Newest Review: ... Well I am not ashamed to admit that I go t’ chip-oil, and make a note of it in my diary. I do not claim for it as a business expense... more
Are we talking about the same place ?
Member Name: sidneygee
Date: 06/05/01, updated on 14/05/01 (82 review reads)
Advantages: Reputation, location.
Disadvantages: Compares poorly with other fish & chip shops/restaurants visited.
Being ‘on the road’ as a Consultant is only a little different to being on the road as a salesman, a service engineer, a shopfitter .... or even a tramp - it is just some variation on the quality of your over-night accommodation, what you eat, and where you eat that differs ....
Thus, when my client is paying - well, I don’t exactly ‘dine at the Ritz’, but I do tend to spend what I think is ‘reasonable’ for my fee rate. But when the meal is paid for out of my own pocket, it is a different matter.
So, when do I pay for meals out of my own pocket when I’m on the road? For example, when I stop on at the end of a visit, or where I am visiting two clients from one hotel base. Thus if I finish at one client at 5 pm one day, and spend the night at a hotel before visiting the second client on the next day, well I might charge the second client for the bed & Breakfast, but I will not charge either client for my evening ‘trough’.
I am thus left with a choice, of expenditure. Either go to a restaurant where I spend about £12 or more, get a proper receipt that can (legitimately) be claimed as a business expense (food only, so that I get it at, say about 40% discount compared with what I would pay out of my own pocket, or do I behave a bit like a tramp, and go t' nearest ‘chip-oil’ and spend about £3 ?
Well I am not ashamed to admit that I go t’ chip-oil, and make a note of it in my diary. I do not claim for it as a business expense (generally, since NO receipt), but always work on the basis that if the Taxman does ever want to look into my affairs (Hmmmm, Duckie !) , then I can point to a number of occasions when I could have claimed expenses but didn’t, so that he might be willing to accept 'amnesia' for leaving out some other piddling little detail as regards income or expenditure ........
That is how, on Wednesday 2nd May, I
arrived at Bishops Restaurant & Carry out at Bradbury Place in Belfast. This is on Belfast’s so-called ‘Golden Mile’, on the way down between the Europa Hotel and Queens University and just past Shaftsbury Square 9where I had occasion to visit an Internet cafe ...
Now what had attracted me to Bishops was the firm recommendations given by fellow DooYooers that I read a month or two previous.
Since I was on a 1 week Consultancy divided between 2 clients (and thus my business account was soon to look very healthy), I decided to ‘splash out’ and actually 'eat inside' rather than ‘from the Sun/Daily Mirror’, as I often do.
The choice of food in Bishops is tremendous –Bishops is not only a chip shop, but sells burgers, sandwiches, pasties, lasagne, quiche and even vegetarian 'bakes' are available!
The premises are spacious, and has character, with marble fireplaces, seating arranged in booths and a terrific terrazzo marble floor. However, the serving counter and the style of advertising behind the counter is definitely inspired by the great Fast Food designer McDonalds ! The opening hours are brilliant, opening until at least 1 am (but waitress service until 11pm ‘only’). And you can get breakfast, but obviously only for late risers - from 8 am (no good for me I am at the clients' by then).
I selected a Haddock meal deal at £5.75. This included the fish (‘fresh from the market’), chips, mushy peas, bread & butter (2 rounds of sliced brown bread), and a drink (Coca-cola in my case). This was served quickly at the table by an attractive, efficient and friendly local lass (or should I say ‘colleen’ ?).
The food was, well - a mite disappointing. I have already indicated that I have travelled widely in the UK and during the previous month, I had eaten Fish & Chips carry-outs from 3 other ‘chip-oils
’, in Glossop, Hathersage and Gretna. The best was from a Chinese Chip shop in Glossop (excellent – as all Chip shops run by the Chinese seem to be – do they put Monosodium Glutamate in the batter ?). But unfortunately, I would rate the product from Bishops as well below those other three.
The size of the portion of fish was very disappointing. As a 'Quality Adviser', I always carry a tape measure with me (!). The battered fish measured 16 centimetres by 10 centimetres by 4 centimetres. I reckoned that it was about 2/3 the size that i would normally expect for the money.
The batter was ‘crisp’ but the chips were ‘soggy’. The most worrying factor was the fat in which they had been fried. It seemed to solidify on the tongue .... leaving a cloying ‘blandness’.
It certainly was a ‘new organoleptic experience’, but not one which I would care to repeat. The mushy peas were cold and the bread was, well, machine-sliced brown bread, so nothing to get excited about. The Cola was served in a cardboard cup (but not filled with ice).
The waitress was pleasant and was given a good tip (after all it wasn’t her fault that the manager wasn’t available to complain to).
I have written to Bishops to express my severe disappointment (enclosing a copy of the DooYoo opinions that attracted me).
After all, it has won awards for its fish & chips (not only in 1999 but also in 2001, according to 'The Irish News'), but what I ate on 2nd May certainly shouldn’t win ANY prizes.