Table Tattle: The Dalston Mercury’s Guest Restaurant Critic

This month: A A Anonymous of the Sunday Something-or-Other.

Tao, Kingsland Road, E8

Food: No Stars    Atmosphere: No Stars    Toilets: No Toilets

The burden of being the nation’s top restaurant critic – the weight of expectation, the almost insupportable responsibility of the role – often makes me reflect on a formative incident from my dissolute youth.

After a typical evening of heroin and alcohol abuse, rising from my cups only to bed the occasional underwear model, I fell asleep at my squalid kitchen table. It was only when I awoke in the morning that I realised that during the night, and despite being utterly comatose throughout, I had prepared a twelve-course tasting menu of exceptional delicacy which I had served to a grateful Duchess of Devonshire and her party of fifteen guests. Not only that, but I had done this twice while knocking up a selection of vol-au-vents for the student nurses who lived next door, each of whom, understandably, wished desperately to sleep with me. This despite my being so dyslexic I have never been able tie my own shoe laces.

Vol-au-vents in Dalston yesterday

This is a marvellous anecdote but, sadly, not quite long enough to avoid my having to write about something other than ‘me’ completely. So I’ll have another go.

This week’s restaurant is called ‘Tao’ apparently. Ordinarily I would subject this word, ‘tao’, to a forensic etymological dissection with the aim of eventually returning to my central theme, which is to say, restaurant reviewers, the art of reviewing restaurants, the unique symbiosis between restaurant reviewer and restaurant reviewee and me. But mainly me.

How many words is that? Oh God, really? Okay.

Tao is in Dalston. Black mark there. Dalston succeeds in being several miles from the Fulham Road yet does not have the decency to be in Scotland and is, consequently, beneath contempt. To this miserable hole I was forced to take the brunette, two of my beautiful, accomplished, botanically-themed daughters, Tulip and Rhododendron, a token captain of industry to show how well-connected I am, and Jeremy Clarkson. By which time there was no space left to mention the food.

Suffice to say, the entrecôte was like licking the lining of a tubercular lung, the tepid veal was served with a colostomy foam and as for the the rillette of pork: I would rather have chewed a mildewed spleen drizzled with Malibu. Which was probably also on the menu. All the customers are oiks and poseurs, naturally.

In short: Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Tao.

Next Week: Rod Liddle goes somewhere nice in the country and enjoys a bloody good stoke-up, a fag and a couple of pints, despite all the liberals and feminists trying to ruin it for him.




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