Zoë Heller's Everything You Know has a misanthropic protagonist. Willy grew up in England, left it as soon as he could, and now he's back on family business. He hates every minute of it. He takes his girlfriend to a restaurant recommended by his concierge. He hates every minute of it, too.
The food at Smithie's was shockingly nasty. We weren't allowed to choose our own dishes - we had to take what the kitchen had prepared that night. This, according to the waitress, was part of the restaurant's bid to revive the pleasures of authentic English tavern eating. By the words 'authentic' and 'English' and 'pleasures', I took her to mean roast beef, roast potatoes and so forth But this was not the case. For hors d'oeuvres, Penny and I were presented with a plate of tripe and onions to share. After we had sent that away untouched, Penny received a dish of pig's trotters and lentils and I got an arrangement of parsnips and swedes entitled 'Old English Vegetable Plate'. We didn't stay for dessert (suet pudding and custard) and we only had two glasses of wine, but the bill, including service, came to £130.63.