In pursuit of a likely customer, my colleague at UPITN, Norman Dickson and I went up to Birmingham to meet a couple of men from a manufacturing company. We stayed the night in Birmingham and on the first evening, Norman and I went out looking for a restaurant. Norman was very fussy about restaurants and, if the service was not up to scratch, he was very short tempered. Sometimes, it was quite embarrassing to be with him when he was in that mood.
We found a small English restaurant. It was quite well decorated and looked clean and smart. It was not an expensive restaurant and it looked like they provided a good menu.
We had a nice meal and then Norman ordered what was described on the menu as “Treacle Pudding”. It arrived an he examined it closely. As was my wont, I did not have a dessert. I watched him while his face turned a little scarlet. If the waiter had been a man, he would have called out “Jack”, but we had a waitress.
He beckoned her over to the table. On arrival he said “That is neither Treacle nor Pudding, it is Golden Syrup on a sponge cake, please take it away”. I wondered if there was such a thing as a Treacle Pudding, for I had never seen one. I thought everyone called Syrup Pudding “Treacle Pudding“.
“That is neither Treacle nor Pudding, it is Golden Syrup on a sponge cake, please take it away”
The following day, we had our meeting with the potential clients and Norman then invited them to the Great Western Hotel at Snow Hill for lunch.
The restaurant in the Hotel looked rather Victorian, service provided by all-male waiting staff. They were soberly dressed in dark trousers and waistcoat with a bow tie and stiff collar. The furniture and décor was positively Victorian.
We received the menu and the first thing that caught my eye was Rib of Beef. I said “I am for the rib of beef”. The others followed suit.
The big surprise when it arrived was that it was A Rib of Beef. Not slices of , but a whole rib. It must have weighed, at least, 12 ounces, if not a pound.
It was wonderful, but it took a time to dispose of it.
In the end, we did not get any work from our potential clients.
Image of Tate and Lyle products by Richard Rutter.
Next chapter: Chapter 89: A thoroughly English Restaurant