Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feed my eyes!

Eating in a restaurant with a positively multicultural feel to it (Indian food, Polish waiters, British clientele), I was struck by the use of themes in decorating. I like a curry house to be stereotypically Indian, as though you had been transferred to the very heart of unexplored Bradford itself. I want gold, I want elaborate drawings of blue chaps and scantily clad zither-pluckers, I want sitar music and a model of a tiger fighting an elephant.

I would have thought that one of the fun things about setting up an eaterie based on sub-continental Asia would be the huge number of imaginative and colourful concepts you could use to decorate your premises. You could dress your staff in swathes of gilt-edged ghagras and luminous turbans. You could have a toilet shaped like the Vidhan Sabha and a Taj Mahal of a coat storage area.

The possibilities are, as the old saying goes, numerous.

That's why, whilst the food was decently Indian in the aforementioned place, the decor was somewhat unfulfilling. And that's the strange thing, because whilst it was perfectly acceptable and clean, it still didn't do it for me.

Their motif was - The Square. Everything was square. The plates, the wine glasses, the windows, all had a square thing going on. Even the head waiter had beige jacket with mole-skin elbow patches. Not being able to take photos in the eating area itself (not for worrying about offending their sensibilities, but mainly because the wife might ram my camera phone somewhere only a trained coprologist would be able to answer it), I took some photos of the loos.


Square. very square. The sink:

Even the taps and faucets:

If we put aside for a moment concerns about the dubious nature of a grown man taking photos of a restaurant toilet, you can see what I mean. But why have I taken offence at this?

If the restaurant was, I dunno, French say, I don't think I would've paid any attention. It must be to do with expectations. You wouldn't want a man in a bandana and combat fatigues serving you at Costa Coffee. You expect a size 16 girl in size 12 black trousers to do that, and that's what you get. No-one services your car wearing a tuxedo and top-hat, you expect and get a man in overalls with a squint and a carbon-monoxidey cough.

It's not the restaurants fault. They have made a nice building a bit nicer using some contemporary design. It's my fault. I should be pleased they've put a bit of thought into matching the plates to the porcelain, but what can I do.

I want flock wallpaper and a ceramic Vishnu with light-up eyes.


  1. OK Jules,

    I'm down with the sheep, goats, tarrapins, and the rabbit....but I gotta put the brakes on a "grown man taking photos of a restaurant toilet".

    It's not creepy....just not my flava of cool. As always, there's a different beat you march to my brother.


  2. I hate square stuff in the kitchen, plates and glasses are ROUND! As are toilet seats, I don't want to get creases where I don't want them.

    Squre taps, still thinking about that.


  3. Presumably they gave you a square meal too.

  4. I've never seen a square toilet before. What does this say about me?
    Anyway, yes, even in Mpls our Indian restaurants (and the Indian population is certainly rising here) are colorful and exotic, especially by Minnesotan standards, which often sees, say, both a necklace and a bracelet as showing off...

  5. Love your blog once again. Even my husband can't resist reading your posts. If you're interested, I've passed on the blog award to you. Go to my blog for the details
    Keep up the great posts! We really enjoy your work.

  6. lol - thanks for the comments everyone!

    The U - I've been told I march to a different beat to most people. I take it as a compliment!

    AV - They'll be making round windows next!

    Alex - Yup.

    MDF - :-)

    Pearl - I don't know much about Minnesota, but in the UK our national dish is curry, and Indians know best when it comes to bling.

    Jola - What a nice thing to say, and I'm honoured by the award. I'd like to thank my agent, my parents, the baby Santa . . .

  7. I've never been in an Indian restaurant, so my sensibilities are not offended. (I really love that tile behind the sink. Can't help it.)


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