Conspiracy or trend?

Ever more often, when trying out a new resaturant, I find that the menu is boring and predictable.

The restaurants that I am talking about invariably are small (10 to 20 tables), focused on concept and design, and cater to the hip and trendy urban community. They are what I call a “Jamie Oliver Joint”. That’s cool. Dishes with few but carefully selected, flavorful and fresh ingredients can be good. But all too often the dishes end up being nothing but simple and lack any sort of characteristic taste. They look great – and blend well with the conceptual interior design of the restaurant – but they are boring and bland.

All these “Jamie Oliver Joints” seem to have the same menu:

  • they always have between 4 and 6 starters including some sort of carpaccio, a variety of shrimp, the ever-present liver paté and – always, always! – a goat cheese salad
  • main course equalling – exactly – the number of starters and including a biological chicken variety, an entrecôte of south american origin and white fish – most often dorado or cod
  • desert including cheese, ice cream – come on, at least try to be creative – and “hang-op” – nice, but how can everyone gets hung up on “hang-op” in the same year?!?
  • finally a wine list restricted to pinot grigio, an australian shiraz, a chilean merlot and something from south africa

Let’s start a brief investigation: Please leave a comment if you have recently been to a restaurant that matches my profile.