There was a very good Muller light advert, which had the slogan: So much pleasure, where's the pain? Increasingly, I have come to mistrust Muller and their entire advertising team. (I have not actually eaten a Muller light for years, after a childhood where pudding was always a yoghurt or a piece of fruit, I have now decided to not eat either as an adult. It's just one of the many very grown-up decisions I make daily). One of the greatest pleasures of living in London is the endless opportunities to eat out. One of the most boring things in the world is having to read a menu.
I do not understand people who pour over restaurant menus. I fear that they are the same people who read the IKEA instruction manual from cover to cover before putting together their bookshelf. Menus are insufferably boring, and best viewed as a necessary evil to be dispatched as quickly as possible- an irritating last hurdle before the joy of eating can begin.
I give the menu such scant regard that I am just as likely to receive food I like in a foreign country, where I have simply pointed to the middle item under 'mains' as I am in London. (I would like to state for the record that I read English almost fluently. It's not that I can't read, it's that I really don't want to).
The amount of time my dinner companions seem to spend perusing the menu is increasing, as this epidemic of over-privileged 'allergies' increases. As a child, I was only allowed to not eat one food item. Aged 4 and a half, I picked mushrooms. I have not eaten mushrooms for the last 23 years. My Mother disliked fussy eaters passionately, and was certainly not going to let her own child be one.
I am still wary of people who begin meals with a list of things they 'do not eat', or who pick at food warily, as though it were filled with menace, rather than a bowl of spaghetti. I am delighted, therefore, with the new venture from Cameron Worth and Rolan Dack: Ronnie Saunders Diners Union.
This is a new restaurant opening just around the corner from Old Street, which has at its core the most simple of mission statements:
Everyone pays the same, everyone gets the same.
(I can already hear my Mother's loudly-voiced delight). The Ronnie Saunders Diners Union is one of the best ideas around- every week, Michelin-trained chefs cook a new 5 course menu for £15. Guests bring their own wine, and sit at long trestle tables. It's effectively a 100-person strong dinner party, if you happen to be invited to dinner parties by people such as Dack, who trained in the kitchens of Corrigan and Pierre-White.
Dack and Worth started The Ronnie Saunders Diners Union not only because they hate fussy eaters, but also because they believe that, 'Good food shouldn't be exclusive. We want to provide outstanding food at affordable prices.' Which, as restaurant ethos go, is pretty hard to beat.
Just in case you weren't already won over, The Ronnie Saunders Diners Union has partnered with St Mungos, and they are housing and training a handful of homeless Londoners. These members of the homeless community will be trained by the restaurant's Michelin starred chefs as well as receiving business training, with the goal of helping them ultimately set up their own pop-up restaurant.
Dack and Worth put it best themselves: Good food brings good people together. And, as I'm sure they meant to add, but simply ran out of time, what with setting up a restaurant and all, that the best people are neither fussy eaters or menu readers.
Launches - Saturday 31st August, 6.30 - 11.30. Then every Friday and Saturday until the end of 2013.
Address - 5-7 Rivington St, Shoreditch (2 mins from Old Street Station)
Week 1 Menu - Victorian London (Bring your own booze)