IT WAS September and partridge was at its best so I decided to sell it on the "specials" lunch menu as traditionally roasted partridge.
When sending the dish to the customer I would, for ease of eating, remove each side of the bird from the breast bone.
That morning, our restaurant was busy, the partridge was selling and all was going well until a nervous head waiter came to tell me that an irate gentleman was very unhappy with his partridge and had demanded I visit his table.
On arriving at his table, I came upon a well-dressed rotund chap in his fifties and sitting opposite was a blonde bombshell.
As his face turned red, he hit me with a barrage of abuse. He claimed that his dish did not include a whole partridge and informed me that he was an experienced game shooter.
I gently and humbly explained that I had only removed the breast bone for easier consumption. I conceded that without the bone, it was perhaps technically not a whole partridge.
It didn't work. He launched another invective against me while his partner squirmed with embarrassment.
He summoned a waitress to clear his plate so I intervened and offered to replace his meal.
I returned a few minutes later with a freshly cooked partridge prepared as before but accompanied by a huge silver salver topped with a silver domed lid.
I offered the plate, then lifted the lid from the salver, producing a small, lost looking partridge breast bone.
I served the bone on to his plate and mentioned that he should be much happier now that he had in front of him, the "whole partridge"!
There were claps from other diners in the restaurant while the gentleman informed me of my rudeness but then quietly accepted the meal. n
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