I don’t like fish.
I can manage a fish as in “fish and chips” as long as its Haddock (having listened to Hull folk for too long as to the eating habits of the worm-ridden Cod) and as long as its done in a “proper” fish and chip shop – fish and chips in a pub just doesn’t cut it for me.
So I’ll have haddock and chips from paper, laying in a half inch of vinegar and enough salt to de-ice a mile or so of motorway, just so long as that haddock doesn’t still have its skin on and the absolute unremitting proviso that its been properly de-boned.
Other than that I have no desire at all to eat fish, stuff like oily mackerel, kippers, fish bakes, fish pie, leaves me cold, I don’t like fish, just don’t.
So I wasn’t all that bothered at the weekend when the wife of mine suggested that we partake of fish and chips at Marshalls of Tynemouth, particularly not bothered when she and the youngest offspring wanted to sit in their restaurant for their fish and chips, I wasn’t hungry, simple as.
But there was a table free, just one, the restaurant was busy its true but there was a spare table and everyone else was eating so it seemed they’d all been served already, there was the usual long queue outside the takeaway and so we took the free table … and waited.
£6 for fish and chips is a tad eye-watering even in a restaurant, two ingredients, a plate and a formica table is what you’re offered, its not The Ritz, still its popular so they must be doing something right and we’ve used the takeaway before and its good, no complaints there.
Read the menu, picked the obvious, “I’ll have fish and chips then” I said to the wife and we looked over to where two waitresses were stood at the counter talking, one of them walked towards us, I smiled, she walked straight past, served a can of coke (£1.05) to the table behind, then walked back to the counter, ignored us.
The other waitress brought a plate of food to another table behind us, I caught her eye as she walked past, indicated the menu, that I wanted to order, she walked back to the counter, ignored again.
I have a five minute test for all cafe’s and restaurants, don’t expect to be served in five minutes but I expect them to at least acknowledge your presence, even just a “Hello, it’ll be a while, the chef is still drunk” would do, five minutes, its long enough.
Five minutes passed, the wife looked at me, she didn’t even have to ask, “I’m out of here” I said, we left, no-one seemed bothered, Marshalls make enough money without our £20 apparently, its not the first establishment to have failed the five minute test and lost me out the door, and probably won’t be the last.
We went to Bills Fish and Chip shop in Cullercoats instead, sat on the roadside overlooking the small harbour, Bills Fish and Chip Shop served us, they obviously need the business more than Marshalls.