The great tasty menu

27 April, in the year of our Lord 2022

Up, and after a meagre breakfast and meagrer dinner, not for want of food but out of great anticipacion for the evening, settled some little matters in order. For today hath been established in my diary an event booked these severalle weeks since, in advance of the day — to wit, tonight, the Great Tasty Menu at the White fort Arms, on Whitefort street. Only all day with some little snifflings, and breathing with some effort through my nose, so prayed it was not the Covey, but I think it only a cold. At five a-clock dressed myself handsomely, and by and by comes Mr. M. Jones in a plaid shirt and an actual jacket, the smartest I ever saw him, and we off to dine. There met, by the arrangement that we had made, which was at a quarter past six a-clock, with Dr. S. Francis, who had come earlie to sneak a pint of wine before us, and then come Mr. and Mrs. Hyphen-Holmes, being propitiosely free between cruises, to sit with us; and by and by the eating house full, with not a seat free, and all very merry, with much discourse and all in expectacion for the food to be served, and in especial high spirits for it being so mighty pleasant with the lifting of the Covey rules.
  ‘What are we being served?’ all wish to know, and we pass among ourselfs the menu, sometimes the right way up, sometimes not, and squint at it, spectackles on, specktacles off, and Mrs. Hyphen-Holmes casts around for a  wench to inquire as to recommendacions for wine, but while waiting orders a jenever and tonique the size of a goldfish bowl. Necks are craned as we see dishes on trays bound for other tables and try to match them to the menu before us. Never did I hear in the place such a hubbub as while the chef himselfe circulates, a Mr. Barrie, who come from Liverpuddle to cook it all, he being a fine young man who explaynes the dishes to be placed in front of us, and we have a selfy sketch made with him to mark the occasion. A little sour doe bread is set before us to start, and Lord! but there is not a weevil to be seen, and none knows how he doth it. And then to busyness as one plate after another is delivered to our table, the whole lasting severalle hours (five, I think, or six), with pints of wine downed, and more jenever, it ever warmer and voices now rowdy and all so greatly joyed that they even talk from one table to another who they did not know, which is a great rarety. I lay down the perticulars of the Menu, here on the Record, as it was displayed at the time:

~ MENU ~

  Timbale of yellow russula and coddled spawn 

  Soup of sieved planckton, with an anchove garniche and trencher on the side

  A dish of hare’s sweetbreads, with a sprinkling of dust

  Hog’s harslet, three ways

  A mini-kebab of robins hearts on a curlew beak splinter

  Poached breast of owl in its own nest, with gizzard stock and a stack of pickled spleens

  Amuse bouch of Scotched collops


‘A Taste of the Fields’ – frickassy of boned field mouse in a rich mouse marrowbone jus, with millet dumpling, a glass of mum and a side of moleskin scratchings

  ‘A Taste of the Sea’ – steamed mermaid’s Purse on a bed of charred elvers, with compressed wrack and a whelk reduction


  Ellis’s Queen Mab pudding, with candied leather

  A bowl of fermented Creame with a snail track tuille
(mollusk may vary according to season)



So payed, 9l 10s. each of us, though none gainsay it; and, all done, parted very merry endeed, and I home in Mr. Jones’ coach, each asking of the other his favorit plate. And I said the sweetbreads, though a close call, and he the robins hearts, but he eat every morsil of everything, and hoped not to suffer indegestion from the crunchy kebbab stick, which gladdened me that I left mine. And so to bed. 

By andywmacfarlane

I am a retired medic who likes messing around with a bit of writing, and friends seemed to like my social media postings of "Samuel Pepys: The Covid Diaries". So I'm having a go at blogging them.

2 replies on “The great tasty menu”

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