Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mirrors and Chandeliers

Last night, Dave and I went to an odd restaurant called Brunswick House in Vauxhall. It had been recommended by someone at school, and it was a very peculiar experience.

First of all, the place is full of old chandeliers, many of which have price tags hanging from them. I suppose if you want a cool old chandelier for your house you can buy one here, along with your pork chop dinner. The gigantic gilded mirrors that line the walls also appear to bear price tags. The one with the heron or crane painted on it, above, hung over our table in the bar. (It has a SOLD sticker, lower left.)

Evidently the place is part-restaurant, part-salvage yard. Or maybe those are all old price tags from when they bought the stuff? I have no idea.

I ordered a martini in the bar, very dry, and I got something that was instead quite sweet and didn't taste at all like a martini. Either the bartender was using a bizarre variety of gin or he was putting in sweet vermouth. It wasn't entirely disagreeable, once I abandoned the idea that it was a martini, and I wound up having two. (They were also tiny.)

Then we went into the dining room, where I got fish and Dave got lamb. I was so excited to see "mustard greens" on the menu! I've probably only had mustard greens a couple of times since I left the South many years ago. So of course I ordered them...

...and this is what came. Y'all, those are not mustard greens. That is cabbage. With mustard on it.

I had a little chat with the waitress about what "mustard greens" mean to an American, but I ate the cabbage. I don't know whether they're trying to be funny or have genuinely never heard of actual mustard greens.

My fish was good, and I thought Dave's lamb was good (although he was less enthusiastic, and said his potatoes were too hard). For dessert Dave got yummy banana bread with toffee (or something) as a sauce, and I got a gluey, tasteless slice of pumpkin cheesecake in which no hint of pumpkin could be detected. I didn't even eat it.

So, yeah, definitely a hit-or-miss night out!


jenny_o said...

And this is why I don't like to eat out! You never know what you're going to get, even when you THINK you know what you're going to get - lol

Interesting about the chandeliers and mirrors with the price tags. Maybe "interesting" doesn't do it justice!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It's always worth weighing up Trip Advisor reviews about unfamiliar eateries. Here's one Brunswick House reviewer from August 2018:-
"I have been here three times and will not attempt a 4th. The main problems are twofold and well worth considering before you think about going. The front of house ( excepting the bar ) staff are in my experience appalling. At best they'll manage to bring food on time, not spill it on you and not be rude. Expect surly, and an attitude that says "hey you're lucky to be here, it's on our terms not yours and you'll be paying over the odds for the pleasure" The food will in no way surprise or delight, it's fine, you get the same in a number of pubs nearby, The Canton Arms a few minutes walk away has consistently been doing far better, for longer, and with WAY better service and food, for roughly the same price, if not cheaper. Consider that it is attached to an "architectural salvage" emporium" where if one is stupid or rich enough, one can fork out £1000 on a second hand door knocker. Perhaps the place is not for people like me, but it begs the question
" who IS it for ?"

John Going Gently said...

Oh no!!!!!! Sweet martini !
Hells teeth I would have trashed the place

Sharon said...

Okay, the mustard greens made me laugh. It sounds to me like you won't be making a second trip.

Ms. Moon said...

Seems to me you were paying for the experience rather than the actual food and beverages. And it was worth it- you got an excellent blog post out of it! I will be laughing about those mustard greens for a long, long time!
Cabbage with mustard! Haha!
And if you ever need to purchase a chandelier, you certainly know where to find one.

Red said...

You're probably not going back to this place. Interesting the confusion that can happen with a term like mustard greens.

ellen abbott said...

not a big fan of gin, I prefer vodka martinis. and how funny about the 'mustard greens' and I wouldn't even call cabbage 'greens'. sounds like a pretty interesting place nonetheless. that mirror is pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly a delicious night out, but an interesting experience.

Catalyst said...

You restaurant review sounds to me like that's your first, last and only visit to this place. Sweet martini! Ecccchhhhhh!

Fresca said...

LOL! The mustard greens are a great example of linguistic confusion!

Funny--mustard seems so very British.
*Fact checks*
[I love that your posts are interesting enough that I want to do research!]\

"In 1866, Jeremiah Colman, founder of Colman's Mustard of England, was appointed as mustard-maker to Queen Victoria."

That's British alright, to this Yankee.

But it seems the plant itself is not much eaten there?
Let's see...
The BBC says, "Mustard greens are more commonly used in Asian cooking than in European cooking, although edible mustard grows wild in Sweden, Ireland and the Hebrides."

The Hebrides?
I can't imagine you'd have to go that far to find mustard growing in England.

OK, I'm going to stop now! ...but first I looked up wild mustard, London, and found a couple cool foraging sites.
You could forage for greens while walking Olga!

David said...

Ah well, at least you got your money's worth in entertainment, plus an excellent, and entertaining, blog post. Interesting and different experiences, even those outside of our comfort zone, are part of the rich mosaic of life. And yeah, you don't need to go back a second time.

Sue said...

Speaking of mustard greens in England, what is a cheese salad in England? I remember once many years ago, someone from London was visiting our office in NYC. One of my co-workers took orders for everyone's lunch and picked it up at a nearby deli. The woman from London ordered cheese salad. I think he had them make a green salad and put chunks of cheese on it, but he told me later he had no idea what to get. In retrospect, why didn't he ask? Have you heard of cheese salad in your travels?

Steve Reed said...

Jenny-O: Well, you do have to be prepared to take a certain amount of risk, that's true! Usually it's an acceptable amount, at least to me. :)

YP: Wow! It's interesting that person went THREE times and yet is so unhappy with the place. Sounds to me like they had an argument with a server.

John: Yeah, that martini was very weird. As I said, it didn't even taste like a martini. And I watched him make it, so it OUGHT to have been right!

Sharon: Probably not!

Ms Moon: The blog post helped redeem the experience, that's true! LOL

Red: Yeah, we probably won't be back.

Ellen: I know! I would never think to call cabbage "greens."

Robin: Indeed!

Catalyst: Yeah, you pretty much summed it up!

Fresca: I'm so glad I inspire you to do research! (I'm such a librarian, even on my blog, LOL!) Prepared mustard is definitely a "thing" in England, but I had no idea we could forage for wild mustard here. I wonder if it's even the same kind of mustard we'd get as greens in the states? Bizarre.

David: Well, that's exactly right. I don't mind trying a place and then not liking it. It's all part of living, as you said!

Sue: Ha! I haven't the foggiest idea what a "cheese salad" could be, but I would have guessed the same as your co-worker. It's probably just a salad topped with cheese.