Can YOU order food in a restaurant?
I thought it's quite easy to order food in a restaurant until I happened to be in one of the restaurants located near Istanbul on Princes' Islands. What was the matter? To acquaint you with an affair, listen to the whole story from the very beginning.
After a really long journey around the island my partner and I were very hungry, so we decided to find a nice place to eat. Out first attempt to have lunch failed completely. The first place we dropped into was situated on the hill with a wonderful view of the Marmara Sea. It looked like a busy restaurant for there were quite many people (as it turned out later, it was a big organised group of tourists). We chose a table and asked a waiter to bring us the menu. When we got it, we were struck dumb a bit. There was not a word in English in the menu. We called the waiter and tried to explain him what we wanted, but it was hopeless.
Annoyed and still hungry we headed for the central part of the island with many restaurants situated near the landing pier. We randomly chose one and took a seat at the table outside. One of the waiters welcomed us but didn't give the menu. At that point I already had some suspicion that neither he nor the other waiter in the restaurant spoke English, but I ignored it and decided to run some risk. When it came to ordering food the man asked us to follow him to the kitchen counter where we saw the cook and his assistants. Then the most interesting part started: we realized that none of the stuff spoke English well enough to take the order, so we had to explain what we wanted in all possible ways. We ordered fish easily as it is a very popular choice in Turkey. The cook understood that we wanted fish, but what kind of fish? We were just going to start explaining when the cook brought in a plate full of different kinds of fresh raw fish. We just pointed to the necessary one (it was sea bass) and it was all done and dusted. Ordering meat was much more difficult. After 10 minutes of explaining the word “meat”, I decided that the only way to show the cook what I wanted was to start mooing. And I was right! He immediately showed me a piece of meat proving that my approach was successful. Only then I thought we had to specify what sort of meat needed to be cooked (as lamb is extremely popular in Turkey and I hate its smell and taste). So I said, “ Moo – yes, baa – no”. All the stuff was laughing out laud including me. Just at that moment when all the process was over one of the waiters heard my friend asking me something in Russian. He called another waiter who was not with us during the whole process of ordering food. How surprised we were when the newcomer addressed us in perfect Russian. Who knew that he was somewhere round near. The only thing we could do was to laugh again.
We took some beans with tomato sauce for starters, four loafs of bread and finally we were able to relax and wait for the order. For this lunch we preferred simple drinks like water and orange juice.
While enjoying the view from the restaurant our main course arrived. Meat and fish were served with some greens which were excellent. The dishes were not burnt or overcooked. They were just right. Thanks God we didn't take any dessert, as we were full.
I don't think I will ever forget this story. So, to sum up, I want to say: “Don't give up! There is a way out of any situation.”
What's the matter? – What happened? – Что случилось? В чем дело?
to acquaint you with an affair – to explain you the situation – чтоб ввести вас в курс дела
to strike dumb – to render speechless – лишать дара речи
to head for someone or something – to aim for or move toward someone or something – направляться к
landing pier – a raised platform built from the shore out out of the water, supported on piles – причал
suspicion – the condition of being suspected, especially of wrongdoing – подозрение
to run some risk – to risk – рисковать
kitchen counter – a level surface in a kitchen – кухонная стойка
all done and dusted – be completely finished or ready – дело сделано
to moo – to make a characteristic deep long sound (made by a cow) – мычать
lamb – the flesh of a young sheep used as meat – мясо молодого барашка
baa – the bleat of a sheep or goat – блеяние овцы
beans – any of several related plants or their seeds or pods – бобы
starter – food or drink to stimulate the appetite (usually served before a meal or as the first course) – закуска, салат или иное холодное блюдо
main course – the most substantial course of a meal – основное блюдо
be served with – be offered with – подаваться
greens – the branches and leaves of plants used for decoration – зелень
burnt – too fried – слишком обжаренный
overcooked – to be cooked until dry, burnt or inedible – сильно прожаренный, переваренный
just right – perfect – как надо
to be full – having an appetite completely satisfied, especially for food or drink – наедаться