Can I have some fries with my schieserschnitzel?

by MinkeyChief

Bliddy Bangaloreans have had many hobbies over the years. For example (and to pull one out at random) there was the ‘weirdly canted Maruti 800 with fire extinguisher playing Roxette at 120dB down Brigade Road’ phase in the late 1980s and early 90s. Or the ‘ornate waistcoat with baggy Wearhouse trousers, dangling peace sign and neon shoelaces’ trend we’re praying will never be on Facebook for our offspring to see.

Today, for anybody with more than five minutes on their hands, the craze is to open a “fine dining” restaurant.

But in order to do well, there are a few rules to follow. Call it Sodium. Or Garlic. Or Stove. It should be one word and pretentious. That makes money because Bliddy Bangaloreans think pretentious is cool. Then, spend 99 per cent of your budget on the décor. More if possible. When patrons are seated on brushed aircraft-grade aluminium cubes using sandalwood chopsticks to eat off Swarovski crystal tables, they’ll be so awed that you can fling anything past those gently dropping jaws and they’ll nod in wonder. (Once they are past the awe phase, they’ll start bringing friends and family from out of town, just to watch their faces. Once they’re out of out-of-towners, it’s time for you to start actually thinking about the food.)

When planning your menu, use as many French and Italian words as you can. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what they mean or if you’re using them wrongly, just fling them around. Bliddy Bangaloreans are too pretentious to admit they don’t know French and Italian words, and too lazy to find out what they actually mean.

Get some wilted lettuce, squirt some brine and yoghurt over it, sprinkle on some pepper and chillies. Don’t call it “Hands up, this is culinary dacoity” as you should. Call it “Freshly picked Italian pastrami dipped in pis de mer, served over a delicately creamed nougat sauce, topped with penne mascarpone”. Charge Rs.450 for it (it’s essential that it be expensive) and watch them go at it like a bunch of half-starved bunnies.

Getting the idea? Here’s another example. Heat an oven to 375°F. Take a chicken leg and wave it around inside for 20 seconds. Take some ketchup you’ve left in the sun for a couple of days and crumble over it. Sprinkle with sawdust.

Call it “Smoked French duck served rare in a blanket of fine herbs and sun-dried, hand-picked German pellati schiesershnitzel”. Charge Rs.1,000 for it. If you ask for less, you’ll get beaten up for serving raw chicken. Charge a thousand bucks and whoever’s shelled out will assume that they just “don’t get it”. Try and squeeze these descriptions out a bit. Have a couple of paragraphs and drop a few names. If you do, you can easily charge double of what you think might get you dragged into the alley behind.

Every so often you’ll get some smart-ass fresh out of Alliance Francaise who actually knows the words you’ve used. Just tell them that your chef’s a brilliant fusion artist who adapts recipes for local conditions. (It’s a magical word, ‘fusion’. When used in a cultural context, it gets even serial axe murderers standing ovations.)

If they say, “Yeah, but you’ve said ‘foie gras of cucumber’. You can’t have foie gras of cucumber. And what the hell is ‘saucisson of fromage bleu brownie’?”

Interrupt with the following, to instantly save your butt. “If you shut the fuck up, your dinner will be on the house.”

First published in Time Out Bangalore, April 6-13, 2009 issue