As an Englishman abroad I often get told how bad English cuisine is. Normally I tell these people to fuck off. But only after asking if that's so, why are they watching Jamie Oliver and buying each other translated versions of Nigella all the time, you hypocritical bastards.
Of course, what they mean is that they've been to England and paid a lot of money for a distinctly underwhelming culinary experience. As if wandering in to a eatery at random and having a bad time makes the tired old cliché that "English food is awful" true.
On that basis I can tell you, for a fact, that Austrian bar owners are so woefully lacking in people skills that it's amazing they haven't all been shot by disgruntled musicians. Musicians who, after having only 2 people turn up to a gig because the owner thought sending out an e-mail was sufficient advertising, have just overheard the aforementioned owner furiously blaming them for not being good or famous enough to draw in crowds. But I digress...
The trouble is as an Englishman you know what they mean. Eating in pubs, in particular, usually means that you'll be presented with food so agressively bland that the laminated menu is probably tastier. Curry houses, obviously, are exempt from this, but given that many Austrians would break into a heavy sweat over a Korma they are advised not to try them out, and, given that all Austrian Chinese restaurants -- including the seven or eight or so in Steyr -- seem to be supplied by the same canning plant, Chineses too.
But a number of the best meals I've had recently have been in English restaurants and it seems to be a trend others have noticed. Including, according to the Guardian, Restaurant magazine who have annouced that, this year, the best restaurant in the world is in England and that the number of English restaurants in the top 50 was a true reflection of an "incredibly exciting" UK restaurant scene.
Oh, by the way the title of this post was a reference to this old joke:
Heaven is ...
Where the police are British,
The cooks are Italian,
The mechanics are German,
The lovers are French and
It's all organized by the Swiss.
Hell is ...
Where the police are German,
The cooks are British,
The Mechanics are French,
The lovers are Swiss and
It's all organized by the Italians.