Nino's is out, since last time we were there, they sold us a stale
piece of week-old sponge cake, claiming it was their chocolate mousse
So we're sitting across the way, at Nescafe.
Nice view. Loads of hairstyles courtesy of the Misogynist Hairdressers Guild.
The waiter isn't wearing a name badge. Bad sign. He takes our order.
'Siyacela eTwo glasses of water, and a lemon and condensed milk
Jennifer goes for the penne Napolitano. I order a Smoked Chicken and Avo salad.
The waiter comes back to the table and says, 'No avo.' He's not making
eye contact. He's not even all that interested in taking my order.
I ask him if I can substitute feta cheese. He nods. Leaves.
Comes back with two differently shaped and sized glasses of water.
Thirty seconds later, brings the smoothie.
I taste it. And almost spew chilled milky froth all over Jennifer. It
tastes rotten. Not merely off. Actively rotten. Disgustingly rotten.
'Jesus!' I say, trying to wipe my tongue off with a paper napkin.
Jennifer takes a test sip.
'Oh man,' she says, 'this is rotten! This milk is far gone!'
Luckily, I've got some mints in my pocket courtesy of Graham at Blue
Moon. Ten of them kill the taste for both of us.
As it happens, I've just had a warm chat with Graham. He runs a
fantastically successful stall at the Rosebank Flea Market, selling
imported British food. Which is why Jen and I are here in the first
place. We came to visit him and Claire, to show a bit of support.
I call the waiter. 'Brother, I think this milk is very badly off, and
I'm changing my order. Please take this back, and may I have a strong
'Okay,' he says, 'Milo.' And takes the offending specimen away.
A minute or so later, he comes back. With my ex-smoothie in his hand.
Plonks it down on my table. 'The manager says there's nothing wrong
with it. It's the way it is. Sweet and sour.'
'No, I changed my order, because this is off. I want a Milo, and I'm
not accepting this.'
'Then speak to the manager.'
'I don't need to speak to the manager. This is off.'
'There's the manager.'
So the 'manager' approaches the table. He's short. Intense black hair
tightly cropped. The first words out of his trap are, 'There ees
nothing wrong with that! Is sweet an sour.'
He's got the fattest scowl on his lips. Very much a 'Punch Me Now' kinda look.
I say, 'I changed my order. This tastes off. And I'd like a Milo
Jennifer adds, 'We even had to eat peppermints to get the taste out of
'That's how it tastes,' he says, scowling harder.
The drink sits in no man's land between us.
Nobody approaches it.
I say, 'You don't want to change my order, I'm walking. Come Jennifer.'
And I pick up our stuff, and I'm getting up, and leaving, and I hear
Napoleon-junior muttering under his breath.
We're halfway to the Spur in The Zone when it dawns on me.
'They didn't taste that smoothie, did they?' I say.
Jennifer says, 'It was the same glass. If they tasted it, they sipped
from your glass.'
'And if they didn't, then how the hell do they know whether it's rotten or not?'