Off Menu – My perfect meal

28 03 2019

I’ve got completely addicted to James Acaster’s and Ed Gamble’s Podcast “Off Menu”, where celebrity guests discuss their perfect meal. The waiter-genie that is James offers them various choices and they construct their ideal meal this way. It’s very light hearted, a lot of chat and debate on the way through, plus sharing stories as some courses can end up being *very* specific. Geography is no object, time is no object, money is no object – he’s a Genie, remember!

I’ve actually found it’s a really fun conversation to have with your friends too, like the “dream dinner party list” conversation, and having talked about it a few times now, here’s my dream menu set out via the questions they ask (and again, sometimes very specific)!

  • Water for the table: Still, sparkling or tap?
  • Definitely tap. Sparkling water just tastes weird, and still and tap are essentially the same thing other than price.

  • Poppadoms or bread?
  • A fresh-from-the-oven tiger bread roll, crusty and chewy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside, warm enough that the butter melts into it as you spread it.

  • Starter
  • A Chinese starters selection platter. Including:

    • 1 sesame prawn toast
    • 1 chicken satay skewer with peanut sauce
    • 1 butternut squash spring roll
    • 1 mouthful crispy seaweed
    • 1 duck pancake with the sauce and green stuff
    • 1 mouthful of deep fried crispy chilli chicken (normally a main, but couldn’t be missed out!)

    Is that too big for a starter?

  • Main Course
  • Chicken Tikka Chasni. In 2014 I went to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with a friend, and one day we were looking for somewhere for lunch, anywhere that had air-con as there was a heatwave going on (yes I know, in Scotland!) and we dived into a place called India Quay that looked like it’d do. On the menu I saw this dish with the description, “A rich creamy sauce with a twist of sweet and sour”, thought I’d give it a try and was not disappointed!

  • Side Dish
  • A big onion bhaji. Several years ago I went on a course at Oracle University in Reading, and at the canteen one day experienced the best bhaji I’ve ever had!
    None of this mixing-in-lentils nonsense, just lovely crispy onion and massive! I’ve told many people about this bhaji in the intervening years, no bhaji I’ve had since has lived up to it!

  • Drink
  • Cheap, translucent, room temperature apple juice. None of this fancy “cloudy” nonsense, and definitely no ice. When it’s chilled the flavour is so muted, and the cheap stuff is so much sweeter than the fancy stuff!

  • Dessert
  • Slug and Lettuce used to have an amazing dessert on their menu called the “Cookie Cup Explosion”. It was essentially all good things on a plate. A chewy cookie forming a shallow bowl, containing bits of brownie, chocolate honeycomb, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and ice cream, – just amazing!
    The good news is that a different part of the Stonegate Pubs family now has it on their menu!

What about you? What are your answers to these questions?