Jarbles Westlington Staff Writer
SAGA, a “hall of fine dining,” came highly recommended. I hadn’t heard any specifics but from the little I did hear I could only imagine that “SAGA” referred to the culinary journey I was about to embark on.
As I entered through swinging glass doors I remarked that the restaurant’s palate was a crisp eggshell white offset by hazel bricks. I asked the hostess about my reservation, she looked slightly confused (she must have been new) but she told me they had a table for me right away. I couldn’t help being impressed by their punctuality—perhaps they were tipped off that a food critic was coming?
I walked down the stairs into the interior and chanced a glimpse of the menu, which I puzzled over for a moment. For a second I thought I was in the wrong place as it read that this Thursday’s main course would be a serving of chicken nuggets. However, when I inspected the three dishes on display I was relieved to see there was nothing resembling chicken to be found.
Still slightly confused, I made my way further into the establishment. After passing by many unexplained pictures of fruit underscored with mind-numbing platitudes such as “delivered farm fresh for your convenience” or “breaking bread together to build community,” it finally hit me: the restaurant I had stumbled upon was actually part avant-garde art house! Yes, of course—the sickly lighting and the nonsensical art was all a comment on corporate society! What seemed like irrelevant phrases straight out of an Orwellian nightmare accompanied by irrelevant pictures of fruit were really post-modern masterpieces to rival that of the great Andy Warhol!
It all made sense in that moment! The completely misleading menu? It was merely a ruse to playfully toy with their patron’s expectations. The perplexing demands of the kitchen staff—”plate to food”—all for the customers’ entertainment!
“How delightful,” I thought to myself, “what a truly agreeable dining experience this has turned out to be! I wonder what more surprises are in store for me?”
As I sat myself down, I admired the minimalist furnishings, and the massive amount of patrons surrounding me. My, this chef must have quite the reputation if he could draw a crowd this size out into the middle of the woods!
I was at the edge of my seat. I waited patiently for a waiter to come with my menu, but after half an hour of being completely overlooked I started to get quite frustrated. Eventually I managed to attract the attention of a member of the staff.
“Garson!” I cried, exhibiting more annoyance than I am proud to admit, “could I have a menu please?” With a perplexed look on his face he instructed me to follow him. I obliged, albeit a bit taken aback at the strange customs of this restaurant.
He led me back to the room filled with food that I had passed earlier and pointed to a few customers dishing food onto their own plates. I stood there for a minute stunned, then burst out laughing at my own foolishness; I should have expected something unconventional from a place such as this! I shook the waiter’s hand vigorously and he took his leave. Following suit with those in front of me, I took a plate and served myself.
The first thing on the menu was labeled “steak”, but on inspection was actually a puddle of brown liquid swimming in a tin plate. I chuckled at the intentionally misleading title— there had been no chefs in sight for quite some time, so I assumed that this was a soup. Perhaps a composition of steak broth, accompanied by hand-extracted essence of onion and a menagerie of seasonings? Who knew? I was ready to be surprised.
After I scooped a few ladle’s worth of brine into my bowl I moved on to the next item: a plate of unlabeled and heavily mashed starch. I only assumed it was a sumptuous dish of harvested market potatoes puréed with an aromatic duo of rosemary and some exotic spice. There were a bunch of empty tins and platters filled with crumbs but the third and final plate of food was a mysterious pastry. A thin yellow center of hardened goo, which I hesitate to label as cheese, was pressed together between two flat wedge-shaped cuts of dough. There was elegance in its simplicity.
I was finally ready to eat, but unfortunately as I was walking back to my table I slipped on a mound of what I can only imagine was Crème Brulé, and was rushed to the hospital. I never had the chance to taste my meal, and unfortunately the lawsuit I filed against SAGA means I cannot return to their restaurant, but it is by all means worth the trip.
All in all an excellent establishment, although my experience was marred by breaking my skull and ribcage. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Until next time,