and appearance. Anthony Capella’s novels, The Various Flavours of Coffee, The Food of Love and the Empress of Ice Cream, are deliciously sensual and can be enjoyed without putting on an ounce and who didn’t adore the screen version wonderful Chocolat, by Joanne Harris? Another mouth-watering combination of food and literature that takes readers back to World War II is Apricots on the Nile, by Collette Rossant.
On a lighter note, during a recent trip to an upmarket Belgian restaurant, the server visited our table to give us a run-down of the chef’s specials for the evening. The food at this restaurant is all perfectly scrumptious, but this was almost impossible to understand because of his thick, Belgian accent and rather nervous delivery. When he had finished explaining and describing each dish in great detail, I was still none the wiser! My friends, however, did appear to have understood what he was talking about so I asked them to repeat. I was particularly intrigued as to what “Fois Gras Tom Cruise” might be? My friends thought this was hysterical. “Tom Cruise” was in fact “en croute”. They even called him back to the table to explain the dish again just to hear him say it. I’m going back on Saturday. I wonder what the specials will be this time…