THERE WAS A LOVELY restaurant on the estuary of the River Medway in the 1980s. Once, I took a friend, ‘P’, to lunch there. We sat down, and a waitress brought us some slices of baguette. When the owner of the restaurant came to hand us the menus, P said:
“This bread is delicious.”
The owner replied:
“We get it freshly baked from France every day.”
We were impressed. P ordered duck and I ordered something else.
As soon as the restaurant’s owner disappeared, the waitress reappeared. She came to our table and said in a low voice:
“Actually, the bread comes from Tesco in Chatham.”
We became less impressed by the owner.
Our food arrived. It was more than satisfactory. As we were finishing, the restaurant’s owner came to our table. He asked P in a manner that reminded me of John Cleese on “Fawlty Towers”:
“Delicious,” P replied.
“That’s good … we’ve had a few complaints about our duck today,” the owner said, wandering off nonchalantly.