Friday, 31 January 2014

Chip on my shoulder

Went into Colchester this morning, 'Britain's Oldest Recorded Town,' as it constantly reminds you. I decided to stop and have a spot of lunch. My first port of call was a pub, the Fox and Fiddler, which claims to have been there since 1440. The only reason for my visit was that on the two previous occasions when I have tried to eat there, there was no food available. A large sign outside, which has quite possibly been there since 1440, proudly announces: 'Quality home cooked food, served seven days a week.' I entered and enquired. 'Sorry Mate, the cook's off sick today.' Why they even bother to keep up this pretence is a complete mystery.

I decided to go in search of something wholesome and British, but in this ancient town, all that could be found was fish and chips, chips and chips, fast food chains and of course chips. The only alternative was a steak, but at about twenty quid a shot I decided against it, as I know from experience that 'rare' here normally means you'll be served something which resembles an old shoe.

Hunger finally drove me into the nearest establishment which purported to be a restaurant. There were booths along the walls, designed for four people. One of these spaces was occupied by two women, who were almost certainly members of the Creosote family. They took up the entire space.
One of them stood up to take a break, having finished shovelling a platter of fat and chips and went outside, for an inter-prandial fag to get in shape for attacking a gigantic sugar and cream confection: 'God, my knees are killing me.' I don't know why, but the name 'Costa Concordia' immediately sprang to mind.

The waitress approached and I ordered a burger which, much to my surprise, came with chips. There was also the bewildering combination of onion rings, coleslaw, a small tomato and barbecue sauce. Anything green was conspicuous by its absence. The waitress, as usual, was smily and tried very hard to be helpful. I didn't ask too many questions as the response to everything, including 'hello,' was 'luvvly.'

No wotteye mean?

Although I wasn't expecting haute cuisine........ well,  let's say I ate the bare minimum until I didn't feel quite so hungry. The burger wasn't bad, except it had one of those square pieces of gaudy cheese adhering to it. Deep fried onion rings aren't my thing and the barbecue sauce was this strange red gloop which tasted like someone had stirred a bucket of brackish water with a burnt stick.

I've had worse. Croatia, for example, but for the rest of my stay, I think I'll eat at home.


  1. The Good Beer Guide recommends the Purple Dog (formerly the Clarence), "good home cooked food", and the Hole in the Wall, Balkerne Hill, "food at lunchtime is locally sourced and home-cooked".

  2. Thanks Martyn,
    Will remember that next time. A friend from Sauve asked why I didn't go to an Indian. I'm sure they must exist, but, as I said, all I found was wall to wall chips. The obvious solution is to get myself a copy of The Good Beer guide. You're a natural salesman.