Bread: plain, simple, honest … daily – yes?
I’ve had a bewildering range of bread ‘experiences’.
I suspect they hold lessons on dining, business and life. Yet I can’t find a unifying theory.
If table my data, will you help me use my loaf?
Some venues emphasise ‘stick’ over ‘bread’. Pale wands that laugh at butter and look like they’re from 1970. Bitten, they explode into a silica that absorbs moisture and glues teeth.
This seed-studded sliver has an elastic centre that hints at dough. The impression shatters as the crust cuts in.
The Shard often comes with a saucer of olive oil that appears to have escaped from a truck gearbox. A request for butter triggers disbelief, derision and deteriorating service.
A cornerstone of Australian pub culture, The Slice is white, single and preconceived.
Common to every meal, it mirrors its environment: brown for gravy, crimson for beetroot, yellow for cheese sauce.
Requests for seconds (or olive oil) are met with stares, swears or beatings according to age and gender.
Native to wedding receptions, this pleasant item (pictured above) is strictly rationed to guest numbers. This is odd, given its low cost and the margins needed to cover skewed main orders.
Waiters may pretend to revisit the kitchen, but the answer’s always no.
Only via a generous partner or a no-show guest (within arm’s reach) can you win a dual. Then you must fight for another swipe at the communal butter dish.
Favoured by family bistros, this dramatic variation of The Solo is ‘multi’ in every way.
Grain and wholemeal triple choice. A big basket lets you plunder with impunity. Cascades of butter patties complete the cornucopia.
Rare venues take The Multi even further, baking their bread, whipping their butter and presenting armloads of both at the slightest provocation.
This is the ultimate bread experience.
This cruel subterfuge usually reveals once you’ve ordered. On asking for bread, you’re offered a dripping garlic roll, a trio of dips with pita or a home-baked Turkish loaf (with olive oil).
Stiff prices apply. No reductions or variations are permitted. Any request for dish components triggers ejection.
- The more a meal costs, the less bread you get.
- The more ‘modern’ a venue, the greater the olive oil risk.
- Why is it so hard to get a satisfying amount of bread and butter when dining out?
- Do venues ration bread to make diners spend more?
- Do other sectors use similar practices?
- What is this olive oil crap?
I now totally get why the loaves and fishes was a big deal.
I knead your help with the rest!
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire