Restaurants in the UK with laminated menus never fill me with confidence. I usually try and avoid these establishments, but occasionally and more often than not with a group of people from work, I will end up in one of these well known “chain restaurants”. If I know what is going to be on the menu without having to look at it, then where is the enjoyment or anticipation in that?
However, if you go to a restaurant with a chalkboard for a menu.. now we’re talking. Seeing an item struck through because they have run out talks fresh food, which usually means it’s seasonal and if we’re really lucky – local. The Mess Canteen in Cowes, Isle of Wight, have one of the best chalkboard menus I have seen so far. It is huge and everything on it is sourced and foraged locally.
The Mess Canteen Chalkboard
Now there is one exception (and only one) and that is if you are in the USA. If you are given a laminated menu here, then there is a good chance your are in a diner or a BBQ shack, and with these places you can sometimes hit the jackpot. Usually the gold mine is the place that has been run by the same family for generations. Good, home style food, but fresh ingredients that they turn over in huge quantities. If only we could get more of that style of mass catering here in the UK, then I would be very happy to be given a laminated menu.