In a high stakes game of one-upmanship, someone will, inevitably, take things too far and end up with torn trousers and/or pants. Or no trousers and/or pants. Or in tears. Or in a ditch in tears with no trousers or pants. And so it is with foodservice trends.
So it is with the rise and rise of posh/gourmet junk food and the increasingly ersatz notion of food porn. At first our sensibilities were captivated with names and concepts such as Meat Liquor, Patty and Bun and Bubbledogs – and the instagrammed fare of bubbling cheese, buns overfilled to excess and mountainous fries that inevitably filled social media as accompaniment.
Increasingly however, the lexical currency of this movement has shifted to incorporate words such as ‘dirty’, ‘shack’, ‘evil’, ‘filthy’ and ‘porn’, to the point that I’m surprised the newsletters heralding these openings aren’t held more often in cyber quarantine alongside dodgy emails from faux African royalty and sex tips from an author whose primary point of concern really should be grammatical, not anatomical.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no truck with the food these outlets serve, nor with people wanting to give the UK a taste of something different (even if it is at the cost of new arterial matter). My problem is with the un-enticing names that people sometimes choose for their brands – unless they come in the shape of a warning, descriptors are supposed to draw people in, not fill them with fear and disgust.
Who wants to eat in a filthy shack? And the last time porn and food were successfully combined, Mickey Rourke’s face was relatively normal. That was 29 years ago.
Last week saw yet another London opening of the decidedly dirty variety, begging the questions, what’s next? How far can we push the envelope?
It’s all got too much. Someone’s going to end up with torn pants.
In the true spirit of one-upmanship, we’ve created some hot concepts that may or may not come to fruition. As a leading agency, our creative collateral is subject to the rules of intellectual property. Though should you wish to use any of the below ideas for your own brand, my fee is negotiable.
Diners are met by waiters and waitresses dressed as mourners at your Uncle Dean’s funeral and invited to sit in shallow soil pits before enjoying the contents of a full wake buffet (vol-au-vents, mini onion bhajis, chipsticks, angel slices etc.) all deep fried and served on silver platters with ornamental doilies (also deep fried).
Drinks: Hot brown tea, weak coffee
Conversation snippets you are most likely to overhear: “Gone too soon, but what a wonderful spread…”
The Sh*t’s hit the Fan
So saturated in oil is the food in this establishment, that diners must wear protective clothing, similar to what one would wear for a skydive (air suit, goggles etc.) before having sodden husks of deep fried burgers and sausages fired at velocity, directly into their faces through large industrial fans. Diners must adopt the technique of the whale shark collecting plankton to catch as many greased goods in their open mouths as is humanly possible.
Drinks: Food is so sodden that, here, there is no difference between a solid and a liquid
Conversation snippets you are most likely to overhear: The noise of the fans and the overall concept do not lend themselves to talking. Talking is for after. In the form of counselling.
Atmosphere: Edgy, blowy, greasy
With the news last week of a London cocktail pop-up that allows sophisticates to inhale, as opposed to imbibe, their expensive cocktail of choice, food porn innovators have wasted little time in dirtying-up the concept, inviting savvy diners to directly breathe in the belches of minor celebrities who have, ahead of time, eaten from a select menu of fried chicken, ribs and burgers. The z-list gas is released through a network of hidden pipes with a different celebrity guest expected to fulfil his or her quota of burps each night. The specially sealed room reaches maximum acridity around 9pm. Diners are advised to book ahead.
Drinks: Water, sipped until the nausea passes
Conversation snippets you are most likely to overhear: “Give him his due, that Joey Essex can burp for Britain – if only he could monetise it”