The true cost of quirky tableware? Pull the udder one.

by Scott Douglas

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Cow jug photoQuirky seems to be the name of the game at new Edinburgh restaurant, 21212.

Chef Paul Kitching earned a Michelin star at his last at his last venue in Manchester and hopes to repeat the feat in Scotland. In fact, he’s aiming for two stars. Being a pleb, the only time I’ve been served food by someone with two stars is at McDonalds.

As well as living for three months on nothing but bee pollen and water, Paul includes the unusual ingredient in many of his culinary creations. Creations like scallops with horlicks, cough medicine sorbet, toothpaste and mouthwash dessert, Branston Pickle ice cream and beef with lemon curd. That’s what I mean by quirky.

There’s no suggestion such fare will be on offer at  21212, with Kitching insisting he’s decided to “grow up” because he is “tired of being viewed as this lanky Shaggy figure cooking up weird, experimental dishes.”

Certainly his New Town address is as mainstream traditional as it is possible to get and I’m guessing the menu at 21212 will be a tad more conventional as well. However Kitching and his partner, Katie O’Brien couldn’t resist retaining a few element of their unorthodox style.

For instance, they’ve totally foregone the formal suits, shirt and tie look for staff. This I know first hand, because they turned to Holyrood Partnership client, NKD Clothing to have their staff uniforms designed and supplied.

It was a process which started with the couple turning up with a heavy, canvas artist’s smock they’d sourced over the internet. Like I say, quirky.

Needless to say NKD Clothing refined the concept and came up with a look that is perfect: individual and slightly unusual, yet practical, comfortable and sure to be a hit with the staff who wear them.

So, cue a photoshoot at the restaurant on Thursday – just 24 hours after opening day –  with redoubtable Deadline photographer Lorenzo Dalberto on hand to capture the staff in their new finery.

As a result, on Thursday night I found myself reviewing the pictures.

I’ll come clean here, I’m not renowned for my interest in crockery, condiment sets, teacups, sugar bowls or other fripperies – even though I did once own a particularly fine leopard print teapot that would have made Bet Lynch proud.

However, one thing leapt out at me – probably because it seemed painfully quirky – and that was the cow shaped milk jug being used in the photograph by a member of the front of house team (there are no “waiters” in modern restaurants, I’m led to believe).

I’m not saying I went to bed and dreamt of cow shaped milk jugs. But I did wake up wondering where to buy such a thing.

Such is the nature of outlandish coincidences that I only had to open Friday mornings Scottish Daily Express to find out – an article headlined Everything you need for tea on the lawn, which revealed the “witty milk jug” is an Emma Bridgewater design.

Tea on the LawnThis freaky Friday experience could have left me unsettled. However, I was far to gobsmacked by the price tag to really care.

Fifty effing quid? For a milk jug?

Emma Bridgewater has lovely jugs. Unfortunately they’re just out of my reach.

 

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