It all started so well. We had had drinks elsewhere on the harbour in the tiny village in Crete where we were staying, and decided that the sunset was so splendid, like something out of "Oklahoma!", that we wanted to prolong the experience and have dinner. The waitress greeted us warmly and ushered us to a table right by the sea.
Things started to go wrong when we inspected the menu and noticed that ALL the fish dishes - this, I remind the reader, was a restaurant right next to the sea - had an asterisk beside them, indicating they were frozen. It has to be said: were we from this moment on setting the place up to fail? I do not think so.
Bread came, entirely properly, with oil and vinegar. There was nothing wrong with the oil. The vinegar looked like Malt. It was foul with a curious sickly-sweet taste. The wine was even worse. It had, I said, a "very curious perfume" and the perfume stayed even after we had gulped a whole glass in the hope that it would taste slightly better. When the waitress came over and asked whether the wine was good, with British aplomb, my girlfriend said, "Er....yes..." How British.
When ordering, my girlfriend commented on the fact that all the fish were frozen. The waitress told us, "We have lots of other lovely traditional dishes - all home made". When my girlfriend chose Moussaka, the waitress went into raptures at her choice. I, foolishly, chose something called Chicken Gyros. My girlfriend tried to warn me that it was essentially a Donner Kebab but I ignored her.
We waited for our food, in slight trepidation. My girlfriend's Moussaka arrived, a square slab in a round dish. She stuck a fork into it and managed to lift it out of the dish intact. She then managed to excavate a chunk of solidified bechamel. At this point, fairly convinced this was all a terrible mistake, I took a mouthful of my Chicken Gyros. It was dry and flavourless. My girlfriend and I agreed that we would leave. I went to ask for the bill, and there followed an embarrassing diplomatic incident, involving the waitress scurrying backwards and forwards, refusing to accept that we just wanted to leave. Eventually, the proprietess arrived, clearly angry. "I made it with my own nails", she assured us. This did not provide us with any reassurance and we paid the bill (not waiting for change) and left. We felt vindicated when we saw the kitchen on the way out, which contained a bank of three microwaves...