Leaf’s Lunches: Sidney Sussex

This week LEAF ARBUTHNOT is in Sidney Sussex, hungry and possibly kicking small children.

Buttery canteen custard food Leaf Arbuthnot leaf's lunches meat Reviews Sainsbury's salad Sidney Sussex

[rating: 2/5]

How I loathe average food. How it enrages me. How it makes me want to trample on budding shoots and push little children over.

A phenomenally bad meal is clearly superiour to a mediocre one. It’s a bit like with people – obviously, one would rather see an incredibly ugly human specimen stomping down the street than endure ream upon ream of average-to-not-greats. Why do it by halves? If you’re going to be ugly, bloody do it to the best of your ability, you swine.

So too with canteens – they should make a conscious decision to be either great or really, really terrible. Sidney has not realised this. And its buttery is hopelessly, unapologetically, tragically average.

The menu boded ill. A morose salad bar – mostly composed of lettuce and some couscous grains – directed me towards the hot plates section. After much pointed sighing, I settled for gammon steak with peaches and chilli. My friend went for fish and chips.

Distinctly average

The ménage-a-trois gammon combo was genuinely rancid; it tasted as if some passing buffoon had knocked some tinned peaches over my fry up. A few grudging points for pairing the meat with fruit, I sort of suppose-ish maybe, but it just didn’t work. Moreover the bacon was salty as heck and considerably tougher than my mousemat.

My companion’s fish was better, its batter crackly and delicious. The chips, however, were undercooked, flabby, whitish and forlorn. We had two tarts for dessert, one almond and the other apple crumble, both overcooked and both mildly unpleasant. No amount of (gluey, flavourless, phlegmatic) custard could soften the pastry. I feared for my teeth.

Not how custard should look…

All in all then, a damning report. I didn’t fling my fork across the hall after my first mouthful, but nor did I finish anything I started. I left Sidney hungry and very, very angry. Thank God they built it opposite a Sainsbury’s.