Drunk cuisine: the antithesis of punk cuisine?
While the rest of O’Connell St has been long asleep, and the lights and sounds of restaurants and pubs are slowly fading, the “Red and White” fast food café is starting to buzz with its most boisterous clientele- college students returning from Wednesday night’s “pub night”.
Nothing could have prepared me for entering such a place in the early hours of Thursday morning after a quiet evening in. Walking in the door I was hit with an attack of the senses. Most overwhelming was the pungent smell of deep fried fat with an undertone of poor quality, overcooked “meat”. Bright lights blinded me- the harsh fluorescent ceiling lights; flashing colours from the pin-ball machines; the hot white glow of the bain-marie. The combination was so overwhelming that I barely noticed the dull drone of late-night radio and the obnoxious blasts of the bright machines.
As I slowly became accustomed to my surroundings, I was able to more closely examine this remarkable establishment. Walls were lined with smiling photos of regular Wednesday night customers, and decorated with coloured advertisements of “chico rolls”, which appeared to have been there since the 1980’s. Above the counter was a huge menu describing the largest range of deep fried products imaginable. I was actually intrigued by items such as a “deep fried mars or snickers”. Pre-prepared delicacies were being preserved in the bain-marie, and on examination I found it quite difficult to differentiate between the various forms of batter-coated goodness.
I was quickly distracted by the arrival of the first “pub-nighters”, as the small group of young males and females noisily stumbled in. They were soon rewarded with an “AB” (rumoured to be short for abortion, as a description of its appearance). It was, in fact, a large polystyrene tray piled with hot chips, topped with yiros meat, and dripping with squiggles of garlic and barbeque sauces. My stomach turned at the...