- A sandwich aboard two chopping boards, inexplicably.

This is something we’re all familiar with. You’re at a middle-of-the-road gastro pub and your food is brought to your table. Your friend, who ordered risotto, has a bowl. Another, who ordered the roast, has a plate. So far so good. Another has ordered curry, which comes in a little balti dish. Cause for concern. And here comes your burger, sitting atop a breadboard. Oh dear.

The chips are in a basket designed to look like a deep-frying basket, although this is purely for show – the actual basket would be far too hot and oily to serve finger food in. Most likely, the coleslaw, salad, ketchup and whatever else are each in their own receptacle too. I feel for the pot-washer, but this is simply a necessity: the flat, narrow board offers none of the food-retaining capabilities of a perfectly shaped plate – If left to their own devices on this precarious device, chips and salads would be near uncontrollable.

Why do restaurants do this? Why can’t all the components simply be on a plate together instead of individually plated on wood?

How old fashioned

How old fashioned

Initially, it must have been a novel way to spruce up bog-standard pub meals. The board does give the beigeness of burger buns and chips – something that might make them look drab on normal crockery – a pleasing ‘old-worldiness’ against the dark wood. It certainly makes otherwise average food much more instagrammable, and adds a sense of occasion to an otherwise normal meal.

Concerningly, these kinds of serving methods have become par for the course. A burger on a porcelain plate would just look weird now. Worse still, to continue surprising diners restaurants have taken this further: tagines and shakshukas are being served in mini skillets; smoothies in jamjars; desserts on slates. Where will it stop?

Ross McGinnes, creator and curator of wewantplates.com, jokes that in five years time, ‘the waiter will just shuffle up to the table with the food cupped in his hands’. Ross is at the helm of a sizeable internet community that is fighting back against novelty crockery alternatives. wewantplates.com is calling out and ridiculing the culpable restaurants in the hope of turning this fashion into a faux pas. Ross’s site is a collection of some of the most outrageous and hilarious examples, including gravy served in a used beer can, bread served in a flat cap and bruschetta on a table tennis racket.

In taking on the use of novelty serving items, wewantplates.com is part of a resistance to the vapid, “form-over-function”, novelty-over-quality ideology that our society festers in. Join the legions and have a laugh at wewantplates.com, or follow wewantplates on twitter, instagram and facebook.

Do you hate having your food on objects not intended for the purpose, or do you think it spices up the restaurant experience?

Join in

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